May 18th, 2014
03:34 PM ET
7 years 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:

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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. benghaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    The only thing we know about Hillary Clinton is that she is good at getting people killed, then lying to their families.


    You must have been as happy as a pig in poop when W was in office because he was a master at both.

    May 18, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. What's in that Tea Anyway?

    Oh...Benghazi, Benghazi.....go ahead and wet your pants GOP/Tea Potties. Just validates your party is bankrupt on ideas and appeals to only the non-thinkers....Can't continue to push the "we hate Obamacare" for two its Benghazi, Benghazi....smoke and mirrors. The rest of us are thinking your clown car is running on fumes already...LOL

    May 18, 2014 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Steven Gartzman, M.D.

    Is it me, or is Karl Rove a hypocrite (for suggesting HRC cannot run for President because she may have had brain damage from a concussion) when Jack Kemp (rest in peace) was on the Republican ticket under Dole, and had mucho GOP support for President as well??? (Yes, the same former QB of the Buffalo Bills, who had more concussions than there are stars in the sky). I personally think Jack Kemp was exceedingly qualified to run for President, in spite of his myriad of concussions, as I'm sure Karl Rove believes as well.... but HRC is not (let's all roll our eyes together)

    May 18, 2014 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. Steven Gartzman, M.D.

    Oops: My lovely spouse just corrected me: Karl Rove isn't a hypocrite...he's a sexist, for suggesting that a man (Jack Kemp) can handle multiple concussions without it affecting his judgement as President, and is perfectly qualified to run... but a woman cannot handle such brain trauma, and therefore is not qualified... LOL

    May 18, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. Jim

    Hillary care and Obama care are almost identical. She should stake her claim on her farsightedness to have something as horrible as Obama care. Letting an ambassador to Libya get killed in Benghazi. Not being upset when Bill cheated on her good example for all wife's. She loves Muslim terrorist more than Obama and wanted to arm them early so they could kill more Christians. She should forget running for President and try out for a part in Menopause the TV show.

    May 18, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |

    Yeah just not in a good way.

    May 18, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |

    If she's the candidate I'm turning republican.

    May 18, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. Fairminded

    If Hillary chooses not to run, who does the party turn to? OMalley? Biden? I suggest John Kerry who's political stock is soarting. He has done far more as secretary of state than Hilary. He was defeated by Jeb's brother but since then the country has tacked left. Does he have the stomach for another run

    May 18, 2014 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  9. Will Sanderson

    Carl Rove is just trying to get publicity, Hillary Clinton is and will be an important figure in politics. She is relevant now, while Rove is a never was. Her age is irrelevant. She is sharper than 99 percent of Washington. Mr. Rove just leave the politics to today's politicians .

    May 18, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |

    Here on CNN she is.

    May 18, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. gstlab3

    anyone who still thinks elections are real is a total loser moron or they are delusional or worse a traitor to the country.

    May 18, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  12. gstlab3

    hillary is another usefull idiot nothing more.

    May 18, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  13. Catherine

    Oh!!! You mean Mrs. Stand By Your Man??????? Hahahahahahaha

    May 18, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. sophomorocat

    Hillary should arm-wrestle Karl Rove for bragging rights.

    May 18, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    -those Royal crowns are treated in India, not in USA. I bet we need to tighten visa system here. Yes, she deserves applause. Obamacare not works, nor Benghazi, nor VA bs. Listen America made up mind, yes, on Hillary16. Period.
    PS: none of the republican thugs worth dime. We need to focus on Infrastructure–not wars, nor cheats on Visas.

    May 18, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  16. Mbakey

    She has always had brain damage, why is it a big story now.

    May 18, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. Buc Weat

    Gubbamint gonna payin money to da Clinton's of a Long times

    May 18, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. Blackwaterdraw

    What difference does it make?

    May 18, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  19. Stop wasting time

    Wow, the republicans may win some seats in 2014 due to low voter turn out but they are going to get crushed in 2016.

    May 18, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  20. John

    GOP are afraid of strong women period........they will prance their 11 white guys up onto the podium for early primaries, with no women nor minorities......they will try to shield the fact that they will not condone a strong GOP competitor...but make no mistake they are scared to death of any strong women either in or out of their party.....scared to death......

    May 18, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. are122

    Bill and Hilary trying to be a rerun of another Southern couple named George and Lurleen Wallace. When George Wallace couldn't run again Lurleen took over for him. But even tho she was elected everyone knew he was still the governor. Hopefully if Hillary wins, it will be the same...tho Hilary's ego would be cause for some amusing episodes.

    May 18, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  22. Name

    She's better than the other republican douce bags. The right is just bitter because they will never have another republican pres.

    May 18, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  23. Jim Rome

    Have you ever seen so many Republicans so desperate to cling to an embassy incident? You'd think they had gold buried in Benghazi. Where were they during the thirteen Benghazi's under Bush? Every time a Republican screams
    Benghazi!", they are really screaming "Increase the defense budget! My campaign contributions depend on it!"

    May 18, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  24. It's On!

    Hillary will be the first woman President of the United States.

    May 18, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  25. Bill

    Ah the weekly CNN puff piece for Hillary.

    May 18, 2014 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
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