CNN, National Review both claim there are "two" Hillary Clintons

››› ››› NICOLE CASTA

An ostensibly straight news report on CNN about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and a column on the undeniably partisan National Review Online (NRO) had this in common: Both used the "two Hillarys" conceit to assert that Clinton is juggling conflicting political personas in order both to rally progressive Democrats and extend her appeal to moderates in advance of a possible 2008 presidential run.

Using a variation on a recent canard propagated in the media that Clinton has undertaken a shift to the center, CNN national correspondent Bruce Morton; Roll Call contributing writer Stuart Rothenberg, who appeared in Morton's CNN report; and NRO columnist Eric Pfeiffer all described what they saw as two Hillarys in conflict with each other.

National Review and its stable of conservative commentators, including David Frum, Kate O'Beirne, and Byron York, are frequent sources of conservative misinformation. CNN calls itself "The World's News Leader" and touts a self-described "reputation for more than 20 years for objective, independent reporting," according to Tony Maddox, CNN International senior vice president for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

From the June 7 report on CNN's Inside Politics:

MORTON: Two Hillarys? Well, yes.

[...]

ROTHENBERG: I think Senator Clinton understands that you have to be one kind of person to win a Democratic presidential nomination and a little different kind of person to win a general election, and she's trying to be two different people at the same time.

[...]

MORTON: Two Senator Clintons. It won't be easy for them.

From Pfeiffer's June 8 NRO column:

There are two Clintons campaigning these days and they are both named Hillary.

[...]

Some may ask if Clinton's dueling political personas really matter. What really matters is the detailed agenda she puts forward if she runs for president. But for the constituency who put character as a leading factor in deciding national elections, the echoes of Gore and Kerry are not too distant.

Here's the full report from the June 7 edition of CNN's Inside Politics, hosted by CNN anchor John King:

KING: Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton has appeared alongside top Republicans of late, and she's also blasted the GOP with stinging public criticism. It's a dual role that has some wondering if the senator is trying to appeal to her base and a much wider field of potential voters, all at the same time. CNN's Bruce Morton takes a look.

MORTON: Hillary Clinton, have you noticed, has been doing a lot of bipartisan stuff in the Senate lately. Here's a recent press release about her and Republican leader Bill Frist cooperating on a health issue. There have been others, Clinton and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Sam Brownback of Kansas. In fact, her office has publicized cooperative efforts with at least 11 Republicans this year, including Lindsey Graham, who in the House was one of the managers of her husband's impeachment.

Pretty bipartisan? Yes. But now, listen to the senator at a fund-raising breakfast.

CLINTON: There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda than the current administration.

MORTON: That's pretty partisan.

CLINTON: So, thank you, Speaker Gingrich.

MORTON: Yes, but there was the famous picture with former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who once promised he'd run her husband, the president, out of town -- couldn't, of course. Still, a bipartisan photo -- but then, hear this:

CLINTON: It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth. It is very hard to tell people who are on the other side of the aisle that they must think about the country's future, not just their own partisan political advantage.

MORTON: Never been acquainted with the truth? That's as tough as Dean saying Republicans never made an honest living, and he got in all kinds of trouble over that. What's going on? Two Hillarys? Well, yes.

ROTHENBERG: I think Senator Clinton understands that you have to be one kind of person to win a Democratic presidential nomination and a little different kind of person to win a general election, and she's trying to be two different people at the same time.

MORTON: OK, but can she make it work?

ROTHENBERG: It requires walking a fine line and in this day and age, when the news media is watching her every move and looking for contradictions and hypocrisy and changes of message, it's doubly hard. But if she can pull it off, it would be a terrific way for her to enter the 2008 presidential race.

MORTON: Two Senator Clintons. It won't be easy for them. Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

Posted In
Elections
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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