Hillary Clinton Hates The Sunday Morning Shows

Several times, people have wondered why it is that UN Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows in the wake of the Benghazi attack instead of Secretary of State Clinton. Well, it turns out Clinton hates going on those shows:

“Secretary Clinton had originally been asked by most of the networks to go on,” Rice told Williams. “She had had an incredibly grueling week dealing with the protests around the Middle East and North Africa. I was asked. I was willing to do so. It wasn’t what I had planned for that weekend originally, but I don’t regret doing that.”

But three sources close to the situation tell POLITICO that it was less a matter of fatigue, and more a matter of Clinton not wanting to go on the shows.

The aides said Clinton had a “default” policy of rejecting all Sunday requests.

None of the officials was willing to speculate on why the secretary wouldn’t make an exception after such an extraordinary event — or whether Clinton had wanted to avoid a controversy that could have compromised her political future.

West Wing officials would have little compunction about asking Clinton’s successor John Kerry to appear on the shows — but Clinton enjoyed a level of autonomy from West Wing meddling unique in the recent history of her department. Obama’s top aides, deferential and wary of reigniting old tensions with his 2008 foe, didn’t force the issue and scrambled to find a stand-in for Clinton.

“[Hillary] has a standing refusal [to do Sunday shows]. She hates them. She would rather die than do them,” said one aide on condition of anonymity. “The White House knows, so they would know not to even ask her.”

That’s okay Hillary, we don’t much enjoy watching those shows anyway.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. wr says:

    Apparently the only two people in the world who actually like these shows are John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

  2. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Another reason to support Hillary in 2016.

  3. stonetools says:

    Maybe if she had stepped up to the plate first, she could have strangled this “scandal” in its crib.
    But then, I think the Republicans would have made this into a witch hunt anyway. Unlike many progressives, I don’t think there was any way out of this fight. If the talking points were perfect from draft one, and if Ambassador Rice got things exactly right on the talk shows, the Republicans would still be trying to make hay out of this.
    I think the Administration should start being a lot blunter in saying this, now. Including using terms like “witch hunt.”

  4. Andre Kenji says:

    @wr:

    Apparently the only two people in the world who actually like these shows are John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

    That´s the problem. People usually complain that the interviewers in the Sunday Morning Shows are not as tough as they should be, but the problem is that there are several venues that are EVEN more friendly to politicians. That why Obama went to the View, but not to the Sunday Morning Shows. Facing Sean Hannity is much a easier task for Republicans than facing Bob Schieffer.

    In the Sunday Morning Shows you face the risk that someone, ohhh, asks a question where you´ll looks bad if you give a bad answer. Today, Susan Rice would be be Secretary of State if it weren´t for these shows. Bill Richardson Presidential Campaign in 2008 sunk after a horrible MtP interview.

    Lindsey Graham and John McCain appears a lot in these shows because unlike most politicians they are willing to face the risks. I bet you that Hillary Clinton also hates and would refuse to go to Newsnight, The Andrew Marr Show, HardTalk or any foreign show that´s known for it´s tough interviews.

    It´s bad for a democracy when politicians refuses anything that might resemble a REAL interview. If you can´t stand David Gregory, how are you going to stand to Vladimir Putin?

  5. wr says:

    @Andre Kenji: “Lindsey Graham and John McCain appears a lot in these shows because unlike most politicians they are willing to face the risks. ”

    The only risk that McCain has ever faced on a Sunday show is that his ass might get chapped from all the kisses planted there.

  6. TheColourfield says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Complete and utter crap.

    Dancing Dave Gregory et al treat them with nothing but deference as they do most everyone else. Issa flat out lied on Sunday about Pickering refusing to appear in front of his committee. Pickering called him out and there was no real follow up.

    Proven liars and idiots like like George Will, Newt Gingrich and Carly Fiorina are more than welcome to spew crap on Sunday mornings with no fear there reputation will be harmed.

  7. stonetools says:

    I wonder if we’ll ever have anyone ask Lindsey Graham, ” Why didn’t you call for an investigation during the following times when terrorists attacked a US diplomatic post under a Republican Administration ….( List a string of attacks. )”.

    They can follow up with:
    ” Isn’t the reason why you are making much of Benghazi now is because you fear a primary challenge from your right in 2014?”
    I’m betting Senator Graham would be on a lot less often after that!

  8. bandit says:

    Don’t know why she’d have a problem – the non-stop lying is old hat for her.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    That fictional Jewish carpenter, Jesus of Nazereth, could have gone on the Sunday Morning bloviations and Republicans would still be trying to make high crimes and misdemeanors out of some talking points.
    When you have nothing to offer…you offer BS. That’s the boat Republicans find themselves in.
    Their only option…given their dearth of ideas…is to try to manufacture scandal.
    Clinton’s BJ, Whitewater, Vernon Jordan. Now this trifecta.
    Meanwhile Healthcare costs are undergoing a structural change for the better, the Dow is at 15,000, and the economy is plugging along in spite of Republican efforts at sabotage.
    I’m not a HIllary fan…but I’m dying for her to win just so we can watch Republicanist heads explode. Poof.

  10. Andre Kenji says:

    @TheColourfield:

    Dancing Dave Gregory et al treat them with nothing but deference as they do most everyone else.

    I´m not saying that Gregory asks tough questions. I´m saying that John McCain and Lindsey Graham appears a lot in these shows because Congressional Leaders do not want to go to these shows because they don´t have control over the questions and yes, many leaders look bad after a interview in these shows. Just ask Susan Rice.

    And that, yes, Fox News(For Republicans) and MSNBC(For Democrats) are a much more friendlier venue for politicians, so, it´s easy to spot their preferences. If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were willing to go to those shows we would see far less Graham and McCain.

  11. TheColourfield says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    “I´m not saying that Gregory asks tough questions. I´m saying that John McCain and Lindsey Graham appears a lot in these shows because Congressional Leaders do not want to go to these shows because they don´t have control over the questions

    This makes no sense. If they know the questions are easy then why would they care about “control”

  12. Andre Kenji says:

    @TheColourfield:

    If they know the questions are easy then why would they care about “control”

    Because that´s the point: they DON´T know that the questions are going to be easy enough and politicians have access to interviewers that are even fluffier than the Sunday Talk Shows. Gregory at least pointed out to Beirut in 1983, interviewers like Fox News and Talk Radio would NEVER mention that to Issa.

    If going to the Sunday Talk Shows was such an easy task Susan Rice would be SoS today and fewer people would be talking about Benghazi.

  13. Andre Kenji says:

    By the I way, I do agree that people like Carly Fiorina should have no place in ANY Sunday Talk Shows, that there are too many partisan hacks(AKA Consultants) in the roundtables and that there are dozens of younger journalists that should appear more. People like Ezra Klein and Joshua Barro should be a fixture in these shows, for instance.

  14. TheColourfield says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    If you think MTP, This Week or Face the Nation in any way challenges Beltway consensus you’re not paying attention. Why wall to wall Benghazi and not say, complete obstruction of Obama nominees by the senate as a target. The very topics themselves preclude any serious discussion and the idiocy of talking about impeachment is considered worthy of discussion.

    And enough with the Susan Rice nonsense, she didn’t do anything wrong, she read out talking points approved by the CIA and State. It only became an issues because of total frauds like John Mccain who couldn’t even be bothered going to a classified meeting to discuss what had happened in Libya.

  15. TheColourfield says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    “I´m not saying that Gregory asks tough questions. ”

    “Because that´s the point: they DON´T know that the questions are going to be easy ”

    ????

  16. MM says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    That´s the problem. People usually complain that the interviewers in the Sunday Morning Shows are not as tough as they should be, but the problem is that there are several venues that are EVEN more friendly to politicians. That why Obama went to the View, but not to the Sunday Morning Shows. Facing Sean Hannity is much a easier task for Republicans than facing Bob Schieffer.

    The “toughness” of the Sunday panel shows is more myth than reality. The hosts will sometimes ask tougher questions, true. But there is almost never any real follow up. if you anticipate the question and have a talking point there is rarely a meaningful attempt to get past the talking point or point out incongruities.

    Even “master of the hard question” Tim Russert wasn’t as good at this as people think he was. Yeah, he would drag out old quotes and ask politicians to respond, but pretty much any non flop-sweat response would work. The hosts aren’t really listening and reacting on the fly. They are too busy making sure they get through the topics, moving between guests and getting barked at about time by producers to really listen.

    If you can dance around the questions, have lots of talking points ant your finger tips and refuse to ever admit wrongness, a mildly gifted politician can always make it through the Sunday shows.

  17. Andre Kenji says:

    @MM:

    The “toughness” of the Sunday panel shows is more myth than reality.

    But I´m not saying that they are tough. I´m saying that politicians prefers to go to talk radio or to cable news, where the level of sycophancy goes to the roof.

  18. al-Ameda says:

    Those Sunday talk shows are pretty lousy. Predictable responses from rank partisans on either side, plus zero fact checking and zero decent follow up.

  19. steve s says:

    Stopped watching the sunday shows long ago because there’s nothing to learn from them.

  20. Tyrell says:

    Hillary was an ok secretary of state, but my two favorites were Dean Rusk and John Dulles.

  21. bill says:

    i don’t like to work on sunday’s either- but if my biz has a fire to put out i feel obligated to do so.

  22. Tyler says:

    It’s pretty obvious that Hilary Clinton knew better than to toe the line the Obama campaign wanted to feed to voters unlike Susan Rice. The “talking points” were all about plausible deniability for Susan Rice. That plausible deniability would not work for Clinton, and it shouldn’t even work for Susan Rice. As Petraeus pointed out, the talking points shouldn’t have even been used, because what they were whittled down to, did not represent the whole intelligence picture.

  23. Dennis says:

    Really? “Default” policy against Sunday talk shows, eh? Curious…cuz she did these:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32142102/ns/meet_the_press/print/1/displaymode/1098/
    Meet the press NBC, July 26, 2009

    http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/03/159210.htm
    Face the nation, CBS. March 27, 2011

    http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/10/175990.htm
    State of the Union, CNN, oct 23, 2011

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-502443_162-4069174-502443.html
    This week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC, May 4, 2008