This past weekend, Hillary Clinton was asked by Tim Russert about a speech her husband gave on the campaign trail. Supposedly, Bill Clinton labeled the Obama campaign a “fairy tale.” At least, that’s the take from the following sources (list of quotes brazenly stolen from the Huffington Post):
New York Times, Jan. 11th: “[Former President Clinton] described Mr. Obama’s campaign narrative as a fairy tale.”
The Politico, Jan 11th: “…Bill Clinton dismissing Sen. Barack Obama’s image in the media as a ‘fairy tale'”
BreitbartTV, Jan. 8th, which hosted the full clip yet chose to headline it in the most inflammatory (and inaccurate) way possible: “Bill Clinton Fumes About Obama: ‘Biggest Fairy Tale I’ve Ever Seen'”
Same NYT article, quoting someone else incorrectly framing the comment: “[Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC)] saw the remark as a slap at the image of a black candidate running on a theme of unity and optimism. “To call that dream a fairy tale, which Bill Clinton seemed to be doing, could very well be insulting to some of us.”
Maureen Dowd, NYT, Jan 9th: “Bill churlishly dismissed the Obama phenom as ‘the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.'”
Donna Brazile on CNN, Jan. 8th: “For him to go after Obama, using a fairy tale, calling him as he did last week. It’s an insult. And I will tell you, as an African-American, I find his tone and his words to be very depressing.”
So there are the stories, and Sunday we had Russert confronting Hillary on the issue (full Meet the Press transcript is here). First he noted,
RUSSERT: So there was the former president chastising the press for the way it was covering the Obama campaign and saying of Mr. Obama’s effort, `The whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”
Then later on he used the following quote from the speech as backup to tie “Obama’s effort” to the words “fairy tale”:
CLINTON: Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.
Sounds pretty damning, doesn’t it? That is, until you read what Clinton actually said, and to what “fairy tale” he was referring. Read it, and you’ll see Russert is just as responsible as the other media hacks of basically fabricating a story by tying the words Obama and fairy tale together, then attributing them to Clinton. It’s totally reprehensible.
Here is the whole answer President Clinton gave to a question asked by an audience member, courtesy of The Swamp:
But since you raised the judgment issue, let’s go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. ‘It doesn’t matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I’m the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.’
First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn’t co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way.
Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, ‘Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn’t know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you’re now running on off your website in 2004 and there’s no difference in your voting record and Hillary’s ever since?’ Give me a break.
This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen…So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?
Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn’t take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon.
So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn’t his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn’t do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that’s in the media, doesn’t mean the facts aren’t out there.
Otherwise I do not have any strong feelings about that subject.”
Russert’s treatment of Mrs. Clinton is precisely why I no longer watch Meet The Press. I really got sick of watching Russert’s “fair and balanced” treatment of an issue consist of having as guests an extreme conservative and a moderate conservative, leaving the liberal side unrepresented. How many times has Joe Lieberman been invited on his show to act as the mouthpiece for the supposed “progressive” side of an issue? Too many times.
Russert didn’t even give Mrs. Clinton a chance to correct this blatant attempt to basically call Bill Clinton a racist, and spoke over her as she tried to explain that the quote had been taken horribly out of context and that the “fairy tale” tag was being applied squarely to Obama’s constantly-changing stance on the Iraq resolution to use force, and the subsequent occupation.
Again, so much for the “liberal media.” This is either extreme laziness on the part of reporters who have too much time to fill in a day and who have to help create and inflate a fabricated story, or it’s more of the same disgusting tactics that have been part of the two-decades-old campaign to smear the Clintons (see The Hunting Of The President: The Ten Year Campaign to Destroy Bill Clinton).
Looks like they’re going to have to make another movie.