Clinton Loses Town Hall on Arguments But Wins on Intimidation of Host

Yesterday’s appearance by Hillary Clinton on This Week has received the most coverage for her once again supporting the gas tax holiday and saying she’s not going to listen to all the economists who disagree with her. Even someone asking a question at the Town Hall realized she was pandering:

I have — Sen. Clinton, I actually make less than $25,000 a year, so talking about gas prices is not academic for me. I really do feel pain at the pump.

However, I do feel pandered to when you talk about suspending the gas tax. I don’t think that it’s really a reasonable plan, and call me crazy, but I actually listen to economists, because I think that they know what they studied.

Robert Reich responded on his blog, comparing Clinton to George Bush:

In case you’ve missed it, we now have a president who doesn’t care what most economists think. George W. Bush doesn’t even care what scientists think. He rejects all experts who disagree with his politics. This has led to some extraordinarily stupid policies.

I’m not saying HRC is George Bush. And I’m not suggesting economists have all the answers. But when economists tell a president or a presidential candidate that his or her idea is dumb – and when all respectable economists around America agree that it’s a dumb idea – it’s probably wise for the president or presidential candidate to listen. When the president or candidate doesn’t, and proudly defends the policy by saying she’s “not going to put my lot in with economists,” we’ve got a problem, folks.

Even though the summer gas tax holiday is pure hokum, it polls well, which is why HRC and John McCain are pushing it. That Barack Obama is not in favor of it despite its positive polling numbers speaks volumes about the kind of president he’ll be – and the kind of president we’d otherwise get from McCain and HRC.

Haven’t we had enough of politicians who reject facts in favor of short-term poll-driven politics?

The Town Hall received controversy even before it occurred due to being hosted by George Stephanopoulos. The show did not help Stephanopoulos’ reputation as an independent journalist. Hillary Clinton spent most of the show ignoring the planned format of having the two seated. Instead she stood and grabbed Stephanopoulos by the balls. Ok, only the first part of that is true as was noted at CBS’s blog:

The interview was billed as a “town hall” where Indiana voters would get a chance to ask Clinton questions. Minutes into the interview, Clinton decided to ditch her chair, preferring to stand and address the audience. What ensued was an awkward interaction between Clinton and Stephanopoulos when the ABC host was forced to ask a few questions from his chair while Clinton loomed over him. (In fairness to Stephanopoulos, oftentimes in seated interview settings the journalist and/or the guest have their microphone cord taped to the chair, restricting one’s movement.)

Stephanopoulos tried to recover by standing alongside Clinton, but was forced to stand in a strange position as he remained tied to his chair.

After the first commercial break, the two were seated again, but within seconds Clinton decided she had had enough, forcing Stephanopoulos to stand, again.

The interview took another unpleasant turn when Stephanopoulos tried to pin down Clinton over her position on NAFTA, a trade program introduced by her husband during his presidency. Clinton has come out against the plan saying it was not good for American workers. Stephanopoulos said, “The Clinton administration didn’t do enough to address the downside of globalization and therefore failed the workers in Indiana and the workers of the West?”

Clinton clearly took offense to the tone of the question and while answering, decided to take a jab at the host.

As Joe Gandelman pointed out, “On most NEWS shows the interviewer is supposed to set the rules about where guests sit and the format. And the interviewer/journalist is supposed to be the one in control of the setting.” He concluded that, “Stephanopoulos finishes the day being perceived by some as a former Clinton employee still seemingly intimidated by his former boss.”

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  1. 1
    MsJoanne says:

    While I appreciate the intent of this complaint, I like that someone gave Stephie a slapdown.  After his abysmal performance in the last “debate” and his totally softballing questions for McCain, he should be taken out (of the teevee’s) not just taken down a notch or three.

  2. 2
    Politivine says:

    The Clinton “Town Hall” was a little awkward to watch. The entire time that I was watching it though, I had this feeling of Clinton repeatedly lying to me. The gas tax holiday, NAFTA, etc. she either lied or misrepresented just about every topic that came up.

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