Meredith Vieira 'Nervous' For Hillary Clinton Interview

You would think an anchor for a network morning news show would relish the opportunity to tag Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with hard-hitting questions but that wasn't the case for NBC's Meredith Vieira. On CNBC's Conversations with Michael Eisner, Vieira revealed that before her interview with the former First Lady she was "nervous." The Today co-host said "everybody" warned her she was a "tough" interview, so when Vieira first met Clinton backstage she felt the need to disarm the presidential contender with the following "tough" question: "My son probably will go to Georgetown are you prepared to take care of him when he's down there?"

A look back at the December 18th interview shows Vieira asked mostly softball questions like: "Why wouldn't you run for President? I mean, the polls indicate that if you did run, you're the front runner." However Vieira did manage to overcome her nervousness when it came to challenging Hillary from the left on her Iraq war vote: "You refuse to say it was a mistake. Why?"

The following conversation took place on the February 15th edition of CNBC's Conversations With Michael Eisner:

Michael Eisner: "Nine years you're doing The View-"

Meredith Vieira: "Right."

Eisner: "And you're not being judged as a newsperson."

Vieira: "Not at all."

Eisner: "You're being judged as a personality. Now you have to sit with people who are world leaders doing things that are shaking, moving things around and, and you don't feel a tension in that?"

Vieira: "I do feel a tension I'm not gonna pretend that I don't but in a way I think The View is, is good preparation for that because there is a relaxed quality to that show and you go in there. You've, you've been able to draw yourself out a little bit more and you can start to look at people as people. Yes they're a world leader, whatever they are, they're a key politician but they're also a human being. I know when Hillary Clinton came on, Senator Clinton came on I was nervous that morning because everybody says to me, 'Oh Senator Clinton, what are, you know be careful, what are ya gonna, you know she's a tough interview.' And I walked past her, I said, I want to say hello before I sit down with her on the Today show and she happened to be in getting hair and makeup done and I went in and I introduced myself and I had met her a couple of times before and I said, 'Look I'm gonna have to ask you the tough question.' And she thought it was gonna be: ‘Are you running for President?' And she, she gave me one of these looks. And I said, 'My son probably will go to Georgetown are you prepared to take care of him when he's down there?' And she just laughed and we had a great conversations, conversation about children and being a mother and she said to me, 'Well maybe he'd like the page program.' I said, 'I don't think so given what's been going on down there.' But we, I, I think that I disarmed her and she liked that because I, I treated her like a human being."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.