Viewers of Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC could witness the recurring elephant in the room with regard to the Clintons that journalists repeatedly try to tamp down, in the form of Hillary Clinton's reported history of threatening and trying to discredit women who have made sexual assault accusations against her husband.
Liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus tried to minimize the issue to Hillary Clinton being the victim of her husband simply committing adultery, while host Chuck Todd, when forced to confront the issue by guest Rudy Giuliani, actually rushed to Hillary's defense and claimed that "those allegations have not been true."
As the show's first segment featured Donald Trump surrogate Giuliani to respond to the videotape from 2005 of Trump bragging obscenely about his behavior toward women, and suggestions that the GOP presidential nominee might bring up Bill Clinton's history with women, Todd ended the segment by wondering: "Has he ruled out bringing up Bill Clinton's personal life at tonight's debate?"
Giuliani brought up the possibility that Trump would make an issue of Hillary's behavior toward women who were mistreated by her husband. Giuliani: "I believe he will not bring up Bill Clinton's personal life. I do believe there's a possibility he'll talk about Hillary Clinton's situation if it gets to that. I don't think he prefers to get to that, but I think he will if he's trying to show-"
Looking confused, Todd jumped in: "What does that mean? What situation?"
The NBC host responded uncomfortably with nervous laughter during Giuliani's clarification: "What I'm talking about are the things that she has said and that have been reported in various books and magazines and other places about the women that Bill Clinton raped, sexually abused, and attacked."
Todd started to inject, "None of it," as the former New York mayor continued: "Not Bill Clinton's role, but her role as the attacker."
The NBC host was in denial as he concluded the segment: "I've run out of time because I know you have to do another television interview, but those allegations have not been true."
Toward the end of the show, during the roundtable segment, Republican panel member Sara Fagen brought up the issue of how Hillary might respond if confronted directly about her reaction to her husband's behavior, although she stopped short of describing his behavior as sexual assault. Fagen:
I do think in tonight's debate -- and Donald Trump is the wrong person to do this -- but Hillary Clinton has never been asked about the way she described the women who accused Bill Clinton -- all alleged, but near 20 -- and she did go on TV on this network in the '90s, and, you know, effectively call them nuts, say that they had things in their background, if we're going to have a conversation about sexual abuse and sexual predators, she should be asked if she regrets the way she handled that.
After Todd wondered, "Do you think she has an answer of that nature?" Heather McGhee of the left-wing Demos predicted: "I think we'll have to see tonight. I think there's no way in the world that Donald Trump doesn't bring that up and it doesn't become a shouting match pretty quickly."
After Todd responded, "I've always wondered if she has to have an answer that isn't a deflection," Marcus made her attempt to sidestep and downplay the severity of what the Clintons were actually accused of doing: "Her answer is, 'My husband's not on the ballot, I am.'"
As Fagen injected, "He's not on the ballot, but she is, and she handled that in a way that is," Marcus added: "'My husband cheated on me, and I stayed with him. You cheated on your wives and left them.'"