On today's Morning Joe, ardent Hillary Clinton fan Howard Dean ran into a buzzsaw when he tried to defend her against serious charges of conflict of interest by going after the authors of the stories rather than the substance of the allegations.
Joe Scarborough ripped Dean's "comic-book politics" and called his conduct "unbecoming." New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters accused Dean of maligning his fellow reporters, and Mika Brzezinski taunted Dean, saying "you can go on your little jihad against the author, but it's not going to change the facts."
Note: Dean piously claimed that all the money that the Clinton Foundation raked in went to charitable causes "like reducing malaria." That's not true, according to an investigation by The Federalist, which found that [emphasis added] "between 2009 and 2012, the Clinton Foundation raised over $500 million dollars according to a review of IRS documents by The Federalist (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008). A measly 15 percent of that, or $75 million, went towards programmatic grants. More than $25 million went to fund travel expenses. Nearly $110 million went toward employee salaries and benefits. And a whopping $290 million during that period — nearly 60 percent of all money raised — was classified merely as 'other expenses.'”
HOWARD DEAN: You're going to get an earful of course because I'm going to defend all this.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: But you can't really defend this yet, because we don't know the context of the story.
DEAN: Yeah, you can.
SCARBOROUGH: So you like so many other Clinton defenders are going to be able to tell us what is wrong with the New York Times story before you've even read this story and we can even consume it. So I want to ask my question and then I'll just let you reflexively just do what you and James Carville do and just start shooting shotgun blasts rhetorically all over the place before you even know --
DEAN: No one is as colorful as James. So here is the thing. What part of these stories is trying to conflate the idea that the Clintons actually took personal money. None of this is personal money. This all went to things like reducing malaria and improving people's standards of living.
SCARBOROUGH: I don't think the New York Times story reflects that.
DEAN: I'm not the saying it did. But the way it's talked about is as if the Clintons took this money for themselves. They didn't. This money all went to charitable causes. And we do, Jeremy talked about the countries that have different interests than our own, we talk to those people every day. That's number one. Number two, this was originally unearthed in this "Cash" book, or whatever it's called, by a guy who is the president of something called the General Accountability Institute which is funded by opponents --
SCARBOROUGH: Which is a Clinton tactic, you're not talking about the facts but you attack the messenger.
DEAN: The fact is this guy is employed, is the president of an operation funded by people who support Ted Cruz. This is the facts.
SCARBOROUGH: This is comic strip politics.
. . .
DEAN: The author is getting money from donors, big donors, billionaires in Texas who support Ted Cruz. That is a problem.
SCARBOROUGH: You're going back to the author?
DEAN: But that's a fact.
SCARBOROUGH: But that has nothing to do -- the New York Times, Newsweek, other publications are following these leads. You can try to trace it back to an author, but you're actually going to have to condemn the New York Times, Joe Becker and Mike Mcintire because they're the ones that wrote this story.
DEAN: Well, first of all, I haven't seen the story and neither have you.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I have.
DEAN: The last 35 minutes, I don't have a laptop here so I couldn't look at it. But I will say that there is an epidemic of really sloppy reporting that goes from the top to the bottom about people who put stuff in before they're ready to get all the facts. And I'd like to see what all the facts are here because so far we haven't really --
SCARBOROUGH: Why didn't you read the story before you accuse the New York Times of being sloppy.
DEAN: I'm happy to do that. Because in general the New York Times has been sloppy. Particularly their politicality writers.
. . .
SCARBOROUGH: Howard, I consider you a good friend of mine. I think it is unbecoming for you to come on this show and to just reflexively attack everybody that tries to bring up any information that goes against what you want people to hear about Hillary Clinton.
DEAN: It's also George W. Bush--that's what they do.
SCARBOROUGH: Jeremy Peters?
JEREMY PETERS: Well, Howard, would you say that I'm a sloppy political New York Times journalist? I think that is an overly broad generalization that maligns my colleagues and I really think it's unfair of you.
. . .
SCARBOROUGH: When James Carville came organization you said hey look at the moon, look at the moon! Look at that cow over there! Look at that cow over there! It's always look at something else. So let me just ask you. Do you have any bad dealings with Joe Becker or Mike Mcintire?
DEAN: I do not.
SCARBOROUGH:Okay. But that's what we're talking about this morning.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Do you think Bill Clinton should take $500,000 for a speech in Moscow while all these other dealings are going on and Hillary Clinton is --
DEAN I don't know the circumstances of that.
BRZEZINSKI: Okay, but do you think just yes or no, do you think that is that a legitimate question?
DEAN: I have no idea. You have to know what the circumstances are.
BRZEZINSKI: Come on! Come on! That's all I need to hear.
. . .
BRZEZINSKI: I will just say my brother serves as ambassador. His wife is a blogger, a writer and she has a career. She has to check everything she does with the State Department and she does so willingly, supportingly of him. And she has to put her career in check literally in support of her spouse. I think these are more than legitimate questions. Forget the author at this point. Let's make sure if the facts are true we need to pursue that. You can go on your little jihad against the author, but it's not going to change the facts.
DEAN: I'm raising the same issues about the author that he's raising --
BRZEZINSKI: Fine, go ahead, have fun!