On Monday's New Day, CNN political commentator Errol Louis brought up "this Bill Cosby thing that's kind of hanging out there" as he suggested that the A-list comedian's growing legal problems over his sexual assault history could be a harbinger of the problems the Hillary Clinton campaign could have if Donald Trump provides a "very large megaphone" for women who have accused Bill Clinton of "lurid" behavior and "sexual assault."
Louis raising this possibility of trouble for the Clinton campaign is especially noteworthy given that the left-leaning CNN commentator little more than a week ago dismissed Bill Clinton's sordid sexual history as merely "a sex scandal or two" after gushing that it was "thrilling" to see clips of former President Clinton campaigning from years past.
At 6:05 a.m. ET on Monday's show, amidst a panel discussion, CNN co-anchor Alisyn Camerota brought up the issue:
You know, Donald Trump has been talking a lot about Bill Clinton, and he has been bringing up Bill Clinton's past. And he has been saying Hillary Clinton better not talk about women's issues, or he's going to just go, you know, Katie bar the door, against Bill Clinton. And he has said that Bill Clinton is a "tremendous abuser of women" -- that is a quote from him -- that Clinton is a hypocrite. When you talk to voters, is that something that will resonate with them?
Louis began his response:
Absolutely not on the agenda, at least not yet. I mean, I think, though, what Trump is trying to do, which is smart from his point of view, is, first of all, he pushes all of the other Republican rivals off the stage, and he says it's me versus Clinton and that's what this race is about. That gives him quite an advantage.
The CNN commentator added:
Secondly, there is this Bill Cosby thing that's kind of hanging out there. If you had asked somebody even just a year ago, "Will all of these accusations against Bill Cosby go anywhere?" you'd say no. Bill Cosby, on the other hand, had to surrender his passport and is now being tried, you know, I mean, so-
Camerota, not getting his point, broke in to wonder: "But what does that have to do with Bill Clinton?"
Louis raised the possible dangers for Hillary Clinton's campaign as he elaborated:
Well, what it means is that there are accusations that go back decades about what Bill Clinton did. Some of them are quite lurid. Some of them seem spectacular. Some of them seem hard to believe, accusations of sexual assault and so forth. The people are still out there, though. The people have never given up those claims in some ways.
If Donald Trump is saying, "I'm going to put my very large megaphone behind or in front of some of those women and let them say what they have to say, including Hillary Clinton's role," it will be at a minimum a distraction, but it could very likely change the course of that discussion.
On the December 27 New Day Sunday on CNN, Louis checked in at about 6:50 a.m. and was dismissive about Bill Clinton's sexual history. After a report about Trump raising the issue, CNN co-host Christi Paul posed the question:
How does then former President Bill Clinton either help or hurt Hillary Clinton? Let's talk about it with CNN political commentator Errol Louis. Errol, I mean, that's the big question. Is he a help? Is he a hindrance? What do you say?
Louis effused over former President Clinton as he responded:
Well, I think hes a great help, just for the raw political skills. I mean, it's just thrilling just to see some of the footage that you showed, and thinking back to the 2012 campaign when President Obama looked like he was in a little bit of trouble, who did he bring in at the convention? And there was electrifying in the arena that night just to see Bill Clinton take the stage. I mean, all the numbers show that not just Democrats but Americans of all political persuasions like and revere and respect the guy. And so he's just an asset, you know, just pure and simple, somebody on the campaign trial who knows what he's doing.
Reading a tweet from Trump, co-anchor Paul then followed up:
Well, I want to get back to this tweet from Donald Trump overnight who said that Hillary Clinton has announced tonight that she's "letting her husband out to campaign but he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism, so inappropriate!" Now, that "penchant for sexism," let's get real here, that line goes back to an interview that Hillary Clinton gave to the Des Moines Register earlier using those very words to describe Trump for a term he used in talking about her regarding her '08 primary loss to Barack Obama. So he's essentially using her own words against her. What do you make of the tweet, first of all?
Louis downplayed the Clinton problems as he responded:
Well, I mean, it's an answer, right? As he likes to say, Donald Trump thinks of himself as a counterpuncher. You say something bad about him, he'll turn it around and insult you. It doesn't have to make a whole lot of sense, and in this case it doesn't make any sense at all. Donald Trump, the words came out of his mouth, the crude, vulgar statements he's made over and over and over again about women in particular.
For him then to sort of reach back and say, "Well, you're married to a guy who was involved in a sex scandal or two." I'm not sure what the connection is or what that's supposed to mean to voters. It certainly has nothing to do with Donald Trump taking some responsibility for a change for the words that come out of his own mouth, many of which are crude and demeaning.