Shorter Chuck Todd: Hillary Clinton Will Benefit From Benghazi
When it comes to NBC and its sister network MSNBC, Chuck Todd is one of the few journalists that actually attempt to be fair. However, there are times when Todd will make a statement that makes you pause and question how much he's co-opted by the network's determination to be Obama boosters.
On his May 10 Daily Rundown program, the veteran White House correspondent claimed that when it comes to Benghazi, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “is going to benefit it seems a little bit in this one respect if [it appears] that her opponents try too hard."
At issue was the guest panel’s belief that Republicans have overplayed their hand regarding Benghazi. According to Todd's guest Bob Herbert of the left-wing think tank Demos:
This is where the Republicans just so frequently seem to be tone deaf. If they want to just come down on Hillary, clobber, clobber, clobber, looking at 2016, it’s going to backfire. And it will redound to the benefit of Hillary Clinton.
Herbert, a former New York Times columnist and former NBC News reporter, continued his unabashed support for Clinton, which Todd failed to challenge:
There are legitimate questions, if they address it as serious legislator’s serious government officials trying to get to the answers of a serious issue, that's one thing. But I think that they find it irresistible to just pound, pound, pound on Hillary Clinton. And that’s what I think will back fire.
No one on the panel, which included liberal Politico reporter Maggie Haberman and Time’s Radhika Jones thought once to challenge the notion that Benghazi is simply a political ploy created by Republicans to hinder Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential ambitions.
Had Todd wanted to be an actual journalist instead of a Hillary sympathizer, he would have mentioned a new report out from ABC News this morning showing the Obama administration edited the Benghazi talking points 12 times, removing substantial portions of earlier drafts. According to ABC’s Jon Karl:
What was taken out? All references to al Qaeda and all references to CIA warnings before the attack about the terror threat in Benghazi.
The Obama administration was heavily involved in dramatically editing the CIA talking points, but if you watch MSNBC, you would think Hillary Clinton’s State Department was not involved at all. Instead, Todd chose to prop up the false talking point that the Benghazi hearings are simply political theater aimed at taking Hillary Clinton out of contention for the 2016 presidential race.
See relevant transcript below.
The Daily Rundown
May 10, 2013
9:53 a.m. Eastern
CHUCK TODD: Let's bring back the gaggle. Maggie Haberman, Bob Herbert, Radhika Jones. Maggie, I’m going to start with you. Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, it's the political war seems to have been started, but there is actual evidence now that raises more questions that the State Department needs to answer and the White House seems to be somewhat complicit somewhere along the road. Did they do it because they just wanted to get State off their back, what the motivation was is unclear. But clearly State was worried in those initial few days about their reputation
MAGGIE HABERMAN: There have been a lot more reports in the last couple of days, last week or so, about sort of the editing of these talking points, and the depth of the editing of the talking points. The concerns from the State Department, the person in question, the State Department aide, she is not a partisan hack. She is someone who has worked there for a long time. That doesn't change the basic question which is as you say that there are real issues to look at. That however then becomes the leap to this is Watergate is where--
TODD: The problem is this is where Hillary Clinton Bob is going to benefit it seems a little bit in this one respect if that her opponents try to hard.
BOB HERBERT: This is where the Republicans just so frequently seem to be tone deaf. If they want to just come down on Hillary, clobber, clobber, clobber, looking at 2016, it’s going to backfire. And it will redound to the benefit of Hillary Clinton.
HERBERT: There are legitimate questions, if they address it as serious legislator’s serious government officials trying to get to the answers of a serious issue, that's one thing. But I think that they find it irresistible to just pound, pound, pound on Hillary Clinton. And that’s what I think will back fire.
TODD: Radhika do they go after the unwinding of State diplomatic security which seems to be the real [sic] here.
RADHIKA JONES: I think even State in the aftermath agreed that things -- that there could have been things done differently and that was the whole point of the review. I feel like after the hearings this week, there was still no major smoking gun, and it still seems that either if you believe there was an intentional cover up or you don't and wherever you fall on those sides--
TODD: But there is a gray area which is there was lapses at state and by the way the Pickering report is pretty rough on state and now that is going to be I think something that Hillary has to live with for a while.