May 18th, 2014
03:34 PM ET
2 months ago

Political Chatter: Hillary Clinton is talk of the town

Hillary Clinton was the subject that consumed the political talk shows, as questions continued to be raised about Karl Rove’s comments regarding her health.

While Republicans attacked the noncandidate, Democrats defended her but also expressed concern over her strategy so far in advance of the next presidential election.

If you missed the Sunday political talk shows, we’ll get you up to speed on the latest events and opinion in Washington with this comprehensive roundup of all things political:


Hillary Clinton: It’s widely accepted that it hasn’t been a good couple of weeks for Hillary Clinton. She is being attacked by Republicans over various foreign policy problems, including Benghazi and Boko Haram; her approval ratings are sliding, Monica Lewinsky spoke out, and Bill Clinton’s vocal defense could be making things worse.

And now some Democrats are questioning aspects of her strategy.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said he is concerned about the “inevitability” factor with a potential Clinton nomination.

“I do worry about the inevitability thing,” Patrick said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that it’s “off-putting to the … average voter.”

“I think that was an element of her campaign the last time,” he said, without having to specify how that turned out (Barack Obama won). “I just hope that the people around her pay attention to that this time around.”

Clinton said she was going to take it easy and catch up on her sleep after she stepped down as secretary of state last year, but she took little downtime and immediately turned to writing a book, “Hard Choices,” that is to be released next month. She has also been traveling the country to make paid speeches, stoking speculation that she is strategically plotting a presidential run.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, expressed concerns similar to Patrick’s.

“I did talk with her and thought it would be better that she not get out there early, because her favorability was so high, that all that could happen in this is go down,” Feinstein said on “State of the Union.”

Feinstein was right. Clinton’s approval rating has slipped.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is dealing with severe wildfires in his state, said on ABC’s “This Week” that while Clinton is the “overwhelming favorite” for the Democrats in 2016, front-runner status comes with challenges.

“Being a front-runner is being on a perch that everyone else is going to try to knock you off of,” he said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that Clinton needs to be “wise” on how she proceeds.

Feinstein, however, is still a fan. She said Republican strategist Karl Rove’s public speculation that Clinton might have brain damage is “pathetic.”

“She’s in the prime of her political life,” Feinstein said.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Rove said the Clintons are hypocritical for crying foul.

“I love President Clinton’s comments the other day,” Rove said. “Let’s remember, this is a guy who ran for office savaging Bob Dole.”

“I love being lectured by Bill Clinton,” Rove said sarcastically.

Bill Clinton didn’t necessarily lecture Rove, but he did defend his wife last week, saying she is “strong.” But the former president might have made the situation worse for his wife by saying she had a “terrible” concussion that took six months to get over. That is the first time anyone from her team has said it was a six-month recovery.

“Karl Rove is struggling to be relevant,” Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri shot back on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” calling the former Bush adviser’s super PAC, which spent more than $175 million trying to elect Republican Mitt Romney, an “abject failure.”

McCaskill - who has had a complicated relationship with Hillary Clinton ever since the 2008 campaign, when she backed Clinton’s challenger, then-Sen. Barack Obama - called Rove’s remarks “a cheap political shot.”

While the Rove talking point was a central point of discussion, Republicans on the talk shows didn’t jump to defend him.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent, said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that Rove’s remarks were “outrageous and over the pale.”
On Fox, former Vice President Dick Cheney - who has had severe health problems, including five heart attacks - didn’t question Clinton’s health but said, “Any presidential candidate … is going to have to answer questions about their health.”

Cheney’s take was similar to the one by Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee, but neither refused an opportunity to criticize Clinton - which brings us to Benghazi.

Benghazi: “I think she clearly bears responsibility for whatever the State Department did or didn’t know about it,” Cheney said about Clinton and the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. “I do think it’s a major issue. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of it yet.”

Priebus said Clinton’s health isn’t an issue for him, but that she “is trying to sweep Benghazi under the rug.”

Democrats, who have dismissed Republicans’ ongoing attempts to find more damaging information on Benghazi, played down the GOP’s criticisms again.

McCaskill again defended Clinton with a huge compliment - perhaps a public attempt at mending their relationship with a slight against Obama: “She has got the strongest resume for president of anyone who had run in a very long time.”

Feinstein said the special committee on Benghazi launched by House Republicans is “ridiculous.”

“It’s a hunting mission for a lynch mob,” she said on “State of the Union.” She pointed to the previous four reports, numerous hearings, and thousand-page document reviews as proof that there is nothing left to uncover.

But Republicans know that keeping Benghazi in the spotlight could, at best, peel away at Clinton’s favorability and, at worst, implicate her for her role. Given that, Priebus was out with a bold prediction: “Given the month she just had, I actually doubt very much whether she actually will run for president in 2016.”

The VA: Amid the growing scandal about wait times and care at veterans' hospitals, President Obama's chief of staff, Dennis McDonough, said the President is "madder than hell and I have got the scars to prove it."

But the head of the Veterans Affairs Department, Eric Shinseki, received tepid support.

Dr. Samuel Foote, the retired VA doctor who first spoke to CNN about this story, said on “Fox News Sunday” that firing Shinseki wouldn’t solve much.


Rights group calls VA official 'scapegoat' in scandal over wait times, care

“It we switch secretaries then the focus will get away from fixing the problem to who the new secretary’s going to be. And then he’ll have three- or six-month or a nine-month grace period because he’s the new guy,” Foote said. “Our best bet at this point is to keep the (current) secretary on board, but I think the President needs to keep him on a pretty short leash and be sure that he's doing the job."

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger had a different take, saying Shinseki should go. “We need to get somebody there … that knows how to fix the problem,” he said.

Offering assurance that Shinseki will keep his job – for now – McDonough said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" that the VA head will "continue to work these issues until they're fixed."

Kicker: Feinstein said her relationship with the CIA isn’t any better since she publicized the feud between the agency and her oversight committee over alleged spying on her staff’s computers.

“I’m not there to be the most popular person in any building,” she said. “When there’s something going on that shouldn’t be, we do something about it.”


Filed under: Dick Cheney • Hillary Clinton • Karl Rove
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Imgn_desi

    The way she is pushed is like she is some sought of royal heir to the throne.That is putting off so many people

    May 18, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. 1776usa2016

    Oh yeah, before I forget, Benghazi, BENGHAZI !!!

    .

    May 18, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. phantom235

    Criminally negligent and incompetent.
    Not a single achievement during her tour old duty.
    A disgrace exceeded only by her boss and successor.

    May 18, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Kendall

    Hillary Clinton lied as a staff member of the House Judiciary Committee

    Dan Calabrese reveals in his column that former general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Zeifman, indicated that he fired the 27 year old Hillary Rodham from the House Judiciary Committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation due to her lying and unethical conduct. Zeifman said that during the Watergate investigation Hillary lied in a legal brief, them removed evidence from public access that would document her conduct.

    May 18, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. 2_indy1600

    HRC is indeed the heir to the Clinton Crime family. They put Obama in office to take the heat off her 2016 run, but it hasn't worked out that way. The more you know, the worse it gets, and I'll admit I sure didn't know enough about the Clintons when I voted for Obama. Who knew they were already in the WH before Obama had a chance to write his own legacy? The personnel they put in the pipeline all need to be flushed.

    May 18, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    The Dem media are talking up Hillary at every turn, while everyone ELSE is talking about her lack of any significant accomplishments.

    May 18, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Mike

    Republicans are running scared. They have no unity in their own party. They fight against themselves. And many of them make such stupid statements it makes their party look bad. If they don't get their head out of their butt. And start supporting the average American middle class. Hillary is going to win by a landslide. Any of the Republicans that do have common sense and are genuinely concerned about the average American get no support. I believe in a lot of the Conservative values but the party has become filled with hypocrites. Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are not the answer to fix this country!

    May 18, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Olympic Eagle

    The reason she is so prominent this early is that the Republicans have no one that can appeal to enough voters. So, the focus is on her. Right now, there isn't a sane Republican that does not have his own baggage. Seriously, Ted Cruz? Rick Perry?, I like Jeb Bush, but after his brother and a reliance on perhaps the same support staff? Rand Paul–Wall Street and power elite won't support this guy over Hillary. Marco Rubio– why would he have any more "experience" than Obama when he won? (Plus Rubio mental midget compared to Obama). Scott Walker? I think this is why Romney is ofter mentioned as taking another stab at it. You guys on the right should consider it.

    May 18, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. sbird

    She has my vote.

    And I used to vote republican.

    May 18, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Rudy NY

    HRC has a cult following. Similar to a cult movie. She is a fad and the "original" choice only because she is a woman. The Democrats are doing separate and they are hoping that offering the first something will be enough to win it for them.. obvious

    May 18, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Hillary Clinton - Butcher of Benghazi

    This incompetent accomplice to murder should be in jail, not the White House. This country royally screwed up with Obama because he was a novelty, a first. Well, we now now experience DOES matter. The only thing we know about Hillary Clinton is that she is good at getting people killed, then lying to their families.

    May 18, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. george t hibbs

    This woman looks like she has aged 30 years in the past 5 or 6 years. Clinton has not exhibited the leadership qualities one would think an ideal candidate should have. Her stint as Secretary of State was very unremarkable and I am being kind here and also not commenting on Benghazi, the latter of which may be her ultimate undoing. Some of this lack luster performance as Secretary of State maybe do in part to a lack of a comprehensive foreign policy by Obama. On the other hand, Hillary hardly lit things up during the brief time she was a Senator.

    May 18, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. DC Observer

    If Hillary got into the Oval Office, this country would be set back 10 years...the middle class would suffer; and all we would hear is criticism from Bill about Bush, and whines from Hillary saying "what does it matter".

    She is absolutely the worst person to be put in the Oval Office - ZERO experience and NO new ideas...

    It would be 4 years of polarized warfare – unemployment would go up; the markets would decline; and our standing in the world would be further diminished.

    Joe Biden would make a better President. Heck, Harry Reid would be better and I hate Harry

    May 18, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Tychi

    Why do you think Rove started this story about problems with Hillary? Make people wonder about her metal stability. Hopefully this will actually come out as a plus for Hillary after everyone sees what a scum Rove is.

    May 18, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. REGinAZ

    Two things are very obvious about the GOP’s aggressive attacks on Clinton: first, it gives her a whole lot of credit as it clearly identifies just how afraid of her they are; and second, consistently they demonstrate that they are totally dependent on just criticism, with absolutely nothing real to offer the people, the majority. With being totally dependent on always trying to propagandize to excite emotions with criticisms and with hyped-up conjectures to promote fears, their positions simply lack any real value for most everyone, including not any for the total middle-class. Actually, as “puppets” with their complete concentration being focused on just their political ambitions and on always serving “the money”, who “pull their strings” and strongly support them, there really is nothing they can offer the people. A shame but true.

    May 18, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Thomas

    We need a third Bush , the third time is the charm .

    We need the know how of the same people who broke the country to fix it ?

    I say why pay them until it's fixed right . It's like the Bush plumbing company , don't pay the bill til Jeb comes back and unclogs the pipes .

    May 18, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Paul

    The 2016 presidency is hers for the asking and she will take it because a legacy of being the first female President could never get any better. It's a done deal no matter what any blogger or pundit says.

    May 18, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. peanut

    I am looking for firsts also. how about the first woman to be drafted sent to war and killed in action make hillary a first in THAT category||||

    May 18, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. SmarterThanILook

    JFK was to young, Reagan and McCain were to old. Both sides do it so what's the big deal? Besides, if she does run she will be forced to turn over her medical records.

    May 18, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. BTLProd

    Talk of the town? You would think, by now, even the die hard Democrats would have learned that no experience, no accomplishments and no Leadership skills in a President is a bad thing.

    May 18, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    At this point what difference does it make !!!

    Americans are still DEAD in Benghazi.

    The cover up continues.

    Mrs. Clinton FAILED in her DUTY.

    NO.... Mrs. Clinton we will NOT forget.

    May 18, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. 2_indy1600

    Why would anyone want a president in power who has admitted years ago that the CFR controlled the government in Washington? Billy,Bubba,SlickWilly,WildBill,WacoBill Clinton has done enough damage with NAFTA, which even the CFR has admitted has only expanded the US GDP "very slightly." There have been similar, small positive effects on Canada and Mexico, our closest neighbors. So just exactly who or what are the Clintons helping? It sure isn't America. And frankly, it sure isn't democrats.

    May 18, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Bea

    Oh, please there's the smell of fear in the air coming from all sides. The Republicans know that she would win against any of their prospective candidates. Some on the Democratic side are acting as concern trolls. McCaskill and Patrick were big Obama supporters in 2008. I doubt they care a bean about Hillary. At this point in time, Hillary is a private citizen and she's free to do as she pleases. If she does choose to run, she won't announce a decision until after the 2014 midterm elections. The media and everybody else should back off and let her be.

    May 18, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Kristine

    Funny how the libs didn't like Hillary when Obama was running in 2008. They said horrible things about her. Now..all of a sudden, since they checked off the "Black man president" box...now they have to check off the "woman" box for their presidential candidates.

    May 18, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. Name. willard

    Keep out of hillary clinton 2016

    May 18, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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