ABC Puffs Bill and Hillary Clinton Enjoying 'Long Walks,' Skips New Scandal
The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday hyped a puff piece on whether Hillary Clinton will run for President in 2016, but ignored a critical look at the Clinton Global Initiative and its brewing scandal. Instead, reporter Dan Harris promoted a New York magazine story on the former Secretary of State. He quoted the possible presidential contender on her relationship with Bill: "We laugh at our dogs. We watch stupid movies. We take long walks. We go for a swim. You know, just ordinary, everyday pleasures." [MP3 audio here.]
Harris made sure to point out that "if she does run, the polls show she's in a strong position to win her party's nomination and even the general election, although it is ridiculously early in the game, of course." The segment was so content free that after it concluded, co-host Robin Roberts wondered, "So, exactly, what did we learn?" In contrast, CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford managed to cover the New York story as well as an expose in the New Republic entitled, "Scandal at Clinton Inc."
Crawford pointed out, "The New Republic raising questions about fund-raising and donations to his foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative and some people, of course, well, they're already saying those questions could extend to Hillary Clinton if she does, in fact, decide to run."
Co-host Norah O'Donnell even speculated, "...There's a lot of political intrigue this morning that Hillary Clinton had a hastily arranged interview with the New York magazine in order to divert attention from this negative piece about her husband."
The New Republic piece detailed:
Now, at long last, [Clinton Global Initiative Creator] Band was striking out alone. In 2011, he and Irish businessman Declan Kelly had launched Teneo, a corporate advisory firm that was hosting the Essex House event.
A number of key Teneo clients were also closely involved with Clintonâ€™s charitable work. One month before the Rockefeller Foundation presented Clinton with an award for philanthropy, it gave Teneo a $3.4 million contract to propose "tangible solutions to global problems." Another early client was Coca-Cola, which helped build the distribution system for medicine in Tanzania, Mozambique, and Ghana, for a CGI project. Band has served on Coca-Colaâ€™s international advisory board, and a former Coke CEO, Donald Keough, chairs the boutique investment bank Allen & Co., which holds a financial interest in Teneo. Other Teneo clients include the big hospital chain Tenet (which is a lead partner in the new Clinton Health Matters Initiative) and UBS Americas (which launched a Small Business Advisory Program with the foundation). "What Doug has ended up doing, if you sort of step back and look at it, is that he has met some of the most influential people in the world through President Clinton and has ended up building a business dealing with and helping those people," says the Clinton friend.
A few months into Teneoâ€™s existence, it began to present difficulties for the Clintons. In late 2011, it emerged that the company had been paid $125,000 per month in consulting fees by MF Global, the brokerage firm that lost $600 million of its investorsâ€™ money. There were reports that Hillary Clinton was upset about potential conflicts between Teneoâ€™s overseas clients and her work as secretary of state. In February 2012, Bill Clintonâ€™s office announced that he would no longer take payment from the firm. The page listing an "advisory board" headed by Clinton and Blair vanished from its website.
In August, ABC pondered "Madame President" Clinton.
A transcript of the September 23 GMA segment is below:
ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to new hints from Hillary Clinton about whether she'll run for president in 2016. The former Senator and Secretary of State back in the spotlight, giving her first big interview since leaving the State Department. And ABC's Dan Harris has her story.
ABC GRAPHIC: Hillary Clinton's 2016 Plans: "I'm Both Pragmatic and Realistic"
DAN HARRIS: Ever since she stepped down from the State Department in January, it's been the question hanging over Hillary Clinton. And now, she is publicly admitting the blazingly obvious. In an interview with New York Magazine, when asked whether she wrestles with whether to run for president, she says, "I do. But I'm both pragmatic and realistic. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other." If she does run, the polls show she's in a strong position to win her party's nomination and even the general election, although it is ridiculously early in the game, of course.
MATT DOWD (ABC News political analyst): I only think she will run if she thinks there is a high likelihood that she will win. If she thinks she's going to go through a tough race and she may lose, I don't think she'll run.
HARRIS: In the meantime, Clinton says she's enjoying her new role, taking paid speaking gigs and joining, along with her daughter, the Clinton Global Initiative, which is now called the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. And providing a rare glimpse into a power marriage, she says she's enjoying downtime with her husband. "We have great time," she says. "We laugh at our dogs. We watch stupid movies. We take long walks. We go for a swim. You know, just ordinary, everyday pleasures." Speaking of her husband, he spoke about his wife's potential candidacy this weekend on CNN.
BILL CLINTON: I think she would be the first to tell you there is no such thing as a done deal by anybody, ever. But I don't know what she's going to do.
HARRIS: If you take her at her word, even Hillary doesn't know what she's going to do. "I'm not in a hurry. I think it's a serious decision not the be made lightly. But it's also not one that has to be made soon." For Good Morning America, Dan Harris, ABC News, New York.
ROBERTS: So, exactly, what did we learn?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: [Laughing] She's not going make the decision until she has to.
ROBERTS: No, that's what we did learn. We've know that. [Laughing.]
JOSH ELLIOTT: A decision that has likely been made already.
â€” Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.