That Clinton Interview and the Smirk

That Clinton interview was worse than I thought it would be. He really lost his cool. What is it about Democrats and smirks?

More highlights at Hot Air.

Newsbusters has a transcript and takes a look at attempts in the liberal blogs to discredit the interview. In my opinion, the only way to discredit that interview would be to prove it was a Clinton impersonator being interviewed.

Ace has been all over this interview all weekend, comparing some of Clinton’s claims to what really happened.

Michelle Malkin has a great roundup.

Update: I agree with Sister Toldjah that what is most infuriating about the interview is the attack on the Bush administration. There have been tons of opportunities for the current administration to criticize the former, not only over the terrorism issue, but for leaving a recession, corporate scandals and lots of other messes to clean up. This president makes the occasional veiled reference, but has never attacked or placed blame on the Clinton administration like Bill Clinton did on anyone he could point a finger at for eight years. He didn’t limit placing blame on the other side, either — remember Janet Reno and Waco? He continues to point fingers to this very day. There are quite a few differences between the current and former presidents, but one of the most striking is how one seeks to place blame for everything on anyone but himself, and the other refrains from placing blame many times when he easily could have.

Others blogging:

Betsy Newmark
Tammy Bruce
Stop the ACLU
Webloggin
Wide Awake Cafe

Update: Golden Boy Bill Clinton will not be tarnished by a nasty little blow up on Fox News of all places. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. I watched my local news tonight (WRAL) and saw a clip from the Clinton interview. It was introduced by the anchor saying Bill Clinton was “fired up” at the suggestion that he didn’t do enough to catch Osama bin Laden. Then they showed the clip of the interview where Clinton talked about all the things he did to catch bin Laden and how Bush had not done nearly as much as he had and how he had never criticized Bush. Cough. Excuse me, I choked on that one. Then the anchor closed by saying Clinton had accused Fox News of something or another (right wing conspiracy, hit job or some such, I think). Anyway, the impression was that even though that rightwing Fox News had attacked Clinton, he had not backed down and had stood his ground and told them how much more he had done than Bush. They didn’t show the little “smirk” comment or the worst of the freakout. I turned the channel. I have not watched WRAL news in months and now I remember why. The media has quite a bit invested in the Clinton legacy and he will have to do much worse than this interview before many of them will admit he is anything less than the greatest president that ever lived.

Update II: What it felt like to be Chris Wallace (via Media Bistro — Fishbowl DC):

The groundrules were simple–15 minutes–to be divided evenly between questions about the Clinton Global Initiative and anything else I wanted to ask.

I intended to keep to the groundrules. In fact–I prepared 10 questions–5 on the CGI and 5 on other issues.

I began the interview with 2 questions about Mr. Clinton’s commitment to humanitarian causes. His answers were cogent and good-humored.

Then–I asked him about his Administration’s record in fighting terror–fully intending to come back to CGI later (as indeed I did).

I asked what I thought was a non-confrontational question about whether he could have done more to “connect the dots and really go after al Qaeda.”

I was utterly surprised by the tidal wave of details–emotion–and political attacks that followed.

The President was clearly stung by any suggestion that he had not done everything he could to get bin Laden. He attacked right-wingers–accused me of a “conservative hit job”–and even spun a theory I still don’t understand that somehow Fox was trying to cover up the fact that NewsCorp. chief Rupert Murdoch was supporting his Global Initiative. I still have no idea what set him off.

Former President Clinton is a very big man. As he leaned forward–wagging his finger in my face–and then poking the notes I was holding–I felt as if a mountain was coming down in front of me.

The President said I had a smirk. Actually–it was sheer wonder at what I was witnessing.

I tried repeatedly to adhere to the ground rules–to move the President along–and back to the CGI. But he wanted to keep talking about his record fighting terror.

When it became clear he wanted to throw out the ground rules–then I just went with the flow of the interview.See, it wasn’t a smirk. It was dumbfounded shock at the mountain coming down in front of him.

Update III (9/25): From Hugh Hewitt:

But books like Lawrence Wright’s cannot be manipulated, and so Clinton launches into a furious counterattack on Wallace, Fox and ABC, the Bush Administration and right wing critics and media. This fascinating bit of theater –part paranoia, part panic– distills Clinton’s argument to: “Who you going to believe, Dick Clarke and his memoir, or everybody and everything else?”

Bill Clinton’s record vis-a-vis Osama cannot withstand even two minutes of sharp questions-and-answers. He’s obliged to tightly control every encounter with the press, denounce every serious work of history, obfuscate by pointing to meeting after meeting or to non-sequitors like the fact that no one knew at the time that Osama was connected to Mogadishu (but when, Mr. Clinton, did you become aware of his connection), legal tap dancing –the FBI and CIA wouldn’t let me do it– and the worst of all, chest thumping about how he’d be waging the war if he was still president.

Whatever Clinton hoped to accomplish with this childish filibuster and tantrum, it guaranteed the opposite: No such fury is required when the facts are on your side. You don’t have to control every encounter and explode with anger and accusations when asked if you would like to comment on a new book.

What is astonishing is that in the five years since 9/11, the Democratic Party and the nation’s media has become even more feckless about the threat from Islamist terror than Bill Clinton was –and remains.

The press who cried "wolf"
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