Warm Welcome for Hillary on MSNBC: 'You Have Been a Unifying Force'

Boycotts are falling everywhere. With the French having elected Sarkozy, American conservatives are feeling good about buying Beaujolais again. And with Imus gone from MSNBC, Hillary Clinton has ended her one-woman boycott of the network's morning-show slot. Hillary had famously shunned the shock-jock's show in the wake of his suggestive shtick at a Radio & TV Correspondents dinner with Pres. Clinton and the First Lady in attendance.

Hillary did a lengthy phone interview at 8:09 EDT today on "Morning Joe," the latest in MSNBC's revolving morning-chat shows in the old Imus slot, hosted by Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who hosts a regular evening show in the MSNBC lineup. At one point during the interview, Joe told Hillary "I'm not kissing up to you at all. Those who know me know I certainly don't do that." But if there were any questions that put Hillary on the spot, I must have missed them. There were points of agreement on health care and other issues. Joe blamed himself for being part of the impeachment effort and closed with a bouquet for Hillary's "unifying" presence.

View video here.

Here are some annotated excerpts. Readers will judge as to the kissing-up or lack thereof.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON [D-N.Y.]: No matter what you thought about the original authorization, or the president's decision to rush to war before the inspectors were able to tell us whether there was any WMD, it is clear that whatever the mission used to be, it is either accomplished or over."
Joe didn't call Hillary on her suggestion that Pres. Bush "rushed to war" and that she had really only authorized inspections. In fact, as noted here and elsewhere, at the time of the war vote Hillary left no doubt she believed Saddam had WMDs and was a serious threat. Anyone in the Senate at the time knew the resolution was one for imminent war, not more inspections.
SCARBOROUGH: I think you just blew your opponents away in the last debate. I'm not kissing up to you at all. Those who know me know I certainly don't do that.

CLINTON: I read a story recently about drug companies pushing all these drugs on kids.

SCARBOROUGH: Right!

CLINTON: We don't do adequate testing. I passed the first laws back in the Clinton administration and then now that I've been in the Senate.
Joe let slide Hillary's boast that "I passed the first laws" on child drug regulation when she was in the Clinton administration. Whenever the Clinton administration is accused of mistakes or worse, look for Hillary to claim that she can't be held responsible for the actions of others.
CLINTON: We are set up to treat people once they're already sick. It's just not sensible anymore.

SCARBOROUGH: It's insane! It's false economy.

SCARBOROUGH: We've been through so much as a country, a lot of it not good. We had the Clinton wars as you know very well for eight years, we're going to have eight years of the Bush wars. It doesn't matter who's to blame. OK, I'll take blame, part blame for the Clinton wars. '95, '96, not my best years.
SCARBOROUGH: There's been such a division in this country. I really do think that people are exhausted, and they're looking for a president who can unite the country. . . And a lot of people who probably said some very nasty things about you in the 1990s, are extraordinarily impressed with the type of leadership you provided since you've been in the Senate, how you have been a unifying force.
SCARBOROUGH [in conclusion after Hillary had left the line]: She's been seen as a unifying force, and I think it's going to come back, it's going to pay off in spades as we move through this election.

Hmm, so Joe feels people are "looking for a president who can unite this country," and Hillary has been "a unifying force." Little wonder she's happy to come on!

Aside -- it's not nice to tease: Hillary was certainly a good "get" for MSNBC and it was understandable that the network would promote her upcoming interview throughout the show. However, more than once the show teased Hillary's interview as being "next" when it wasn't.

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net

Update 11:19 | Matthew Sheffield. Is it just me or did anyone else notice that Clinton apparently believes that America's mission in Iraq is "accomplished?" That's quite a reversal considering that just 10 days earlier she said that when President Bush said something to that effect back in 2003 it was "one of the most shameful episodes in American history."

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.