As Noel Sheppard posted on NewsBusters on Sunday, George Stephanopoulos' “entire twenty minutes” with Bill Clinton on This Week “appeared to be an opportunity for President Clinton to defame the current administration while pumping up his own legacy. Assisting this goal was Stephanopoulos who, regardless of what his former employer said, didn’t once challenge the accuracy of any of Clinton’s numerous misstatements of fact.” NBC's Tim Russert also got a sit-down with Clinton, at the Clinton Global Initiative conference, and did little more than toss up talking point cues to him in the taped interview aired on Sunday's Meet the Press.
Russert was even easier on Clinton than Stephanopoulos, pitching up such softballs as, "Do you think the war in Iraq has hurt the U.S. image in the world?," "Do you think global warming influences, effects, creates hurricanes or the severity of them?" and on paying for the Iraq war and Katrina, "How can we afford that? What is it going to do to the deficit? And what should we do about tax cuts and spending cuts?" Russert plugged the interview: "In his first Meet the Press interview since 1997, former President Bill Clinton reflects on poverty, religion, and politics 2008, right here on Meet the Press."
A full rundown of Russert's questions follows.
This item is excerpted by the September 19 MRC CyberAlert, which also has a listing of all of the questions posed by Stephanopoulos.
Russert's questions as aired on the September 18 Meet the Press:
# Russert: "How would you describe the Clinton global initiative?"
# Russert: "Accountability, how can you enforce it?"
# Russert: "When you talk about religion, how concerned are you that we are, in fact, in a religious war, Islam vs. Christianity?"
# Russert: "Are you concerned that Iraq may wind up with a fundamentalist Islamic regime?"
# Russert: "Do you think the war in Iraq has hurt the U.S. image in the world?"
# Russert: "Global warming: There used to be a deep philosophical, ideological debate about it. Do you think that has dissipated?"
# Russert: "Do you think global warming influences, effects, creates hurricanes or the severity of them?"
# Russert: "John Lehman, the Republican, former Secretary of the Navy, who was on the September 11 Commission, said that the woefully inadequate lack of preparation for the hurricane, he believes it will embolden terrorists to know what kind of havoc they can wreak on the United States. Do you buy that?"
# Russert: "So we should take FEMA out of Homeland Security and make it an independent agency again?"
# Russert: "The President said we're going to rebuild New Orleans. It's estimated to cost probably close to $300 billion. How can we afford that? What is it going to do to the deficit? And what should we do about tax cuts and spending cuts?"
# Clinton: "....The rest of the money we're borrowing from China, from Korea, from the Middle East. So we go into the debt market -- we borrow this money every day to cover our deficit. In effect, we're borrowing the money to pay for Katrina, pay for Iraq, and pay for Bill Clinton's tax cuts. I don't approve of that. I think it's ethically not good, and I think it's terrible economics."
Russert: "Do you think these are the kind of issues that will be front and center in 2008?"
# Russert: "Did you ever hear of the Dennis Thatcher Society?...And first men all around the world formed the Dennis Thatcher Society. Are you about to apply?"
For MSNBC.com's transcript of the September 18 Meet the Press.