Scarborough, Harold Ford Skirmish Over Hillary's Bullying Of Bill's Women

January 11th, 2016 8:49 AM

Is the Hillary camp sensing mortal political danger over her role as "bully" [to use Maureen Dowd's term] toward Bill's women? The question arises given the agitation, defensiveness and anger displayed by the normally mild-mannered Harold Ford, Jr., a Hillary fan, on today's Morning Joe.

Ford warning Joe Scarborough not to raise his voice to him? Ford defensively rejecting comparisons between Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby? Ford angrily rejecting Scarborough's suggestion that he's taking James Carville talking points in defending Hillary? Something's going on. Scarborough clearly hit a sore spot. Does Ford's defensiveness reflect shakiness across Hillary world?

Note: Scarborough's repeated citing of the New York Times was a reference to this editorial in which the newspaper said that Hillary has to be held "accountable" for her actions in protecting Bill's career, and her own, "from the taint of his sexual misbehavior."

JOE SCARBOROUGH: In the age of Cosby, which we are now in, I wonder how the public looks at Bill Cosby and says: this beloved man, who changed American culture as much as any entertainment figure in our lifetime is going to have to be accountable for the way he treated women behind closed doors. How does a public that has come to that conclusion say the Bill Clinton stuff's okay, and we're not even going to examine the person who may have been in charge of what has been called the, quote, sluts and nuts defense wing of the Clinton campaign, where they said, their quote was, drag a dollar bill through a trailer park and it's amazing what'll happen. 

HAROLD FORD, JR.: Look, I'm not here to defend anybody's past in some of these things. But the facts are pretty clear. Number one, these matters have been litigated and I believe if the Republican party wants to travel back down that path --

JOE: Has Hillary Clinton's role been litigated?

FORD: The issue of Mr. Clinton's sexual past --

JOE: Yeah, yeah: we're not interested in that. We already said we weren't.

FORD: But Joe, you can't say you aren't interested--that's the content, that's the core of what we're talking --

JOE: No, no: Harold: I just said the New York Times editorial said --

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: You're just trying not to talk about it.

JOE: No, no, no, no, this is --

FORD: The New York Times isn't --

JOE: This is important because --

FORD: The New York Times is not always right.

JOE: This is what Clinton defenders always do. They try to distract. In a sexual harrassment suit, they go [imitating Carville accent]: this is just about sex, it's about sex. No, it's about sexual harrassment in the workplace. This is not about Bill Clinton's sexual actions as the New York Times said.

FORD: Raising your voice at me doesn't make this right. Comparing Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby is wrong.

. . . 

JOE: Bill Clinton's sexual past, the New York Times is saying Americans are past on it, they don't care about it, it's been adjudicated. This is all about Hillary Clinton's treatment of women who may have been sexually abused. Can she move forward in this campaign, talking about a war on women, as she did in northern Iowa that women who claim to be sexually abused have the right to be heard, and the right to be believed. When she says that: is the New York Times right? Do we have to examine what she did to protect herself and her position of power when women came forward and claimed sexual abuse on her husband's part?

FORD: His career was not undone. I think voters will ultimately -- 

JOE: It's not about Bill Clinton's behavior. Harold, you just keep going back to it. I don't know if James Carville told you to do that.

FORD: I don't know if Donald Trump is giving your talking points.

JOE: I can read your exact line from the New York Times.

FORD: Don't accuse me of taking anyone's talking points. I will be critical of anyone when the facts show that. I don't believe this path, your party travelled this path, you lost a few Speakers of dealing with sex and politics. You lost a few congressmen because of their past. 

MIKA: And their careers were undone.

JOE: And guess what? Their careers were undone.

FORD: But Bill Clinton's was not. This issue was litigated. If Mrs. Clinton can't answer these questions you may very well be right. But don't accuse me of taking anyone's talking points. I an independent thinker in this. 

JOE: Of course you are.

FORD: And I'm not going to accuse the two of you for taking Donald Trump's line. Don't accuse me of taking anyone else's line.

JOE: Harold, you just keep going back to Clinton.

FORD: And then the Bill Clinton/Bill Cosby thing is overboard.

JOE: Maybe it's just you just remind me of what James Carville does.

FORD: You remind me of what Donald Trump is saying.

JOE: Do I remind you of Donald Trump?

FORD: What he's saying.

JOE: [with Carville accent] "Look over dere! Look at the plane over dere! Look over dere! Look over dere! Look at Bill Clinton's saying. Look over dere!" It's not over there. It's right here. This is about about Hillary Clinton. This is about Hillary Clinton, not Bill Clinton's actions.

FORD: And she's going to have to answer that.

JOE: Okay! That's all we've been saying.

FORD: But don't accuse me of James Carville, or conflating Bill Cosby with Bill Clinton.