The Clintons side by side in Little Rock 25 years after | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Clintons side by side in Little Rock 25 years after

Posted By on Sun, Nov 19, 2017 at 9:49 AM


The web is full of takes — hot and not so hot — on the James Carville-moderated talk by Bill and Hillary Clinton Saturday evening during the observance of the 25th anniversary of his 1992 presidential election victory.

The full video should be available eventually on the Clinton School website. In the meanwhile, this YouTube video catches most of the program, though it begins midway through comments about the New Hampshire primary and Clinton's "comeback kid" performance in which a second-place finish against Paul Tsongas after multiple difficulties (draft avoidance, Gennifer Flowers) was spun as a victory.

Carville's question about the "elephant in the room" — Hillary Clinton's 2016 defeat — comes at the 53:40 mark on the video I've embedded here. I recommend it. Plenty of coverage on the web this morning, though I predict a week of commentary to follow with the predictable views from the predictable sources. A few examples:

* The Blaze, a conservative outlet, focused on Hillary Clinton's rip of conservative media — Fox and others that deliver "partisan advocacy positions irrespective of the truth, the facts, the evidence.”

* CNN reported comments about Donald Trump's obsession with Hillary Clinton — as evidenced by a Twitter post Saturday morning berating her for the 800th or so time since the election.

* Politico, too, led with Trump's Hillary obsession. It quoted her:

“Apparently, you know, my former opponent is obsessed with my speaking out,” Clinton said in an appearance alongside her husband, former President Bill Clinton, at a forum in Little Rock, Arkansas, commemorating the 25th anniversary of his election. “Apparently there was another, somebody told me, tweet today. Honestly, between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done? I don’t understand it. Maybe that’s the whole point.”
* Axios noted the lengthy roster of Clinton campaign and administration hands at the event. They mingled afterward at a burger-and-hot-dog dinner under a tent and throughout the Clinton Library. Many will gather for brunch today. I saw most of the recognizable faces at the dinner, but missed Betty Currie, the president's secretary who became semi-famous thanks to Monica Lewinsky. (Seating included the renovated 42 bar and table on the lower level of the library. It's now open for dinner Thursday-Saturday and it's worth a look. Yes, they sponsor our weekly podcast.)

Judging from crowd reaction — and the crowd at her book signing — HIllary Clinton was a major draw. Surging emotion marked ovations for her.

It was rare chance to see husband and wife side by side with responses on similar questions. They are people who speak in complete sentences with assurance, built on a wealth of long study of everything from children's health to genome mapping. They referenced again and again "Putting People First," the 1992 campaign mantra.  But .... and I say this as someone who not only respects but likes Hillary Rodham Clinton and have never been put off by traits (a sharpish tongue, an impatience with fools) that bother others ... if there's ever been another political natural like the boy from Hope — the man Barack Obama called the Secretary of Explaining Stuff — I've never seen him. They both spoke warmly and believably about campaign encounters, but you couldn't beat Bill's account of an encounter with a 19-year-old from the backwoods of Kentucky researching the frontiers of space.  It was warm and funny and loving of people and their potential. As Hillary herself said, you can watch Bill in these little encounters and know that he is listening, not just performing a political duty. I don't think it was strictly a gig of Trump, but also an article of Bill Clinton's faith, when he referenced how much better it is to reach out to the world and build consensus rather than trying to divide and encourage resentment.

If I could have had anything yesterday it would have been a seat on the stage for Donald Trump to talk in turn after the Clintons on Bosnia or Kyoto or CHIP or genomes or even, let's think of a gimme he'd flunk, what book he read last. After Fox gets through reporting on Saturday night's event, I expect we'll hear more from him.

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