MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall displayed her disgust at GOP strategist Matt Schlapp on her show Monday when she pounded away at Carly Fiorina over a hard-charging Washington Post story today hitting Carly Fiorina for failing to pay bills from her “quixotic” 2010 Senate campaign while she reimbursed herself for loans to her own campaign. Schlapp brought up Hillary Clinton stealing furniture from the White House in 2000 (an old scandal that was broken by....that same Washington Post).
Hall told Schlapp “We’re done” and said he would regret “going there” and that he ruined a “legitimate conversation about a news report.” MRC intern Michael McKinney found Tamron's snit fit:
TAMRON HALL: Going back quickly to this Carly Fiorina report, as someone who's establishing an identity with voters, she is moving up in the polls but as we very well know she has a lot of introduction that still needs to be done. When you have a major headline in The Washington Post -- again, no one believes they lean left [!!] -- that says she went without paying these bills, Matt. Just in January, this balance was cleared, that was a few months before announcing her run for president. According to the Post, she paid herself nearly $1.3 million, and you shrug that off?
MATT SCHLAPP: No, I don't shrug it off. I'm just letting you know she left that campaign putting millions of her personal resources into it. She didn't get fully back either, she paid everybody she owed a bill to and so it is resolved. So your question, should she have paid it sooner? You should bring it up with her.
HALL: We would love to bring it up. But I'm asking as we discuss the credibility problem with one candidate, here's a person who doesn't have a huge name I.D. --
SCHLAPP: Hillary Clinton stole furniture from the White House when she left the White House!
HALL: You're actually going to --
SCHLAPP: She actually did that, she had to return it.
ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: This is what the Republicans have to run on. Stolen furniture. That's what they're talking about.
SCHLAPP: She took it! She had to return it.
HALL: Look, we're done, but I'm sure you will look back at what you just said and you're going to think to yourself, why did you go there?
SCHLAPP: Go look it up.
HALL: We were having a legitimate conversation about a news report that you could simply respond to but we'll have you back on.
SCHLAPP: It was in The Washington Post that she took stuff from the White House.
HALL: Well, I've got to move on to the breaking news that we're reporting out of Vermont. Thank you gentlemen.
Hall could have just said he was dismissed, and added “That wasn’t Leaning Forward in any way!”
Indeed, on February 5, 2001, The Washington Post listed these as the items with which the Clintons absconded:
-- $19,900 two sofas, an easy chair and an ottoman from Steve Mittman, New York.
-- $3,650 kitchen table and four chairs from Lee Ficks, Cincinnati.
-- $2,843 sofa from Brad Noe, High Point, N.C.
-- $1,170 lamps from Stuart Schiller, Hialeah, Fla.
-- $1,000 needlepoint rug from David Martinous, Little Rock.
“Gifts Were Not Meant for Clintons, Some Donors Say," announced the headline over the story by reporter George Lardner Jr. which the Post placed on page 3. Lardner reported:
Among the gifts that former President Bill Clinton says he is keeping as personal presents he accepted last year are $28,000 worth of furnishings that documents and interviews indicate were given to the National Park Service in 1993 as part of the permanent White House collection.
In our 2007 book Whitewash, Brent Bozell and I explained how the media went on defense for Hillary much like Tamron Hall back then, especially at NBC, placing it the Phony Scandal category:
Pause here and contemplate: What would have been the media reaction had it been the Reagans making off with White House furniture? You can just imagine the stories that would be filed, day after day, night after night, with no end in sight. What did they make off with? Who was responsible? What does it say about the Reagans that they would do this? Are these criminal offenses? Should the Reagans be indicted? Should a special prosecutor be enjoined? It is standard fare for this avalanche to follow when Republicans are accused of improper behavior.
But not Democrats. It is true that CNN gave the story continuous (if not as comprehensive) coverage. But ABC felt this story was so unnewsworthy that it reported nothing. On CBS, Dan Rather touched on it only once, for 19-seconds – with the cursory announcement of the Clintons’ decision to return items.
For its part NBC was schizophrenic in its coverage. When the initial Washington Post report came out February 5, NBC’s Lisa Myers gave it a full Nightly News story, but by the next morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer was already tired of it. “Is this a big deal or are we in the middle of Pick on the Clintons Month?” he asked Newsweek’s [Howard] Fineman who mourned in agreement, “Well it’s always Pick on the Clintons Month.”
Lauer continued his damage control efforts. “But isn’t there a kind of large gray area here? This isn’t black and white. First of all, other presidents have taken gifts from the White House and some of the donors say here, by the way, they’re honored if the Clintons took these gifts. So why is it a big deal?”
....Not only was this a big deal, but it became even uglier when it emerged that the Clintons actually had been helping themselves to White House furniture for quite some time. On Saturday, February 10, a follow-up Washington Post front-page story, headlined “Clintons Shipped Furniture Year Ago," recounted how Chief usher Gary Walters objected when the Clintons shipped furniture to their Chappaqua home in early 2000, arguing that the items had been donated to the White House after the Clintons took office, but the White House counsel’s office told him he was wrong....
Two days later, on February 12, Lisa Myers returned with another NBC Nightly News story: “In more damage control today, Senator Hillary Clinton blames a bookkeeping error for the fact that 16 pieces of White House furniture, all government property, were sent to the Clintons’ New York home, then had to be returned.” In this report Hillary blamed the situation on “some cataloging errors made seven or eight years ago.”
But a week later NBC’s Katie Couric was back to damage control mode, picking up her colleague Lauer’s lament in an interview with Chris Matthews and columnist Mike Barnicle. "With the exception of the pardon of Marc Rich and some other moves that probably were somewhat questionable, would you concede this morning that it's gotten to the point where there is a bit of piling on going on here?” she wanted to know. “I mean, it seems to me that he has done some things that other Presidents have done in the past. I mean, you look at other presidential libraries, they are filled with things that those presidents got during their years at the White House. And yet somehow it's become a high crime for Bill Clinton to take some of these things with him to put in his presidential library."