Saturday, September 23, 2006

Re-Elect Bill Clinton!

I swear to God, he's one of the only reasons I still have hope for this country.

To all the spineless Democrats wasting space in Congress, to anyone who regrets having cast a vote for Bush in 2004, I beseech you to read how a real President thinks and talks, off the cuff, under attack, and with humility and insight. We need more like Bill Clinton, and we need them now! Copied here from Think Progress (with thanks to JEC):

Today, President Bill Clinton taped an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, which is scheduled to be aired Sunday. He was told the interview would focus on his nonpartisan efforts to raise over $7 billion to combat the world’s biggest problems.

Early in the interview, Wallace attempted to smear Clinton with the same kind of misinformation contained in ABC’s Path to 9/11. Clinton was having none of it.

ThinkProgress has obtained a transcript of the interview. Here are some highlights

WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of email from viewers, and I got to say I was surprised most of them wanted me to ask you this question. Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President? There’s a new book out which I suspect you’ve read called the Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, Bin Laden said “I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of US troops.” Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole.


WALLACE: …may I just finish the question sir. And after the attack, the book says, Bin Laden separated his leaders because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is 20/20.

CLINTON: No let’s talk about…

WALLACE: …but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. I will answer all of those things on the merits but I want to talk about the context of 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 based on the 9/11 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 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.

WALLACE: Do you think you did enough sir?

CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.


CLINTON: 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..

WALLACE: Now wait a minute sir…


WALLACE: I asked a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?

CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked: Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole? I want to know how many you asked: Why did you fire Dick Clarke? I want to know…

WALLACE: We asked…


WALLACE: Do you ever watch Fox News Sunday sir?

CLINTON: I don’t believe you ask them that.

WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of…

CLINTON: You didn’t ask that did you? Tell the truth.

WALLACE: About the USS Cole?

CLINTON: Tell the truth.

WALLACE: I…with Iraq and Afghanistan there’s plenty of stuff to ask.

CLINTON: 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 and said that you’d spend half the time talking about…

WALLACE: [laughs]

CLINTON: You said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7 billion dollars plus over three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.

CLINTON: What did I do? I worked hard to try and kill him. 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 1/7 as important as Iraq. And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive theme when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive systematic way to try to protect the country against terror. And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever…

WALLACE: [Laughs]

CLINTON: 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. The entire military was against sending special forces into Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter and no one thought we could do it otherwise…We could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was President. Until I left office. And yet I get asked about this all the time and they had three times as much time to get him as I did and no one ever asks them about this. I think that’s strange.

Read the full transcript (rough)


Blogger Bill Gusky said...

A devastating voice from the sunset of our nation's appreciation for intelligence and expertise.

9/23/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Diego said...

Let's be honest here...Bill Clinton is a joke and he did not truly do enough after the attacks by al-Qaeda in:

1993 (WTC bombing)
1996 (Khobar Towers)
1998 (U.S. embassies bombed)

I find it amusing that many liberals do not want to remember the past but want to place blame solely in present time (on the Bush administration).

Let's be honest...Clinton could have done more

9/23/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my God, I miss that man. My significant other and I were watching him on The Daily Show the other night and saying how he would have wiped the floor with W, even in a post-impeachment election. We rued the day that term limits were added to the Constitution.

It's so hard to know that competent leadership is out there, and we can't have it.

9/23/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Let's be honest here

Let's be honest here? You dare begin your response with a challenge to the honesty of those applauding this triumph for reality?

Clinton admitted that he hadn't done enough to stop bin Laden in this interview. So with that out of the way, let's look deeper, shall we?

We'll have a level playing field on this issue when Bush admits the same about his first 9 months in office. And let's not even begin to talk about his last 5 years in office and his total inability to capture or kill bin Laden when the rest of the world would have totally supported such efforts, unlike when Clinton tried.

Let's be honest? OK...let's. Wallace invited Clinton into an ambush and Clinton handed his nuts on a platter.

I find it amusing that many liberals do not want to remember the past but want to place blame solely in present time (on the Bush administration).

Why on earth is finding and killing bin Laden a liberal vs. conservative issue? Oh, yeah...that's right...because Rove has made it one....because Cheney has made it one...because Bush has made it one.

And because it's the GOP's only chance at all to rescue the mid-term elections (i.e., making the Democrats look weak on defense).

But let's be honest, Bush has bungled the War on Terror so miserably that bin Laden can rightfully say that Bush is the best thing that ever happened to his movement, and the only people more happy than bin Laden that he is the president are his industrialist crony friends profiting obscenely off the war and single-issue Christianist zealots stupid enough to think he's one of them.

Bill Clinton is a joke

This from the man who writes in response to an interview where Clinton notes repeated that he failed, "Could it be that he realizes he truly failed and would not want to admit it for fear of what it would do to his reputation?"

Let me walk you through this slowly Diego...Clinton admitted in an interview on FOX News that he failed. He would have 1) had to have realized that he failed before he admitted this, yes, and 2) not been so worried about what it would do to his repuation to do so. The joke is the thought system you're substituting here for logic.

By the way, your link to the Drudge Report isn't working.

9/23/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Diego, I'm not a liberal, but I find conservative groupthink and hubris repulsive. You have the Oval Office, both houses, and your own television station (Fox News). Even so, you botched Iraq, the Taliban is doing great, and I've spent the last month waking up and wondering what civil liberty I lost during the night in the name of national security. You think I care that you don't like Clinton? What have you done? Go waterboard yourself.

9/23/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/23/2006 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

It's been an increasing source of entertainment, watching Bush-League Republicans like Diego ranting from the crow's nest as the flaming Good Ship Neocon slowly sinks beneath them into the depths of the Kool-Aid Sea.

Place your bets on the moment that "Stay the Course!" becomes "Gurgle gurgle gurgle."

On another note, Diego's delusions bring to mind a poem oft-recited by my father in days of yore:

A boy stood on a burning deck.
His feet were sore with blisters.
He climbed a mast --
his pants burned off!
And now he wears his sister's.

9/23/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger painterdog said...

Bush has played right onto Bin Laden's game plan.

Get us to spread the troops so thinly that we can't do squat.

Start to undermind other muslim governments, Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Egypt,Syria etc.

Somalia is now run by fundamentalist muslims.

Iraq is in a civil war and our troops are caught in the middle, we walked right into a trap.

Iran has gained power as a result of our folly in the middle east and now Hezbollah and Hamas are giving everyone the finger.

Way to go Republican party, ruin our moral and political standing in the world while you bankrupt the country.

Hey now that's a great plan Diego, your eather real blinded by your ideolgy because your still buying all the Bush crap or your just to dumb to see what's going on.

An don't start in with that negitive liberal stuff you right wingers have lost all your chips in this game.

Its over and its time for us a Americans to try and get our country back.

Here's the Bush legacy:

Over 45 million people without health insurance.

More people working below the poverty level since the great depression.

The top 1% now get over 50k a year in tax breaks while the middle gets almost nothing.

Bush has destroyed federal agencies such as FEMA through cronyism.

Our rights as citizens are being eroded by an over zealous Presedent and Vice-President.

There is a constant attack on the judiciary of our country so as to mode it into a right wing arm of the executive branch.

Need I go on?

Lets not forget all the coruption in the Republican Houses.

9/23/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Anonymous jec said...

Ah, Ed, you got my email! Just kidding--I know that this has been getting significant play on the blogs. I did get a lot of responses after sending around a link to the Clinton transcript, though. Between the Clinton Initiative and now this interview, I think we're all feeling a strong, deep sense of how much better things could be. If we could find a candidate with half the heart, courage and charisma of Bill Clinton, we'd really have something. (long, sad sigh)

9/23/2006 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous jec said...

Oh, and this interview will be on Fox News Sunday tomorrow at 10:00 am in NY (channel 5).

9/23/2006 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

I love that man. I miss him so much I could cry.

9/23/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Karl Zipser said...

Clinton does much better in confrontational conversation than in speeches. I only really started to like Clinton when I saw the video of him made for the Starr investigation. But don't forget, Clinton was an Iraq war enabler. Don't get too sentimental, Lisa H. Still, I agree with your title statement, Edward.

9/24/2006 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger painterdog said...

But don't forget, Clinton was an Iraq war enabler.

how so?
Iraq was being contained with no-fly zones. The wepons inspections were working, for the life of me I just don't see what kind of direct threat Saddam Hussein possed to the US.

He was a tyrant, but so is Kim Jong-il.

The Bush line that Hussein was threat to our national security is a lie and this war was started on a complete fabrications of false evidence.

What they have done to that country is a criminal act in itself period.

History will show GW Bush and Cheney to be the worst president and vice president in the history of our country to date.

Bush is the worst President since Caligula.

9/24/2006 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Ah, Ed, you got my email! Just kidding

No JEC, it was definitely your email (I credited you at the top)...thanks for sending.

9/24/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

History will show GW Bush and Cheney to be the worst president and vice president in the history of our country to date.

The hilarious part is that Bush, Cheney and Rice repel any responsibility for the horror their actions have brought on the basis that "none of us knows how history will judge" what they've done.

Pure unadulterated insanity.

In the face of thousands of civilian deaths each month, as well as the latest report by their own intelligence agencies that their actions have breathed life into swarming new generations of jihadists and made the world a much more dangerous place, these duck-walking dotards cling loudly to shreds of hope that future historians will somehow vindicate them.

9/24/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger kurt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/24/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous George said...

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology. "

Source NY Times: Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat

So go ahead, blame it on Bill.

9/24/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous George said...

While I at it, this article in the recent Rolling Stone is worth a read

Will The Next Election Be Hacked? by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

9/24/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

EW, thanks for posting this, including the link to the whole transcript, which was great. Since I rarely turn on the tv and have never seen Fox news or that Wallace person, I would have totally missed this.

I always liked, and truly miss Bill Clinton. The only thing I blame him for is giving us George Bush. With full awareness of what the Republicans would do w/ the information, and I'm sure knowing how the moronic voters in this country would respond, he went ahead w/ the whole ridiculous Lewinsky thing. What was he thinking? Gore had to basically try to distance himself from the Clinton administration and everything they accomplished, and run as his "own man". It was pathetic.

Still, if Clinton were able to run again I'd vote for him in a second.

9/24/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger painterdog said...

Saw the interview this morning.
Clinton was great, held his own and stood up against Wallace. After Wallace had round table of conservitive and centerist journilist to "discuss" Clinton's performance.

Ok the thing is they all got on his case(CLinton's) for being to agreessive.
WTF! Wallace invites him on the his show to talk about Clinton's nonpartisan efforts to raise over $7 billion to combat the world’s biggest problems and then starts in about Bin Laden. And he has the nerve to still go after him after the fact with his cronies.

He has on these NPR people to give the view of being it being balanced, and they all slap the asshole on the back for putting up with Clinton's stormy responce.

They kept going on about Clinton being worried about his legacy. It was amazing to see them trun this into a vindication of Wallace and an atempt to make Clinton look bad for defending himself after he was put on the spot with an attack on his job as President!

And the great thing is he admits he made mistakes! Memo to GW you paying attention here?

Shame on them, but hey its Fox news.

9/24/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Scott Baker said...

I am trying to start a nascent movement to re-elect Bill Clinton. I talk about the 22nd amendment, the Hillary factor, the Monica factor, and the current house resolution to repeal the 22nd amendment in my blog at

Remember, prohibition - the 18th amendment - was repealed in 13 years.

9/24/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger painterdog said...

I think the 22nd amendment is fine. Presidents should only be able to serve 2 terms.

Remeber this could fall both ways.

Could you imagine 4 more year of GW Bush.

9/24/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Karl Zipser said...

Painterdog, as I said, Clinton was an Iraq war enabler, if you believe this story in The Guardian. As you recall, Gore came out strongly against the war before it started. Clinton didn't do that, certainly. This is why I am not quite so sentimental about Clinton, even though he is 10 million times better than the current guy.

9/24/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger painterdog said...

That was an interesting article.
The thing is Clinton has been out of office for years now.

I think a lot of politicians after 9/11 mistakenly gave Bush cart blance, and now we have this huge mess.

I have heard Clinton and other Dems regret their support of this folly.

I'm not a die hard Clinton fan, I think he's a brilliant man and we could use more people like this running the country.

Its scary to think that the man running it know has no analytical abilities all. At least it seems that way.

9/24/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Heart As Arena said...

Seeing this this morning reminded me exactly why Clinton won his 2 presidential elections, and Gore and Kerry lost theirs. (OK. Gore got help from Ralph Nader and the Supreme Court, but still.)

9/24/2006 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger onesock said...

The video is up at It is amazing!! And really interesting to watch in contrast to the confrontation Bush had with Matt Lauer. Bush comes across as an inane bully with his " Im protecting yer family Matt, you dont want them ta die do ya?"

Clinton was sharp and fierce. He made every point clearly and intelligently while also in control of some obvious emotions.
And then there was that other marked difference between the two that EW mentioned: Clinton admitted HIS mistake.

9/25/2006 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

He's amazing for sure. It's also not an easy thing to pull off on tv. The stress factor is huge and not in his favor. So that's what a thinking president is like?

9/25/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

So that's what a thinking president is like?

It's easy to forget :)

PS - I was shocked the other day when I heard Bush on the radio, saying he'd just learned of the threat to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age when he read it in the paper that morning. When did he start reading newspapers?

9/25/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

I voted for Clinton twice, I even shook Hillary's hand in 1992, but yesterday I remembered why I lost all faith in Bubba in 1998. It was never about sex, it was about abusive behavior and lack of dignity.

Clinton was a textbook case of abuse and lack of dignity yesterday. Finger-wagging like 98, but also bullying and physically jabbing. That's not behavior becoming an intelligent person. Bush's numb-skulled oval-office harrassment of Matt Lauer is no excuse for Clinton. If you're going to tell me Clinton is smarter and better than Bush, I'd advise not using this video as evidence. Just last week in another thread I was lectured that bad behavior by one party is no excuse for bad behavior by another.

Frankly Bush and Clinton both have very high opinions of themselves. They express it in different ways, but psychologically they're both very self-oriented. Maybe executive-branch politicians need to be that way.

As to Clinton's assertion that Wallace has been unfair to the Bush administration, he might be right. There's a site out there who has tracked Wallace's interviews of Cheney and Rice and found him lacking. But on the other hand, a simple google search pointed me to this interview of Don Rumsfeld, Mar 29 2004, in which I think Wallace was pretty tough on this subject, with questions like, "Mr. Secretary, it sure sounds like fighting terrorism [before 9/11] was not a top priority."

Clinton may or may not have legitimate issues, and it might be good to see Wallace be tougher on the Bush administration in the future, as well as refreshing to watch a strenuous response from a president instead of stilted political mumbo-jumbo, but I didn't think Clinton's behavior was justified.

Bottom line: If Clinton needs to bully people and push people around to make a point, then all it shows me is that liberals are the same belligerent power-hungry rule-bending people as conservatives, they just work for the other side politically. If liberals and conservatives are going to behave the same way, why should anyone care about either side?

9/25/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

If liberals and conservatives are going to behave the same way, why should anyone care about either side?

Because of the results?

9/25/2006 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Because of the results?


Look at the difference in substance between the two episodes you're claiming are more or less the same in style, Henry.

Bush was more or less telling Matt Lauer if he didn't let the White House torture people, they couldn't ensure Matt that his family would be safe. Clinton on the other hand was telling Wallace he didn't appreciate the ambush and that if Wallace wanted to talk about this issue he would but only after explaining to Wallace's viewers the context in which the question was being asked.

Bush was defending his right to torture people. Clinton was defending his right to stand up to his critics who have flip flopped on whether he was too little or too much obsessed with bin Laden.

Did Bill show more passion that we're used to seeing? Perhaps, but he's not the Commander-in-Chief any more and he WAS ambushed. And at least Clinton's passion (and perhaps inappropriate poking at Wallace) wasn't coupled with an implicit threat against the journalist's family.

Bush looked like a petulant dictator not used to be questioned. Clinton looked like a man who doesn't have to suffer such fools any more and wanted to make them think twice before ambushing him again.

And besides!!! Back to substance: Bush was defending his right to torture people. Why on earth wasn't he arrested for war crimes on the spot????

They are so far from parallel it boggles the mind that folks would equate them.

9/25/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

You know, one of the most important things you can teach a child is that not everything that happens to you will be nice. But you are in control of how you respond to everything that happens to you. You do not have to respond with violence or anger or hatred or bitterness or demeaning conduct, and you cannot be diminished by what someone else says about you.

Bill Clinton, Larry King Live, last Wednesday. :-)

I see your point about the Bush-Lauer interview, and I'll retract the comparison. I still think both interviewers hit a nerve.

I also still think Clinton's behavior was nothing to be proud of. It's possible that his petulance negatively affected his relationships with the Pentagon and FBI during his two terms.

9/25/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I also still think Clinton's behavior was nothing to be proud of.

I'm trying to think of a U.S. President, during my lifetime, whose behavior I could be proud of, and I'm coming up blank. (Well, to be fair, Carter didn't do anything shameful, but he wasn't very effective as a leader either).

Still, I think that overall the Clinton-Gore administration did much more good than harm during their time in office. They're the only ones I can say that about (again, during my lifetime - Lincoln doesn't count).

9/25/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

Henry, keep in mind this had been building with Clinton for quite some months now, in fact some years. He's cool enough and smart enough not to indulge in explosive behavior. And as has been amply pointed out above, this is quite the opposite of Bush, who is known for explosive emotional outbursts and is self-indulgent to a fault.

What many fail to realize is this: there is absolutely a time and a place when enough is enough and intelligent people lay down the law in no uncertain terms. And if that means laying into someone in an interview in a clear, direct and intelligent way, then so be it.

I think Clinton has had many proud moments, and the Wallace interview was one of them.

9/25/2006 06:10:00 PM  

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