In his column in the May 28 edition of Time, Joe Klein uncritically quoted former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's assertion during the May 15 Republican presidential debate that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "believes" that "an unfettered free market is the most disastrous thing in modern America." Similarly, in his May 17 USA Today column, Chuck Raasch repeated the quote after asserting that "the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency" was "the political equivalent of a bullfighter's red cape to a Republican audience." However, neither Klein nor Raasch noted that Giuliani misrepresented what Clinton said. Giuliani said during the debate:
GIULIANI: There's something, I think, really big at stake here. We're looking at a race here in which the leading Democratic candidate for president of the United States has said that the unfettered free market is the most disastrous thing in modern America. That's a quote -- or that's a quote she agreed with.
In fact, as Media Matters for America documented, a May 16 Bloomberg report noted: "In a 1996 C-Span interview, Clinton said she agreed with a quote she cited [sic] her book, 'It Takes a Village,' that 'The unfettered free market has been the most radically disruptive force in American life in the last generation.' Clinton also said in the interview 'that the market is the driving force behind our prosperity,' 'but that it cannot be permitted just to run roughshod over people's lives as well.' "
From Clinton's March 3, 1996, interview on C-SPAN's Booknotes:
BRIAN LAMB (host): There's a quote here. I want to ask you if you agree with this. This is from Alan Ehrenhalt, author of The Lost City -- you put it in your book. "The unfettered free market has been the most radically disruptive force in American life in the last generation."
CLINTON: I believe that. That's why I put it in the book. I think if you look at the argument we've had in our political life in the last several years, it's been a false debate. We've pitted the government against everything else. Well, I don't believe the government has had as big an impact as commercial television, as a lot of the decisions made in the marketplace about how we're going to pay and compensate people, about downsizing corporations and making workers more insecure. And I just believe that there's got to be a healthy tension among all of our institutions in society, and that the market is the driving force behind our prosperity, our freedom in so many respects to make our lives our own but that it cannot be permitted just to run roughshod over people's lives as well.
But Giuliani was having a good debate even before he reduced Paul to history. He had taken Gilmore's clever attack on the front-running flip-floppers -- "Rudy McRomney" -- and turned it into an attack on Hillary Clinton. "We can ... discuss all that," he said, referring to abortion, gun control and gay rights, "but there's something ... really big at stake here." And he launched into what a threat to the republic Clinton would be because she believes "an unfettered free market is the most disastrous thing in modern America." When Tancredo accused him of being soft on immigration, Giuliani successfully deflected again: "I'd like to thank Congressman Tancredo for saying I'm soft on anything. That's the first time in about 20 years." My sense was that his strength and dexterity were almost enough to make Republicans forget his multiple marriages and newfound pro-choice clarity.
From USA Today:
Giuliani threw out the political equivalent of a bullfighter's red cape to a Republican audience: the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
"There's something really big at stake here," Giuliani said. "We're looking at a race here in which the leading candidate for president of the United States (Clinton) has said that the unfettered free market is the most disastrous thing in modern America. ... She's also said, with regard to taxes, that we have to take money from you in order to give it to the common good."