CNN's Costello Touts 'Funny' Samantha Bee's Interview of Obama

On Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, Carol Costello spotlighted President Obama's appearance on Samantha Bee's TBS program, Full Frontal, where the liberal pair bemoaned Donald Trump's "sexist" attacks against Hillary Clinton. Costello zeroed in how "Bee makes no bones about it. She does want Hillary Clinton to become president and not Donald Trump." She included two extended clips of Obama and Bee, and underlined, "Okay, so it's funny. The goal there was to get young people to get out and vote." [video below]

The anchor brought on liberal commentator Sally Kohn and conservative columnist Mary Katharine Ham for their take on the Obama interview. After playing her first clip of Bee with the President, she turned to Kohn and asked, "You could argue Donald Trump has called his male opponents low energy, too. Remember low-energy Jeb?" The Daily Beast columnist replied, in part, that Trump "can be...sort of a general jerk; and then, within that, there can be particular sexist, sort of, versions thereof — when he says Carly Fiorina doesn't look presidential; or Hillary Clinton doesn't look presidential."

Costello continued by asking Ham, "But, Mary Katharine, do you think that Hillary Clinton will really have to deal with that sort of thing — you know, if she becomes president for her full term?" The conservative guest first responded with some snark: "Well, first of all, what a pair — Samantha Bee and President Obama — one is an unfunny liberal ideologue boosting the base with lame Dad jokes; and the other is the President." She added that "when the President talks about her having something to hide, that doesn't just come from sexism. That comes from things like the e-mail scandal."

Later in the segment, Kohn contended that "the media has, for up until fairly recently, gave Donald Trump a wild free pass — didn't go after him remotely, and hammered Hillary Clinton over the e-mails every single chance they got. So that now, here we are again talking about the e-mails instead of — oh, I don't know, Trump dodging $100 million in taxes." Ham countered that "the Clintons — including Hillary Clinton — have been attacked over many years, because they've done many shady things; and then, they've tried to cover them up; and then, they've gotten themselves in trouble doing that — which is exactly the story of the e-mails."

Near the end of the panel discussion, the CNN anchor played her second clip from the Obama's appearance with Bee, and asked Ham, "Okay, so it's funny. The goal there was to get young people to get out and vote. And I always wonder if that sort of thing works, Mary Katharine." The conservative columnist replied, "Look, I think the President has fun doing it. He does a good job at it. Is this the place you're going to reach a ton of young voters? Not a giant number. But I think the Internet replays are probably what they're going for. Frankly, I think Michelle Obama, on the stump, is better at that than this particular show."

The full transcript of the Sally Kohn/Mary Katharine Ham segment on the November 1, 2016 edition of CNN Newsroom:

 

CAROL COSTELLO: President Obama cut right to the chase and he minced no words when he sat down with Full Frontal — Samantha Bee — for Halloween. He called Donald Trump's comments about Hillary Clinton's low stamina sexist — and that's not all.

[CNN Graphic: "2016 Race: Obama Touts Clinton In Samantha Bee Interview"]

SAMANTHA BEE (from TBS's Full Frontal with Samantha Bee): If and when Hillary is president, what do you think will be the female equivalent of 'you weren't born in this country'?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That's an interesting question.

BEE: Thank you. I have a lot of those. (audience laughs)

OBAMA: (laughs) I think the equivalent will be, 'She's tired. She's moody. She's being emotional.'

BEE: There's just something about her.

OBAMA: There's something about her. When men are ambitious, it's just taken for granted. Well, of course they should be ambitious. When women are ambitious, why? That theme, I think, will continue throughout her presidency. And it's contributed to this notion that, somehow, she is hiding something.

BEE: What a nasty woman. (audience laughs)

[CNN Graphic: "Obama: Clinton's Ambition May Be Questioned"]

COSTELLO: With me now to talk about this is Mary Katharine Ham, senior writer for The Federalist and CNN political commentator, and Sally Kohn, a CNN political commentator, Daily Beast columnist, and Hillary Clinton supporter. Welcome to you both—

SALLY KOHN, DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Thanks, Carol—

COSTELLO: So Sally, you could argue Donald Trump has called his male opponents low energy, too. Remember low-energy Jeb?

KOHN: I mean, yeah, it's — look, there's two layers here, right? Donald Trump insults everyone — right? He insults the male Mexicans and the female Mexicans. He insults the male Muslims and the female Muslims. So, on some levels, Donald—

COSTELLO: He insults white guys, too—

KOHN: Right. And on some level, Donald Trump is an all-purpose blankety-blank. I can't say what I want to say on (Ham laughs) — but — but there is also — at that level, there's also a gender particularly to it. So he can be a — sort of a general jerk; and then, within that, there can be particular sexist, sort of, versions thereof — when he says Carly Fiorina doesn't look presidential; or Hillary Clinton doesn't look presidential, right? When he says that she doesn't have the stamina — not just low energy, right? It's a larger — like, stamina — she's not quite made for the job in the way that he is. Women all know what that means; and, frankly, in this day and age, most men can hear that, too.

COSTELLO: But, Mary Katharine, do you think that Hillary Clinton will really have to deal with that sort of thing — you know, if she becomes president for her full term?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, SENIOR WRITER, THE FEDERALIST: Well, first of all, what a pair — Samantha Bee and President Obama (Costello laughs) — one is an unfunny liberal ideologue boosting the base with lame Dad jokes; and the other is the President.

KOHN: Oh!

COSTELLO: Oh! (laughs)

HAM: Look, I think — I think this — this segment on the show probably did what they wanted it to do — which is, reach the right audience and reach women with this message. And I think that Sally's right — that Donald Trump can insult everyone; and also, have this particular issue with women — which I think he does. Will she face questions in her presidency? Yes. Will some of them be sexist? Will sexism disappear? No.

But here's the thing: when he talks about — when the President talks about her having something to hide, that doesn't just come from sexism. That comes from things like the e-mail scandal. When you look at the numbers for her trustworthiness and six in ten — six or seven in ten voters saying they don't find her trustworthy on the honesty scale; and almost as bad as Donald Trump — sometimes worse than Donald Trump in some of these polls — that comes from somewhere. And a lot of those people are women. It's not just sexism.

COSTELLO: But Mary Katharine is right. A lot of women don't like Hillary Clinton. But—

KOHN: Yeah—

COSTELLO: President — on the other hand, President Obama did go there. He said, because Hillary Clinton's an ambitious woman, that added to her untrustworthiness. And I, like Mary Katharine, can hear a lot of women saying, really?

KOHN: Right. I mean — you know, listen, I — unfortunately, nuance is dead in this election, by and large, so it's really hard to have nuanced conversations about these. But it is actually possible for both things to be true at the same time — that sexism plays a role in how we view a candidate like Hillary Clinton; and, at times, sexism has nothing to do with how we view a candidate like Hillary Clinton. For instance, the fact that the media has, for up until fairly recently, gave Donald Trump a wild free pass — didn't go after him remotely, and hammered Hillary Clinton over the e-mails every single chance they got. So that now, here we are again talking about the e-mails instead of — oh, I don't know, Trump dodging $100 million in taxes. That repeatedly, combined with the 30 years of Hillary Clinton being attacked over and over and over again, also contributes. Whether it's sexism or not, right? We — we, I think, can walk and chew gum at the same time—

COSTELLO: Mary Katharine?

HAM: Well, I feel like we're talking about all of those things. And I also feel like the Clintons — including Hillary Clinton — have been attacked over many years, because they've done many shady things; and then, they've tried to cover them up; and then, they've gotten themselves in trouble doing that — which is exactly the story of the e-mails. And you see the truth of this and exactly what people think about her coming out in the WikiLeaks Podesta e-mails, and in the FBI investigation. And voters have a gut feeling about her that is not wrong. It comes from things she has done, not from just who she is.

COSTELLO: Okay. So I will throw this in, because Samantha Bee makes no bones about it. She does want Hillary Clinton to become president and not Donald Trump. Proof: listen.

OBAMA (from TBS's Full Frontal with Samantha Bee): Yes.

BEE: Can you tell us a spooky story about what happens if people don't vote?

OBAMA: Donald Trump could be president.

BEE: Okay. That was very scary.

OBAMA: Yeah.

BEE: Let me make it even scarier for you—

OBAMA: Okay—

BEE (in accent): Supreme Court Justice Corey Lewandowski (audience and Obama laugh); Speaker of the House Louie Gohmert.

OBAMA: That was pretty scary. I'm not sure I'm going to sleep well tonight. (audience laughs)

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's funny. The goal there was to get young people to get out and vote. And I always wonder if that sort of thing works, Mary Katharine.

HAM: Look, I think the President has fun doing it. He does a good job at it. Is this the place you're going to reach a ton of young voters? Not a giant number. But I think the Internet replays are probably what they're going for. Frankly, I think Michelle Obama, on the stump, is better at that than this particular show.

COSTELLO: Sally?

KOHN: Well, look, I do think — you know, as Mary Katharine has been suggesting, that over the 30 years of hammering at Hillary Clinton —I agree, often for some good reasons, but usually exacerbated in relation to that — still, whatever skepticism voters have about Hillary Clinton is — is buried by mounds and mounds of fear and doubt about Donald Trump.

And, you know, Sam — I think Sam's great, and pointing out, along with President Obama — you know, Halloween is over, but the scariness is not. The prospect of a Trump presidency is truly frightening to our children, our friends, our futures. This is — this is some scary stuff. So, I think hopefully, that really does motivate young people to get out there and do something about it.

COSTELLO: And I would suspect the other side says exactly the same thing about Hillary Clinton's presidency—

HAM: Exactly—

COSTELLO: I've got to leave it there.

HAM: That's the essence of the race—

COSTELLO: Exactly. Mary Katharine — Mary Katharine Ham, Sally Kohn, thanks to both of you.

NB Daily Tell the Truth 2016 Campaign Watch Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential TBS CNN CNN Newsroom Video Carol Costello Sally Kohn Mary Katharine Ham Samantha Bee Barack Obama Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
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