Of all the things you can call John Heilemann, one thing you cannot is "clandestine Republican operative." So it might be a sign of just how frazzled the Hillary campaign has become that her spokesman has in essence accused Heilemann of being a GOP catspaw.
On today's With All Due Respect, Heilemann pressed Clinton spox Brian Fallon as to whether Hillary would call herself a liberal. Fallon sought refuge behind the term "progressive." When Heilemann persisted, Fallon snapped "you're asking me because you want the RNC to clip this and turn it into a 15-second ad." Paging Richard Hofstadter's Paranoid Style in American Politics.
Heilemann shot back "I don't want the RNC to do anything." Fallon seemed on edge throughout the interview. Is Team Hillary feeling the heat, or shall we say, the Bern?
JOHN HEILEMANN: Let me ask you a question: today there's a lot of back-and-forth between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders over progressivism. Senator Sanders says he's a progressive but Hillary Clinton is only some of the time. She says she is a progressive who gets things done. Would Hillary Clinton call herself a liberal?
BRIAN FALLON: Well I think in the last few years you've seen Democrats really rally around the term progressive to define their committment to working-class --
HEILEMANN: What's the difference between being a progressive and being a liberal?
FALLON: I'm not sure. But I think Republicans have tried to turn liberal into a dirty word. But I think progressive is a term that Democrats pretty proudly wear.
HEILEMANN: Yeah, because it's pretty much become an anodyne term that doesn't mean very much. So, is Secretary Clinton a liberal or not?
FALLON: I think she is a progressive who gets results. I think that you are asking me because you want the RNC to clip this and turn it into a 15-second ad.
HEILEMANN: I don't want the RNC to do anything. I just want -- I'm asking you because I think Senator Sanders would be happy to call himself a liberal and I think he would say a lot of the policies he advances are liberal policies. So I'm curious if Secretary Clinton would call herself a liberal too.
FALLON: Well, we like the term progressive.