Just as he did on January 24's Meet the Press, MSNBC Presidential Candidates Debate co-moderator Chuck Todd chose to ask Hillary Clinton about her e-mail scandal not in terms of substance or reporting concerning new details about this but instead through a lazy, political lense as if he’s speaking on behalf of Democratic voters.
In the first question, Todd provided anecdotal evidence that “many Democratic voters that our reporters have been running into in Iowa and New Hampshire” have been “worried about the e-mail issue.”
Todd used this generality to veer into political territory by explaining that voters have an uneasiness about the scandal “because it's a drip, drip because the cloud is hanging over your head and that it will impact the general election.”
The NBC News political director continued standing up for liberal voters in highlighting their concern about her polling and lobbed this softball at Clinton: “So can you reassure these Democrats that somehow the e-mail issue isn't going to blow up your candidacy if you're the nominee?”
Not surprisingly, the scandal-ridden Clinton shamelessly compared her private, unsecured e-mail server to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead in that they’ve been “stirr[ed] up” by Republicans.
After Clinton trotted out the misleading equivalency between the scores of classified e-mails she sent to the small handful involving predecessors Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Todd followed up by pleading with her to affirm that she’s “100 percent confident that nothing is going to come of this FBI investigation.”
Clinton replied that she’s “100 percent confident” and while there “is a security review...being carried out,” she promised that “[i]t will be resolved, but I have to add if there's going to be a security review about me, there's going to be security reviews about a lot of other people, including Republican office holders, because we've got this absurd situation of retroactive classifications.”
Safe to say that, based on how Todd approached this scandal, it’s unlikely that he’s spoken with reporters repeatedly finding more and more about this ever-growing scandal like FNC’s Catherine Herridge and Ed Henry.
The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s Presidential Candidates Debate on February 4 can be found below.
MSNBC’s Presidential Candidates Debate
February 4, 2016
10:30 p.m. Eastern
CHUCK TODD: Just like some Democrats that question Senator Sanders' ability in the general election, many Democratic voters that our reporters have been running into in Iowa and New Hampshire, they tell our reporters over and over again they're worried about the e-mail issue not because they don't believe your explanation, but because it's a drip, drip because the cloud is hanging over your head and that it will impact the general election. They see your numbers right now and they think it's the e-mail issue as to why you're not polling very well. So can you reassure these Democrats that somehow the e-mail issue isn't going to blow up your candidacy if you're the nominee?
HILLARY CLINTON: Absolutely I can. Before it was e-mails it was Benghazi and the Republicans were stirring up so much controversy about that and I testified for 11 hours and answered their questions. They basically said, yep, didn't get her. We tried. That was all a political ploy. Now, we had a development in the e-mail matter today when it came out that Secretary Powell and close aides to former Secretary Rice used private e-mail accounts and now, you have these people in the government who are doing the same thing to Secretary Powell and Secretary Rice's aides they've been doing to me which is I never sent or received any classified material. They are retroactively classifying it. I agree completely with Secretary Powell who said today this is an absurdity and so I think the American people will know this is an absurdity. I have absolutely no concern about it whatsoever.
TODD: Madam Secretary, there is an open — there is an open FBI investigation into this matter about how you may have handled classified material. Are you 100 percent confident that nothing is going to come of this FBI investigation?
CLINTON: I am 100 percent confident. This is a security review that was requested. It is being carried out. It will be resolved, but I have to add if there's going to be a security review about me, there's going to be security reviews about a lot of other people, including Republican office holders, because we've got this absurd situation of retroactive classifications. Honest to goodness, this is — this just beggars the imagination. I have to concerns about it, but we have to get to the bottom of what's going on here and I hope that will happen.