Clintons agree on Lieberman's re-election campaign, but NBC's Mitchell sees "split"

Clintons agree on Lieberman's re-election campaign, but NBC's Mitchell sees "split"

››› ››› ROB MORLINO

Even though former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have both said they support Sen. Joe Lieberman's primary election and will also support whichever Democrat wins the primary -- Lieberman or Ned Lamont -- in the general election, NBC News' Andrea Mitchell argued that there is "somewhat of a split" between the Clintons' views on Lieberman's re-election campaign.

On the July 23 broadcast of the NBC-syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that there is "somewhat of a split" between former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) concerning Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's (D-CT) re-election campaign. Mitchell said: "[H]e's arguing that Democrats ought to keep their eye on the ball, but she is busy positioning herself, constantly positioning herself." In fact, the Clintons have said they support Lieberman's primary election and will also support whichever Democrat wins the primary -- Lieberman or Ned Lamont -- in the general election. Co-panelist Joe Klein, a Time magazine columnist, noted that this was Sen. Clinton's position but did not note that it was also President Clinton's. Mitchell made her remarks after NBC News chief White House correspondent David Gregory, guest-hosting the program, asked her: "[I]s this a Bill-and-Hillary split on this? You were at this speech that Bill Clinton gave this week where he said it's crazy as Democrats to be fighting with each other over a war we didn't start."

From the July 23 broadcast of the NBC-syndicated The Chris Matthews Show:

GREGORY: Andrea, is this a Bill-and-Hillary split on this? You were at this speech that Bill Clinton gave this week where he said it's crazy as Democrats to be fighting with each other over a war we didn't start.

MITCHELL: And he's arguing that Democrats ought to keep their eye on the ball, but she is busy positioning herself, constantly positioning herself. So, there is somewhat of a split there. It's so interesting also to see the Bill Clinton-Joe Lieberman relationship because, don't forget, it was Joe Lieberman who really was critical on moral, religious grounds of Bill Clinton's infidelity.

GREGORY: And Chrystia, look ahead. If Lieberman loses, what does it mean for Hillary? Does it hurt her?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND (Financial Times U.S. managing editor): I think that it makes Hillary's position on the war much more complicated, as it is for all Democrats. They have to, on the one hand, show they're tough on security but, on the other hand, not be giving those big kisses to [President] Bush.

GREGORY: David, isn't this also one of the early fights on what the Democratic [Party] wants to be when it runs next time?

DAVID IGNATIUS (Washington Post columnist): Certainly on national security policy, this is the heart of the matter, and you could argue that, you know, as the party moves to the left now in this primary season, it moves away from positions that will be winning in general elections. I think if Lieberman could find a way to reposition himself, especially after this week of war in Lebanon, as somebody who feels strongly about terrorism, who is committed to a tough line on terrorism, he'd have a lot easier time with the Iraq issue.

MITCHELL: What he shouldn't say is, "I voted for it before I voted against it." That wouldn't work.

KLEIN: We should point out, though, that I think that Hillary is supporting Lieberman in the primaries. She's just said that she wouldn't support him if he ran as an independent.

GREGORY: OK, we'll leave it there.

Person
Andrea Mitchell
Show/Publication
The Chris Matthews Show
Stories/Interests
2006 Elections
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