Cokie Roberts: Team Clinton Doesn't 'Have a Clue' on 'How to Fix' Hillary's Low Trustworthiness

July 3rd, 2016 5:48 PM

On Sunday's morning's This Week show on ABC, host Martha Raddatz asked normally unflappable Hillary Clinton supporter Cokie Roberts about the "deep mistrust" voters have towards presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton. Concerning her campaign, Roberts responded that "I don’t think they have a clue how to fix it." That's understandable. How do you "fix" a media-enabled problem at least two decades in the making?

Raddatz tried to deflect discussion of Mrs. Clinton's serious problem by telling people to go see the play Hamilton. Roberts took the cue, and in a bizarre non sequitur, said that Alexander Hamilton "lied too, to his wife."

Here's the brief video:

Transcript (bolds are mine):

HOST MARTHA RADDATZ: Welcome to everybody. Happy holidays.

COKIE ROBERTS: Happy Fourth.

RADDATZ: But we have a lot of work to do here first before you can go enjoy yourself. Cokie, you heard the anger towards Hillary Clinton this week. And now we have her before the FBI. Do you think the campaign understands how deep the mistrust?

ROBERTS: Oh, they have to. I mean, they just simply have to. The polling numbers are so severe. One after another showing people don’t find her honest and trustworthy, and find Donald Trump more honest and trustworthy. But I don’t think they have a clue how to fix it.

RADDATZ: Go to Broadway.

ROBERTS: Yeah, right, go see Hamilton. That’ll do it. He lied too, to his wife, terrible.

(Aside: Raddatz's "Happy Holidays" greeting is strange. What's the other holiday besides Independence Day?)

As to Roberts' Hamilton reference, she might want to ask Juanita Broaddrick how Hamilton's lying to his wife about committing serial adultery with one person matches up with the record of Bill Clinton's activities and his wife's willingness to enable them and cover them up.

In January 1996, the late New York Times columnist William Safire assessed Mrs. Clinton as follows:

Blizzard of Lies

Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady -- a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation -- is a congenital liar.

Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.

Safire identified three then-current situations involving Mrs. Clinton's failure to tell the truth:

  1. Her claim, in Safire's words, of "studying The Wall Street Journal to explain her 10,000 percent profit in 1979 commodity trading." Instead, Safire wrote that "We now know that was a lie told to turn aside accusations that as the Governor's wife she profited corruptly."
  2. How she attempted to escape being tagged as the person who ordered White House travel aides fired: "She induced a White House lawyer to assert flatly to investigators that Mrs. Clinton did not order the firing of White House travel aides."
  3. Concerning the Whitewater investigation, "The records show Hillary Clinton was lying when she denied actively representing a criminal enterprise known as the Madison S.& L."

Mrs. Clinton's track record in the two decades since thoroughly vindicates Safire's column-ending assessment of her motivations, Even though written 20 years ago, it ties directly to how she has conducted herself in connection with Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, her paid speeches, her unauthorized email/private server use, and other matters:

Therefore, ask not "Why didn't she just come clean at the beginning?" She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.

She has gotten as far as she has — from all appearances, one general election away from the presidency — because the establishment press has done everything it can since Mrs. Clinton came onto the national scene in 1992 to avoid having her "called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends."

Thanks to that effort, it's taken almost a quarter-century, but the vast majority of the American public appear to have finally figured her out. Now the only remaining way the press can drag her over the finish line is to convince the public that her opponent is somehow worse.

Cross-posted at