CBS Spins: Clinton Foundation Scandal Could Help Hillary 'Unify Democrats'

In CBS's first report on a new book detailing the Clinton Foundation foreign donation scandal, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, correspondent Nancy Cordes avoided the specific accusations of corruption and instead focused on the Clinton campaign dismissing the controversy as a "distraction." Cordes even touted a "potential upside" for Hillary Clinton: "...all these attacks from different directions could help unify Democrats around her."

While Monday's CBS This Morning briefly mentioned the foundation scandal, it skipped the new book about the controversy, Clinton Cash. That evening, CBS Evening News ignored the topic completely, even while NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News Tonight both offered full reports on the story.

On Tuesday, Cordes featured clips of Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta brushing aside the allegations as "distractions" and "conspiracy theories."

Clips were played of Republican 2016 contenders mentioning "Hillary Clinton" in their New Hampshire stump speeches over the weekend, but that was only to tee up another soundbite from Clinton: "The Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don't know what they'd talk about if I weren't in the race but I am in the race."

Political analyst Larry Sabato observed: "It's a tryout to be the chief, to be the nominee. And the one thing the Republican nominee has to do is not be afraid to take on Hillary Clinton in a very blunt direct way."

Cordes wrapped up the segment by citing Sabato's argument that GOP criticism could "unify Democrats" around Clinton, despite the former secretary of state so far running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

On Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell repeated her Nightly News report on the scandal:

In New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton tried to stick to her low-profile campaign plan, but faced questions about whether she did favors as secretary of state for donors to her family foundation and people who hired her husband to speak....The upcoming book, Clinton Cash, by a former Bush aide, conservative writer Peter Schweizer, cites two examples, according to The New York Times – earthquake reconstruction in Haiti and the Colombia free trade agreement. The Clinton campaign says those were Obama policies.

ABC's Good Morning America had moved on from the story by Tuesday morning.

Here is a full transcript of the April 21 report from Cordes:

7:16 AM ET

[On-SCREEN GRAPHIC: Clinton Fires Back; Presidential Candidate Dismisses Book, GOP Critics]

CHARLIE ROSE:  Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wraps up a two-day campaign swing in New Hampshire today. She spent part of her first day rejecting criticism from Republican rivals and the author of a new book. Nancy Cordes is in Concord where Clinton meets this morning with community college students. Good morning.

NANCY CORDES: Good morning. And Clinton actually came over and spoke to the press for the first time here in New Hampshire yesterday. She took a couple questions and that's where she brought up all the jabs being leveled at her by her GOP rivals but she was less interested in addressing their latest accusation. Clinton deflected questions Monday about a new book called Clinton Cash that examines foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation when she was Secretary of State.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, we’re back into the political season and therefore, we will be subjected to all kinds of distractions.

JOHN PODESTA: It’s kind of par for the course in politics these days.

CORDES: In an interview last night on the Charlie Rose show, the chairman of her presidential campaign John Podesta called the book inaccurate.

PODESTA: He's cherry picked information that's been disclosed and woven a bunch of conspiracy theories about it.

CORDES: Clinton arrived here in New Hampshire just as 19 Republican hopefuls were leaving.

CARLY FIORINA: Hillary Clinton.

BOBBY JINDAL: Hillary Clinton.

SCOTT WALKER: Hillary Clinton.

TED CRUZ: I could have sworn I saw Hillary's Scooby-Doo van outside.

CORDES: Some of them even tweeted photos of themselves being more accessible to the press than Clinton.

CLINTON: The Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don't know what they'd talk about if I weren't in the race but I am in the race.

CORDES: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker mentioned her at least half a dozen times in one speech.

WALKER: Hillary Clinton.

CORDES: And again on Fox last night.

WALKER: This is not someone who’s connected with everyday Americans.

CORDES: Political analyst Larry Sabato says it's no accident GOP candidates are going after Clinton, even though they’ll have to face each other in the primaries first.

LARRY SABATO: It's a tryout to be the chief, to be the nominee. And the one thing the Republican nominee has to do is not be afraid to take on Hillary Clinton in a very blunt direct way.

CORDES: It's no fun to be a target, of course, but Sabato says there is one potential upside for Clinton. And that is that all these attacks from different directions could help unify democrats around her. Even Democrats Norah, who might have been hoping that someone else like Senator Elizabeth Warren from neighboring Massachusetts might get into the race.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Alright Nancy thank you so much.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals CBS CBS This Morning Video Nancy Cordes Hillary Clinton

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