The Barefoot Accountant at Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC presents the transcript and video of a segment of Meet the Press on April 26, 2015. The transcript may contain errors so please watch and listen to the video.
Welcome back. We’re two weeks into the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. And Republicans and some journalists have been working themselves into a frenzy over a new book on the Clintons that’s about to be released. It’s called Clinton Cash. It’s by Peter Schweizer. Alleges a too-cozy relationship between donations to the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton family speaking fees, and decisions that were made by Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Let me bring in the panel here to discuss hospital damaging they all think this is. Helene, let me start with you, because the allegations, there’s definitely A and there’s C, right, and then there’s been an argument, okay, the trouble is, how do you prove the connection, New York Times, your paper, did a big story on this Russian issue having to do with uranium purchase. There’s not a connection, but there is the appearance of impropriety.
That’s the biggest problem. And it all takes us back to the ’90s. It feeds this aura that a lot of people have about the Clintons. I mean, remember, we’ve gone through, what, six years with Barack Obama. And you haven’t had that atmosphere, you know, that aura of there’s something going on. People are now talking about the Lincoln bedroom again.
People are talking about, it just brings, I think, this is not, I don’t think that this is necessarily that huge a deal. But I think that this feeds a problem that she’s going to continue to have. And it brings up again the sort of the why didn’t they see this earlier, why didn’t they take steps to disassociate themselves?
But as soon as she left the State Department she went back to, you know, accepting the Clinton Foundation that had sort of distanced itself a little bit from this, and went back to taking some of these donations. And why didn’t they foresee this? I mean, everybody knew that Hillary Clinton was going to run, I mean, so.
That’s mindboggling. But, you know, Matt Bai, Jonathan Chait, who’s no conservative pundit, he’s, well, I think pretty left of center–
–in New York Magazine, this is what he wrote: “All sorts of unproven worst-case-scenario questions float around discussing this book. But the best-case scenario,” he writes, “is bad enough: The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy.” He called the news this week, today, at the time, “about the Clintons all fleshes out, in one way or another, their lack of interest in policing serious conflict-of-interest problems that arise in their overlapping roles.”
Right. I mean, what a happy coincidence of publishing schedule and news cycle, huh? That worked out. Lookw, let’s be clear. I don’t think anyone was voting for Hillary Clinton, or who’s going to, because of the threat she poses to the governing status quo and the political establishment. Right?
I mean, it doesn’t hurt her with her voters, that perception, you know, she’s not the reformist presence that Barack Obama was and is. I do think, as Helene says, it’s the arrogance of it. And I think it’s something, you know, it’s this issue, it’s the emails, it’s the idea that, you know, you’d never admit guilty, never say you’re sorry, you kill the messenger, you tear everything down
they have this whole thing to say, “It’s a hatchet job, masquerading as a book.” They sort of, like, and as Ron Fournier points out, it’s sort of like a standard playbook.
It is a standard playbook. It’s the idea that, you know, you have to fight ten times harder, you know, the whole line about them bringing a knife to a gun fight, right? And I think that doesn’t wear well in presidential politics. And it particularly doesn’t wear well when it’s something people are already concerned about, where your candidacy is concerned.
You know, Doris, eight years ago, Democrats were hand wringing publicly about this. This time, they’re doing it privately. I heard an earful last night from various Democrats, some of whom who worked in the Clinton campaign, who said, “Why is she still taking foreign donations?” Why is the foundation, you know, they narrowed it down, okay, now they’re only going to take it from some European countries and Canada. They’ve gotten rid of some of the despot states that they were, that’s the stuff that boggles the mind. But they’re afraid of speaking out.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:
I think what still boggles the mind is why doesn’t Hillary deal with this herself right now? You know, to a certain extent, when you have Mitt Romney saying, “This is bribery.” Bribery means theft, robbery, it means taking favors to do something corrupt. You can’t let that charge stand and simply say, “It’s the wrong people telling it.”
When Teddy Roosevelt was accused similarly in 1904 of giving favors to big corporations and promising that he wouldn’t do anti-trust against them, he gave up. Everybody said, “Don’t say anything. Don’t make it legitimate.” He gets up and stands up, he said, “If this charge were true, I’d be infamous. This would be a terrible thing. But it’s false. It’s wickedly false. It’s atrociously false.” That ended and he said, “You give me evidence.” No evidence, he comes off it flying colors. I think she has to answer this herself.
Well, Governor Hutchinson, you’re from the Clintons’ home state. They have had accusations thrown at them time and again and they politically always survive. Do you think this time it’s different?
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON:
Does it impact her base, Republican base? It impacts the middle. What this does, it reminds everyone that everything about the Clintons is complicated. And this story has three ramifications that bear looking at. An awful, ungodly amount of money involved in these transactions. It involves a foreign source.
And then it involves high positions in government, important decisions. No evidence of a quid pro quo. Republicans need to be careful not to overstate the case. But it reminds us that Clintons are complicated and they tend to make mistakes.
Well, it’ll be interesting to see how much more of this happens before Democrats start going as public as they did when I was talking to a bunch of them last night.