‘This Week’: Bill Clinton’s ‘Olympic-class Whining’ Is ‘Hurting Hillary’

A truly extraordinary thing happened Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week": the panel and the host seemed to agree that former President Bill Clinton's antics on the campaign trail are hurting Hillary's chances of winning the Democrat presidential nomination.

Maybe even more surprising, the editor of the ultra-leftwing publication "The Nation," Katrina vanden Heuvel, quoted someone close to the Clinton campaign as having said, "People are looking at him like a little league dad who's having these temper tantrums in every state."

Making matters worse, George Will referred to the former president as "an Olympic-class whiner," while host George Stephanopoulos said, "Some people are concerned about this, even inside the Party," and fretted, "I have no indication at all though that President Clinton's going to stop."

I kid you not.

Without further ado, and for your entertainment pleasure, here's a partial transcript of this truly delicious panel segment (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 7:25):

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: We're also seeing something, this is truly unique in American history, I guess we can say that just about every week in this presidential campaign. Three big weeks of primaries, in each one now we've seen Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, play basically attack dog-in-chief. Before Iowa, he goes on "Charlie Rose" and says that Barack Obama isn't ready. Before New Hampshire, he goes and talks about the fairytale of his positions on Iraq. He was out there this week attacking the caucuses, pouncing on this Reagan statement. Some people are concerned about this, even inside the Party. I have no indication at all though that President Clinton's going to stop.

GEORGE WILL, ABC: No. It's a metabolic urge on his part. He's an Olympic-class whiner, and he was whining about everything in Las Vegas as far as I can tell. But, it might work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It is working, right?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR "THE NATION": I'm not sure it's working.

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC: I think the interesting thing about Bill Clinton that he's, he's a much better politician on behalf of himself than he is on behalf of anybody else. He speaks, and he has a great ear, a great political sense about himself and where he wants to go. He doesn't have a great sense or a great ear...

VANDEN HEUVEL: He's hurting Hillary Clinton. You've seen...

DOWD: Yeah, I agree with that.

VANDEN HEUVEL: He's having a meltdown in every state, and he is so over-invested in her candidacy. When she said in New Hampshire, "I have found my own voice," she was talking about more than just the politics of it. I spoke to someone close to the campaign, who said, "Bill Clinton, people are looking at him like a little league dad who's having these temper tantrums in every state. He has to be sent far away for he reinforces it's a referendum on the Clinton presidency, the dynasty problem."

STEPHANOPOULOS: And I agree. I know there are people in the campaign saying the same thing. I know there are people pulling their hair out. I know there are senators pulling their hair out. On the other hand, on the other hand, I don't think that President Clinton believes he is hurting, and if you look at the results, someone's out there and got to do it. They're playing a good cop/bad cop, and it is getting a lot of negatives out there on Obama.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, FINANCIAL TIMES: I think that's right, and I think that at a high-altitude level, it feels like it shouldn't work. It feels like it should reinforce the dynastic concerns, which really should be one of the key issues with Hillary Clinton's candidacy. But, when it comes to what voters think and how they're actually responding, it's hard to find evidence that it's been counterproductive.

DOWD: Well, it's, you know, you can win and still do dumb things, as we've all seen campaigns that have done dumb things and won. I don't think it's helpful to her. I think the best thing that she can do is stand alone. I think the problem is that she's got to stand alone, have her voice, which I think that moment when she said "I've got my voice" had much more to do with politics, it had to do with personal, it had to do with a lot of things. I think the best thing they can do is he sort of take a step back, go off the stage, and let her stand on her own.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I hear they exiled him to the Canadian border on the eve of the New Hampshire primary it may have triggered a few points for her.

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential ABC This Week Chrystia Freeland George Will Katrina Vanden Heuvel Matthew Dowd
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