The second and final Panel segment focused on the recent compromise between the RINOs and the White House on detainee treatment, interrogation, and military tribunals. They were discussing who won in this compromsie: the White House or McCain et al?
WILLIAMS: It looks to me like the president won. It looks to me like the president won. And what it comes down to is that it’s going to be on the president’s desk. He has to be the one that will say this is allowed. and he…
LIASSON: But he has to tell Congress that.
WILLIAMS: Well, ideally, I think that’s what the Democrats and Senator McCain say. They want him to write it out, put it in the federal register, allow for oversight. The danger is that he would do something and say something and then subsequently say, “Well, we had to do that in that moment.”
But the whole notion that torture is allowed I just find reprehensible.
BARNES: It’s not allowed.
I love the way Brit ended this segment…
Something you guys have always enjoyed, as have I, are the Panel discussions on FNS. Partially because it’s so entertaining to watch Brit Hume smack Juan Williams around a little. Juan just must be a sadist, because he keeps coming back for more. This Sunday, Fred Barnes was in Bill Kristol’s place, so it was a bit different. But thank God Juan was still there.
WALLACE: Just briefly, we should say, this was a docudrama on ABC called “The Path to 9/11.” It was supposedly based on the 9/11 Commission report. It later turned out there were at least three parts of the docudrama that, in fact, had been made up and were directly contradicted by the 9/11 report. And the Clinton team, as you point out, made a big stink about it and got some of it changed.
BARNES: And yet, it was shown all over the world. I know it was shown on BBC, for instance.
And President Clinton, he did one clever thing when he was talking to you, and that is to try to isolate the criticism of himself about bin Laden and terrorism and so on, that it’s just some right- wing neo-cons who are the ones who were doing it. He said that over and over again, and to really dismiss it because it’s a bunch of right-wingers saying that.
Now Chris asks Clinton about several things, including his recent comment that he was sick of “Karl Rove’s bullshit.” Clinton first starts to patronize, then he suddenly seems to intimate he admires Rove for his political savvy.
WALLACE: Let’s talk some politics. In that same New Yorker article, you say that you are tired of Karl Rove’s B.S., although I’m cleaning up what you said.
CLINTON: But I do like the — but I also say I’m not tired of Karl Rove. I don’t blame Karl Rove. If you’ve got a deal that works, you just keep on doing it.
WALLACE: So what is the B.S.?
CLINTON: Well, every even-numbered year, right before an election, they come up with some security issue.
In 2002, our party supported them in undertaking weapons inspections in Iraq and was 100 percent for what happened in Afghanistan, and they didn’t have any way to make us look like we didn’t care about terror.
And so, they decided they would be for the homeland security bill that they had opposed. And they put a poison pill in it that we wouldn’t pass, like taking the job rights away from 170,000 people, and then say that we were weak on terror if we weren’t for it. They just ran that out.
All I can say is “wow.” I didn’t have this earlier like everybody else did because Fox News Sunday only airs in the evening in my area. So, my apologies for not getting it to you sooner.
This was quite an eye-opening experience, and according to FishBowlDC via MediaBistro, even Chris Wallace was a bit shocked by Clinton’s reaction. His words “I felt as if a mountain was coming down in front of me.” According to Chris:
I began the interview with 2 questions about Mr. Clinton’s commitment to humanitarian causes. His answers were cogent and good-humored.
Then–I asked him about his Administration’s record in fighting terror–fully intending to come back to CGI later (as indeed I did).
I asked what I thought was a non-confrontational question about whether he could have done more to “connect the dots and really go after al Qaeda.”
I was utterly surprised by the tidal wave of details–emotion–and political attacks that followed.
The President was clearly stung by any suggestion that he had not done everything he could to get bin Laden. He attacked right-wingers–accused me of a “conservative hit job”–and even spun a theory I still don’t understand that somehow Fox was trying to cover up the fact that NewsCorp. chief Rupert Murdoch was supporting his Global Initiative. I still have no idea what set him off.
Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters directed me to this “rough transcript” of the Bill Clinton interview on Fox News Sunday which will air later today, and it was presented by “Think Progress.” Here it is, as printed on their site:
Fox News Sunday, Interview With President Bill Clinton, 9/22/06 (Rough Transcript)
WALLACE: In a recent issue of the New Yorker you say youâ€™re sixty years old and youâ€™re worried about how many lives you can saveâ€¦Is that what drives you in your effort to help?
CLINTON: Yes. That sounds sort of morbid. The tone in which I said was almost whimsical and humorous. This is what I love to do itâ€™s what I think I should do. Iâ€™ve had a wonderful. I got to be president. Iâ€™ve lived the life of my dreams. I dodged a bullet with that health thing. I think I owe it to my fellow countrymen and people around the world to help save lives and help people see the future. But as it happens I love it. I feel itâ€™s a great gift. I feel itâ€™s a rewarding way to spend my life.