Big Dog barks

The era of quiet Bill Clinton is over. The Big Dog has emerged from a brief period of verbal dormancy to do for Madam Hillary in connection with her email scandal what Madam Hillary did for him in connection with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Mr. Bill all but declares the scandal related to the Mrs.’s private, insecure email setup for her official business as Secretary of State to be the biggest nothingburger since, well, the Lewinsky scandal. Thanks, Bill.

In the New York Times, Amy Chozick quotes generous excerpts of Clinton’s CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria to be aired today:

“I have never seen so much expended on so little,” Mr. Clinton said in a taped interview with Fareed Zakaria that is scheduled to be shown Sunday on CNN. The network released excerpts on Saturday afternoon.

“She said she was sorry that her personal email caused all this confusion,” Mr. Clinton said. “And she’d like to give the election back to the American people. I think it will be all right. But it’s obvious what happened.”

Mr. Clinton likened the current inquiries into Mrs. Clinton’s emails to scandals as far back as the Whitewater land deal that plagued his 1992 campaign and his administration.

“This is just something that has been a regular feature of all of our presidential campaigns, except in 2008 for unique reasons,” Mr. Clinton said, without elaborating on why he believed that President Obama had not faced similar Republican-led efforts to derail his candidacy.

“It always happens,” he added. “We’re seeing history repeat itself.”

“The other party doesn’t want to run against her. And if they do, they’d like her as mangled up as possible,” Mr. Clinton said. “And they know that if they leak things and say things, that that is catnip to the people who get bored talking about what’s your position on student loan relief or dealing with the shortage of mental health care, or what to do with the epidemic of prescription drugs and heroin out in America.”

Mr. Clinton also faulted the political press corps, which he said was determined to see a competitive contest. At the beginning of the year, he said, Mrs. Clinton “was the most admired person in public life.”

“What happened?” he added. “The presidential campaign happened. And the nature of the coverage shifted from issue-based to political.”

“You can’t complain,” he said. “This is not — this is a contact sport. They’re not giving the job away. And people who want a race wanted her to drop some, and the people in the other party desperately wanted it because she’s already put out more positions on more issues and said how she would pay for it than, I think, than all the others combined, based on the two — the Republicans, based on the two debates I saw.”

Is the scandal a product of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

[W]hen Mr. Zakaria asked if the questions about Mrs. Clinton’s emails were a “Republican plot,” Mr. Clinton resisted the term.

“No, I’m not going there, because that’s what the — it’s not a — a plot makes it sound like it’s a secret,” he said. “I think that — that there are lots of people who wanted there to be a race for different reasons. And they thought the only way they could make it a race was a full-scale frontal assault on her. And so this email thing became the biggest story in the world.”

Is the FBI investigation of no one related to her email arrangement part of the “frontal assault on her”? Zakaria probably “isn’t going there,” to borrow Clinton’s phrase. There are limits to be observed.

Against the odds, Clinton nevertheless lurched into the truth. “We’re seeing history repeat itself,” indeed. These may be the truest words Bill Clinton has ever spoken.


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