During an interview with Chris Matthews for Fox News Sunday, Bill Clinton was asked the following question by Matthews:
“Recently, the Pope quoted an emperor from 600 years ago, remarks that had little kind to say about Muhammed. The results of the Pope’s words were riots, arson, and killing around the globe. What I would ask you, Mr. President, is Muhammed a big jerkwad or what?”
“How dare you insult the prophet! Those who insult the profet shall be beheaded! A fatwah upon your head, soulless infidel!”
Ok. I made all that up. All except the Clinton getting upset bit.
But, you know, it’s tough being the President Who Let Bin Laden Go. I’m sure that eats at his gut, just as it would any of us. It’s a sore subject, and he’s reminded of it all the time. I don’t think we really need to ask the guy in every interview if he screwed up with Bin Laden, because, as we all know, he did.
However, if he goes out there to do legacy-building, and then says he sick of Rove’s “bulls**t”, then he should be aware that he will be consistently reminded of his failures because it’s something closely identified with him.
Bush 41 wasn’t a great president, either. But we look on him kindly because when he left office, he pretty much disappeared. Same with Reagan. The two of them did things like attend state funerals, do some speaking tours, but they largely avoided the political arena. Clinton (and Carter) have injected themselves into politics, mainly to try and rebuild the legacies of their tepid performances in office. And if you’re going to do that, you really should be prepared for the tough questions.
UPDATE: The transcript is up over at Think Progress. Here’s a snippet:
WALLACE: Do you think you did enough sir?
CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.
CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didn’t…I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke… So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know..
Effectively Clinton says, “They had 8 whole months. Forget about my 8 years.” That’s totally disingenuous. Not to mention when Bush tried, he invaded a country. Clinton fired missiles at an empty training camp and a pharmaceutical plant in Africa.
CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked: Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole? I want to know how many you asked: Why did you fire Dick Clarke? I want to know…
So, it’s classic Clinton deflection. It’s not my fault! I do feel sorry for the guy, but he’s really not doing any good out there, polarizing the political debate and then bringing up these ad hominem attacks on a news network.