After “dodging a bullet” with his heart problem, former President Bill Clinton recently dodged the bullets fired at him in the form of questions during a Fox News interview on Sept. 22, with host Chris Wallace. Clinton was not wrong for standing up to Wallace, he was simply trying to set the record straight, assertively if necessary.
The interview began with Wallace bringing up a current quote from The New Yorker in which Clinton stated, “I’m 60 years old and I damn near died…I’m worried about how many lives I can save before I die.” From the get-go Clinton had to defend himself and his intentions with the Clinton Global Initiative.
Wallace continued to toss tension-heightening questions, which Clinton successfully answered while staying true to his beliefs about his legacy.
When asked about the differences between the powers of being in office versus out of office, Clinton replied that being in office allows a president to operate on a “broader scope.” It is easy to scold Clinton for a lack of action when measuring the current intelligence of the Sept. 11 attack now possessed by the government. Hindsight is 20-20.
Immediately, the subject of bin Laden and Al Qaeda came up in Wallace’s inquiries. Clinton stood up for himself rather than letting Wallace’s verbal punches bruise his image. He became defensive, cutting off Wallace multiple times and repeating phrases like, “Let’s talk about it” and “You brought it up.”
Clinton explained that he tried to pursue bin Laden in Afghanistan but could not get basing rights in Uzbekistan until after Sept. 11, which was after his term as president ended and was therefore too late.
Clinton’s defense was that he tried, that the “right-wingers who are attacking” him now ridicule him for trying to eradicate bin Laden, meanwhile the current administration had eight months to try and failed.
The former president admitted that he does not think he did enough, because he did not capture bin Laden. He answered the questions in Wallace’s scathing investigation with straight yes and no answers, elaborating on factual evidence to not only enlighten the public on the matter but also to defend himself.
Clinton had expected this heated interview because he stated, “So you [Wallace] did Fox’s bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.” The conversation turned on Wallace, who then had difficulty steering the interview in the direction he obviously wanted it to go, showing weakness compared to the strength of Clinton’s factual replies. Clinton made light of the fact that Fox News has not questioned the Bush administration on the same topic.
“You [Wallace] didn’t ask that, did you,” Clinton asked. “Tell the truth, Chris.”
Clinton should be fed up with the public being shown a one-sided viewpoint that “passes the buck” to the Clinton administration by Fox News.
Clinton did not criticize Bush, yet brought to mind the fact that “we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.” Perhaps this is a nice way of saying, “I told you so but nobody listened!”
Surprisingly, Wallace did not provoke Clinton by bringing up the Monica Lewinsky controversy, which was perhaps the most civil omission of the discussion. The overall truth, Clinton stated, is that “none of us has been perfect.”