Bloggers on Bill Clinton's latest gaffe.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
April 11 2008 5:57 PM

Costly Bill

Bloggers debate Bill's Clinton's defense of Hillary's Tuzla tall tales, dissect Dick Cheney's approval of torture methods, and wonder whether Katie Couric will leave her anchor post at CBS.

Costly Bill: Speaking at an Indiana high school Thursday, just weeks before the state's primary, Bill Clinton defended Hillary's widely debunked story of landing in Bosnia under dangerous conditions, saying that the press had blown the story out of proportion: "And you woulda thought, you know, that she'd robbed a bank the way they carried on about this. And some of them, when they're 60, they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 at night, too."

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Jake Tapper on ABC News' Political Punch lays out a feast for bloggers' feeding frenzy, footnoting no fewer than eight factual errors in the three-paragraph speech. At the National Review Online's Corner, Kathyrn Jean Lopez wonders: "Is there any doubt he's — consciously or not — been trying to sabotage her campaign? Or is that just a Clinton-hater reaction?" Allahpundit at Hot Air is also struck by the seemingly destructive nature of the former president's comments, asking, "Is lying genuinely compulsive for him? Or is Mike Pechar right in theorizing that he secretly wants her to lose? I've never seriously entertained that idea but I don't know what to think anymore."

Jason Zengerle at the New Republic's Plank isn't buying either Hillary or Bill's prevarications: "Hillary never did apologize, she just said she misspoke, and she didn't admit she misspoke until about a week after she was accused of doing so. She also misspoke not just once but numerous times and usually during daylight hours. You could say this is nitpicking on the press's part, but the press isn't the one who brought this up. Message to the Clintons: let it go!"

At Slate's XX Factor, Emily Yoffe thinks the Mister is damaging the Missus beyond just reminding voters of her fibbing—he's also undermining some of her most vital campaign narratives: "The 'she's old and tired' argument is perhaps not the strongest one to make especially since she's released two recent ads showing that a President Hillary Clinton will constantly be up at 3a.m. taking calls about national security and home foreclosures."

Over at AMERICAblog, liberal John Aravosis summarizes the general feeling about the speech by pointing out that "Bill Clinton has become a lightning rod for controversy. He's the last person the campaign should be using in public, for anything, let alone to push revisionist talking points that everyone knows aren't true."

Read more on Bill's big mouth.

Torture team: Vice President Dick Cheney was the highest-ranking Bush administration official who reportedly approved the "harsh interrogation methods" used on terror suspects, including water-boarding. George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, John Ashcroft, and Colin Powell were also apparently involved in the process, according to the Associated Press; however, President Bush himself was kept absent from the meetings.

Liberal bloggers are riled up. At the Carpetbagger Report, liberal Steve Benen thinks Bush's "insulation" from the torture approval meetings is Reagan-esque, since "It's vaguely reminiscent of the 'out of the loop' defense utilized during the Iran-Contra scandal. Everyone around the president was engaged in criminal behavior, but we need not blame the president directly because he had no idea what was going on and no clue what the top members of his White House team were doing."

Conservative Hal on Right Thinking From the Left Coast was shocked, saying, "This sounds to me like it wasn't just legal advise that consisted of covering the eyes and saying 'What Geneva Convention?!' These were nuts-and-bolts discussions of torture." He decries the "lawyers" who were determining policy: "We have a bunch of people with no experience in interrogation deciding to torture people because they saw it on TV once or read a book about it."

Pam on Pam's House Blend thinks that Cheney won't necessarily be the Bush official most damaged by the story: "I guess it's bye-bye to that VP fantasy, Condi."

Read more about Dick Cheney approving torture methods.

Couric countdown? Katie Couric appears poised to leave CBS before her contract expires, now that news has leaked of a February meeting in which Couric and CBS execs discussed her future. The big question for bloggers, though, is whether she's being forced out or is leaving by choice.

Ryan Tate on Gawker is skeptical of PR denials that Couric's going anywhere: "Funny, if I had a $15 million-per-year job I wanted to keep, I don't think I'd openly talk about leaving three years early in front of my boss and my boss' boss."

Slate contributor Henry Blodget writes on the Silicon Alley Insider that CBS executives probably manipulated the swirl of rumors to force Couric's hand and dig themselves out of a difficult situation, namely that "CBS doesn't want to acknowledge that one of the main problems with the CBS Evening News is that 'evening news' shows are obsolete, so it has to blame Katie (who, it is true, was more beloved in her morning slot). CBS also, however, doesn't want to be seen as cutting and running on the nation's first solo woman anchor, especially after it paid so much to get her there."

Meanwhile, Heather Muse at the Village Voice's Runnin' Scared predicts that Couric's departure could morph into an election year political parable: "[W]e may be in store for a bunch of Hillary Clinton/Katie Couric parallels. I think there are pretty good odds that a newspaper columnist somewhere right now is putting together an 'are we really ready for powerful women?' piece."

Read more about Katie Couric's rumored departure.

Noreen Malone is a senior editor at New York magazine.

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