NBC's Andrea Mitchell: Hillary Is a Centrist; Pro-Life Candidate Is "Anti-Choice"

On last night's (Monday's) Hardball NBC's Andrea Mitchell portrayed Hillary Clinton as a centrist in defense of Ken Mehlman's charges of Hillary Clinton being too angry. Hardball host Chris Matthews postulated that Republicans were playing the gender card in portraying Hillary Clinton as emotional. Mitchell said that it wasn't necessarily a gender-based attack but agreed that the it was an attempt to "demonize her," and "try to make her seem more extreme than I think she really is."

Mitchell also used the terminology of the far-left in referring to pro-life Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey as "anti-choice."

The following is the complete exchange between Matthews and Mitchell:

Chris Matthews: "Look, what do you make of this attack, I will now ask, I will throw the magic word out here, gender, is this focus on Senator Clinton’s emotional state, her anger level, aimed at her gender?"

Andrea Mitchell: "Well, you could say yes, because it, it certainly is a way that women can, they have been demonized, but look at David Shuster’s report with which you started this whole conversation. It pointed out that the Republicans have used this effectively against their own, against John McCain and certainly against Howard Dean, so and against Al Gore. So that whole business of you’re too emotional and you can’t be trusted, can be used against men as well as women, so I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s just gender."

Matthews: "Well, you know, the, the, the Nixon crowd, in the bad old days, did something like this to get Muskie upset. He’s a male obviously. They got him to cry, in quotes. You know big girls don’t cry is the line, but are they trying to shake her?"

Mitchell: "Well, I think they’re trying to demonize her. I think they are trying to take advantage of the fact that she can sometimes sound shrill, as she did in front of that audience in Harlem on Martin Luther King Day and try to make her seem more extreme than I think she really is, because I think, look at what she’s just done recently, she took some PAC money from her own political action committee and gave it to Bob Casey in Pennsylvania who is an anti-choice nominee in the Democratic race there."

Interesting phraseology from Mitchell choosing to descrbe pro-life Bob Casey as, "anti-choice." Kate Michelman would be proud.

Matthews continued: "Well is this going to intimidate her into being a whispering candidate for president like, talking like Marilyn Monroe, ‘You know it’s so great to be here,’ or Jackie Kennedy. Does it force her to soften her voice to the point where she sounds like she’s trying to schmooze her way in."

Mitchell: "I think you’ll see that she does what she’s always done. Which is a different voice, a different approach for different audiences, like all politicians do. And she’s very smart about it. She’s certainly moved herself over to the middle by getting on the Armed Services Committee, going to Iraq, going to Afghanistan and showing real credentials on military issues and you saw some of her votes on the war. She’s very highly regarded by the rank and file military for what she has done in support of the troops. And that is part of her effort to show she can be a Commander-in-Chief."

(As our own Tim Graham pointed out to me earlier how does serving on the Armed Services Committee automatically make someone a moderate? See Ron Dellums and Pat Schroeder. In fact, she said the same thing during the 2004 Democratic convention: “Hillary Clinton, who has presidential ambitions obviously as a Senator from New York, is the first Senator from New York to seek a position on the Armed Services Committee....She’s done it effectively. I’ve got to tell you, the rank-and-file military are really happy with her.”)

Matthews, ending the segment: "Is there more coming here, do you think, on this front, identifying her, trying to get into her emotions and shake her or attack her that way?"

Mitchell: "I think so. I think that there will be a lot more coming. I think what you saw with Ken Mehlman over the weekend is just the beginning of this attempt, and we saw it obviously on Martin Luther King Day, trying to frame her as too emotional, too liberal."

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