On encountering Hillary Clinton’s “old friends”

One by one, Hillary Clinton’s “old friends” are surfacing as figures in the 2016 presidential campaign. George Stephanopoulos put himself front and center by suggesting that Peter Schweizer, author of an expose about the Clinton Foundation, has an ax to grind because he worked briefly as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Stephanopoulos, who worked in the Clinton administration for years, failed to disclose that he contributes time and money to the Clinton Foundation.

Then, Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails showed that Clinton hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal provided Hillary with a stream of “intelligence” from Libya in 2011 and 2012. Hillary and her defenders say she lacked the time to read cable traffic that would have better alerted her to the parlous security situation in Benghazi. But she had plenty of time for the Sid Vicious missives, even though the Obama administration had banned him from working for the State Department. Indeed, Hillary had her staff, as well as diplomats in Libya, devote their time to reading and responding to Blumenthal’s memos.

Which “old friend” of Hillary will emerge next in the campaign swirl? Robert “Red” Bone of cattle futures trading fame is deceased, but Webb Hubbell is still around.

It happens that I have encountered both Blumenthal and Stephanopoulos. The encounter with Blumenthal occurred in the winter of 2004-05 at a media awards dinner held by The Week at which various MSM journalists were honored along with Power Line (in the category of new media).

Just before the dinner started, I went to the rest room. Standing at the mirror, a man was frantically combing his hair. It was Sid Vicious.

After the dinner, the master of ceremonies threw open the floor to a discussion about the state of the media. Blumenthal promptly obtained recognition. He began his rant with the cliche that “everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts,” a pompous way of saying that those who disagree with his opinions are liars. It went downhill from there.

My encounter with Stephanopoulos occurred around the same time but under different circumstances. A producer at ABC News called me to say that Stephanopoulos was doing a documentary on new media and wanted to interview me. She said that it would be a one-on-one interview. I agreed to do it.

The producer called back several times to confirm the interview. She never indicated that the format — a one-on-one interview — had changed.

When I arrived for the interview, there was Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos. This was to be a joint interview/mini-debate.

I went ahead with the taping, turning in a forgettable performance. I don’t know whether it ever saw the light of day; I never heard from Stephanopoulos or his staff again.

Stephanopoulos was quite pleasant throughout the encounter. He was easy to talk to, both on and off camera, and had kind words for Power Line. He’s no Sidney Blumenthal.

However, I formed the clear impression that this is someone I wouldn’t trust, and not just because his staff misled me.

Stephanopoulos’ failure to disclose his connection with the Clinton Foundation and his subsequent weasel apology surprise me not at all.