NBC: Testifying on Benghazi 'The Most Important Thing' to Hillary Clinton

During a fawning segment on Thursday's NBC Today promoting Hillary Clinton's People magazine interview, co-host Savannah Guthrie parroted the former Secretary of State's spin on the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya: "On Benghazi, Clinton said the chance to testify was the most important thing to her, despite a fall and concussion that's brought some Republican hard knocks on her health." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Guthrie touted Clinton's thinly-veiled attempt to question the health of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan: "Clinton told People that 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told her he had suffered three concussions, one serious." Guthrie then noted: "Team Clinton has set up a rapid response team to address criticism about Benghazi during her book tour."

A similar gushing report about the interview on Wednesday's NBC Nighly News ignored Benghazi completely, but did hail Clinton "ramping up her already supercharged visibility."

On Thursday, Guthrie kept up the cheerleading: "Hillary Clinton told People she's decided she's ready for her next big role – as grandmother....But the campaign has started with or without her. Ready for Hillary, an independent group two million strong, plans to register voters along the book tour she kicked off on Facebook."

A soundbite was featured of the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut: "This is an especially meaningful moment for her, where she really can talk about herself as a person and not have to be strictly focused on policy."

On Nightly News, Kornblut declared of Clinton's upcoming grandchild: "Look, babies are special political creatures. So, I think it will certainly provide a whole new set of images we've never seen of her before."


Here is a full transcript of the June 5 segment on Today:

7:18 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, meantime, the President's former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is speaking out in a new interview with People magazine. This is part of the rollout for her new book called Hard Choices. And Clinton touches on a lot of those choices, from her health to a possible presidential run, and even Monica Lewinsky.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hillary Talks Health, Lewinsky; Opens Up As Book Tour Kicks Off]

Hillary Clinton told People she's decided she's ready for her next big role – as grandmother. "Eager to babysit any chance I get," Clinton said daughter Chelsea's child will play a role in whether she re-enters the family business. She told People, "I have a decision to make...Through the next months, I will think more about what role I can, or in my mind, should play."

But the campaign has started with or without her. Ready for Hillary, an independent group two million strong, plans to register voters along the book tour she kicked off on Facebook.

HILLARY CLINTON: Choices is at the core of what kind of people we want to be and what kind of countries we want to have.

GUTHRIE: On Benghazi...

CLINTON: What difference, at this point, does it make?

GUTHRIE: ...Clinton said the chance to testify was the most important thing to her, despite a fall and concussion that's brought some Republican hard knocks on her health.

KARL ROVE: She had a serious health episode. She would not be human if this didn't enter in as a consideration.

GUTHRIE: Clinton told People that 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told her he had suffered three concussions, one serious. And team Clinton has set up a rapid response team to address criticism about Benghazi during her book tour.

As for husband Bill's health, she downplayed a tremor in his hands, blaming it on a pinched nerve. Adding, "People say that he's too thin. He doesn't think so. He has enormous energy."

CLINTON: Thanks to you, it's got about eighteen million cracks in it.

GUTHRIE: Clinton told People, "We need to break that highest, hardest glass ceiling." Adding, "That's often how people express their encouragement for me to take the plunge again...I think it reflects a desire on the part of a lot of Americans, not just on women, that we have unfinished business."

Something Clinton said she does not have with Monica Lewinsky: "I certainly have moved on...I think everybody needs to look to the future."
 
ANNE KORNBLUT [THE WASHINGTON POST]: This is an especially meaningful moment for her, where she really can talk about herself as a person and not have to be strictly focused on policy.

GUTHRIE: Well, for now, Clinton's book tour is moving ahead with several other high-profile interviews, including next Tuesday here on NBC. And Hillary Clinton will be on the Today show in the next couple of weeks as well.

MATT LAUER: We look forward to seeing her. Meanwhile, a lot of people are talking about the cover of the magazine.

CARSON DALY: That's right.

LAUER: What are you hearing online?

DALY: Did you notice anything?

LAUER: Yeah, a little bit.

GUTHRIE: I noticed it.  

DALY: I'll take you to the Orange Room and show you. As you just saw in the piece, lots of things happening inside that article people are talking about today. But it was the cover, people were literally judging that article by the cover of People magazine.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: What's Hillary Holding? Cropped Clinton Cover Sparks Buzz Online]

Do you notice anything there? Let's go ahead and just read one tweet that came in, Patrick [@PatrickKCHardin]: "Good news for Democrats: Hillary Clinton is on the cover of People magazine. Good news for Republicans: It looks like she's pushing a walker." As you can see there, Hillary Clinton.

But let's just keep going here. Then the mock-ups start because, of course, it's – it's Twitter. And there's an actual walker [photoshopped cover with Star Wars walker]. Somewhere Al Roker's laughing at that. There's another mock-up, there's Hillary on a Segway.

So much on activity actually on Twitter it prompted People magazine to actually tweet out: "@HillaryClinton photo mystery isn't a mystery at all. It's a CHAIR."

She's graced the cover of People magazine about sixteen times. We found this back in 1993, her first solo cover, there she is with a chair. Guys.

LAUER: It's just people see what they want to see.

GUTHRIE: Yeah.

DALY: There's that.

GUTHRIE: And it's Twitter.

LAUER: Exactly right.

NATALIE MORALES: They have fun with it.

GUTHRIE: Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC