Yesterday NBC's Today show pondered if Hillary Clinton was referring to Bill as one of the 'evil men' she had much experience with but never got around to fully answering the question. Well NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, on this morning's Today, attempted to answer the question and found, via a Clinton surrogate, the 'evil men' Hillary was talking about were Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush. During the piece Mitchell ran a soundbite from Lisa Caputo claiming: "Certainly Ken Starr and Newt Gingrich would be at the top of that list as would be this White House." Having addressed that question Mitchell moved on to analyzing the Clinton's "complicated marriage" and how the former President "overshadowed his senator wife," but concluded that Bill’s presence was mostly positive as she regurgitated this old Clinton-line: "So as they used to say back in 1992, 'Buy one, get one free.'"
The following is the entire segment as it aired in the 7am half-hour of the January 30th Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "Funny thing happened on the road to the White House. Bill Clinton was the butt of a lot of jokes back when he was president but now many are saying he took a shot over the weekend from a very unlikely source, his wife. NBC's Andrea Mitchell is in Washington with more. Andrea good morning to you."
Andrea Mitchell: "Good morning, Meredith. Well one week into her solo campaign for the White House Hillary Clinton is already juggling questions about that other Clinton, her husband Bill."
Hillary Clinton: "...who said I am Hillary Clinton and I am running for President."
Mitchell: "In Iowa, a caucus state her husband skipped when he ran for the nomination."
Hillary Clinton: "My participating in the Iowa caucuses is the only thing I'll ever do in politics that Bill has not done."
Mitchell: "Her famous husband is never far from people's minds. So when a voter asked if she's tough enough to handle evil and bad men like Osama Bin Laden and she quipped-"
Hillary Clinton: "And what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"
Mitchell: "Some in the audience thought she was joking about him and the heartbreak of Monica."
Hillary Clinton: "I thought I was funny. You know you guys keep telling me, 'lighten up, be funny.' Now I get a little funny and now I'm being psychoanalyzed."
Mitchell: "So whom was she thinking about?"
Lisa Caputo: "Certainly Ken Starr and Newt Gingrich would be at the top of that list as would be this White House."
James Carville: "She said she was referring to Osama Bin Laden but, but you can, the good thing about a joke like that you can fill in your own male villain."
Mitchell: "But Bill Clinton?"
Hillary Clinton: "I don't think anybody in here thought that, I'm sorry."
Mitchell: "The misunderstood joke, if it was, only underscores the unique nature of her campaign. Theirs is a complicated marriage and she is the candidate but he is the biggest star in the Democratic Party. In fact when they appeared together to eulogize Coretta Scott King the former President easily overshadowed his senator wife."
Bill Clinton: "I don't want us to forget that there's a woman in there."
Mitchell: "Still experts agree any Democratic candidate would want Bill Clinton on their team."
John Harwood, CNBC: "The fact that Hillary Clinton is married to him, is around him, can benefit from his advice, his fundraising and his presence on the campaign trail that's a tremendous asset for her."
Mitchell: "Still advisers say the Clintons will not be appearing on the same stage too often. But still she gets the party's best surrogate to campaign for her. So as they used to say back in 1992, 'Buy one, get one free.' Meredith."
Meredith Vieira: "Andrea Mitchell thanks very much."