Kurtz: Nothing Wrong With Russert’s Questions For Clinton

Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly chat where he covered such topics as media coverage of the Hillary Clinton campaign, a disputed story involving Paul Begala, and Tim Russert’s questions for Sen. Clinton on Meet the Press. Some excerpts:

    Albany, N.Y.: While Clintons been accused of being hostile to the media, the folks The Post has covering the Clinton campaign have done better at producing more of “inside the campaign” stories that obviously have campaign insiders as sources than the ones covering Obama or any of the Republican candidates. Are the folks covering Clinton just that good, or are the other campaigns just not talking off the record to reporters?

    washingtonpost.com: Clinton, Crying Foul — or Craftily Playing the Game? (Post, Jan. 14)

    Howard Kurtz: That’s funny, a couple of months ago everyone was writing how disciplined the Hillary organization was and how everyone was reading from the same script. Then she lost Iowa and there was a lot of internal finger-pointing and some of it made it into print. As for more behind-the-scenes narratives involving the Clinton campaign, I’d say she is simply covered far more intensively than any other presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican.

    Columbia, Md.: Howard, your Begala item in today’s article was amazing, to say the least. I may be from a different planet but the facts lead me to conclude that either Garret lied or his “sources” lied. Why the dance around that fact? How can someone “stand by” by a story when the subject of the story flatly denies the whole story? Wouldn’t you check back with your “sources” again and rat them out if what they fed you was a lie — that is, unless you actually made up the whole story? Secondly, flatly disregarding Begala’s denials by Garret is indirectly saying that he doesn’t believe Begala at all, wouldn’t you say? Thanks.

    Howard Kurtz: I have no reason to believe that Major Garrett, a respected reporter, lied, and even Begala doesn’t charge that. He says Garrett is repeating something from his sources that he, Begala, is positive is untrue because it involves, uh, him. It’s certainly not unreasonable that the Clinton campaign would want to bring in a veteran like Begala, but that doesn’t mean anyone talked to him about it.

    Sewickley, Pa: I can think of 30 questions that would have been more interesting and illuminating than the ones Russert asked Hillary Clinton. What would you have asked her if you had the chance? “Meet the Press” hit a new low in my estimation.

    Howard Kurtz: What exactly is wrong with these questions?

    –Casting your vote for conviction for the authorization for use of military force against Iraq resolution. That same week Senator Obama gave a speech, and this is what he said: “I know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors. … I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that” “invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale” “without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than the best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”

    Who had the better judgment at that time?


    –Again, learning from mistake, do you wish you had read the National Intelligence Estimate, which had a lot of caveats from the State Department and the Energy Department as to whether or not Saddam Hussein really had a biological and chemical and active nuclear program?


    –But, Senator, many people opted for those cheaper mortgages. They could’ve had a fixed mortgage at a higher rate, but they opted for a cheaper one. Should they not bear some responsibility?