William Kristol attributed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary to “the tears,” saying, “She pretended to cry; the women liked it.” He added, “The women were sorry for her, and she won.” Kristol is one of several media figures who described Clinton's actions as “calculated,” reviving a characterization frequently made by the media that Clinton is “calculating.”
During Fox News' January 8 “You Decide 2008” coverage of the New Hampshire presidential primaries, Fox News political contributor and recently hired New York Times columnist William Kristol attributed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) victory in the Democratic primary to “the tears,” saying, “She pretended to cry; the women liked it.” Anchor Brit Hume asked Kristol, “You think she pretended?” Kristol responded, “I do,” to which Hume replied, “I don't.” Kristol added, “The women were sorry for her, and she won.” Hume had previously asked Kristol if “there [is] anything else to attribute it [Clinton's victory] to,” to which Kristol said, “No, it's the tears.” Kristol was referring to a recent campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during which Clinton's voice broke as she talked about why she is seeking the presidency.
Kristol's January 8 comments came moments after Fox News political contributor and National Public Radio special correspondent Juan Williams said of the incident, “Now, Hillary Clinton shows a little emotion, and people say, hey, wait a minute, the ice queen is melting. There's a real person inside.”
As Media Matters for America documented, Kristol is one of several media figures who described Clinton's actions as “calculated,” reviving a characterization frequently made by the media that Clinton is “calculating.” On the January 7 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Kristol said, “I don't believe it was genuine. I think no Clinton cries without calculating first,” adding, “She's crying for herself, and I don't even believe it's genuine. I think it's entirely calculated.”
The blog Think Progress also noted Kristol's January 8 comments.
From the 10 p.m. ET hour of Fox News' January 8 “You Decide 2008” coverage:
HUME: And quite an achievement for her, I suppose, to come back with only a few days and the momentum coming out of Iowa and all that, and the Barack Obama -- I mean, the, good Lord, you certainly -- there was nothing about the media coverage of the last several days that would have generated any momentum for her -- unless, as one of my colleagues suggested tonight, that perhaps that incident in the restaurant when she showed a little emotion.
WILLIAMS: That's right.
HUME: That that might've -- I mean, that was obviously seen everywhere. I mean, there are very few people who --
WILLIAMS: In fact it was headlines. It was headlines.
HUME: It was headlines.
WILLIAMS: And inside the Clinton campaign, they were calling it the anti-Muskie, you know, the reverse Muskie, because, remember, Ed Muskie cried here, and everybody thought he had broken down and he was a weak man and certainly couldn't be our president. And all of a sudden he went down.
Now, Hillary Clinton shows a little emotion, and people say, hey, wait a minute, the ice queen is melting. There's a real person inside.
And this has to do with her redirecting her campaign in the last few days, because, as we've seen in the exit poll numbers, it was the last few days that seemed to have changed the tide here.
And if that's the case, Hillary Clinton showing emotion, Hillary Clinton starting to offer some sort of vision beyond I'm Bill Clinton's wife and I'm a policy wonk, that started to stir people up. And her appeal to women on the abortion issue, I think --
HUME: So your view of it was then that in doing that, with her voice soft, and whatever it was, it was certainly feminine, that that was appealing to voters?
WILLIAMS: It was appealing to women voters specifically, Brit. And I think it's going to pay off.
And I think going forward -- you know, we've talked about the black vote, we have not talked about the Latino vote, but the Latino vote is strongly with Hillary Clinton.
Going back to John Edwards for just a second, I think at this point he's a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the unions, and that's why he stays in. You know, his “Two Americas” speeches way back in '04 was very effective, talking about the need to care for the poor, health care, education.
But, you know what? It's gone away from that now, and I think it's become personal between him and Hillary. And if that's the case, I think a lot of people are just gonna turn off to John Edwards as he's got his problems, but it's not about the leadership and future of the country.
HUME: Here's old stone heart here with his data.
KRISTOL: No, I, well, I'm -- unfortunately, senior women are not stonehearted, as I am, and they went big for Hillary.
It's interesting if you look at when people decided. This was an even race before Iowa. I mean, let's not overdo this. It's not as if Obama has been here for weeks or months. He was behind, he caught up, Hillary Clinton was slightly ahead.
People who decided sometime in the last week strongly for Obama. He did get a bump out of Iowa. Sometime in the last few days, a little bit for Obama. In the last day, for Clinton -- a small margin, but still for Clinton.
HUME: Well, is there anything else to attribute it to?
KRISTOL: And that's the tears. No, it's the tears. She pretended to cry; the women liked it.
HUME: You think she pretended?
HUME: I don't.
KRISTOL: The women were sorry for her, and she won.