Marc Lamont Hill, liberal CNN contributor and host of HuffPost Live, appeared on Sunday’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley and did his best to smear former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for daring to criticize President Obama on foreign policy.
Appearing alongside Neera Tanden, Newt Gingrich and S.E. Cupp, Hill proclaimed that Panetta’s criticism of Obama was “the most disgusting example of Monday morning quarterbacking I have ever seen.”
The segment began with host Candy Crowley wondering if Panetta’s criticism of Obama was “out of the norm” before turning to Crossfire co-host Newt Gingrich who argued “for him to come out with his book before the election I think is a little surprising. The book is not. The book reflects Bob Gates’ criticisms, they’re very similar in that sense.”
After Gingrich pointed out that Panetta’s criticism of Obama was in line with other critics of the president, Marc Lamont Hill did his best to discredit the lifelong Democrat:
I think this is all about self-serving politics, I think about making money off publishing commitments. I think that's what it's all about. It's not uncommon for people to do this.
Unsurprisingly, Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress, expressed similar sentiments and insisted that he was "Monday morning quarterbacking":
To me, it's very unseemly to be kind of Monday morning quarterbacking all these decisions when we have troops there and he was the Secretary of Defense…I guess Leon Panetta has -- he was on the record in Iraq saying we need the agreement of the Iraqi government. And now he is saying, no, no, no, I didn't say that. But he has testimony after testimony after testimony. And he is rewriting history now in his book.
Following Tanden’s attack of Panetta, Lamont Hill continued to condemn the former Obama official and proclaimed that his criticism was “the most disgusting example of Monday morning quarterbacking I have ever seen.”
It seems odd that Marc Lamont Hill would flip his position on administration officials criticizing their former bosses in a matter of minutes. At first, the CNN contributor seemed to dismiss Panetta’s criticism as “not uncommon” before reversing course and accusing him of engaging in the “most disgusting example of Monday morning quarterbacking.”
While the CNN contributor eagerly bashed Panetta, Newt Gingrich concluded the segment by pointing out that despite Hill’s objections, such criticism wasn’t beyond the pale:
The difference between this presidents’s non- involvement and George W. Bush's involvement was stunning. And that's what I think both Gates and Panetta are saying is, you can't try to lead the world occasionally between golf courses.
See relevant transcript below.
CNN’s State of The Union
October 12, 2014
CANDY CROWLEY: The midterm election is just over three weeks away and candidates left and right are stumbling toward the finish line but Democrats in particular seem to be running away from President Obama. Around the table, Crossfire host, Newt Gingrich and S.E. Cupp. Also here Neera Tanden, from the Center for American Progress, and Marc Lamont Hill of "HuffPost Live."
Well, you know, I don't know if the president's been in a bookstore lately but the fact to the matter is that Leon Panetta has just joined the pile-on of former administration officials that really, to me, especially right before midterm, never mind that he has two more years left, have done some real damage in kind of undermining the president. Is this out of the norm?
NEWT GINGRICH: Yes. Given that Panetta himself is a career politician, to not wait until January to release the book. I mean, I don't know if his publisher said, look this is where you will maximize sales, but this is a guy who has been a pretty loyal Democrat since he became one in the ‘70s. And for him to come out with his book before the election I think is a little surprising. The book is not. The book reflects Bob Gates’ criticisms, they’re very similar in that sense.
CROWLEY: We have heard, and Hillary Clinton, I mean, everybody just sort of backing away from this.
NEERA TANDEN: I think there's a big difference between Hillary’s book and Panetta’s book. If you actually look at what you talked about, she talks about being -- going from a team of rivals to an unrivaled team, big distinctions. And I think the issue with Leon Panetta is first of all there's a public record of everything he said about Iraq and Syria and there are differences between what he says in the book and what he said at the time.
CROWLEY: Which is kind of immaterial to what it does --
TANDEN: No, and I hear -- let's be very partisan, I agree with Newt. I think it's also just -- we have -- you know, we have forces in Iraq now. We have -- we are sort of engaged in this military engagement. To me, it's very unseemly to be kind of Monday morning quarterbacking all these decisions when we have troops there and he was the Secretary of Defense.
CROWLEY: Maybe they are trying to push him though. I thought with Panetta, of course, it wasn't a book written a while ago that he was, you know, there was a certain element of, you know, get tough, step up.
MARC LAMONT HILL: I think you're being generous. I think this is all about self-serving politics, I think about making money off publishing commitments. I think that's what it's all about. It's not uncommon for people to do this. Every president has someone from the administration at some point...
TANDEN: Scott McClellan did it during the Bush years.
HILL: ...to step out. Yes. But oftentimes they're lower string people. I mean, when David Kuo writes the book about, you know, George Bush, the Evangelicals is very different than a high-ranking cabinet member.
S.E. CUPP: I think there's a lot of -- there's a lot of legacy protecting here from Hillary to Leon Panetta to Bob Gates and you have to remember, while President Obama can say, well, sure, maybe we made mistakes over here in foreign policy, look at what we did with ObamaCare and the economy. Leon Panetta and Bob Gates lived in this national security foreign policy world. It is a direct reflection on them. And I think they want to protect themselves and their legacies on some of these singular failures in particular.
TANDEN: But they shouldn't do it at other people's expense and I think that's what's --
GINGRICH: But part of this may be more than ego, you have with Gates in particular, but also to some extent with Panetta, people who see themselves as public servants, not elected officials. And I think that they are genuinely, deeply worried about exactly what John McCain talked about. I mean, I think when you have two back-to-back Secretaries of Defense saying to you this is a -- this is a mess, I think they're part of -- there is something profound about what the administration is doing wrong that's in those two books.
TANDEN: Just a minute ago, you were saying he was a career Democrat though.
CROWLEY: Well, he is a career Democrat, but the truth is that in their interviews, they go farther than that and they talk about ISIS and they do -- I mean, they have been sort of pushing at him.
CUPP: They were very clear, both of them were very clear that they were frustrated, that they thought a lot of these decisions were being made from a political point of view and not from a foreign policy perspective. And that, for someone who lives in a national security domain must be pretty chilling and frustrating to deal with.
TANDEN: I guess Leon Panetta has -- he was on the record in Iraq saying we need the agreement of the Iraqi government. And now he is saying, no, no, no, I didn't say that. But he has testimony after testimony after testimony. And he is rewriting history now in his book.
HILL: This is the most disgusting example of Monday morning quarterbacking I have ever seen. Everyone --
CROWLEY: But we don't know what he was saying behind closed doors. And you know, because they have to come out and say, I mean, your Defense Secretary isn't going come out and go -- yes.
GINGRICH: No. But the facts is everybody who was deeply involved in that, except the administration says over and over again, they could have had a deal, they could have worked it had out.
CROWLEY: But they didn't.
GINGRICH: The difference between this presidents’s non- involvement and George W. Bush's involvement was stunning. And that's what I think both Gates and Panetta are saying is, you can't try to lead the world occasionally between golf courses.