Couric's 'Exclusive' with Hillary Clinton Avoids Tough Questions

Katie Couric traveled to New Hampshire for an “exclusive” interview with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but it amounted to little more than a three minute segment in which Couric tossed softballs about the horse race and avoided any contentious topics, such as fugitive Norman Hsu's fundraising, Clinton's evolving positions on Iraq or her parsed stand on driver's licenses for illegal aliens. “In an exclusive one-on-one interview,” Couric trumpeted, “Clinton exudes confidence.”

Couric's questions to the Democratic frontrunner in the excerpt aired at the start of the CBS Evening News: Why she's launched a “more aggressive” campaign, how does she “feel” about Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Barack Obama, and “how disappointed” she'll be if she loses the nomination? -- a question Couric pursued in three formulations and the answers to which led to Couric's “Clinton exudes confidence” proclamation.

A longer video clip of the interview posted on CBSNews.com featured just two more inquiries: Are you lowering expectations in Iowa? And, your response to the view that your campaign is “nervous” about Obama's gains?

From Concord, New Hampshire, Couric teased the November 26 CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: Obama versus Clinton.

BARACK OBAMA: We don't need somebody who knows how to play the game better. We need somebody to put an end to the game-playing.

COURIC: But in an exclusive one-on-one interview, Clinton exudes confidence.

COURIC TO CLINTON: If it's not you, how disappointed will you be?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, it will be me.
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down all the questions posed by Couric to Hillary Clinton shown on the newscast. The questions, plus a flavor on Clinton's replies:
COURIC: I asked her about the new, more aggressive tone of her campaign.

[Hillary Clinton: “I have absorbed a lot of attacks” and “hardly a day goes by when I'm not attacked.”]

COURIC: It was announced today that Oprah Winfrey will be campaigning with Senator Obama in three key states -- Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. How do you feel about that?

[“I think it's great...”]

COURIC: But are you concerned that this will give him a big boost?

[“No...”]

COURIC: If it's not you, how disappointed will you be?

[“Well, it will be me...”]

COURIC: I know that you're confident it's going to be you, but there is a possibility it won't be. And clearly you have considered that possibility.

[“No I haven't.”]

COURIC: So you never even consider the possibility?

[“I don't.”]
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center