'Hardball' Ignores Bill Clinton's 'Dead Broke' Defense; CNN's 'OutFront' Makes Light of Spin

Although the 42nd U.S. president made the remarks during a taped interview Tuesday for sister network NBC's Meet the Press, MSNBC's Chris Matthews completely ignored Bill Clinton's defense of his wife's "dead broke" statement as "factually true."

By contrast, the competition over at CNN on Erin Burnett OutFront featured a panel discussion in which the participants made light of Mr. Clinton's defense of his consort and forecast that Bill Clinton might end up being a net negative for his wife on the campaign trail, as he was in the 2008 primaries. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]

After host Erin Burnett played a clip of the former president saying he and Hillary go to the local grocery store on the weekends and talk to neighbors about their concerns, Republican strategist Margaret Hoover quipped,"How agonizing are the struggles for the folks in Scarsdale [New York] at the local grocery store he's going to?"

As liberal panelist John Avlon laughed out loud, Burnett mused that such store, "would be, I'm sure, like, a Whole Foods on steroids or something."

Moments later, Burnett mocked Mr. Clinton's insistence that he would be glad to help his wife's campaign however she saw fit for him, but, really, he was simply a "bit player." 

"Here's the thing, Peter. Whatever you want to say about Bill Clinton, he's not a bit player," Burnett offered to liberal panelist Peter Beinart, who agreed, noting that on the one hand, the former president is "an extremely good surrogate for [Hillary]" because he can get on TV at the drop of a hat.

But the downside, Beinart noted, is "he's totally uncontrollable":

PETER BEINART: What you saw in the 2008 campaign was that he freelanced all the time. And there was no--

ERIN BURNETT: I like that word, he freelanced. Sometimes to her deep peril! [laughs]

BEINART: Right, sometimes it worked. Sometimes it really hurt like when he got into tussles over race about when he--


BEINART:  said that Barack Obama had won like Jesse Jackson in South Carolina--


BEINART: But there is no one in the Clinton orbit powerful enough to tell him not to do it. 

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.