CNN's Blitzer and Cafferty Muse About Third Clinton Term: “Answer to a Prayer”

CNN's Wolf Blitzer wondered, on Tuesday's Situation Room, “if Bill Clinton could run for President again, would he be re-elected?" Though Clinton never reached 50 percent (43% in 1992, 49% in 1996), Jack Cafferty excitedly agreed with the proposition: "Oh, I think he probably would be, in a heartbeat, don't you?" Cafferty listed some other potential candidates, such as "the Governor down in Virginia" who "might be a good guy" and "they got Barack Obama," but instead, “who do you see on TV? You see Hillary and Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy." Cafferty maintained: "Clinton would be the answer to a prayer. Not Hillary, her husband." The exchange followed the 5pm EDT hour “Cafferty File" segment question: "Can religion help the Democrats?" That was prompted by Bill Clinton's recommendation to Democrats that they emphasize “values” and religious beliefs. None of the e-mailed replies Cafferty read had made any suggestion about Bill Clinton running for President again. (Transcript follows.)

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A Candy Crowley story, which aired in the 4pm and 7m EDT hours of The Situation Room, featured this soundbite from the former President at a Democratic fundraiser: "We don't have to be afraid of our values. And for those of us who are about to celebrate Easter, the number one admonition in the New Testament for citizens was not to forget the poor. That's mentioned over 500 times. You can't find all that stuff they talk about mentioned over two or three times, if at all."

At 5:58pm EDT on the April 11 program, Cafferty, in Manhattan, recapitulated his topic of the hour and then read some of the e-mailed replies, with text on screen:
“Former President Bill Clinton says Democrats should not be afraid of their values. At a Democratic fundraiser, Clinton mentioned the coming holiday of Easter. And he reminded the crowd that Democrats stand for one of the hallmarks of the New Testament, helping the poor. So the question we came up with, after a great deal of thought, was, 'Can religion help the Democrats?'

“We got this from Linda in Texas: 'Religion can help Democrats and anyone else but only if it's genuine and not just for political gain.' Nancy writes from Edgewater, New Jersey, 'Jack, the reason we're in the trouble we're in now is because we're not keeping religion and politics separate. The minute George Bush brought his religion into the White House as his full time aide, it divided America.' Doak writes from Mississippi: 'That donkey has left the barn. It is and always will be the economy stupid. Bottomless war debts, mega increases in energy costs, healthcare costs, yada, yada, yada.' Lou writes, 'No, Jack, religion cannot save the Democrats. Only the Mexicans can do that now. Once we clean house of the present incumbents on both sides of the aisle, the only place for them to go will be Mexico.' Luis in Patterson, New Jersey: 'Of course it can. If Republicans can milk that sacred cow, why can't the Democrats.' And Maggie writes from Illinois: 'Jack, I don't understand the question. Are you asking if they even have a prayer in November? Or are you asking if praying for them would help? OK, I will, but it seems pretty desperate if you ask me.'"

Wolf Blitzer, in Washington, DC, then mused about a potential third term for the 42nd President: “Jack, if Bill Clinton could run for President again, would he be re-elected?”

Cafferty: “Oh, I think he probably would be, in a heartbeat, don't you? The Democrats have no one. They have a couple of potential candidates which they seem intent on keeping out of the public spotlight. I mean, I think the Governor down in Virginia might be a good guy. They got Barack Obama in Illinois. But instead, who do you see on TV? You see Hillary and Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy. I, you know, Clinton would be the answer to a prayer. Not Hillary, her husband.”

Blitzer: “We'll see. We're going to pursue that question. Thanks very much, Jack.”
Don't know when Blitzer plans to “pursue” that question, but he didn't do so in the third -- 7pm EDT -- hour on Tuesday.
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