Whether you agree with former President Bill Clinton in his assertion that he was the victim of a "nice little conservative hit job" this past weekend during his interview with "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace almost certainly depends upon where you sit on the political spectrum. But the outburst that came in response to Wallace's question about "connecting the dots" prior to 9/11 has not a few people talking – and wondering what was really going on. Was his angry reaction simply reflexive or was it calculated strategy on the part of one of our era's greatest political players?
(AP/Fox News Sunday)
One thing is for sure, the exchange is flying through the Web at warp speed and is unlikely to be missed by many – even those who routinely avoid political discussion. Seeing the former president sort of flip out this way is pretty riveting stuff, after all. I'm not quite sure what to make of the whole thing. Clinton did appear genuinely angry about being asked whether there was more his administration could have done to stop Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. The incident also comes right on the heels of controversy over an ABC mini-series based on the 9/11 Commission Report, which angered Clinton and members of his administration by falsely portraying them as unwilling to strike bin Laden when the opportunity presented itself. So perhaps he's feeling a little under siege on that particular topic.
Then again, Clinton was sitting down with "Fox News Sunday" for the first time ever. It was part of the promotion for Clinton's Global Initiative forum but he had to know that his first appearance on the Fox show at least had the potential to be a little tougher than a cake-walk. That was confirmed by Clinton spokesperson Jay Carson who told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz: "We're fully aware of Fox News's and Chris Wallace's agenda, and President Clinton came in prepared to respond to any attack on his record. … When Wallace questioned his record on terrorism, he responded forcefully, as any Democrat would or should."
Was Clinton genuinely so outraged by Wallace and his question that he lost a little bit of control or was there a some measure of a calculated strategy to rally Democratic stalwarts heading into the fall elections? We'll probably never know but it's a fun guessing game to play. What do you think?