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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Drama lesson: Clinton on Fox's set-up

Why does Fox News’ Chris Wallace hate America? (Rhetorical question.) Every writer who’s been on a beat for years or decades has a few tropes, fixations and straw men they fall back upon on a morning with a touch of the flu: pudding-headed political commentators love to describe dark turns in a pol’s career as “Shakespearean,” which, unless it’s coming from a studied, articulate, passionate former theater critic like Frank Rich, is usually so much bumf drawn from a dip into the Clinton_014.jpgBartlett’s Familiar Quotations. I don’t have a stock phrase to describe the fifteen minutes linked here, but former President Clinton‘s reaction to a dishonest set-up by Fox News’ Wallace is the most dramatic thing I’ve seen anywhere in too long. (Maybe Clinton should have advised Steven Zaillian on All the King’s Men instead of James Carville.) At the link, the art of countering the art of the devious interview, without the help of writers or prompters. [Via Crooks and Liars; the rush transcript has errors; the video has the fire.] “Okay, let’s talk about it. I will answer all of those things on the merits, but I want to talk about the context (in) which this arises. I’m being asked this on the FOX network…ABC just had a right-wing conservative on “The Path to 9/11″ falsely claim that it was falsely based on the 911 Commission Report with three things asserted against me that are directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission Report. I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say that I didn’t do enough claimed (then) that I was obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn’t have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say that I didn’t do enough said that I did too much. Same people… You asked me why I didn’t do more to Bin Laden…. You brought this up, so you get an answer…


I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him. The CIA was run by George Tenet, who President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to and said he did a good job. The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came to office. If you can criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: after the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full scale attack-search for Bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that Bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would have had to send a few hundred Special Forces in helicopters and refuel at night… All I’m asking is if anybody wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book… But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didn’t. I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country: Dick Clarke… So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know.. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you’ve asked this question of? [The answer, several bloggers have noted is “zero.”] Did you ever ask that? You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch is going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers for supporting my work on Climate Change. And you came here under false pretenses… [Y]ou didn’t formulate it in an honest way and you people ask me questions you don’t ask the other side… What did I do? I worked hard to try and kill [bin Laden]. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still President, we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now I never criticized President Bush, and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is one-seventh as important as Iraq… And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever… I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get Bin Laden. I regret it, but I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could… There’s a reason it’s on people’s minds because they’ve done a serious disinformation campaign to create that impression. This country only has one person who has worked against terror…[since] under Reagan. Only one: Richard Clarke. And all I’d say [to] anybody who wonders whether we did wrong or right; anybody who wants to see what everybody else did, read his book. The people on my political right who say I didn’t do enough, spent the whole time I was president saying ‘Why is he so obsessed with Bin Laden?’ And that was Wag the Dog when he tried to kill him. My Republican Secretary of Defense, – and I think I’m the only person since WWII to have a Secretary of Defense from the opposition party – Richard Clarke, and all the intelligence people said that I ordered a vigorous attempt to get Osama Bin Laden and came closer apparently than anybody has since… So if you’re going to do this, for God’s sake, follow the same standards for everybody.”

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