Clinton: Russert Asked Hillary ‘Breathtakingly Misleading’ Question

Is this what we have to look forward to the next twelve months before Election Day: any time a member of the media asks Hillary Clinton a tough question, her husband is going come to her defense, wagging his finger as he only he can, declaring in his smug tone that she was unfairly treated?

Such was certainly the case Friday when former President Bill Clinton aggressively responded to a reporter's question about Tuesday's Democrat presidential debate when NBC's Tim Russert asked Hillary:

Senator Clinton, I'd like to follow up, because in terms of your experience as first lady, in order to give the American people an opportunity to make a judgment about your experience, would you allow the National Archives to release the documents about your communications with the president, the advice you gave? Because, as you well know, President Clinton has asked the National Archives not to do anything until 2012.

As you likely know, Hillary stumbled a tad with her answer Tuesday, and, as a result, her husband responded to this reporter as if he was back on the set of "Fox News Sunday" poking Chris Wallace in the chest (video available here, h/t Hot Air):

In all my born days in watching presidential debates, Tim Russert holding that letter up to my wife, and telling the American people that that was a letter from me to the Archives to cover up records involving her, and to make sure none were released by 2009. That is what he said. Do you agree that's what he said? You asked the question, so I'm asking. Why did you ask the question? Because of what he said during the debate, right? What did he say? Have I fairly represented what he said?...No, he used the word "2009," but let me just say, the truth is Hillary didn't know what he was talking about. The implication was that in the last few weeks since she's been a candidate, I had endeavored to cover up records involving her. Do you agree with that? That was what people thought when they heard that question. Here are the facts.


That's what the letter said. In other words, she was incidental to the letter. It was done five years ago. It was a letter to speed up presidential releases, not to slow them down. And she didn't even, didn't know what he was talking about. And now that I described to you what the letter said, you can readily understand why she didn't know what he was talking about.

It was breathtakingly misleading. Now, I don't know whether Tim Russert, I've never seen him deliberately mislead people before. So, it could be that he just read what was in Newsweek, which is also dead wrong, and believed that because it was in Newsweek, it was the Gospel.


The whole thing was a total canard. It was wrong. And you can see I feel strongly about because I knew, I was sitting there watching that debate saying, "There's no way Hillary knows this." I signed a routine letter to the Archives five years ago trying to accelerate the release of my background, my records, which five years later, in a different context, is misrepresented as an attempt to block access to information on my wife so that they could play gotcha with her at the end while they were asking other people if they had seen UFOs, believed there was life on other planets, and what they were wearing for Halloween.

Pretty amazing, wouldn't you agree? The only thing missing was a reference to a right-wing hit job!

Yet, are we really to believe that Hillary didn't know what Russert was talking about?

After all, we're constantly being told that Mrs. Clinton is one of the smartest women on the face of the planet, and that she was tremendously involved in all of Bill's important decisions when he was president.

Did this end five years ago when he wrote this letter to the National Archives?

Furthermore, as he was familiar with what was in that Newsweek article on this very subject, given her vast intellect, why wasn't she?

Regardless of the answers, this was clearly a foreshadowing of not only what we should expect in the next twelve months, but also clearly what would happen if she's actually elected president.

Of course, this was also a warning to media members to be careful how they question Hillary, for anything that Bill finds offensive will clearly meet with repercussions.

With that in mind, as media have complained for many years about their relationship with the Bush White House, given the tongue-lashing they're now receiving from the Clintons just for doing their job, they had better be careful assisting this couple back onto 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Please support NewsBusters today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential
Noel Sheppard's picture