Amid the growing rumors on Monday night surrounding a possible presidential run by Vice President Joe Biden, CNN’s AC360 couldn’t help but still mention Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton with chief national correspondent John King ruling that some criticism of Clinton “isn’t quite probably not fair” while David Gergen touted her as “a calm, steadying force.”
Speaking with fill-in host John Berman, CNN political commentator Carl Bernstein struck a different tone in diagnosing the “the real factor” be the Biden news includes a “distrust within the party now about the viability of Hillary Clinton's campaign that she is on very shaky ground” as Democrats are “disappointed” with “her campaign and her difficulty with being straightforward and truthful about the matters of the server.”
Following up on Bernstein’s comments, King ruled that the rumors surrounding Biden has actually helped attract attention away from “the rise of Bernie Sanders” in the polls against Clinton as she grapples with “[a] serious vulnerability.”
It was there that King diverged from the liberal CNN political commentator, declaring in a massive caveat that “[s]ome of this [criticism] isn't quite probably not fair to Hillary Clinton” since the feelings of nervousness among Democrats derive from the investigations that came about during her husband’s administration.
Following King’s prescription for Clinton that she should continue campaigning and meeting with voters, Bernstein griped that many “loyal supporters” of the former secretary of state “believe that she has played into the hand of the Clinton's enemies and party's enemies and that is what has shaken so many people” with her having “succumbed to their own worst instincts.”
Just over 10 minutes later, the topic of the tumbling stocks on Wall Street in relation to the 2016 race was on the table, but Clinton remained both the topic of discussion and admiration.
Senior political analyst David Gergen warned that American voters have been on “a summer frolic” with Donald Trump “at the center of that,” but warned that “Americans face the fact that the world financial markets are in chaos” and voters will be looking for leadership.
With Americans seeking “leadership that is strong as well as steady,” Gergen gently placed Trump in the camp of not fulfilling that description and suggested that he hasn’t acted presidential “in a way we normally think” or been a “calming” or “steadying force for society.”
In contrast, Gergen hyped the case for Clinton but lamented questions voters have about her and Jeb Bush:
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a calm, steadying force, but people are worried about whether she’s strong enough for the job and the same thing – does Jeb Bush have the kind of fire? This is going to be a testing time for presidents, for the candidate that goes far beyond the summer.
The relevant portions of the transcript from CNN’s AC360 on August 24 are transcribed below.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
August 24, 2015
8:05 p.m. Eastern
CARL BERNSTEIN: [B]ut the real factor that is driving so much of this, is the distrust within the party now about the viability of Hillary Clinton's campaign that she is on very shaky ground within her own party by people disappointed in the Democratic Party with how she’s run the campaign, with her difficulty with being straightforward and truthful about the matters of the server and that's what's brought on so much of this along with Donald Trump.
JOHN BERMAN: So, so, John, if you are Hillary Clinton, and Clinton campaign watching this, you have known that, that Joe Biden was thinking about it a while, but over the last four days, this has gone to a whole new level.
JOHN KING: It certainly has. It's gone to a whole new level at a key moment. Number one, in an odd way, this could in the long run if Joe Biden doesn't run or runs and can't beat Hillary Clinton, in an odd way help her in the sense that, what we were talking for about two weeks before Joe Biden started to dominate? And that was the rise of Bernie Sanders who came within striking distance of him of Hillary Clinton in a couple of the key early states. Now, he’s sort of on pause, while we talk about will Joe Biden get in, but Hillary Clinton – Carl laid it out right. A serious vulnerability and there’s just a conversation about potential vulnerabilities Remember, and Carl and Patty [Solis Doyle] have both been through this. Some of this isn't quite probably not fair to Hillary Clinton, but when you have an investigation, and you have the Justice Department involved because you have the same lawyers coming out of the woodwork that a lot of senior Democrats saw back in the Bill Clinton days, they get nervous. Trust me. I covered the Clintons in those days and the White House in those days. And the investigations never turn out as-up expect it. There’s always been some kind of surprise. Now, is that fair to Hillary Clinton? Probably not, but it’s a fact and it’s a history and if you’re an older, senior Democrat, when lawyers get involved, when you see the David Kendall profile on the front page of The New York Times, you get a little nervous, John. So, what does she have to do now? She has to keep campaigning. She has to get out there talking to voters. She’s probably going to have to keep talking to the media. She has a key date in October. The Vice President will make decision by then, but she has a key date in October before the Select Committee on Benghazi to give public testimony. Jerry Brown the governor of California, I think, said it quite right this past weekend. She can't just, you know, shoot and make this e-mail story go away. It’s like a vampire. It keeps coming back. You can’t keep shooting it. You’ve got to put a stack in the heart.
BERNSTEIN: There’s another aspect of this – Another aspect, John, is that people in the Democratic Party, including her really loyal supporters, believe that she has played into the hand of the Clinton's enemies and party's enemies and that is what has shaken so many people because, once again, it looks to these fundraisers, looks party leaders as if the Clintons have succumbed to their own worst instincts and that’s why there's so much talk[.].
DAVID GERGEN: We’ve had a summer frolic and there’s been lots of entertainment as well as politics and Donald Trump has been at the center of that, but now as Americans face the fact that the world financial markets are in chaos, that this economy may be more fragile, that your 401(k) could be in trouble, what Americans want now is, leadership that is strong as well as steady. It’s a steadying force for us and that's the kind of person they look for and they’re going to start trying to size up the candidates and Donald Trump is – exudes personal strength, but he hasn’t shown himself to be, quote, “presidential” in a way we normally think in that he is not a calm – calming force – steadying force for society, which is what people want in a president. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a calm, steadying force, but people are worried about whether she’s strong enough for the job and the same thing – does Jeb Bush have the kind of fire? This is going to be a testing time for presidents, for the candidate that goes far beyond the summer.