Hopeful MSNBC Anchor: Will Hillary's Attack on Obama Attract GOP Support for 2016?
Liberals are shifting their focus from the unpopular Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 bid and even MSNBC anchors are getting into the act. Hardball guest host Steve Kornacki on Tuesday played up Clinton's criticism of the President as a possible overture to the Republican Party. According to The Atlantic, Clinton dismissed the Obama motto of "don't do stupid stuff" as "not an organizing principle" for governing.
Talking to former GOP Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Kornacki wondered, "Is there a message here you see Hillary Clinton sending to those Republicans, saying, 'yes, there is room on my bandwagon for you'?" [MP3 audio here.]
After Steele declined to support this train of thought, the host lobbied:
STEVE KORNACKI: But, Michael, as a Republican, the positioning that she's doing here, separating herself a little bit from the Obama administration but also putting -- she's putting herself I guess to the right of the Obama administration but to the left of somebody like -- of the neo-cons. Politically, is she putting herself a place that makes you as a Republican nervous?
This is quite a statement coming from Kornacki. In June of 2012, he trashed conservatives as racists who fear Obama taking money from "white people."
A partial transcript of the August 12 exchange is below:
STEVE KORNACKI: Well, not that there is much doubt about it, but one sure sign that Hillary Clinton is getting ready to run for president is her recent distancing of herself from President Obama, specifically on his decision not to aid Syrian rebels. Clinton's comments, which she made in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of "The Atlantic," got enormous attention, because they were her most public break from her former boss and her harshest criticism of President Obama to date. Today, Clinton sought to calm the waters a bit.
Her spokesman put out this statement -- quote -- "Earlier today, the secretary called President Obama to make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies or his leadership." Well, maybe. One of the most quoted lines from Clinton's interview was her assessment of a slogan used in the Obama administration to describe the foreign policy approach. They say, "don't do stupid stuff." Well, Clinton said: "Great nations need organizing principles. And don't do stupid stuff is not an organizing principle."
KORNACKI: It seems to me that Hillary Clinton -- part of the sort of bigger picture strategy is maybe Hillary Clinton is thinking, maybe people around Hillary Clinton are thinking a little bit that there is a potential opening in 2016 to pick up support from Republicans, from traditionally Republican voters on foreign policy grounds. Republicans who look at Rand Paul, who look at sort of the Rand Paul version of foreign policy, taking hold within their party and maybe feeling uncomfortable with that. Is there a message here you see Hillary Clinton sending to those Republicans, saying, 'yes, there is room on my bandwagon for you?'
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Not so much a message to conservatives, neocons in foreign policy, for example. I just love watching the left try to figure out what the hell to do with her. I mean, they just -- she is the biggest thing on the political planet right now.
KORNACKI: But, Michael, as a Republican, the positioning that she's doing here, separating herself a little bit from the Obama administration but also putting -- she's putting herself I guess to the right of the Obama administration but to the left of somebody like -- of the neo-cons. Politically, is she putting herself a place that makes you as a Republican nervous?
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.