Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Image result for joe biden and hillary clinton photos
The Bidens and the Clintons
   On his television show Hardball a few days ago, Chris Matthews was commenting on what he considered to be Joe Biden’s slightly veiled digs at Hillary Clinton during the speech in which the Vice President announced his decision not to enter the current presidential race. Matthews commented to the effect that Biden’s remarks reflected his intense dislike of  Secretary Clinton and everything she stands for (“he hates the Clintons”).
    I often agree with the outspoken political talk show host, but occasionally he evokes a visceral reaction in me that makes me feel like punching the TV screen. This was one of those times, because my annoyance had been building up over his continued misrepresentation of Hillary Clinton’s response to this question from moderator Anderson Cooper at the first Democratic debate: “You've all made a few people upset over your political careers. Which enemy are you most proud of?”
    When it was her turn, Hillary replied, “Well, in addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians (applause). . . . probably the Republicans” (huge applause). “The Republicans,” it seemed to me at the time, were mentioned  almost as an after-thought, and it was obviously intended to be humorous. I thought it was a clever remark that everyone could well understand, given the vicious criticism she has received from the Republican presidential candidates and her anticipated grueling by the Republican-controlled House Select Committee on Benghazi.

    And by the way, the implication of that exchange is not that Hillary Clinton views Republicans as her enemies, but that Republicans view her as the enemy! Look again at  Anderson Cooper’s question, which could be rephrased as follows: “Whom have you upset over the course of your political career, Mrs. Clinton?”  Answer: “The NRA, health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians —and oh yes, the Republicans” (joke!). She surely has upset the Republicans and to them she is obviously the enemy. And maybe it’s a back-handed compliment, and something to be proud of, that they have targeted her as the one they fear the most to face in the 2016 presidential election.
    In her long and varied career in public service Hillary Clinton understands as well as anyone the importance, indeed the necessity, of bipartisan cooperation and she has ably demonstrated her ability to work with members of the opposite Party. I was somewhat irritated  by Joe Biden’s gratuitous remarks and all the more grateful for his later rejection of the way they had been interpreted by the media and by Mrs. Clinton’s political rivals. The Vice President made it abundantly clear that he considers Hillary a friend with whom he has worked closely over the years and whom he likes and respects.
    I wonder if Chris Matthews watched Joe Biden’s interview with Nora O’Donnell on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Whether he did or he didn’t, Matthews must know that Joe’s remarks  completely contradicted his own comments. The Hardball host should have retracted his remarks and publicly apologized for getting it so wrong.
    Good for you, Joe Biden, for setting the record straight and putting an end to the pundits’ attempts to drive a wedge between you and Hillary!

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