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FOX's Kasich calls Hillary Clinton's committee appearance "theater"

Reported by Chrish - August 4, 2006 -

John Kasich hosted The Factor last night 8/3/06 and while the show was dominated by talk of the war in Israel/Lebanon, there were a couple of segments on other topics. There was even a discussion of the fiasco in Iraq, although it was presented as an attack by Hillary Clinton on Donald Rumsfeld.

In a teaser for the segment Kasich said "It got nasty on Capitol Hill today between Donald Rumsfeld and Hillary Clinton about the war in Iraq", with a graphic reading War of Words! - they never miss a chance to push the war mentality on FOX. A clip was shown in the tease of Clinton saying "You are presiding over a failed policy. Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now?"

Ironically, the piece was in the "Unresolved Problem" segment, with graphic of Clinton and Rumsfeld heads and the words "Iraq Showdown." In the "heated showdown", Clinton is shown saying "This is not 2002, 2003, 2004 or 5, when you appeared before this committee and made many comments and presented many assurances that have frankly proven to be unfulfilled. And..."

Rumsfeld appeared to interrupt with "Senator, I don't think that's true. I have never painted a rosy picture." The interruption may be FOX editing - it didn't appear in the C-Span footage that Rumsfeld interrupted at all.

Kasich made the observation that it's a lot of politics, but who really knows, then is joined by
Laura Schwartz, a Democratic strategist. He said it's not a partisan attack (warning! if you have to say that, it probably is) but Clinton went in there, made "an attack" and that was the end of it - a lot of political theater.

Well, watch the video or read the transcript - it was not "theater" as Kasich tries to dismiss it, it was checks and balances, our government at work. Of course all FOX viewers got was a soundbite, a denial of the charges, and another "war of words".

Immediately bogged down in irrelevance rather than addressing the comments of Clinton, the two bickered over whether Clinton had a "script" or "notes." Kasich reinforced the "theater" angle by insisting "last night they sat down and figured out what she was going to say, and how she was going to position herself." He shrugged at that, "they all do it", but has insinuated that being prepared for the hearing is akin to being phony or insincere. He said that it's not off-the-cuff, not some emotional speech, it's prepared statement, and Schwartz defends it by saying that it's the same thing she's been saying to her constituents, especially since she's in a re-election campaign. Where do they get these Democrats? She should have told him that of course she's prepared, it's serious business and she wants to make sure she doesn't forget anything. Putting it in context of a campaign stump speech only cheapens it.

Schwatz hits on some of Clinton's talking points and when she begins to paraphrase Rumsfeld's denial that he said the Taliban was gone from Afghanistan, Kasich loudly interrupted and overtalked her, denying that anyone said, in 2002, that the Taliban was gone from Afghanistan.

KING: What's the current situation in Afghanistan?

RUMSFELD: It is encouraging. They have elected a government through the Loya Jirga process. The Taliban are gone. The al Qaeda are gone. The country is not a perfectly stable place, and it needs a great deal of reconstruction funds from countries around the world.

CNN 12/18/02

Kasich then changed the direction of the interview? debate? theater? and loudly says that when he was on the Armed Services Committee, when he questioned people, he had answers and solutions and suggestions. All he heard today was carpn' and whinin' and criticizing. Where's the constructive suggestions, he demands - at least Murtha had suggestions.

Schwartz started to count off suggestions: first, an international conference, called for by Democrats, on Iraq's economic stability and reconstruction. Two,

Kasich loudly interrupted again, shouting that "they" won't even get involved in Iraq - who will come, the French and Germans?

Schwartz continued that we need to look at it politically and amend the constitution there to share power among Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi'ites - there are political things we've never tried to do, but the military way is falling apart.

They wind up in agreement, that Iraq does appear to be in the midst of a civil war and we may be in the middle of something we have no chance of solving.

So it was partisan. Clinton was singled out of the hearings, perhaps because she was most forceful and confrontational, but Kasich's characterization of it as posturing immediately diminished the import of her words and the hearing itself. Clinton was demanding answers and accountability from Rumsfeld; the purpose was not to brainstorm ideas for Rumsfeld to implement. It's just FOX's job to try to bring down that uppity woman any time she gets positive press and does her job well.