ABC's Nightline Highlights Hillary-Loving Republican; Throws Clinton Softballs
While former President Bill Clinton is angry with ABC over the content of it’s miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," he shouldn’t find much to complain about regarding the network’s news coverage of his wife. The entire Wednesday edition of ABC’s "Nightline" was devoted to anchor Cynthia McFadden’s day of campaigning with Senator Hillary Clinton in upstate New York. The half hour was full of softball questions and Bush bashing. While no Clinton critics were highlighted in her report, McFadden did find a New York Republican supporter of Clinton who gushed:
Unidentified female: "I think she’s fabulous. I think she’s more beautiful in person. But more than her beauty, she’s genuine and very intelligent and well-spoken."
McFadden: "But you’re a Republican?"
Unidentified female: "Yes, I am."
McFadden: "Did you support her last time?"
Unidentified female: "I did not. But I think I probably will this time."
McFadden gave Clinton plenty of opportunities to criticize the Bush administration (again, with no Clinton critics featured in the piece):
McFadden: "So, an association game, if you’ll, if you will. A word or two about the following political folks, okay? President George Bush."
Clinton: "Oh, on so many fronts. You know, I think our country is really headed in the wrong direction. And after 9/11, we were united. And there was an opportunity for leadership that pulled us together, not just in the immediate aftermath of that horrific attack, but for months and years, and called us to sacrifice on behalf of a larger, national purpose. But that didn’t happen and we have paid a big price for it."
McFadden: "...Is there a link between Iraq, the war in Iraq, and terrorism? The President says yes. What do you say?"
Clinton: "Well, the President is right, if you’re talking about today, but not if you’re going back to 9/11 or 2002, when the vote was cast, or even March 2003 when the invasion occurred. I just wish that this President and Vice President would get out of the bubble they’re in, quit listening to the people they’re listening, change their national security team...But instead, they’re back to, you know, business as usual. Trying to make links that don’t exist. Trying to draw historical analogies that are not accurate. I think that does a great disservice, not only to the American people, but, frankly, to the quality of decision making...But in this White House, it’s a small circle of people. Frankly, it’s an echo chamber."
Clinton also described the administration as living in an "evidence-free zone," and is "not exactly connected with what’s going on in terms of facts and evidence, here or around the world."
McFadden went on to ask Clinton about this New York Times article from May, which discussed the amount of time the Clintons’ spend together:
McFadden: "I want to ask you about something that’s on the minds of a lot of people, which is, is your marriage fair game? The New York Times clearly thinks so. Front-page article about how many days you spend with your husband, 14 is their answer, a month. How angry did that article make you?"
McFadden seemed taken aback when Clinton replied that she doesn’t pay attention to those kinds of stories.
McFadden: "Really? It doesn’t hurt? It doesn’t make you mad? I mean, it would sure make me mad, I think."
The only tough questions McFadden had for Clinton were those that hit her from the left:
McFadden: "You were one of the Democrats who cast a vote in favor of enabling the President to go into Iraq. Do you, as we sit here today, with the information we have today, regret casting that vote?"
Senator Hillary Clinton: "Well, I can only look at what I knew at the time because I don’t think you get do-overs in life. I think you have to take responsibility and hopefully learn from it and go forward. I regret very much the way the President used the authority he was given, because I think he misled the Congress and he misled the country, and he misused the authority."
McFadden: "As we sit here today, was it a mistake to go into Iraq?"
Clinton: "Well, given this administration’s track record, they have been nothing but a series of mistakes..."
McFadden: "You know, even some of your supporters, though, and I talked to a couple today, want you to say, ‘I’m sorry I cast the vote. I’m sorry I enabled the President.’"
The majority of McFadden’s questions for Clinton, however, were less hard-hitting:
"Do you actually like campaigning?"
"If you could pick an adjective that you hope people would use to describe you, what would it be?" (Clinton’s answer? "Real.")
"Why would anyone want to be president? Can you help me understand that?"
Of course, McFadden had to ask the senator about a potential run for the White House. Clinton deflected the questions and said "stay tuned" when asked if America is ready for a female president, a statement that many interpreted as a hint that Clinton is going to run for the office in ‘08. Apparently, McFadden seemed to agree, based on her summation of her day:
McFadden: "As these things go, it was an almost pitch-perfect day of campaigning. A Hollywood director could not have done better. Even the sunset obliged. And we couldn’t help but think that maybe ‘stay tuned’ was a pretty good sign off for this day after all."