Bill Clinton Rips FoxNews!

September 23, 2006 at 2:57 pm | Posted in American politics, Bill Clinton, Foxnews | 7 Comments


Bill Clinton is working hard in helping poor people around the world, raising to this point 7.3 billion dollars from various people, including from Richard Branson, who donated a whopping 3 billion dollars! So Clinton is doing good things. He is invited to Foxnews to talk about his good works, but…..well, this is Foxnews we’re talking about…..what is the first question? Think Progress has the transcript for the show to appear this Sunday. Read on….

Today, President Bill Clinton taped an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, which is scheduled to be aired Sunday. He was told the interview would focus on his nonpartisan efforts to raise over $7 billion to combat the world’s biggest problems.

Early in the interview, Wallace attempted to smear Clinton with the same kind of misinformation contained in ABC’s Path to 9/11. Clinton was having none of it.

ThinkProgress has obtained a transcript of the interview. Here are some highlights –

Wallace repeats Path to 9/11 misinformation, Clinton fights back:

WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of email from viewers, and I got to say I was surprised most of them wanted me to ask you this question. Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President? There’s a new book out which I suspect you’ve read called the Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, Bin Laden said “I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of US troops.” Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole.


WALLACE: …may I just finish the question sir. And after the attack, the book says, Bin Laden separated his leaders because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is 20/20.

CLINTON: No let’s talk about…

WALLACE: …but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. I will answer all of those things on the merits but I want to talk about the context of which this arises. I’m being asked this on the FOX network…ABC just had a right wing conservative on the Path to 9/11 falsely claim that it was based on the 9/11 Commission report with three things asserted against me that are directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say that I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn’t have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say that I didn’t do enough said that I did too much. Same people.

Notice here that Clinton strikes right at the heart of the Republican hypocrisy on the subject. Back in the 90s, Republicans claimed he was too obsessed with Bin Laden. These days, the lie, the talking point, the spin, is that he did not do enough.

Clinton takes on Fox News bias:

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..

WALLACE: Now wait a minute sir…


WALLACE: I asked a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?

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…

WALLACE: We asked…


WALLACE: Do you ever watch Fox News Sunday sir?

CLINTON: I don’t believe you ask them that.

WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of…

CLINTON: You didn’t ask that did you? Tell the truth.

WALLACE: About the USS Cole?

CLINTON: Tell the truth.

WALLACE: I…with Iraq and Afghanistan there’s plenty of stuff to ask.

CLINTON: Did you ever ask that? You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch is going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers for supporting my work on climate change. And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about…

WALLACE: [laughs]

CLINTON: You said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7 billion dollars plus over three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.

Clinton on his priorities and the Bush administration priorities:

CLINTON: What did I do? I worked hard to try and kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now I never criticized President Bush and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is 1/7 as important as Iraq. And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive theme when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive systematic way to try to protect the country against terror. And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever…

WALLACE: [Laughs]

CLINTON: I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get Bin Laden. I regret it but I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could. The entire military was against sending special forces into Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter and no one thought we could do it otherwise…We could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was President. Until I left office. And yet I get asked about this all the time and they had three times as much time to get him as I did and no one ever asks them about this. I think that’s strange.

Ask yourself today, if Clinton is being criticized for not getting Bin Laden back in the 90s, why is Bush not being criticized for not getting Bin Laden AFTER the worst attack in American history? Bush has said that capturing Bin Laden is not a priority!

Where is FoxNews’s indignation towards Bush for this!


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  1. I don’t agree with Clinton’s assessment of his own innocence. 9/11 might have been completely avoided if he’d picked up Bin Laden in Somalia, was it?

    Bill Clinton is not just a lying politician, or a guy who had consensual sex during phone calls with world leaders. He’s a rapist. And that puts him way above Bush on the criminal scale. He’s not immoral, he’s amoral.

    And Daniel, I used to really really like this guy. My picture was on the front page of the paper saying I liked him.

    No way does he compare to Bush in morals. You can’t say he didn’t do things just because we don’t know about them. I firmly believe he’s responsible for much more than rape.

  2. Annegb,

    I don’t think Clinton was playing innocent. He did agree that he failed in capturing Bin Laden. He tried (and honestly he did try).

    I’m not comparing Clinton to Bush on morals, but I am comparing them on their efforts to capture Bin Laden. Why is Bush saying that capturing Bin Laden is of no priority to his administration? This isn’t about the morals, but national security.

  3. It would be personally satisfying to see Bin Laden killed or captured but sadly it probably won’t make much difference. Two reasons for thinking so:

    1) We killed the # 1 Al Qaeda leader in Iraq and the violence has continued without skipping a beat

    2) Bin Laden, if he is alive and well, cannot be very effective when he is forced to remain in hiding 24/7. Imagine how much you could get done if you had to stay home in your bedroom with just a cell phone. The guys that are actually “getting the work done” are *not* Bin Laden.

    I just finished watching “The Path to 9/11” on my DVR. It reminded me that we had a national tragedy primarily due to paralysis on the part of OUR goverment under both Democrat and Republican administrations. We the People elected these leaders in both cases. Seems that now, We the People no longer view 9/11 as a national tragedy – it now seems it’s only a political football – and we’re still not getting to the roots of the problem. And, we’re not getting to the roots for the same reason- – paralysis in our government. We the People need to have the guts to vote against incumbents who aren’t getting the job done – no matter what their party affiliation is.

  4. It isn’t a matter of satisfaction. But it sends a clear message to those who wish to attack us. If we get Bin Laden right away, the message is, “look, if you attack us we will completely destroy you.” There is no more powerful message than that.

    Do you realize how weak America looks when the mastermind behind the worst attack on our soil not only still lives (recent rumors aside) but is not considered a priority to get by our leaders? Zarqawi was small fry. We inflated his stature far greater than his threat ever was.

    If we truly want to protect America, we go after those who attack us and destroy them completely. Iraq did not attack us, nor had anything to do with it. I’m glad to see Bush finally admitting this, when he previously lied about it.

  5. I think GWB realizes now that Bin Laden is part of a much bigger movement. Perhaps if they’d gotten Bin Laden before 9/11, they could have averted the tragedy, perhaps not. I think he just realizes now that capturing Bin Laden won’t matter much, now.

    I think it might have made a difference in the whole picture of terrorism, though, had they stopped him long ago. He’s not the only terrorist, however, maybe he’s not even the most powerful. Maybe Bush knows more than we do.

    Clinton had him in hand, though, and turned his back on it.

  6. Anne,

    letting Bin Laden still be alive, and more importantly, saying that it isn’t a priority to get him, the message Bush says is that, hey go ahead and attack us, we might not come after you if you do!

    The importance of getting Bin Laden cannot be overstated. Critics of Clinton blame him for letting terrorism exacerbate by not getting Bin Laden, saying that all this could have been averted, but then they don’t criticize Bush for the very same thing. What did Iraq have to do with 9/11? Nothing. What did Iraq have to do with terrorism? Not much.

    The message Bush is sending out is that, if you attack us, we’re going to use your attack as justification for our own pet projects, greenlighting wars we normally would not have gotten if you didn’t attack us. That is the glaring message of the War in Iraq.

  7. These days the only thing that shocks me about FoxNews’ antics is the fact that so many people still bother to feel shocked.

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