David Gregory Asks Romney If It's Fair to 'Resurrect the 90s' Against Hillary; Mitt Says Bill 'Embarrassed The Nation'

On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory seemed to pick up where Andrea Mitchell left off, expressing shock that the Republicans would think it's fair to revisit the 1990s to assess Hillary Clinton.

Gregory's interviewee was Mitt Romney, who somehow refrained from saying "You people thought allegations of my high-school bullying in 1965 were relevant, but not the Clinton presidency?"  Romney dared to say Bill Clinton "embarrassed the nation" and didn't act like an adult. (Video below):

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GREGORY:  2016 politics is a topic that keeps coming up for you. I'll ask about you in a minute. But I want to ask about the Democrats and the prospect of Hillary Clinton running. It’s interesting. Senator Rand Paul, who may be a candidate himself,  started on "Meet the Press," and has said it elsewhere, that basically the Clintons should be judged on Bill Clinton, impeachment, his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He called him a sexual predator. Is the prospect of a Hillary Clinton candidacy, should that be judged on the record, personal and otherwise, of Bill Clinton, do you think?

ROMNEY:  Well, I don't think Bill Clinton is as relevant as Hillary Clinton if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president. And in her case, I think people will look at her record as the Secretary of State and say during that period of time, did our relations with nations around the world elevate America and elevate our interests, or were they receding? And I think her record is what will be judged upon, not the record of her husband.

That was very polite, merely raising the question of whether Hillary's tenure at State was successful, not trashing it as a fiasco (like a Debbie Wasserman Schultz would if the shoe were on the other foot). He didn't say "Benghazi" -- perhaps still shell-shocked from the media's aggression on that subject in 2012.

Romney was also very polite to say Hillary's record is somehow limited to being Secretary of State -- not being a Senator from New York, not being a First Lady, not being a presidential candidate who's been a loser just like he was. It's far too polite to insist that somehow it's unfair to associate Hillary with Bill. But Gregory kept pushing that line:

GREGORY: It's interesting that the Republican party now on its website is really resurrecting the '90s, and part of that message is keep the Clintons out of the White House again. Do you see this as a pair and not just Hillary Clinton?

ROMNEY: I think Hillary Clinton, if she becomes the nominee, will have plenty to discuss about her own record. I don't imagine that Bill Clinton is going to be a big part of it. That being said, the times when he was president were by and large positive economic times for the country. On the other hand, he embarrassed the nation. He breached his responsibility I think as an adult and as a leader in his relationship. And I think that's very unfortunate, but I don't think that's Hillary Clinton's to explain. She has her own record, her own vision for where she would take the country. And I think that's something which we debated extensively during the 2016 campaign.

For crying out loud, why is it not "Hillary Clinton's to explain"? Doesn't it matter whether she was truthful during the Lewinsky scandal? Because she wasn't. Romney could have told Gregory "Why don't you look up Hillary's "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" interview on NBC in 1998?" Matt Lauer asked what happened with Monica, and Hillary had creepy non-answers: "We'll find that out as time goes by, Matt....We'll see how this plays out."

Then when asked by Lauer if this Monica charge was a smear, Hillary replied "There have been a lot of smears in the twentieth century. But this is a pretty bad one." Dear Politifact: Now THAT is "Pants On Fire."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis