Supplemental: Take your pick about Candidate Clinton!


Fearful, annoyed or evasive:
In our view, Hillary Clinton made some news in Tuesday’s interview with CNN.

As the interview started, CNN’s underwhelming Brianna Keilar asked the world’s least useful political question:

Why do voters seem to like your opponent so darn much?

Such questions are rarely useful. But the second Q-and-A produced some actual news:
KEILAR (7/7/15): Senator Sanders has talked about how, if he's president, he would raise taxes. In fact, he said to CNN's Jake Tapper, he would raise them substantially higher than they are today, on big corporations, on wealthy Americans. Would you?

CLINTON: I will be laying out my own economic policies. Again, everybody has to run his or her own campaign. And I'm going to be telling the American people what I propose and how I think it will work; and then we'll let voters make up their minds.

KEILAR: Are—is raising taxes on the table?

CLINTON: I'm going to put out my policies, and I'll let other people speak to their policies, because I think we have to both grow the economy faster and fairer so we have to do what will actually work in the short term, the medium term and the long term. I will be making a speech about my economic proposals on Monday. And then I look forward to the debate about them.
Really? Clinton is going to make a speech about her economic proposals on Monday?

That was news to us. We find that prospect intriguing. That said:

To the clueless wonders of the “press corps,” that Q-and-A was less striking. On several programs, we saw them scoring it as another case where Candidate Clinton refused to answer the question, in this case about raising taxes.

Obviously, if Clinton plans to release her proposals on Monday, she wasn’t going to blurt them to Keilar. But then, our pundits are among the dumbest life-forms found anywhere on the earth.

Keilar did a fairly lousy job conducting the ballyhooed interview. For example, when Clinton made some questionable statements about the tedious but inevitable email matter, Keilar completely failed to follow up or ask for clarification.

Indeed, the most questionable statement in that exchange was triggered by an error by Keilar, who seemed to say that Clinton had been under subpoena when she deleted those emails she deemed to be personal in nature.

Clinton challenged the bungled implication. In the process, she seemed to bungle herself.

In our view, Keilar was underwhelming. But if it’s world-class cluelessness you seek, you had to visit the sleepwalking gang on the set of yesterday’s Morning Joe.

To his credit, Joe Scarborough alleged that Clinton had made five or six factual misstatements in discussing the email matter. It wasn’t entirely clear to us that he understood all the facts of the case himself, and he didn’t note the way Keilar’s performance added to the confusion. But he was at least citing objective factual concerns.

Not so for the rest of the gang. Scarborough turned to Mike Barnicle first. His assessment was completely subjective:
BARNICLE (7/8/15): A couple of things popped out, at least at me, watching that interview. One is, there is still a lot of rust on this political vehicle, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. She is still in the spring training phase, I think, of getting her message out.

The other element is the difference in—We’re used to hearing and seeing her husband, who’s been with us forever, on the political stage. He is fearless on the stage—fearless. She is fear-full. Her eyes were just—seemed frightened at every word that she said. She’s weighing and measuring every word that comes out of her mouth.
To watch the whole segment, click here.

Did Candidate Clinton’s eyes “seem frightened at every word that she said?” The thought wouldn’t have occurred to us in a thousand years.

Barnicle’s assessment was completely subjective. He topped it off with an unflattering comparison to Bill Clinton, a comparison that won’t pop into his head when he watches the other candidates.

In fairness, Barnicle said Clinton’s fear was “understandable, because she is right about the onslaught of criticism involving the most picayune things involving the Clintons.” But he closed with a thoroughly negative assessment:

“Not a great moment yesterday.”

Barnicle played the role of an East German judges scoring a skating performance. He did subjective “theater criticism” all the way to the end.

Scarborough threw to Jonathan Capehart next. Capehart is a Clinton shill, but he took the same subjective approach:
CAPEHART (7/8/15): Well, you know, to jump on something that Barnicle just said, that she—that Secretary Clinton looked fearful. To me, she looked annoyed, especially talking about the email, the email controversy. Clearly, it seemed to me that she’s just tired of answering these questions and feels that she’s answered those questions, not just to the best of her ability, but truthfully, and she’s still getting hit with these questions.
Barnicle focused on how Clinton seemed. Capehart discussed the way she looked. Neither pundit assessed the actual things she said.

In his standard nod to his elders in the guild, Capehart said that he agreed about all “the rust on the vehicle.”

Capehart and Barnicle made no remarks about anything Clinton said. They only assessed the way the she looked and seemed.

Eventually, Scarborough threw to Katty Kay, asking her to discuss Clinton sagging poll numbers on trust. Just like that, Kay became the third East German judge:
KAY (7/8/15): In part, they’ve collapsed, not because people know the details, as you suggest, of the emails, because it’s very complicated and most people haven’t followed that. I think they’ve collapsed partly because of what we saw yesterday which is a performance issue, which is a style issue, which is a mannerism that she has of looking and sounding evasive…

There’s something about the way, when she is asked a question, she visibly doesn’t like being pushed, or pushed for transparency.
And I think—I thought that was the weakest part of the interview last night was the manner in which she answered those questions.
Viewers could take their pick. Candidate Clinton looked or seemed fearful, annoyed or evasive. Except for Scarborough, no one had a thing to say about what she had actually said.

Our ranking pundits are among the least impressive people on earth. As such, they tend to employ the most subjective measures possible. This allows them to reach whatever judgments they like about the various candidates.

During Campaign 2000, the pundits gravitated toward two extremely slippery measures as they rated the candidates:

Were the candidates “authentic?” Were they “comfortable in their own skin?”

All is lost when we let these flyweights adopt these subjective standards of measure. Based on yesterday’s Morning Joe, there’s no rust on the clown car from which they’ll be spilling over the next sixteen months.


  1. Where, in the life form "pundits", do Mike Barnicle, Jonathan Capehart and Katty Kay rank, Bob? We know you have Krugman up there as MVP for Life.

    1. What a stupid question.

    2. Flyweights exhibiting world-class cluelessness.

      After the host not a one of them had a thing to say regarding the substance of Clinton's statements.

    3. You seem to be suggesting there was substance in Clinton's statements.

      After the host finished the only thing the guests could have done was argue that Clinton was being truthful. It is a hard argument to make. And one 60% of the voters most recently surveyed by CNN are not buying.

    4. If there was no substance or truth to Clinton's statements, why didn't at least one of the guests bring this up? This is a blog to evaluate the media, and the media failed.

    5. In the presence of MJ, that would have been redundant since he covered it. Unlike at the Howler and on Maddow the Clown Hour, endless repetition is not honored.

  2. "Sagging poll numbers"? She's 40-odd points ahead per last week's CNN poll (which CNN promptly buried under glurge because it didn't fit their preferred narrative).

    Meanwhile, Charles Pierce fact-checks Glenn Kessler's alleged fact-check of Hillary's CNN interview:

    1. Thanks for the link. Not one shred, delete, or erase of evidence, agreed.

    2. Sagging poll numbers. The MSNBC discussion was not about the CNN poll. But since you mention it, it can be found here.

      Not sure what glurge you think it was buried under. But you seem to have buried polls showing her lead in the first states (Iowa and New Hampshire) sagging faster that she wilted against Obama and Edwards.

      On the plus side, polls don't vote. Otherwise Bush would have won the election in 2000.

    3. She was interviewed by a CNN employee.

      Who ignored CNN's own polling in order to push the "sagging numbers" narrative.

    4. The CNN interviewer referred to the latest poll results on the issue of honesty and trustworthiness, in which her numbers are not just sagging they are appalling.

      And polls still cannot vote.

      The later poll, which shows her still leading both the Republican pack and the Democratic field, but did not include a question on Candidate Clinton's perceived integrity, has nothing to do with her image on its own. It shows her currently besting a bevy of bozos when pitted against them one on one despite her baggage. Oh, and despite her substantial lead, against the Democratic field she is sagging and drooping too.

  3. Authentic. Comfortable in their Skin.

    Oh, and then there is Dumb.

    Dumb, of course usually isn't a category assessed by those judged to be "East German life forms" by comedian bloggers.

    It is often assessed by voters based on things that come out of candidates own mouths.

    1. I am not sure if Somerby ever, ever used the dreaded "bungle" word for any of the things Gore said or did that provided ammunition to his enemies in the War on Gore.

      But it seems every time Hillary Clinton (who only an East German would call defensive) goes "back to the beginning"
      to challenge a reporters question (even oily old coots) she
      gets herself in deeper than she was before the question was even asked.

    2. Enemies of the Clintons don't need evidence, bungles or any other excuse to go after them. Clinton only did what others have done before her (including Colin Powell) but when she does it, she is attacked.

    3. @ 6:22

      Repeating HRC's talking points don't make them anymore persuasive. The Obama Administration had in place rules for emails that didn't exist when Powell was Secretary of State.

      "I didn’t have to turn over anything. I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me..”

      “And I had no obligation to do any of that. So let’s set the record straight.” HRC

      HRC's claims do not pass any rudimentary checking of existing rules.

      "As a public servant, Mrs. Clinton had a duty to ensure that all her work records were in government custody. In 2009, the National Archives said agencies and departments that allowed employees to use private email accounts had to make sure they were preserved “in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.”

      Experts on federal records laws say that that requirement extended to her.

      “When you listen to the CNN interview, she apparently remains under the impression that she went above and beyond any legal requirements and that there were no requirements as a matter of law or fact to make an issue out in terms of her failure to turn over email records relating to government business on a more timely basis,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and former director of litigation for the National Archives and Records Administration. “That’s clearly not correct.

      “She was required to turn over all of her emails relating to State Department business no later than when she left office under any reasonable reading of the existing rules that were in effect then. She didn’t go above and beyond her legal duties. She acted to fulfill them by turning over government records in her continuing possession."

    4. What matters is not existing rules but the rules in effect when she was Secretary of state.

    5. HRC did the same as previous Secretaries of State. It isn't fair or right to change the wat the rules are applied because she is HRC.

    6. Cicero, I understand you're so concerned about transparency in government, perhaps you can explain why one of your leading Republican candidates for president just had his hand slapped trying to pass a strange piece of legislation limiting transparency of himself?

      I'll let the great Charles P. Pierce explain.

      When these bunco artists first came up with this plan, they did so covertly, slipping a provision into the state budget at the last possible minute.

      The GOP plan would limit public records requests for lawmakers' communications with their staff and for drafting records of legislation after it's been introduced. It would also exempt a host of records created by the Walker administration, state agencies and local governments and put new limits on public access to information about dismissed criminal charges in some instances. The measure would also give lawmakers a broad legal privilege that would allow them to refrain from releasing records when they are sued and bar their current and former staff from disclosing information legislators wanted kept private.

      The most egregious part of this egregious measure would be to shut off access to correspondence in which legislators or the governor engaged in prior to a bill's being introduced. So, if, say, some wealthy extraction moguls in, I dunno, Wichita wanted some legislation introduced to loot a state's natural wealth, and if they were to get in touch with the state's governor to arrange for this to take place, nobody ever would get to see the e-mails through which the transaction was concluded. And, since all of Walker's legal trouble has involved his blithe dismissal of regulations regarding the commingling of private and public funds, and his equally blithe dismissal of there being a line between public service and political ambition, you can see why he would have liked this change in the state law a great deal. But even Republicans in the state legislature gagged on it, and down it went.

      You think Joe Scarborough or anyone in his morning zoo crew ever mentioned this? This Walker character is one of the republican leading candidates for the republican nomination and he's trying to pass a law to that would put legal limits on public access to his work product. How do you figure?

    7. Did Somerby elaborate on how Clinton bungled her answers?

      Should he have made such a statement without giving examples? Do you know what those examples are? Are you a serious person? Are you a serious liberal or progressive? A serious citizen of the world? Are you a decent human?

    8. Somerby didn't say Clinton bungled her answers. That's just bullshit.

      He said Keilar seriously bungled one of her questions and in the process of trying to correct the bungled question Clinton may have bungled herself.

      Indeed, the most questionable statement in that exchange was triggered by an error by Keilar, who seemed to say that Clinton had been under subpoena when she deleted those emails she deemed to be personal in nature.

      Clinton challenged the bungled implication. In the process, she seemed to bungle herself.

      But obviously, you don't want to address the substance of my post. That's understandable. The hypocrisy of the phony email manufactured outrage is not to be discussed.

    9. @ mm,

      The only candidate for POTUS who would champion Walker's proposal would be HRC.

      And then there is this on the day the Confederate Flag disappeared from the SC state capital.

      It was Republican Governor Nikki Haley who initiated the legal process to take down the Confederate Flag. It was Democratic Party Governor Ernest Hollings who put up the flag in 1961.

    10. Perhaps Haley knew a little bit more about what the flag meant to her ancestors than you do cicero.

      OTOH we thought in later years Ernest Hollings married the Republican Agenda, changing his name Gramm Rudman Hollings before "filing for divorce on grounds of infidelity and irreconcilable differences.”

    11. Once again bully boy mm is doing his best Morning Joe impression:

      "But obviously, you don't want to address the substance of my post. That's understandable. The hypocrisy of the phony email manufactured outrage is not to be discussed."

      I wasn't answering you when I brought up the issue of Somerby saying Clinton bungled. I was asking a question of the second commenter in this thread, @ 5:37.

      You continue to try and shout down everyone in the comment box and make everything about you and your stated opinions.

    12. @ 11:23

      According to libs, the Republican Party consists only of old white males. When a double minority conservative like Nikki is the first to propose removing the Confederate Flag you suddenly discover her Indian roots?

      Hollings at age 93 is still a Democrat just as he was back in 1961 when he was instrumental in having the Confederate Flag fly over the state house. and when he filed for divorce.

    13. The Democrat party is happy it still shares a tiny sliver of that demographic with the party of Northern Aggression. A number of the "silver and white" set, like Hollings, still remember themselves as Democrats, such as Bob Somerby, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and perhaps Joe Liebermann, although he may think of himself as a Likkukertarian these days.

    14. A broken clock is still right twice a day.

    15. "You continue to try and shout down everyone in the comment box and make everything about you and your stated opinions."

      These are written comments on a blog. It's ridiculous to accuse me of shouting down anyone. Anybody is free to write what they want, nobody can prevent anybody from saying their piece.

      I misunderstood who you were addressing. Maybe that's because one "anonymous" responding to another "anonymous" without any reference to who you were responding to perhaps wasn't clear.

      What difference does it make anyway? What you said was a misrepresentation of what TDH wrote so I chose to challenge the premise of your question. Sorry.

  4. It was even worse than Bob describes.
    Scarborough was at his overbearing bullying worst, shouting over everybody. No one was allowed to disagree with Scarborough. Harold Ford, who supposedly is supporting Hillary, was reduced to a virtual whisper so afraid was he of offending the Morning Squint.

    Joe Scarborough, whose obit will begin,

    "squandered his last years in office, chasing President Clinton's cock."

    1. Wonder what Clinton's obit will say about his last years in office and his cock.

    2. I wonder what mm would do if he watched someone who actually raised his voice. Because Scarborough never did.

    3. Are you also claiming he never interrupted anyone?

    4. This is a perfect example of Clinton Rules. When Colin Powell was asked where his emails were, he shrugged his shoulders and said paraphrasing, "I have no idea man".
      Nothing from his tenure survived apparently. No official emails, no personal emails, nothing. Good heavens, how will they ever respond to future FOIA requests?

      "As a public servant, Mrs. Clinton had a duty to ensure that all her work records were in government custody."

      Let us ponder, was Powell a "public servant"? Than where the fuck are his "work records"?

      "I have no idea man"

      HARF: When in the process of updating our records management - this is something that's sort of ongoing given technology and the changes - we reached out to all of the former secretaries of state to ask them to provide any records they had. Secretary Clinton sent back 55,000 pages of documents to the State Department very shortly after we sent the letter to her. She was the only former Secretary of State who sent documents back in to this request. These 55,000 pages covered her time, the breadth of her time at the State Department. [State Department Daily Press Briefing, 3/3/15]

      Apparently, Joe Scarborough believes he is entitle to scour through Hillary Clinton's personal emails.

    5. Still fantasizing over the Big Dog's private parts, eh anonymous asshole? Give it up, let it go.

      I'll tell you one thing, when they write Clinton's obit, his name is going to be in a letter bigger type than what will be used for the pygmy Scarborough.

    6. mm, you were the one who injected cock into the conversation.

      And the only fantasy I see going on was the one in your description of what happened on Morning Joe.

    7. @ 6:23 asks "Are you also claiming he (Scarborough) never interrupted anyone?

      I made no claims. I responded to claims made by mm that he "shouted over everybody."

      mm made other of dubious claims. Interruption was not one of them. If you want to pick an argument with someone over a statement that was not made, make the claim yourself and see if anyone bites.

      I'd watch the segment again before making the interruption claim if I were you.

    8. Joe Scarborough is an obnoxious overbearing bully. He monopolizes the dialogue and in this case made a number of false accusations. It wasn't the first time.

      Here's one example.

      Scarborough: The Obama administration will tell you off camera, off record, that what she did was not permitted. The Obama administration will tell you they put in regulations in 2009 that required Hillary Clinton to store all of her e-mails, not just e-mails that she sent selectively to people inside the State Department or the government inside the State Department. But all e-mails.

      Another cute little trick Scarborough uses time and time again is to support his case with revelations of what people are supposedly telling him off the record. Totally impossible to prove or disprove so he gets away with it.

      But to get to the substance of Scarborough's false charge, no she was not required to preserve "all" her emails. Even if she used the State Department email server she would have been allowed to delete her personal emails as everyone else is allowed.

      I won't debate you on how to characterize Scarborough's conduct and behavior. I guess it's in the eye of the beholder.

    9. It was even worse than Bob describes.
      mm was at his overbearing bullying worst, screaming over everybody. No one was allowed to disagree with mm. cicero, who supposedly is a Hillary attacking troll, was reduced to quoting others so afraid was he of offending the comment box equivalent of a pinhead.

      mm is an obnoxious overbearing bully. He usually calls people profane names while he monopolizes the dialogue. In this case made a false accusation visible to all. It wasn't the first time.

      But when called on it, what was his response?

      "I won't debate you on how to characterize Scarborough's conduct and behavior."

      Morning Squint would be proud.


    10. Sez mm:

      "Another cute little trick Scarborough uses time and time again is to support his case with revelations of what people are supposedly telling him off the record. Totally impossible to prove or disprove so he gets away with it."

      Sez Morning Bob:

      "To the clueless wonders of the “press corps,” that Q-and-A was less striking. On several programs, we saw them scoring it as another case where Candidate Clinton refused to answer the question, in this case about raising taxes."

      Substitute unnamed programs for unnamed Obama administration officials. Totally impossible to prove or disprove so he gets away with it. The only difference being Scarborough doesn't run a blog complaining about people not naming names.

    11. "Substitute unnamed programs for unnamed Obama administration officials."

      I'm sure if you really want to know what specific programs Somerby was referring to he'd tell you. Not really a big fucking deal which is why I imagine Somerby didn't go into detail.

      It's amazing how you trolls like to divert attention from the actual substance and continue to play these juvenile games of gotcha with TDH. You're not fit to sharpen Bob's pencils.

    12. " In this case made a false accusation visible to all. It wasn't the first time.

      But when called on it, what was his response?"

      Oh, give me a break please.
      I was giving my perception of what went on that morning, with Joe and his sock puppets. There's no way for me to prove to you that my perceptions were accurate. I can't even view the link provided by TDH to watch it the segment again.

      The fact is, Joe did that day what he always does. He dominated the conversation, surrounding himself with sycophants who dare not disagree with him even while he is spewing pure horseshit.

      "SCARBOROUGH: I've always said I like Hillary. But, it would take three hours to unwind everything she said there and point out that, well, it's just not true."

      It would "take three hours to unwind" - drama queen much?

      Media Matters once again has taken the trouble to document the many ways that Scarborough was "wrong" that morning.

  5. CNN's Brianna Keilar. softball no follow-up questions with HRC managed to catch HRC still lying about using only one device while at Foggy Bottom, that her emails were never subpoenaed and....

  6. Bob may wish many Americans didn't vote for Presidents based on the way they feel about them. They do.

    But we like his reference to the East German judges. Everyone who is over 50 remembers how they ruined sport for all time.

    These X game loving kids don't know how tough it was when a whole Olympics could be wiped out in the blink of a 7.5.

  7. I'll go with annoyed Bob. She looked annoyed. She hates the press.

    1. @ 1:53

      HRC hates to answer question, even soft ball ones, because she has Tommy Flanagan disease. Thankfully CNN's Keilar did ask HRC one of the most probing questions in the 20 minute interview. Which SNL member does the best impersonation of HRC. The mind boggles!

    2. Let's go back to the beginning. I think she likes questions just fine. It depends on who is asking. She is not fond of “bonding with creeps.” She angrily called members of the press “hypocrites” with “big egos and no brains.” All because some bimbo said nasty things about her man and in response the press expected her to bake cookies and sing Tammy Wynette tunes.

    3. @ 11:33

      Right. HRC likes questions, just not giving a response that actually answers the question. Why do you suppose HRC granted time to Briana Keilar? Could it be that Briana was invited to the wedding of Adam Parkhomenko, the director for grassroots engagement for Clinton's presidential campaign and a co-founder of Ready for Hillary.!

    4. Your constant animus at Hillary we assume is because you weren't invited to Chelsea's wedding. That was a mistake.

      As Morning Joe notes, if Hillary just apologizes to the American people and blames Bill for the invitation list, nobody will care about your complaints.

      really cicero. I can understand the Weekly Standard fishing off the bottom of the Idiot's Barrel. They are lazy journalists after all. But you are a freelance troll. Your standards should be higher.

    5. @ 12:01

      You not believe it was a coincidence that Brianna Keilar was hand-picked by HRC when she invited to the wedding of a personal friend of HRC who is also instrumental in HRC's campaign?

      Didn't the news outlets you watch or read report on this? If not, why not?

    6. I caught the bride on Monday Night Football.

  8. I hope the press asks Hillary her opinion of the Bill Cosby case.

    Now that Bob has noted the beginnings of a NYT fueled effort to conduct a full scale Salem witch hunt by failing to note the distinction between filling seven scrips of 'Ludes for sex and giving them to unwitting women for sex.

    I hope Bob cares enough about black people to cover the Cosby story a second time now that Republicans are taking up the maligned family man's cause. After all, it is mostly a media issue now.

  9. @ 11:46

    Democrat Cos donated to the Clinton Foundation. Will that buy him absolution from HRC or will she return his money and actually target him as waging a true war on women?

    1. cicero's blowup dollJuly 10, 2015 at 6:05 PM

      "Rupert Murdock donated to the Clinton Foundation. Will that buy him absolution from HRC or will she return his money and actually target him as waging true war on objective reality?"

  10. I was watching Robert Redford's "The Candidate" the other day and, lo and behold, one of the cast turned out to be Morning Joe's very own Mike Barnicle, all young and dark haired, playing, I think, a young do-gooder on Redford's storefront lawyer staff. Competent, if not exactly Stanley Kowalski.

    It was 1972, so while he was no Redford, he wasn't bad looking then. Hard to believe the old coot was that young that recently. How did he come to be in a movie playing a fictional character not himself? Did he start out as an actor? Was he a reporter friend of Redford's (who later bought the rights to "All the President's Men") and decided to give acting a try in the spirit of George Plimpton or just wanting to screw some actress?

    Anyway, seeing him time after time on that same promo for Morning Joe -- droning on about the best way to fix somebody's problems is spelled J-O-B, or some other regular-Joe truism -- it occurs to me that good ol' Mike the Plagiarist never did give up acting.

    1. Have you seen the extant video of Somerby's routine online?