Campaign watch: Bill Clinton was saying some very nice things!


Until Chris Hayes stepped in:
Last Thursday night, Bill Clinton was saying some very nice things about Barack Obama.

Granted, some politics was maybe perhaps involved. For one thing, former president Clinton was speaking on behalf of Candidate Clinton, who, as you know, is his wife.

That said, Bill Clinton, speaking in Memphis, was explaining a basic problem President Obama has faced. He said Obama deserved more credit than he sometimes gets because of this particular problem.

As Clinton made these nice remarks, the crowd applauded--a lot. You can watch the tape here:
BILL CLINTON (2/11/16): She’s always making something good happen. She’s the best change maker I’ve ever known.

A lot of people say, "Oh well, you don’t understand. It’s different now. It’s rigged." Yeah, it’s rigged—because you don’t have a president who is a change maker who, with a Congress who will work with him. But the president has done a better job than he has gotten credit for. And don’t you forget it!


Don’t you forget it! Don’t you forget it!




Look. Don't you forget it.

Let me just tell you. I’ve been there, and we shared the same gift. We only had a Democratic Congress for two years. And then we lost it.

There's some of the loudest voices in our party say, it’s unbelievable, say, “Well the only reason we had it for two years is that President Obama wasn’t liberal enough!”

Is there one soul in this crowd that believes that?

Ever since the end of his second year, Obama has had to battle a Republican Congress who won't work with him, Clinton said. He then ridiculed "voices in our party" who say Obama lost the Congress because he wasn't liberal enough.

There was a certain political tilt to the former president's remarks. That said, he was saying nice things about Obama—until Chris Hayes stepped in.

Right at the start of last Friday night's All In, Hayes played tape of Clinton's remarks. But he did one of those hideous mid-sentence "edits," making it look like Clinton had actually been dissing Obama!

Good grief! As he started his show, Hayes noted that Hillary Clinton has been criticizing Candidate Sanders for being critical of Obama in the past. He then said that Bill Clinton had gone off-message—and he doctored the Memphis videotape like this:
HAYES (2/12/16): Now if that's Clinton's strategy, she might want to make sure her husband is in the loop. Bill seemed to go a bit off message last night in Tennessee, while campaigning for his wife.

BILL CLINTON (videotape): She’s always making something good happen. She’s the best change maker I’ve ever known.

A lot of people say, "Oh well, you don’t understand. It’s different now. It’s rigged." Yeah, it’s rigged—because you don’t have a president who is a change maker.
Full stop! Hayes cut the videotape of Bill Clinton right there. He made a face about what Clinton had said, then moved to a different topic.

That's one of the worst edits we've ever seen. Just watching the tape of Hayes' show, as you can do here, it's obvious that Clinton has been cut off in mid-sentence. And uh-oh! The edit completely changed the meaning of what he said.

It's a type of dead-stop, mid-sentence edit that used to be fairly common on the Maddow Show, though only to distort the things that Republicans said. In fairness, though, the Maddow Show doesn't seem to feature this type of edit any more.

(Olbermann used to edit BillO this way. It was all for the good of the team!)

Over at Mediaite, Tommy Christopher did the original critique of this presentation by Hayes. His judgment? "This is an edit so egregious, it rivals the worst in dishonest political ads, and surpasses them."

Christopher goes on to say this: "I have nothing but affection and respect for Chris Hayes, so I’m happy to assume that this was the work of some overly-zealous producer and Hayes was too busy to check it."

Everything is possible! It will be interesting to see if some sort of correction is offered tonight. That said, there's no excuse for "failing to check" an edit like that, especially if you plan to open your program with it.

Unfortunately, Hayes has sometimes displayed a tin ear for this sort of thing. In the immediate wake of Benghazi, he quickly threw Susan Rice under the bus in line with GOP propaganda. One week later, he had to take back the things he had said.

Last summer, he oohed and aahed about the "bombshell" the New York Times had delivered through its ginormous news report about the "scary uranium deal."

In our view, that report may have been the most ludicrous bit of hard-right agitprop the Times chose to run with all year. To the tin ear of Brother Hayes, it seemed like a bombshell.

Last Friday night, he did it again! Christopher might consider the wisdom of The Original and Great Carter Family, who famously lamented a certain type of disappointment and self-delusion:

"I woke from my dreams, my idol was clay.
All portions of love had all flown away."

Who knows? Maybe it was just bad staff work! We'll see what gets said tonight.


  1. Bill says it's not the case that a Republican Congress was voted in because Obama wasn't liberal enough. That's a good argument against the more liberal candidate, Sanders.

    But, if you take Clinton's point a bit farther, I think the public voted for a Republican Congress because Obama was too too liberal. So, the public isn't going to like Hillary's liberalism, either. I think 2016 is a year when the voters want a breather -- a respite from changes. IMHO that feeling means that the Republican candidate will be a favorite to win the 2016 Presidential race, (as long as the candidate isn't Trump.)

    1. Yep. Voters want a respite from changes. That's why Cruz, Trump and Sanders are all doing so poorly.

    2. @ 4:44 PM - is the sky blue where you're trolling from?

    3. If it is not blue he, has a cousin who was married to someone who is where the sky is blue.

  2. Well, since there were less voters in the two elections which selected a Republican Congress than there were in the two elections which elected a Democrat as President you just might be on to something Sparky.

    You and Bob are noted for your vast erxperience in electoral politics.

  3. I would say Bob displayed a tin ear listening to Hayes bombshell remark, which has been employed with more than one meaning on several occasions.

    Of course Bob has mentioned that remark over a half dozen times. Beats calling him "The Puppy" over and over I guess.

  4. There is some reason why Obama presided over the worst mid-term disasters in modern history. Saying his critics think it was a matter of his "not being liberal enough" stacks the deck in a misleading way. Not going after the Wall Street scofflaws and their ill-gotten bonuses was a failure thumbing a nose at ordinary Americans who believe people who commit fraud should face consequences. That crossed party lines and should have nothing to do with ideology. Things like proposing cuts to Social Security or Summers and Geithner saying they couldn't touch Wall Street bonuses because of the sanctity of contracts, while readily tearing up the autoworkers' contract, didn't help. Turnout was terrible; it probably was significantly due to disillusionment of those who had done all the grunt work in 2008 knocking on doors and making cold calls to get every Democrat possible to the polls. If you don't get the workers, you don't get the turnout. That's something the Obama team never understood.

    1. I have disagreed with you so many times, legend. But you're right here.

      Pretending Obama's critics are best characterized as bemoaning his lack of liberalism is a kind of straw-man fraud argument. No doubt there are some who feel that way, in part.

      But aside from the fact that mid-term voting patterns tend to to favor the out-of-Presidency party and the turnout demographics of those elections sadly tend to favor the GOP -- aside from those sad trends -- it's just wrong to dismiss the influence on turnout that might have been due to Obama's own actions, whatever label one wants to put on them.

    2. I wonder if a white privileged observer like u.l. has ever analyzed if turnout fell in 2010 and 2014 compared to previous ove year elections and exactly where that drop occurred.

      It always amuses me that people think the issues that matter most to them have an impact on everyone else.

  5. The Puppy's not being all together honest.

    1. Well, Hayes is more honest than Somerby.

      Last night, he noted that he heard from a lot of people who told him he was off-base by not showing Bill's comments in their full context.

      So he did. And he admitted that the full context changes the meaning of the line he highlighted, while still holding his opinion that the line was "off-message."

      Has Somerby ever admitted an error? Or will we find those WMDs any day now?

    2. Sad to say it looks like D'leisha Dent spent her sophomore year on the bench of the women's volleyball team at Miles, a four year college in Alabama she could not get into.

    3. Dave the Guitar PlayerFebruary 16, 2016 at 12:40 PM

      @8:44 - Bob points out a problem, and even Hayes admits to it. You, however, feel compelled to make a point about Bob's honesty (not Hayes). What's your problem? By the way, criticizing the evidence claiming that there are no WMDs is not the same as claiming there *are* WMDs. No foul there.

    4. Except DtGP, Bob professed his long standing faith that Saddam had those nasty WMD while chastising "anti-war types" for celebrating the lack of discovery of same. He was not criticizing the evidence there was no WMD.

      By the way, while criticizing those "anti-war types" and suggesting they were heading for a fall, he named no names and gave no examples. In other words, he was acting like Rachel Maddow does when she talks about Beltway media stories about Iowa, to give a recent example of Bob's criticism.

    5. @ 8:44 Bob said:

      "It will be interesting to see if some sort of correction is offered tonight. ...Who knows? Maybe it was just bad staff work! We'll see what gets said tonight."

      So maybe Bob is not vindictive. We'll see what get's posted today.

  6. hayes is a hack, an annoying one at that

    1. what is with the superfluous comma