NBC's Mitchell Felt Hillary Looked Like a 'Trapped Animal'

Andrea Mitchell’s parade of complaints about “The Hillary Papers” at the University of Arkansas can be better explained by a peek at her own 2005 memoir “Talking Back.” In her chapter on being a “White House Pit Bull” in the Clinton years, Mitchell made clear that for more than two decades, she’s sympathized with Hillary’s rise to power.

“One of the first times I ever say Hillary Clinton, she looks like a trapped animal, fighting for her life. Still in her head-band long hair mode, she had joined her husband to campaign in New Hampshire as he tried to cope with twin scandals” – a sex scandal and a draft-dodging scandal.

“Hillary Clinton was quarry we were chasing, but at the same time I felt such sympathy for her, not only as a woman, but also as another human being. I could separate myself from the situation and see that there was a real person caught in the midst of all this. Yet she was also complicit. As Bill Clinton’s chief defender, she helped devise the strategy to deflect the charges they both knew were coming. The strange amalgam defined their political partnership: She was a victim, but she was also in charge of damage control.”

Mitchell wrote she felt Hillary “might have a point whjen she talked about trying to maintain the Clintons’ ‘zone of privacy.” And yet....

“Yet the Clintons’ relationship remained a legitimate part of the political debate, because because they themselves told the voters of New Hampshire, ‘buy one, get one free.’ They were a team, a package deal, what Hillary called the ‘blue plate special’ – a twofer running for president of the United States.”

That’s the same deal they’ll offer in 2016. He won’t be baking cookies and hosting teas.

Mitchell wrote in her book that she felt bad that she spurred Mrs. Clinton into that 1992 cookies-and-tea gaffe in 1992, but she felt encouraged at her growth. “She was, and is, a formidable campaigner. She is now a virtuoso at taking the media attention she attracts and making it work to her advantage. But it took years to perfect those skills.”

It’s always easier to be a “virtuoso” with media attention when mediators like Mitchell are so eager to make her look as great as possible.

Tim Graham's picture