Scarborough called Crawford "only guy" defending Bill Clinton's Jackson comment -- ignoring Jackson himself

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough asserted that Congressional Quarterly's Craig Crawford is "the only human being on the face of the Earth, other than Bill Clinton, that doesn't think Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson remark was inappropriate." He also said Crawford is "the only guy who has defended ... Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson remark." But Jackson has reportedly said that he does not "read anything negative into Clinton's observation."

On the January 29 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough teased a segment with Congressional Quarterly columnist Craig Crawford by asserting that Crawford is "the only human being on the face of the Earth, other than [former President] Bill Clinton, that doesn't think Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson remark was inappropriate." Scarborough was referring to Clinton's statement on January 26 that "[Rev.] Jesse Jackson won in South Carolina twice, in '84 and '88, and he ran a good campaign, and Senator [Barack] Obama's [D-IL] running a good campaign." During the segment, Scarborough said to Crawford: "[Y]ou and Bill Clinton obviously go to Dunkin' Donuts in the morning and sit there and eat glazed donuts and drink coffee, because you are the only guy who has defended Bill Clinton's ... Jesse Jackson remark." In fact, according to a January 28 post on The New York Times blog The Caucus, Jackson himself has said that he does not "read anything negative into Clinton's observation."

The post also quoted Jackson saying: "Bill has done so much for race relations and inclusion, I would tend not to read a negative scenario into his comments." Jackson has endorsed Obama for president.

From The Caucus' January 28 blog post:

Mr. Clinton had noted that Mr. Jackson had won South Carolina in the Democratic contests in 1984 and 1988. Pundits and many in the blogosphere interpreted Mr. Clinton's mention of Mr. Jackson as an attempt to diminish Mr. Obama -- and what would turn out to be his landslide victory Saturday in South Carolina over Senator Hillary Clinton [D-NY] -- because Mr. Jackson had not gone on to win the Democratic nomination.

But Mr. Jackson said he did not see it that way.

"I don't read anything negative into Clinton's observation," Mr. Jackson said in a phone conversation late Sunday night from India, where he is taking part in a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

[...]

In his conversation with Mr. Obama on Saturday, Mr. Jackson said, "He told me what Bill had said. And I said to Barack, as a tactical matter, resist any temptation to come down to that level. There may be temptations, especially when the media keeps saying 'Barack is black,' and they never said 'Dukakis is white' or 'Hillary is white,'' he said, referring to Michael Dukakis, who won the Democratic nomination in 1988.

But, Mr. Jackson said, "Bill has done so much for race relations and inclusion, I would tend not to read a negative scenario into his comments." He said his chief concern was that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton not "bloody themselves" so much that they can't unite against the Republicans in November.

Several other prominent Democrats had also talked with Mr. Clinton earlier in the week, urging him not to escalate racial tensions within the party. One, Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, said on CNN that Mr. Clinton should "chill."

Mr. Jackson said that on Saturday, Mr. Clinton had simply been recognizing Mr. Jackson's success and said Mr. Obama recognized it too.

"He said that he felt his success was built on my 84 and 88 campaigns," Mr. Jackson said of Mr. Obama. He said there had been a "growth and maturing of the electorate" since he ran, and he saw Mr. Obama's win as "part of the historic evolution of the New South."

From the January 29 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: Coming up next -- OK, I got a bone to pick with this guy.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, you do, but you know what? I just want you to listen --

SCARBOROUGH: Craig Crawford --

BRZEZINSKI: -- to what Craig Crawford has to say before you speak.

SCARBOROUGH: OK. All right, we got --

BRZEZINSKI: Just listen.

SCARBOROUGH: We got Craig Crawford coming up.

BRZEZINSKI: Listen before you speak.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm not going to say he's totally in the tank for the Clintons --

BRZEZINSKI: I'm just saying you listen before you speak.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm just saying he's the only human being on the face of the Earth, other than Bill Clinton, that doesn't think Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson remark was inappropriate. But he's going to be here, because you know what?

BRZEZINSKI: I have some thoughts about it, too.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm fair; I'm open-minded, and Mika, I am on a mission to unite America.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, gosh.

SCARBOROUGH: Craig Crawford will [inaudible] -- become part of that mission and my ministry when we return.

[...]

SCARBOROUGH: Let's talk about the Democrats. What do you make of Ted Kennedy's historic speech yesterday in Washington?

CRAWFORD: I can't think of a president -- I can't think of anyone he endorsed who became president.

[laughter]

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, OK.

CRAWFORD: But there were some who got the nomination, I'll give him that.

SCARBOROUGH: He's so --

BRZEZINSKI: Wow.

SCARBOROUGH: I will not say you're so in the tank for the Clintons, but --

CRAWFORD: Oh, no, wait a minute.

SCARBOROUGH: -- but come on, buddy! You are the only person --

CRAWFORD: Now, I came over to see if you guys actually froth at the mouth when you talk about Bill Clinton. I mean, you guys obsess about Bill Clinton more than he does about himself.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I'm telling you, you and Bill Clinton obviously go to Dunkin' Donuts in the morning and sit there and eat glazed donuts and drink coffee, because you are the only guy who has defended Bill Clinton's --

BRZEZINSKI: Well, let's see --

SCARBOROUGH: -- Jesse Jackson remark.

BRZEZINSKI: I want to hear this.

SCARBOROUGH: And I do, too. I find it fascinating. So, go ahead, defend away.

CRAWFORD: I thought it was real politics. I mean, you know, if -- you know, I was told --

SCARBOROUGH: Racist politics or real politics?

CRAWFORD: No, no, no. Real politics, I mean, here's the deal, you know, with, you know, that race in South Carolina, he was asked -- they were talking about the history of voting in South Carolina, you know, that clip's just not part of the clip that's been shown. The senator, Carrie Meek's --

BRZEZINSKI: But, Craig, it wasn't a slip of the tongue.

CRAWFORD: -- [former Rep.] Carrie Meek's [D-FL] son [Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL)] was there; he's been talking about that. So, anyway, they'd been having a discussion about the voting history in South Carolina before he said that. But even so, I mean, that is a fact, isn't it, that --

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, but was it a slip of the tongue?

CRAWFORD: -- Jesse Jackson won those two --

SCARBOROUGH: Why would he bring that up, though?

CRAWFORD: -- and they were caucuses, which is -- because they were -- they'd been talking about it. They'd been talking about the voting down there in South Carolina.

BRZEZINSKI: Are you saying that the sound bite is being brought out of context?

CRAWFORD: Well, there is no context in the sound bite, hardly; there's only the first few seconds before he makes those remarks.

BRZEZINSKI: You do not think it was a mistake for him to bring up --

CRAWFORD: Well, the people who were there say it had been discussed --

SCARBOROUGH: What about --

CRAWFORD: -- Carrie Meek's son in particular.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Joe Scarborough
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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