In her annual “10 Most Fascinating People” special, Barbara Walters named Hillary Clinton to the top spot for the third time, gushing over her without ever saying what the former Secretary of State had done in the past year to earn her the title.
In a somewhat brief interview that aired on ABC on December 18, Ms. Walters cheered the former first lady on for president proclaiming that, “I listen to you and I think, "You got to run." Something. You got to run.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
The segment began with Ms. Walters offering no reasoning as to why Ms. Clinton was named most fascinating other than that:
At the beginning of the show when the president of ABC news told us who should be the most fascinating person of 1993? Well, I guess Roone Arledge knew a thing or two. This program was born at the start of the Clinton era, and it appears we might be at the dawn of another.
Rather than challenge Ms. Clinton on her tumultuous record as Secretary of State, Ms. Walters treated her guest like a friend asking her such hard-hitting questions as “This year is the first time in decades that neither you nor your husband are in public office. Is that an enormous relief?” and “If you ran and you became president, what would they call your husband -- first spouse?”
All that was missing was a question about what kind of tree she would be.
After pressing Ms. Clinton that she needs to run for president, Ms. Walters had an opportunity to ask her guest about Benghazi, which many consider to be the largest stain on her legacy as Secretary of State, but instead merely asked her:
You and I have indeed done so many interviews, and I'm so proud of the fact that we have done them. What was the worst time when you look back?
Predictably, Walters allowed Ms. Clinton to use the “interview” as an opportunity to promote her likely 2016 presidential campaign, without actually asking her the tough questions that a journalist should.
Walters concluded the gushing interview by proclaiming to Clinton that, “I would like you to note that I have not asked you about your hair.”
Once again, Barbara Walters has proven that she is not a journalist but rather a Clinton-promoting press flack.
See relevant transcript below.
Barbara Walters Presents The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013
December 18, 2013
10:51 p.m. Eastern
BARBARA WALTERS: And now our choice for the most fascinating person of this year, and we believe the past 20. Remember at the beginning of the show when the president of ABC news told us who should be the most fascinating person of 1993? Well, I guess Roone Arledge knew a thing or two. This program was born at the start of the Clinton era, and it appears we might be at the dawn of another. This year is the first time in decades that neither you nor your husband are in public office. Is that an enormous relief?
HILLARY CLINTON: It is. It's a relief because I knew that I wanted to get off the high wire that I had been on for so long, to spend time just doing things that give us a lot of joy -- playing with our dogs, going to movies, just hanging out.
WALTERS: Like Normal people.
CLINTON: Yes, that's a good description.
WALTERS: Okay, here it comes. When will you, if you do, decide whether or not you're going to run for president?
CLINTON: Well, it's such a difficult decision and it's one that I am not going to rush into. And I don't think we should be looking at the next election. I think we should be looking at the work that we have today -- our unemployment rate is still too high, we have people getting kicked off of food stamps who are in terrible economic straits, small businesses not getting credit. I could go on and on. So, I think we ought to pay attention to what's happening right now.
WALTERS: I have to push for the answer about whether or not you might run for president.
CLINTON: I haven't made up my mind.
WALTERS: You really haven't?
CLINTON: I really have not. I will look carefully at what I think I can do and make that decision, you know, sometime next year.
WALTERS: Does your husband want you to run?
CLINTON: He is very respectful. He knows that this is –
WALTERS: He does want you to run.
CLINTON: Well, he wants me to do what I think is right.
WALTERS: If you ran and you became president, what would they call your husband -- first spouse?
CLINTON: I have no idea. First mate. I don't know. First something.
WALTERS: Do you think it's important that we have a female president?
CLINTON: I do. I do think it's important. I don't know the exact timing of it or who that might be, but my friend Michelle Bachelet was just re-elected president in Chile. Dilma Rousseff whom I admire greatly is the president of Brazil. Angela Merkel is probably the most important leader in Europe, if not beyond.
WALTERS: It's interesting.
CLINTON: It matters. It matters because we have half the population that has given so much to building this country, to making it work, and of course I want to see a woman in the White House. Because, you know, if I look at my friends and former colleagues who are now in the senate, it was the women senators on both sides of the aisle who finally broke the fever over the government shutdown and the debt-limit debate. They have been working across party lines, and we need more of that.
WALTERS: I listen to you and I think, "You got to run." Something. You got to run.
CLINTON: But this is the way I talked, you know, 40 years ago, Barbara. This is, you know -- this is what gets me up in the morning. I care so much about what's gonna happen to this country because I'm a beneficiary of all the sacrifice that my parents' generation and generations before made. I sure don't want to be part of a generation that sees America's dream be depreciated when I don't think that is necessary. There's so much more we can do.
WALTERS: You and I have indeed done so many interviews, and I'm so proud of the fact that we have done them. What was the worst time when you look back?
CLINTON: You know, the worst times really for me are the personal times, you know? Losing my father, losing my mother -- those are the hard times for me. I mean, when you're in the political public arena, you know you're gonna get credit you probably don't deserve and blame you probably don't deserve. And you have to chart your own course and you have to stand up for what you think are the right decisions. I had an older woman who was a friend of mine. She said, "You know, at the end of your life, it's all about your relationships." And she said, "You know, I've loved and I've been loved, and all the rest is background music."
WALTERS: I was looking over past interviews with your husband and you and one of the questions that I asked your husband was what would he like his mark to be. What you like your mark to be?
CLINTON: That I did the best I could, to live a life of integrity and service. I'm always moved by the sayings and the stories about people who plant trees that they will themselves never sit under. I want to feel that I've made a contribution.
CLINTON: I would like you to note that I have not asked you about your hair. Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it. Happy holidays.
CLINTON: Thank you so much. Same to you, Barbara.