Matthews' post-debate analysis: "Let me tell you how short Hillary's leash is"

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During MSNBC's analysis of the September 26 Democratic presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, while discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), host Chris Matthews said to moderator Tim Russert, "Let me tell you how short Hillary's leash is. She was asked by you, sir, about whether we're going to get full disclosure of contributors to presidential libraries. And she did not feel that she had the latitude in her husband's absence to give you an answer." Matthews continued, "She said, 'You'll have to ask my husband.' As if you're a guy going door to door trying to sell something and says, 'You'll have to wait for my husband to get home.' " Matthews began to ask, "Do you think she's that much --" but then stopped and asserted, "[N]ever mind, let's just drop this."

In the exchange to which they were referring, Russert asked Clinton, "[D]o you believe the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Library should publish all the donors who give contributions to those two entities?" Clinton responded by noting she had "co-sponsored legislation that would have sitting presidents reveal any donation to their presidential library." Russert then asked, "Until such legislation, would they voluntarily -- the Clinton Library and Clinton Foundation -- make their donors public?" Clinton, who does not control the foundation, asserted, "Well, you'll have to ask them." When Russert asked for a "recommendation," Clinton asserted, "I don't talk about my private conversations with my husband, but I'm sure he'd be happy to consider" making donors public.

From the MSNBC post-debate analysis:

RUSSERT: What I want to hear is the conversation tonight between President Clinton and Hillary Clinton about President Clinton's comments last year on Meet the Press that we ought to have an exception that if we know the number three guy in Al Qaeda knows a bomb is going off and where it's going off, it's OK to beat the hell out of him. Have a presidential finding.

MATTHEWS: Let me tell you how short Hillary's leash is. She was asked by you, sir, about whether we're going to get full disclosure of contributors to presidential libraries. And she did not feel that she had the latitude in her husband's absence to give you an answer. She said, "You'll have to ask my husband." As if you're a guy going door to door trying to sell something and says, "You'll have to wait for my husband to get home." It was unbelievable that she wouldn't answer that. Do you think she's that much -- never mind, let's just drop this.

RUSSERT: Unlike Kathleen Matthews [Chris Matthews' wife and former Washington, D.C., local news anchor].

MATTHEWS: Thank you. I just thought it was extraordinary that their deal doesn't have that much clarity to it. Anyway, up next, another of the candidates from tonight's debate, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. He's coming here. You're watching MSNBC's coverage of the Democratic presidential candidates` debate, live from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire on MSNBC.

From the September 26 debate on MSNBC:

RUSSERT: I want to turn to politics and money. Senator Clinton, as you well know, you had to turn back $850,000 in contributions from Norman Hsu because of his rather checkered past. Again, President Clinton said this: "Now, we don't have to publish all our donors for the Clinton Foundation, but if Hillary became president, I think there would be questions about whether people would try to win favor by giving money to me." In light of that, do you believe that the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Library should publish all the donors who give contributions to those two entities?

CLINTON: Well, Tim, I actually co-sponsored legislation that would have sitting presidents reveal any donation to their presidential library. And I think that's a good policy.

RUSSERT: And the foundation?

CLINTON: Well, it would be the same, because that's where the library comes from.

RUSSERT: Until such legislation, would they voluntarily -- the Clinton Library and Clinton Foundation -- make their donors public?

CLINTON: Well, you'll have to ask them.

RUSSERT: What's your recommendation?

CLINTON: Well, I don't talk about my private conversations with my husband, but I'm sure he'd be happy to consider that.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Chris Matthews, Tim Russert
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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