September 23, 2006

Clinton, he's red-faced and angry.

Bill Clinton has been injecting himself into the news a lot lately, and it inevitably gives his critics a new opportunity to go through the case against him. Criticisms that would seem stale and be ignored suddenly get the spotlight. (But some Clinton critics are tired of raking over the past.) Anyway, everyone's waiting to see the hot interview with Chris Wallace that airs tomorrow. Here's the transcript.

Clinton is trying to present himself as a wise and kindly philanthropist these days. From the beginning of the transcript, before Chris Wallace asks him about bin Laden:
So what you can do as a former president, you don’t have as wide a range of powers so you have to concentrate on fewer things. But you are less at the mercy of …events. If I say look we’re going to work on economic empowerment of poor people, on fighting aids and other diseases, on trying to bridge the religious and political differences between people and on trying to avoid the worst calamities of climate change and try to revitalize the economy in the process, I can actually do that. Because tomorrow when I get up and there’s a bad headline in the papers, it’s President Bush’s responsibility and not mine. That’s the joy of being a former potus. And it is true that if you live long enough and have discipline in the way you do it — like this [Clinton Global Initiative] — you might be able to effect as many lives as you did when president.
He said almost those exact words to the same question-prompt when he was on "The Daily Show" this week. He wants to be the mellow, above-the-fray ex-president, but he really can't control the presentation. And now that he's shown how raw and angry he is about the criticisms, it's not going to get any easier.

Actually, I don't mind seeing him angry. He should be angry about this. I'd like to think that when he was in office he had this kind of edge and was not good-natured and relaxed. Of course, he's pissed at his critics, and it's fine for him to be the kind of guy who gets pissed. That doesn't mean his critics aren't right about a lot of things, but there's nothing really wrong with him getting angry like this. I assume a good part of it is that he's angry at himself for the opportunities he can now see he missed.

It's just unusual, as Chris Wallace says at the end of the interview, for anyone -- anyone important -- to act like that on TV.

UPDATE: I'm just watching Chris Wallace on FoxNews talking about the interview. He says, "I've been in the business a long time, and I've never seen anything quite like this, certainly not involving a President or former President." He notes that this is the first time Clinton has given FoxNews a one-on-one interview and that it was subject to the requirement that half of it be about the CGI. After talking about the CGI, Wallace introduced the subject of going after bin Laden, which, Wallace says, you'd think he'd be prepared to talk about, but: "He went off." Wallace, "mindful of the 15 minute rule," tried to bring him back to the subject of the CGI, but he wanted to go into Somalia and the USS Cole. Brian Wilson, who's interviewing Wallace, says that the short clip from the interview reminded him of Clinton's oft-seen, finger-wagging about "that woman, Miss Lewinsky." Wallace responds that he didn't think he was badgering or baiting Clinton, but "he just seemed set off," perhaps because of the "Path to 9/11" documentary. "He just feels ill-used on the issue of how much he did to go after the war on terror, and he lets it all spill out on 'FoxNews Sunday."

ANOTHER UPDATE: I've changed the link for the transcript to the official Fox News transcript. And I wrote about watching the interview here.


Ruth Anne Adams said...

Persecution complex? Narcissist?

I really must set the recorder so I can watch it all.

He was reputed to go into "purple rages" with his staff.

Wallace must've tickled a nerve.

The Drill SGT said...

That Predator film circling OBL for what was implied was days on end was all the proof I need to be convinced that Clinton wasn't serious.

Implied in his solution that required hundreds of special forces based in a foreign land was the implication that we would have to go in on the ground and capture him for a trial.

alternately if they were interested in just "getting him" rather than "capturing him", 1 armed predator, or 1 BUFF dropping 50 500lb GPs, would solve the problem.

Brian Doyle said...

That doesn't mean his critics aren't right about a lot of things...

This is what people are talking about when they refer to your "passive aggressiveness," Ann, and I think you recognize it ("I'm afraid of the reaction.").

This post is virtually substance-free. Just some mealy-mouthed garbage about Clinton being angry, but that's okay, but it's just weird, that's all.

And brianfromatlanta, do you really not recall the airstrikes on terrorist camps in Afghanistan? Bin Laden was so far down our collective list of concerns that even I suspected it was done to deflect attention from Lewinsky-gate.

Meanwhile, OBL has survived five years after September 11, when not only was it possible that he would organize a massive strike inside the U.S., but he has done so.

Palladian said...

Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York … And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeaaaaagggggh!!!

Palladian said...

"This post is virtually substance-free. Just some mealy-mouthed garbage about Clinton being angry, but that's okay, but it's just weird, that's all."

From Doyle, resident expert in virtually substance-free, weird, mealy-mouthed garbage.

"Meanwhile, OBL has survived five years after September 11, when not only was it possible that he would organize a massive strike inside the U.S., but he has done so."

Really? Where was this massive strike, somewhere in the "reality-based community", next to the unionized unicorn farm?

AllenS said...

I seem to remember about 1996-97, Clinton explaining why he didn't accept OBL when the Sudan offered him to us. Something about not having the proper evidence to bring him to trial.

Brian Doyle said...

Howard Dean: Right about Iraq.

Tim said...

That Predator film circling OBL for what was implied was days on end was all the proof I need to be convinced that Clinton wasn't serious.

Oh, he was serious all right - serious about his reputation, serious about his legacy, serious about not taking responsibility for his failures.

shergar said...

"As usual he wants it both ways."

Let's not go there, hmmmm, 10.13?

Brian Doyle said...

Uh didn't he say in this very interview: "I tried and failed"?

Meanwhile, our Leader assures us he's never been more convinced in the decisions he's made. It's good to have sound leadership back in the White House. I know I'm much prouder to be an American today than back in the scandalous Clinton days.

knox said...

Wow, nothing gets people like criticizing Clinton, and he's not even in office anymore! I've said it before, I wanna know what kind of jedi mind trick he did on people to make them go into the same ranting rages he does when actually held accountable for his actions. I bet there's some spittle on some keyboards out here.

knox said...

Doyle, if you think the lame effort Clinton made was sufficient, I am not in the least surprised you don't like Bush. You're a fan of half-assed, symbolic gestures that are guaranteed not to make "the World" angry at America.

Brian Doyle said...

Yes, knox, because even if Clinton was a problem, I think even Ann would concede he is no longer the problem.

He's mostly a subject conservatives gravitate to because it's much easier terrain than, well, current events.

Why do you think Ann is posting about him rather than the torture "compromise," where she might shed some light?

Tim said...


No point arguing with the Red Guards - their job, like a defense attorney with a guilty client - is to distract, deny and delay.

Brian Doyle said...

You're a fan of half-assed, symbolic gestures

Like not invading countries without just cause? Guilty as charged.

And I wish I could delete just the part about Ann not tackling the torture issue sufficiently. She did send people to Lederman, even though she buried the lede (it legalizes violations of Geneva).

Fritz said...

This is just another example of Clinton's inability to follow Presidential tradition, remember, the Sociopath in Chief, it's all about him. Rather than follow tradition and not trash your successor's Administration while in Office, he couldn't bring himself to support the United States, and sent out his minions to re-write history and use 9/11 as an opportunity to undermine President Bush for partisan domestic politics. All he had to do was acknowledge a different policy response to terrorism was necessary, and to wish President Bush in our national interest success. This guy thinks he was greater than the Office and it is why he has no positive legacy. Former Presidents talk in private. Clinton was paid that courtesy. This guy opened himself up to this scrutiny, history will not be kind. I don't blame the Clinton Administration for 9/11, but I will hold him accountable for all the partisan attempts to undermine the current Administration.

Brian Doyle said...

Free Bubba!

Palladian said...

I'm still waiting for Doyle to tell us about the massive strike that OBL organized in the US after 9/11.

garage mahal said...

Clinton is trying to present himself as a wise and kindly philanthropist these days.

Ann, you clearly have an axe to grind, I wish you would just spell it out clearly for us.

Indeed, the gloves are clearly off, and apprarently sneaking up on Bill is dangerous. Bitch, meet slap of hand.

Did anyone notice Clinton had Wallace answering his questions?

The Bush Administration was warned Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in the US Did Wallace ask Condi Rice this when he interviewed her in 2004? Of course not.

In August 2001 Bush was briefed by the CIA personally in Crawford. According to Suskind, the CIA was in panic mode, they knew something was coming, but didn't know where or when. And Bush's response was "you've covered your ass now"

The fact is 9/11 happened on Bush's watch, he was clearly warned, and by all acounts did nothing. Hate Clinton all you want, but it is the truth.

JorgXMcKie said...

Bob Kerrey nailed it when he said that Clinton "is an exceptionally good liar." He has gotten so accustomed to people accepting his more-or-less constant 'deceptive statements' that being called on one seems to trigger an anger reflex.

Look, I'm with the Captain. I don't see what point it makes to keep going over Clinton's failures to do more on terrrorism when: 1) no one else took it very seriously (Despite Richard [Y2K) Clarke claiming differently) back to Mealymouth Carter; 2) practically no one in either party would have supported really strong action before 9/11 occurred.

However, it's not just Republicans who can't leave it alone. Democrats, and especially hard Lefties (which is funny, given that Clinton was never, IMHO, all that far Left) who just can't admit Clinton didn't walk on water.

And I just love the way any pointing out of even factual info (Swift Boat veterans, anyone) is translated by the patented Lefty Derrida Translator as a 'smear'. At least if it's a Dem being called to account.
As for attacking terrorist camps, to what effect? Did a couple of camels get blown up? Can doyle or any of the other apologists offer up some evidence of the effectiveness of the 'attack'?

JorgXMcKie said...

So, George, are you claiming that OBL wasn't 'determined to attack the US' prior to August of 2001 or so? The planning for 9/11 took about 30 days?

And when the CIA brings you panicky but non-specific info, should the Pres 'jump on his horse and ride madly in all directions'?

George, I have some great information for you. In your personal life, "something is coming" but I "don't know where or when". I do know that it'll be extreme and tragic. I highly recommend you commence fixing the problem now.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tiggeril said...

It's not unusual to be loved by anyone
It's not unusual to have fun with anyone
but when I see you hanging about with anyone
It's not unusual to see me cry,
oh I wanna' die
It's not unusual to go out at any time
but when I see you out and about it's such a crime
if you should ever want to be loved by anyone,
It's not unusual it happens every day no matter what you say
you find it happens all the time
love will never do what you want it to
why can't this crazy love be mine
It's not unusual, to be mad with anyone
It's not unusual, to be sad with anyone

Brian Doyle said...

Derrida? Wow, you really do know your enemy :-).

I don't claim that Clinton walks on water. A lot of people on the "far left" are, believe it or not, cognizant of the fact that Clinton was very much a centrist, especially economically.

I also don't claim that Clinton did as much as could have reasonably been done, knowing even just what was known about the Al Qaeda threat at the time.

But smears are factually wrong or deliberately misleading statements about a person.

The Path to 9/11 fit the bill, so to speak, as did the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush.

It's just incredible to read about the measures that Clinton tried to enact to broader executive wiretapping powers. The same Republicans who would now let Bush order spot colonoscopies were outraged back then about the potential for abuse.

Of course, Clinton made the mistake of trying to get laws changed through the legislative process, rather than just breaking them and trying to fit legislation to his actions after the fact.

Unknown said...

"...translated by the patented Lefty Derrida Translator as a 'smear'."

Ha, love it! I can't wait for the wristband version to come out!

I think the tirade was actually political, not personal. The Dems want to deny the historical context of 9/11 so that Hillary can win on a campaign of fixing Bush's mistake, not the country's mistake. Every prez for the past 30 years blew it on terrorism; who wants to run on "we're in a long war"?

As the captain said, for most of us, it's a non-issue. For pols, it's the ball game.

garage mahal said...

George, I have some great information for you. In your personal life, "something is coming" but I "don't know where or when". I do know that it'll be extreme and tragic. I highly recommend you commence fixing the problem now.

For the record, I don't Bush anymore than I blame Clinton. But its just revisionist crap to shine the light on Bush's predecessor, and not shine that same light to Bush. Is that fair?

Ann Althouse said...

I love the way my cutting Clinton a lot of slack just fires people up to say I'm being devious about my criticism. You know you lefties are becoming too fun to tease. I can pretty much say anything now and it will drive you up the wall. If I say something sympathetic about Clinton, you'll be all why oh why won't just admit what a big right winger she is. I'm giggling as I write this. It must hurt to be so political.

Brian Doyle said...

It is not enough for him to say that he tried (but obviously, without him having to admit it, not enough). He had to go and try to say that Bush didn't try. Sorry, Bill, if you want to stay above the fray, stop trying to score cheap points.

Obviously he did admit it wasn't enough! I've already quoted it once. "I tried and failed."

As for defending himself from Wallace's plainly accusatory question, why shouldn't the people behind that line of argument (Clinton should have stopped it) have to account for what Bush did in the 8 months between the oath of office and September 11?

As has also been pointed out in this thread, Bush got fairly specific warnings, and was sneeringly dismissive of them.

If Clinton is going to be asked why he failed to prevent 9/11, it's fair to point out that he did more than Bush.

As for Democrats advocating "pre-9/11" policies, that's bogus. They are just advocating policies which are different than what Bush's have been: invade Iraq, pull out of Afghanistan, kidnap and torture suspected terrorists without any due process, illegally spy on Americans without warrants, let Israel bomb Lebanon for weeks, etc.

More effective, and less morally repugnant, responses to 9/11 were possible.

Brian Doyle said...

Yes Ann, you're so devious. You make fun of Clinton (or those unfortunate enough to have their picture taken with him) without actually making any substantive argument against him, thus depriving the opposition of fodder!

It must be liberating to be so pointless.

Revenant said...

It must be liberating to be so pointless

Translation: "I know you are but what am I."

garage mahal said...

You know you lefties are becoming too fun to tease.

And surely this is your aim. Jab people with sticks, and sit back and play the victim. Why not just admit it? Both sides do it. It's fun sometimes. But it's getting old.

But why no substance? There was absolutely no substance from you the torture legislation if youre too busy, I can understand.

Fritz said...

Leftists are over sensitive, just like third world Muslims. Everything pointed in their direction causes outrage! Lighten up. The barbs leftists throw at conservatives pales in comparison. I guess that is the difference, we are well grounded in our principles so their attacks are dismissed as nonsense. The sun rose everyday because Bill Clinton was President. They want to be treated as a separate class, considered infallible, and paid homage to as the absolute truth. Leftists=third world Muslim in need of enlightenment.

JSF said...

Living out here in L.A., I was subjected to a few years of Robert Scheer's writing in the Times. He kept on writing, prior to 9/11, why didn't the Feds take the Hijackers and misuse their civil rights to find the plot? It sounds wonderful, very kumbaya. Before 9/11, no one cared about terrorism . Anyone remember 1993 WTC bombing? If Clinton was the hero and savior of the Left then surely he would have used his executive branch powers to forstall 9/11! Never happened. And Scheer who calls on Bush to violate civil rights to stop 9/11 doesn't think the president should use 1) SWIFT 2) Profile 3)interrogation 4) Use the military. How, my dear Lefties and Cliton-supporters, are we supposed to find the terrorists then?

JSF said...

Sorry, I meant Clinton

LoafingOaf said...

Alan said...
IIRC, Clinton tried to sell the ouster of Saddam. Remember the "Saddam, your time is up" speech? I even remember Albright and Cohen booed off a stage by Right Wingers when they were trying to sell the war. But none of that was about OBL. I didn't even know who OBL was until after 9/11.

Usama had been big news before 9/ least by 1998. Were you very young at the time? I remember discussions about him on talk radio shows, and seeing that footage of him with the satellite phone over and over.

As far as Alibright and Cohen getting booed off the stage by right wingers, are you referring to their infamous townhall event on CNN? I didn't know CNN had stacked their audience with right wingers. And a lot of the boos came when Albright sounded like a cold-hearted bitch when asked about the suffering of Iraqis under sanctions. Would've gotten booed by any audience I would think, just by the way in which she said it.

DRJ said...

I'm struck by how President Clinton comes across as emotionally erratic. It's frightening to think that he once controlled America's nuclear arsenal.

DRJ said...


Clearly you view Bush as petulant. Do you agree that Clinton is emotional?

LoafingOaf said...

Clinton's anger comes from having much to hide, which is how all the Clinton people sound.

And I remain confused as to why Clinton gave a total endorsement to Michael Moore's propaganda film, and said every American should see it and as far as he knows it's all true. How can he have said that about a film that encourages people to think about 9/11 with a combination of unseriousness and conspiratorial fantasies, and even implies we went into Afghanistan for Unocal?

I blame al Qaeda for 9/11, but I'm not down with this giving everyone in government a pass. What's that about? I'm not for giving the FBI, CIA, Clinton administration, or Bush administration a pass, and I can understand why all of the above and others would love if the people gave them passes every time they dropped the ball.

FBI agent John O'Neill seemed to know what was going on. I may not have been on top of things, but why would I have been? I didn't work for the CIA.

By 2001, I doubt anything but sheer luck could've prevented 9/11. The sleeper cell was already here, the intelligence agencies were what they were, and airport/airplane security was what it was. Actor James Woods spotted some of the terrorists on a trial run and John Walker Lindt was able to join al Qaeda and apparently meet Bin Laden. No one in our government could spot terrorists as well as an actor, or get inside al Qaeda as deeply as a hip hop fan from California? Yet George Tenet's first words on 9/11 were that he hopes it wasn't those Muslims who had taken flying lessons.

Bush should've focused more on killing bin Laden, but even if he had kill him in 2001, why does that make anyone think the sleeper cell would've aborted 9/11? The best thing that ever happened to Clinton was that Bush edged out Gore in 2000, and it was perhaps good for the country that the blame had to be spread around. It would not have been had Gore won. He should thank his lucky stars for this and take the damage to his legacy that he deserves. The frustration for him is probably that he can't do anything to improve his legacy anymore, while Bush still has two years to leave the country safer than it was when he took office. That's why Bush focuses on fighting terrorism while Clinton focuses on rewriting history and attacking others.

What's most important today is that lessons have been learned from 9/11. This is where many Democrats go down in flames. They tell us Bush should've been taking threats more seriously in 2001 (I agree) yet in 2006 they tell us Bush is hyping the threat. Every time an alert is issued, a thousand Democrats take to the media to say it's all manipulation and fear-mongering. Every time a higher up in the terror networks is killed or captured, a thousand Democrats tell us it means nothing.

They tell us something should've been done about Afghanistan before 9/11, then tell us dealing with IRaq was a mistake they want to bail from to leave Iraq a failed state for the insurgancy to take over.

In short, Democrats want me to give a total pass to everything that occurred in the 8 years before 9/11 and then want me to support letting them return to those 8 years. I have had empathy for how hard it would've been for Clinton to have done any better, but the way he's acting now tells me perhaps people have been too generous.

LoafingOaf said...

If we held Bush to the same standards that Clinton was held to, he would have been impeached on 9/12/2001

Oh, please.

Most of the steps that could've been taken that might've prevented 9/11 would've had to be done previous to Bush being sworn in. The idea that Bush was to have reorganized all the intelligence agencies and re-do airport and airplane security is rather asburd.

Bush inherited George Tenet, who's really the one who's getting way to much of a pass. If al Qaeda was gonna have been infiltrated in time they had to have begun that in the late 1990s. The sleeper cell was in America carrying out its plot when Clinton left office. That's a fact. Stick that in Clinton's legacy and stuff it.

As for Bush, I voted for him as a lesser evil. I made the right choice as it's now clear Kerry would've bailed on Iraq, and to everyone's astonishment there hasn't been a terrorist attack in America since 9/11.

knox said...

Like not invading countries without just cause? Guilty as charged.

So you were pretty outraged when Clinton bombed the aspirin factory? Oh, sorry, I forgot: he tried to get the bad guys, he just failed by blowing up a bunch of innocent people instead.

I understand intelligence gave him bad info, but that's enough for you to damn Bush outright. So...

Laura Reynolds said...

I might be able to give him a pass for inaction but seeing how he's failed to keep his mouth shut since, I think he's open to, and deserving of criticism.

His anger at any hint of criticism confirms his own knowledge of his failure.

JorgXMcKie said...

Freder has that oh-so-convenient Lefty Selective Memory. First, perhaps we should remember that a *Democratic* Senate (thanks to Jim Jeffords, may he roast) was busy holding up Bush appointments from Jan 20 well into late 2001 (and John Bolton now).

Second, until Lefties get off the "Bush lied about WMD" (which is an obvious lie in and of itself -- Bush may have been wrong [Saddam had been certified to have had WMD that he had not shown had been destroyed, etc, etc, and *some* WMD have been found]) why should anyone pay any attention to their other bleatings?

And, finally, until Lefties and Dems give up their 'petulance' about the 2000 election they may have a hard time regaining power. Who wants to be ruled by a bunch of cry-babies who can't let the past go long enough to look at the present and future in a realistic way. (And I'm looking at you, Freder, and you, Clinton.)

And, of course, one can always charge Ann with a lack of substantiveness while displaying the Total Clinton No Substance Posture.

Revenant said...

One of my fondest political wishes is that his wife can be clearly separated from him and his "legacy" and evaluated for her own worth

If people evaluated Hillary Clinton based on her own worth, she'd still be a lawyer back in Arkansas. You can't evaluate Hillary's political career independent of her husband -- she hasn't got one.

TmjUtah said...

"Tried and failed."

Anyone here, just off the top of your head, ever hear Bill Clinton accept responsibility for any adverse outcome?

Legacy equals history's judgement on past acts, and even though many of us would be deliriously happy for Clinton to disappear into the text books sooner rather than later, it's not to be.

Bill has to reengage the public (media, actually), now, on his administration's track record re terrorism in order to get the script going that his administration was really gangbusters on terror.

2008 is going to be about the war. The economy isn't going to fall apart, there won't be drastic increases in ocean levels, and if Howard Dean is still DNC chair after the 2006 democratic failure to win either house, Hillary will be positioned to be another "new" Democrat - positioned even better than Bill Clinton was with his years of grooming the DLC, the perceived "end of history", and a media battlefield owned by legacy media.

Sandy Berger accomplished his mission, obviously. There are no longer any (or they think not, at any rate) damning marginal notes on documents in the National Archive tying domestic political calculation to Clinton operative policy on apprehending or killing OBL. The media, though much diminished, is still a powerful force. And most important, the field of possible Republican candidates is looking pretty weak.

There will be a lot of new voters whose memories of 9/11 and the Clinton years will be academic at best. The nutroots will have bottomed out after this November; the Clintons will attempt to reform and rebrand them ala DLC lines. And what's left of the establishment democrats (and media) will be even more desperate (hard to believe) than they are now to find anyone they can line up with to stay nationally relevant.

So Clinton's act with Wallace was merely prologue. Bill is a lot of things, but one thing he is not is careless of time in front of a camera or a crowd.

I'd be more than happy to forget 92-00. That's not going to be possible for another few years, alas.

vnjagvet said...

Amazing the heat this blog caused.

Who here believes that this display of anger was helpful to his legacy under the circumstances.

Demeanor is sometimes telling. That is one way juries assess credibility. Here you are the jury. I will be interested in how this group, a cross section of opinion it appears to me, assesses his credibility under examination.

vnjagvet said...


You are straining at gnats, my friend.

Had 9/11 not occurred, I think such an argument might be somewhat persuasive. But in view of 9/11, prudence dictated taking all of this evidence in the light least favorable to Saddam and his kind. After all, his track record was not real good.

John Stodder said...

What Clinton was really angry about was Ann Althouse insulting his new girlfriend's breasts. ;)

Revenant said...

Not as frightening as a President sitting in his seat and pooping his pants as America is under attack

I love this view that it is the President's job to immediately leap to his feet and micromanage a crisis. You people watch WAY too many action movies. Like all these firemen were sitting around saying "duh, should we put out these fires? The President hasn't said yet." And I can just picture all those Air Force generals standing around saying "are we supposed to defend Washington DC against attacks? I forget. I think someone has to say 'Simon says, defend Washington DC against attacks' first".

Anonymous said...
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Revenant said...

Oh yeah, and by the way, why didn't Bush do anything about the Cole bombing?

You mean, besides having the guy who planned it assassinated?

The word verification says it all: iyyyh.

garage mahal said...

You mean, besides having the guy who planned it assassinated?

Unfortunately not True.

Anonymous said...
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Freeman Hunt said...

Clinton comes off as having an absurd sense of self-entitlement in that transcript. Until now I'd only seen the video clip. I figured that he'd had one little outburst and that was it.

But all the screeching about Wallace daring to ask him the question--what was that all about? Of course Wallace had to ask him the question. People are talking about that. People want to know; they want to hear the answer. And ironically, it's mostly Clinton's fault that everyone is so curious about it now. It was his ruckus about "The Path to 9/11" that revived people's interest in his record on terrorism.

Why get indignant about being asked? Why not just answer the question reasonably? His outburst made it seem like he had something to hide or that he wasn't confident in what he was saying.

Getting mad about how his record has been characterized would have been fine (whether justified or not), but getting mad at Wallace for being a journalist was just weird.

Revenant said...

Unfortunately not True.

Well, I should have been more specific. One of the masterminds was killed, another is one of the guys lefties like to complain that we're holding without trial, and the third was tried and convicted. He has, as you noted, since escaped -- food for thought for those who favor a traditional law enforcement approach to this problem, I guess.

Freeman Hunt said...

he winds up having to go through the right-wing ringer

Are you kidding? He was asked a regular, run-of-the-mill question. Bush is asked the kind of questions you mention all time time; often in a much more accusatory way than you phrased them.

Anyway, has Wallace ever interviewed Bush? I can't find such a transcript. I can find his transcript with Laura Bush, and his questions don't come off differently with her.

Look at Bill O'Reilly going at Bush on immigration (near the end of the page). That questioning was quite a bit more intense than Wallace's questioning of Clinton and O'Reilly ended on that note.

The question wasn't out of line. It was a normal question that could have gotten a normal response.

Freeman Hunt said...

Bush is actually asked those questions all the time and not all of time time.

Pardon my typo.

Revenant said...

What do you mean just weird. This is FoxNews that we are talking about.

Which is exactly what makes it weird. If Clinton wanted the usual softball ego-stroke questions he typically gets in these interviews, he had five left-wing news networks to choose from. Instead he goes on Fox and starts ranting that the first and only tough question he's asked is a "conservative hit job" by a guy "doing Fox's bidding".

So yeah, that's weird. Clinton's a smart guy -- how was he not prepared for this? On Fox he gets asked "why didn’t you do more". On CNN it would have been "What do you say to those who have criticized your handling of terrorism", and he could have spent fifteen minutes wasting oxygen with a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger rumination about how Republicans are ruining the 9/11 spirit of cooperation with these unfortunately partisan attacks, in spite of his attempts to build bridges and work together in defense of America and blah blah blah.

Maybe Clinton's just unstable, but personally I think he went on there hoping for something he could spin as a partisan attack. A lot of lefties are dumb enough to automatically think more highly of anyone who either attacks Fox or is attacked by it, and Clinton needs to rehabilitate his image with the left in preparation for his wife's run for President.

Ann Althouse said...

dklittl said..."What do you mean just weird. This is FoxNews that we are talking about. Look at their interviews with Cheney or Bush. There are no tough questions for them. No "Where you being dishonest about the selling of the war?" or "Why haven't you caught Bin Laden?" questions. Clinton obviously came on there to promote global aid, a nobel cause, and he winds up having to go through the right-wing ringer. If he wanted that he would have just asked for an interview with Jeff Gannon."

Have you ever watched Fox News Sunday or are you just generally opinionated about Fox News? Did you read the update to this post? Chris Wallace said Clinton came on to promote his cause and the rule was that half of the interview would be about that and half could a regular interview with Wallace choosing the questions. Wallace didn't ask the questions in an overbearing "Where you being dishonest" way, so the comparison to interviews you imagine of the Bush administration people doesn't make sense. Wallace asked -- in a journalistic way -- the most obvious question, which was related to something Clinton himself had been talking about this month. If Clinton had tried in advance to predict questions that would be asked on the show -- and of course he did -- he would predict that question. So why didn't he have a solid answer? Either he weirdly lacked control or he thought being intimidatingly angry would cow Wallace and that would go well.

I'd really like you to quote some things Wallace said that constitute a "right-wing [w]ringer." Most of the time Wallace was hanging back and letting Clinton express himself or trying unsuccessfully to break in to guide the conversation back to Clinton's CGI program. Really, your comment does not seem to be based on the facts at all, but on your preconceived ideas about Fox.

I'm Full of Soup said...

I saw the show this morning and WJC is irate his legacy is being questioned.

Too bad- I am thinking about marketing T-shirts that say..."Bill Clinton- The First Pussy President (and We Don't Mean Ladies Man)". Mean spirited I know but it's accurate.

Ann Althouse said...

I watch "Fox News Sunday" nearly every week. I especially enjoy the panel that takes up the second half of the show. I also watch "Meet the Press" nearly every week. Look, all the news channels lean a little but also try to be journalistic. Deal with it.

Freeman Hunt said...

If several of you are going to assert that Wallace only asks softball questions of the administration, please link to a transcript of Wallace interviewing someone in the administration. Also, why do you think Clinton is entitled to softball questions?

Unknown said...

Actually, Freder, your allusion about smart attorneys is off kilter. A good attorney never asks a witness a question without knowing exactly what the witness will answer. IOW, a good lawyer never cedes control of the narrative. A good journalist like Wallace OTOH always tries to get an interview subject to open up and reveal something newsworthy about himself. It's good TV.

At least Wallace lets his subjects answer. I gave up watching George Steph's show after his continued shouting interruption of every Rep's answer.

JorgXMcKie said...

Boy, freder certainly demonstrates that being a Clinton apologist is a full-time endearvor. I'm begining to hope he's getting some of that sweet, sweet Soros money.

And now he's trying to spin this Pyrhhic victory to Clinton. (Dems) "one more such victory and we're undond." Although it may already be too late.

A month ago I was fairly confident that the Dems would win the House and maybe the Senate. Today I wonder if there'll be much of a Democratic party after the election.

Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Our Left respondents unfortunately typify the more rational part of the Left of Center in the US. It's just beyond sad.

Revenant said...

A month ago I was fairly confident that the Dems would win the House and maybe the Senate. Today I wonder if there'll be much of a Democratic party after the election.

It'll be difficult for the Democrats to match the levels of electoral incompetence they achieved in 2000 and 2004, but I have great hopes that they'll think of something. When it comes to finding ways to throw what should have been an easy victory, nothing can match the Democratic Party.