Posted by: Kevin | September 26, 2006

Bill Clinton Owns Chris Wallace


Here is a transcript of Chris Wallace’s interview with Bill Clinton which took place this Sunday.  Before I get into the interview, I’d like to call attention to a fact left out of much of the discussion.  Clinton agreed to this interview with the understanding that his charitable work would be the topic of discussion.  In other words Wallace attempted to ambush Clinton.

Wallace opens the interview by asking Clinton why he didn’t “connect the dots and put him (Bin Laden) out of  business.”  Clinton’s response:

Clinton: Let’s talk about it.  I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises.  I’m being asked this on the FOX network.  ABC just had a right-wing conservative running their little pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 commission report with three things asserted against me directly contradictory to the 9/11 commission report.  And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say I didn’t do enough claim that I was too obsessed with bin Laden.   

All of President Bush’s neo-cons that I was too obsessed with bin Laden, they had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office.  All the right wingers who now say I didn’t do enough, said I did too much, the same people.  They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in Black Hawk Down and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations.   

OK, now let’s look at all the criticisms, Black Hawk Down, Somalia, there is not a living soul in the world who thought Osama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk Down or was paying any attention to it, or even knew al-Qaeda was a going concern in October 93.  

I love this for a couple of reasons.  First, he’s saying look at the people making this claim, look at their pre 9-11 record.  He then proceeds to take over the interview, to the point where he’s asking the questions and Wallace is answering. 

Clinton: Let’s see what Richard Clarke said.  Do you think Richard Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden?
Wallace:  Yes, I do.
Clinton: You do, don’t you?
Wallace: He has a variety of opinions and loyalties, but yes. 

At this point Wallace is officially fucked.  He got worked over by a pro.  Clinton used the rest of the interview to highlight his good deeds on terrorism and to point out where the current administration dropped the ball.  By opening this door, Wallace gave Clinton a forum to defend his terrorism policy and to rip Bush’s.  He’s given undecided voters a good reason to ask, “Are the Republicans really good on security?” right before an election.

Now the Republicans are forced to counteract, which Condi Rice did this morning in an exclusive interview with the New York Post.  Why the Post?  Apparently, they don’t fact check.  An excellent de construction of Condi’s remarks can be found here.

To summarize, Clinton served Wallace a plate of his own ass (yes, I’m borrowing this phrase from Maddox, it’s appropriate).  The Republican image of being tough on terrorism took a hit.  And Condi Rice had to demean herself with the Post in a bid for damage control.  Love Clinton or hate him, you have to admit, he’s got skill.

                                            “I find better interviewers than you in my stool.”


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