Town Hall Attendee, Cooper Ask Hillary About How to ‘Defend’ Herself ‘from Right-Wing Attacks’

Hillary Clinton faced one of the biggest softballs of the campaign yet on Wednesday night when a questioner at CNN’s Democratic Presidential Town Hall wondered about how she will “defend” herself “against right-wing attacks” “[o]nce you become the nominee and elected.”

In a follow-up, moderator Anderson Cooper teed her up by wondering if she “still believe[s] there’s vast right-wing conspiracy” to which Clinton laughed and ruled that it’s persisted and “even better funded” by Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers then in the 1990s.

Cooper introduced questioner Sean Bourque as “a Democrat from Derry” and “a supporter of yours” to which Bourque then lobbed this inquiry clearly meant to entice her to attack conservatives and talk radio: “Once you become the nominee and elected, how are going to defend yourself against right-wing attacks?”

Clinton first quipped that she’s “had a lot of practice” and lamented that “[i]t is a brutal experience and when it first started happening to me back in the early 90s when I was working on health care and, you know I was just unrecognizable to myself what talk radio was saying, what Republican members of Congress and their allies were saying.”

The scandal-ridden presidential candidate continued the diatribe by complaining that, despite being elected to the U.S. Senate, her husband Bill winning reelection and never being criminally indicted, “I could not understand how they got away with it.”

Relieved that the boogeymen she claimed are so vicious haven’t “paralyz[ed] you” and so she recognized that “the political tactics that the other side uses is pretty well-versed” since “[t]hey play to keep” and “destroy” (as if the left had never resorted to doing any of that in smearing conservatives).

After name-checking Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers, Cooper stepped in with a follow-up involving a term Clinton coined in the ‘90s: “Let me just quickly follow up. You mentioned the attacks on the early ‘90s. Do you still believe there's a vast right-wing conspiracy?”

Clinton laughed hysterically once again and asked Cooper if he did too. When Cooper wouldn’t bite, the former First Lady resumed her tried and true Clinton-bashing of conservatives by ruling that her opponents are “even better funded” than in the 1990s and sadly “want to control the country.”

Before shifting to more bashing of the Koch Brothers, Clinton railed against her opponents as being ill-intentioned and hoping “to rig the economy so they continue to get richer and richer, they could care less about income inequality” and “solve their consciences by giving money to philanthropy and getting great pictures of them standing in front of whatever charity they donated to.”

The relevant portion of the transcript from CNN’s Democratic Presidential Town Hall on February 3 can be found below. 

CNN’s Democratic Presidential Town Hall
February 3, 2016
10:21 p.m. Eastern

SHAWN BURKE:  I want you to meet Sean Bourque. He’s a Democrat from Derry. He says he’s a supporter yours. Sean?

SEAN BOURQUE: Once you become the nominee and elected, how are going to defend yourself against right-wing attacks? 

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Sean, I've had a lot of practice. You know, I can laugh up here, but it’s not easy. It is a brutal experience and when it first started happening to me back in the early 90s when I was working on health care and, you know I was just unrecognizable to myself what talk radio was saying, what Republican members of Congress and their allies were saying. I was just stunned. I could not understand how they got away with it and I have had to learn to take criticism seriously but not personally and by that I mean this. The very fair question from Rebecca. People ask you questions or criticize you, think about it seriously. There are lessons to be learned often from people who don't agree with you, but don't take it personally so that it just paralyzes you, literally stops you in your tracks, so now that I've been through this for so many years, Sean, my understanding of the political tactics that the other side uses is pretty well-versed. They play to keep. They play to destroy. They are constantly doing whatever they can to win and they have a history now going back, you know, 35, 36 years of going after people who they believe they can't otherwise stop unless they engage in negative attacks, so right now, for example, a couple of hedge fund billionaires have started a super PAC to run ads against me. Karl Rove has solicited money from Wall Street to run ads against me. I view that as perversely flatting because, clearly, know they mean what I say and I will do what I say and I will stand in their way and I will stop them from perpetuating a an agenda on America that is bad for our democracy, bad our economy, bad for our society. So, I know I have to keep defending against that, I have the experience to do that. It's unlike anything you’ve ever gone through to be the subject of tens of millions of dollars of untrue, terrible attacks and now the Koch brothers say they’re going to spend $750 million to defeat the Democratic nominee. I'm still standing and I will be standing so don't worry about that.

COOPER: Let me just quickly follow up. You mentioned the attacks on the early ‘90s. Do you still believe there's a vast right-wing conspiracy. 

CLINTON: Don’t you? 

COOPER: I'm asking you. 

CLINTON: Yeah. It’s gotten even better funded. You know, they brought in some new multi-billionaires to pump the money in and look, these guys play for keeps. They want to control our country. Senator Sanders and I agree on that completely. They want to rig the economy so they continue to get richer and richer, they could care less about income inequality. They solve their consciences by giving money to philanthropy and getting great pictures of them standing in front of whatever charity they donated to but make no mistake, they want to destroy unions, they want to go after any economic interests that they don't believe they can control. They want to destroy our balance of power. They want to go after our political system and fill it people who will do their bidding and I said this today in Dover, you know, I don't think all of the Republican candidates are so ill informed about climate change that they say they don't know because they're not scientists. They're just doing the bidding of the Koch brothers. They're told don't you dare say climate change is real because we're in the fossil fuel business, so this exactly what they are up to and yes, it is probably, look, at this point it's probably not correct to say it's a conspiracy because it's out in the open. There is no doubt about what they're doing and who the players are and what they're trying to achieve and they're shopping among the Republicans candidates to figure out who among them will most likely do their bidding, so just know what we're up against because it’s real we're going to beat it. But it's going to take everybody working together.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center