Could you just give me a straight answer? Like a simple yes or no? Please don't try to squirm your way out of it. You still won't answer? Aggghhh! Aggghhh! AGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!
One could forgive Jake Tapper if he felt like channeling his inner Sam Kinison on CNN's The Lead today while he was trying to get a simple answer from Hillary Clinton spokeswoman, Karen Finney, on the subject of Hillary's position on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade bill in Congress. Tapper's very visible exasperation with Finney's nonanswers were completely understandable as she continued her evasive shuffle on the topic all through the interview.
JAKE TAPPER: First I want to ask you about this breaking news in Washington D.C. today and about Secretary Clinton's position on the President's trade bill. In a 2012 speech in Australia, Clinton who was a big proponent of the Pacific Partnership bill said quote, "It sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free transparent fair trade. The kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field." It sounds to me like she is a big supporter of it but as a candidate she said nothing about it.
KAREN FINNEY: Well, but what you just read, that was from 2012 and we are now in 2015 and this deal has gone back and forth between the House and the Senate and then it sounds like we are going back and forth again another couple of times so that is part of why as you played earlier on your show, Hillary has made it very clear that she has her two kind of standards. Any trade deal has to meet those two tests and she has voted for trade agreements that she thought were good and she has voted against those that she thought were bad.
Hillary has made it very clear? Jake Tapper wasn't buying it since we still don't know where she stands:
TAPPER: Okay so she opposes this one?
FINNEY: Well, no, that is why she has said that though that she really believes what's really important from a policy perspective, not the political conversation, she really believes that the final language is really what is important. Because we can talk about currency manipulation but how do we get there? How do we accomplish that?
Do you have the feeling that Finney is just trying to filibuster her way to the end of the interview? Meanwhile Tapper presses on:
TAPPER: But Karen I am talking about policy because Democrats in the House and Senate have now voted on this. This is an issue that every single Democrat who has announced that they are running for the presidency has taken a position on except for the one who helped push it and did she even help write it? I believe she helped write it.
FINNEY: I can't speak to that because I wasn't at the State Department. But again I just go back to the bigger picture and that is what she has really been focused on. And I hear what you are saying and I know that there are people who, you know, they have things that they want her to say about this but she and, you know, you played her own words. This is how she has laid out her position on this issue in terms of does it protect American workers, does it keep America safe, what is the final language? I mean again you have seen the ping-pong back and forth...
Blah...blah...blah. Just toss random words out there to fill up the time, Karen. Hopefully it will get you to the end of the interview without giving a definite answer.
TAPPER: But Obama says it does. Pelosi says it doesn't. I don't think. I'm not asking her about her personal life...
FINNEY: Do you really think we are at final language at this point? I don't think we're done at this point given the game.
The dam now bursts for Tapper and his frustration at Finney's answer avoidance pours out.
TAPPER: Karen, isn't this exactly what people hate about politicians? That they won't take a position because as soon as they take a position they are so fearful what the response is going to be from voters? Like she was part of this administration. This administration supports this trade bill. Okay, what I don't understand is why you just won't say we oppose it now in its current form. We oppose it. We don't support it anymore.
FINNEY: You know what Jake, I hear you. And again my point is I think when she has talked to voters what they have wanted to talk to her about is the economy and jobs and college affordability so...
At this point, Tapper vents his frustration with Miss Avoidance at a much higher volume level in his voice:
TAPPER: This IS about the economy and jobs! This is the little switcheroo people do sometimes. Like as if I am asking about her hair or her clothes. I'm not. I'm asking about a trade deal.
FINNEY: I didn't say that you were saying that. My point is she has made it very clear where she is broadly on ths deal. I don't think we are at the final language...
TAPPER: So generally speaking she supports it?
Come on, Jake. You really expect a straight answer after all this shuffling?
FINNEY: Generally speaking any trade deal has to meet her two tests and that is where she is at.
Finally, Tapper throws in the towel and gives up trying to get a straight answer from the Hillary hack.
TAPPER: I can see I am getting nowhere...
Exit question: Will Jake Tapper be able to get a straight answer on this matter by the time he begins his new gig as host of State Of The Union this Sunday on CNN? I wouldn't count on it.