Hillary’s campaign for the Democrat nomination for president in 2012 began last June 8, when, during an interview with an Ecuadorean television reporter, she announced the Department of Justice’s plan to bring a lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration act.The conventional wisdom among news outlets back then was that while speaking off-script, she prematurely “let the cat out of the bag” — so wrote the Huffington Post. The episode was widely packaged and sold as an in-the-moment slip.Now, recall who took the heat after Hillary spoke: Attorney General Eric Holder, who admitted not having yet read the Arizona bill, and Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State told a political secret offshore, and no one took public umbrage with her faux pas. On the contrary, it yielded cheese for the Cheshire cat as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer went ballistic against the Obama administration.
Let’s assume, for the moment, that Hillary’s announcement was planned. And that it was meant to embarrass the Obama administration. Let’s also assume that she chose to make that announcement outside the range of the legacy media’s attention span, which on a good day has the focus of a hummingbird. It took days for the news to migrate north from NTN24 Television out of Quito, Ecuador to the Beltway JournoListas. Hey, the SecState was having a casual conversation with an otherwise unknown Ecuadorian reporter, and, oops, the lawsuit just slipped out.
You’re asking: So if she meant to make news, why not use the pages of the Washington Post, or the TV screen of “Face the Nation”? The Daily Beast didn’t even name the Ecuadorean reporter who interviewed Hillary. Nor did the LATimes. They would have, had she been Katie Couric.
The news venue was about credible denial. It runs in the Clinton family, credible denial does — although when Bill said that five U.S. JDAM bombs were accidentally dropped on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7, 1999 because strike planners used old Michelin road maps and mistakenly targeted the wrong building, he did cross into incredible denial, like when he didn’t inhale and never had sex with that woman. But never mind all that. The Clintons know how to manipulate the media to their advantage, even though ex-Chicago Tribune reporter David Axelrod was better at it in ’08.
Hillary chose an innocuous forum to turn the cat bag upside-down in order to deflect any suggestion that she meant to deliver a blow to her political opponents. NTN24 TV was Hillary’s Michelin map, though more artful.
Now fast-forward to Hillary’s address before the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on September 8, 2010. Her prepared remarks were standard fare, all about the new cooperative and collegial demeanor of America’s foreign policy with the requisite blah blah blah featuring Hillary as America’s Grand Statesperson. There isn’t a GOP presidential candidate on the radar screen today who can make a better prima facie case for timely international experience, as long as you put aside the absence of any significant foreign policy successes to date. Doesn’t matter. Hillary will claim the experience — Barry will carry the failures.
The platform for Hillary’s pitch for the Democrat nomination in 2012 surfaced in the Q&A that followed her prepared remarks. Here’s an excerpt, with the most telling words in italics.