When Did Hillary Say Bush Had 'Fear Factor' Presidency? January 2005

Meredith Vieira's question on Monday about Hillary Clinton decrying Bush's "Fear Factor presidency" seemed like a tired NBC-show plug to me. (What next? Vieira asking the First Lady, "An interrogation bill. Bush faces McCain. Deal Or No Deal?") So where did this Hillary Clinton quote originate? After a little Nexis searching, it's from an interview Sen. Clinton gave to the editorial board of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on January 19, 2005. (NewsMax had it at the time.) Does Vieira have an excellent memory? Or who pulled this old chestnut out?

Saying the Bush administration uses scare tactics rather than sound policy, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed deep concerns about the president's second term on a visit to Rochester on Tuesday. "The fear factor has become the overriding strategic approach that this administration uses," Clinton told the Democrat and Chronicle editorial board.

So Vieira's quote was not exact. And it's possible Hillary wasn't flacking for NBC, but the words "fear factor" have become much commoner in recent years. The story continued:

President Bush has used fear to rally public support on issues ranging from U.S. policy in Iraq to privatization of Social Security, said Clinton, D-N.Y.

She said Bush has put the federal government so deep in debt that the nation is in no position to go ahead with a plan to permit workers to take money they now pay in Social Security taxes and instead invest it in the stock market.

Such a plan, Clinton said, would require the administration to borrow large amounts of money to make up for funds that could not be used for Social Security.

Clinton favored going ahead with elections in Iraq, but faulted Bush for mistakes and misjudgments. Regional elections, she said, should have been held before the upcoming national elections.

Clinton also said that a more conservative agenda would emerge out of the Republican majority in Congress. "I think that they have very radical ideas that they call reform," Clinton said.

Whether the proposed Renaissance Square project gets additional funding will depend on how the transportation bill shapes up in Congress, Clinton said.

She said that the $318 billion transportation bill stalled because Bush wanted the appropriation to be $265 billion.

Contacted later, state GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik said, "Before she mouths off, where are the 200,000 jobs she promised upstate?"

On another issue, Clinton said that she was "dumbfounded" by the recent suggestion by Harvard University president Lawrence H. Summers that gender differences might explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers.

"I think the women scientists are really firing back very effectively," Clinton said.

The other obvious question: why can "Today" pick the uncomfortable questions for Mrs. Bush, on the Bush administrations tactics versus terror, and then skip uncomfortable questions for Hillary Clinton just a week ago? Unless you count questioning Sen. Clinton on the Bush administration's tactics versus terror to be uncomfortable. They clearly skipped the question Mrs. Clinton literally escaped reporters to avoid: her opinion on ABC's "Path to 9/11" movie.

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