As my colleague Clay Waters noted, the New York Times finally caught up with the Washington Free Beacon's month-old scoop about an audiotape recording of Hillary Clinton chuckling as she recalled her successful 1975 defense of a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl. Perhaps because there was no longer any plausible deniability about the existence of the story, MSNBC's Chris Matthews tonight devoted a segment to the controversy, bringing on Bernard Center founder Michelle Bernard and Salon's Joan Walsh to discuss the matter. While all three agreed that the controversy would in no way sink Mrs. Clinton's 2016 prospects, Walsh was particularly vociferous in her defense of Clinton, while Matthews and Bernard were critical of the former first lady. At one point, a testy Walsh charged Bernard with twisting the facts of the story.
"Look, Chris, it's not a fun tape to listen to, I'm not going to try to sugarcoat it," Walsh began, but this was simply a case of Mrs. Clinton doing her job. The accused rapist was simply fortunate to have in Mrs. Clinton a "good" defense attorney. But, "[i]s it laughable that you got a rapist off for raping a 12-year-old? Why is she laughing?"Matthews demanded of Walsh, who countered (emphasis mine):
"I see this ruling as, definitely on the political front, being a good thing for the Democrats, because people are furious and thinking, I think it goes further than it does," Henneberger argued to guest host Steve Kornacki. Minutes later, Bernard saw a big problem for Republicans with women in 2016, if not 2014, insisting that Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" line and "corporate personhood" would be instrumental in locking down droves of female voters for Democrats in 2016:
Opening his Tuesday evening episode of Hardball, host Chris Matthews kicked off by essentially whining about new comments from Karl Rove about potential 2016 candidate, Hillary Clinton. In the process he decried those ol' meanies in the GOP, seemingly forgetful that he himself has spewed all kinds of bile against conservative and Republicans from his perch at MSNBC.
Chris Matthews mocked Republicans on Friday's Hardball over their hawkish stance towards Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist group that recently kidnapped hundreds of girls. Matthews made a thinly-veiled racial attack on the GOP during a panel discussion on the terrorist organization: "By the way, when did the Republican Party take this keen interest in Africa? I may have missed that one."
Guest Michelle Bernard, who is of Jamaican decent, quickly followed the MSNBC host with a more overt racially-based jab at Republicans: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” hosted two Republican refugees on Thursday night, starting with former Reaganite Bruce Bartlett, whose favorite word for conservatives on Twitter is “wankers.” Then came his "dittohead" Michelle Bernard.
Bartlett pleased Hayes oh so much by insisting “There are no moderate Republicans” because no one will stand up and denounce the Tea Partiers because “they're so afraid to speak out and say that their party has been hijacked by crazy people, stupid people.”
You can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting some prominent African-American claiming race relations have worsened since Barack Obama became president.
Count MSNBC political and legal analyst Michelle Bernard among them, for on PBS’s McLaughlin Group Friday, she said, “The country has become more race conscious in terms of color and in terms of ethnicity since he was elected” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan made a statement Friday guaranteed to make liberal media members' heads spin.
During a discussion about Affirmative Action on PBS's McLaughlin Group, Buchanan said, "Whites are the only group that you can discriminate against legally in America now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Update [12:52 ET]: Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele followed Bernard's lead in MSNBC's noon hour by claiming the Fast & Furious investigation was "not good" for the House GOP. Video below and audio here.
In an attempt to twist the Obama administration's Fast & Furious gun running scandal into bad news for Republicans, on Wednesday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC supposed Republican pundit Michelle Bernard proclaimed: "...when you think about just the damage that has been done over the last year to the GOP's brand, this is just another – adds more fuel to the fire." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bernard was referring to the possibility of Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress for not providing documents about the failed policy to lawmakers. Instead of questioning the White House, Bernard continued to rant: "...this is just another thing that I think gives the Obama administration and the Obama campaign a little bit more fuel to go to the American public and say, 'Why won't they just do their job? We don't elect members of the Congress to come in and beat up on the Attorney General and be obstructionists. Ask them to do their job and back off of Eric Holder.' It makes no sense."
Like a lot of Americans who live outside the D.C. metro area, I was first introduced to Tony Blankley by PBS's McLaughlin Group.
It was therefore quite fitting that host John McLaughlin as well as panelists Michelle Bernard, Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, and Clarence Page on Friday paid tribute to Blankley who sadly passed away last Saturday (video follows with commentary):
Chris Matthews called it "the quote of the night," so let's see how our NewsBusters readers respond. Here was Barney Frank, reacting to the assertion by a young Marine that they are a macho bunch whereas gays are "girlie":
"I will confess that I left my purse at home."
Later, MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard, in a stunning non sequitur, was incapable of understanding how John McCain could oppose DADT repeal while having some years ago apologized for initially opposing the creation of Martin Luther King Day. Huh? For good measure, Bernard called McCain "the male Palin" and accused the entire state of Arizona of being "anti-immigrant."
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, which aired at 9:00 p.m. after President Obama's news conference, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann viciously slammed Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx for claiming that murder victim Matthew Shepard – whom the current hate crimes bill is named after – was targeted out of a desire to commit robbery rather than because of anti-gay sentiment by his attacker, contradicting the conventional wisdom that the grisly murder was a hate crime. The MSNBC host was so outraged at the North Carolina congresswoman that he named her as the night’s "Worst Person in the World" and showed particular venom toward her, even suggesting she should resign. Olbermann: "She is at best callous, insensitive, criminally misinformed. At worst she is a bald-faced liar. And if there is a spark of a human being in there somewhere, she should either immediately retract and apologize for her stupid and hurtful words or she should resign her seat in the House."
On the 11:00 p.m. special edition of Hardball, Chris Matthews and guests Joan Walsh of Salon and MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard also lambasted Foxx for her claim, with Walsh contending that she was either "lying" or "ignorant," and Matthews calling Foxx’s words "rough stuff." Walsh: "She's a hoax, Chris. She disgraced herself today. That was inaccurate. And what I really don't know is whether she’s lying – she knows the facts and she’s lying – or whether she’s so ignorant and arrogant that she didn’t need to delve into the facts."
But, on the November 26, 2004, 20/20, ABC host Elizabeth Vargas ran a report in which a number of figures tied to the case, including the prosecutor, were interviewed, and made a credible case that Shepard was targeted by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson not because of anti-gay sentiment, but because McKinney was high on methamphetamines, giving him unusual violent tendencies as well as a desire for cash to buy more drugs. Vargas not only found that a meth high can lead to the kind of extreme violence perpetrated against Shepard, but that McKinney had gone on to similarly attack another man, causing a skull fracture, very soon after his attack on Shepard. Additionally, McKinney’s girlfriend and another friend of McKinney’s even claimed that McKinney himself has bisexual tendencies, although McKinney himself denied it.
Vargas appeared on the November 19, 2004, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC and summarized her findings:
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's "Hardball," admitted Barack Obama, along with his wife Michelle this time, gave him yet another "thrill." The MSNBC host gleefully described his feelings at seeing the Obamas arrive in England for the G20 summit this way [audio available here]:
Well there is something cool when they were both - there's a nice ‘60s term. When they were both walking to the helicopter the other day, Marine One, there was something like, when he looked at her, you could just tell he said, "Isn't this something?" You know you could tell like they were experiencing the-, the, I'm getting old here. The grooviness, the excitement of being this First American Couple heading towards Marine One, which is cool in itself, heading from there to Air Force One, to a quick flight across the Atlantic, on your own plane. And to meet with the world leaders as like the centerpiece of the world. What? I get-, I'm saying it again, I'm getting a thrill.
Matthews, who invited the Washington Post's Lois Romano and the Independent Women's Forum Michelle Bernard to join in on the Obama-watching fun, also giddily admitted: "We girls agree. I don't mind saying that. I'm excited. I'm thrilled. Any way I like it all! I like the picture, I like the substance. "
The following is the full exchange Matthews had with his panelists on the April 1, edition of "Hardball":
"It's not clear why she did it since nobody on the planet, least of here in America is talking about switching to some new multinational currency here," Matthews said.
Matthews also got worked up about an interview Bachmann did on conservative talk show host Sean Hannity's radio show earlier this week when she referred to her job as being a "foreign correspondent behind enemy lines" and called Obama's policies "economic Marxism."
How unbalanced was MSNBC's "Race for the White House" panel this evening? The two Obama-friendly panelists—Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and Richard Wolffe of Newsweek—were ostensibly offset by Philly radio talker Michael Smerconish and Independent Women's Forum head Michelle Bernard. But channeling Dem congressman James Clyburn on this morning's Today, Smerc called the House Republicans "sophomoric." That was nothing. One-upping Smerconish in the pejorative department, Bernard said that every recent McCain move has been "like an epileptic fit."
Joe Scarborough, putting in a long day's work and subbing for regular host David Gregory, teed up Bernard's snipe with a negative take of his own on McCain's behavior.
Not that she is, but if Michelle Obama were in fact a Black Panther, what's the big deal? So seems to think Michelle Bernard.
Anyone who imagines that Bernard brings conservative balance to the MSNBC panels on which she regularly appears should think again. Yes, Bernard is head of the Independent Women's Forum, an organization with strong conservative roots. And true, Bernard served on the 2000 Bush-Cheney Presidential Inaugural Committee. But as the Daily Howler has documented [see 1/3 down page], her pronouncements on Hardball have often been supportive of Barack Obama.
More evidence of that was on display tonight when Bernard condemned the New Yorker cover in harsh terms and then, incredibly, seemed to say that there would be nothing wrong if the cover's caricature of Michelle Obama as a Black Panther were grounded in reality!