Today Gave Hillary Clinton 12 Minutes to Show She Cares About Kids
This morning, June 10, NBC's
Today brought aboard Hillary Rodham Clinton to promote its week-long
effort to help the VH1 music cable channel publicize its "Save the
Music" campaign to give used instruments and money to schools for
music education. Co-host Katie Couric asked
Hillary about the Knicks and gave Hillary a platform to blast
conservatives as "out of touch with the mainstream."
ET live half hour of Today opened with over two minutes of Hillary
collecting musical instruments from the crowd outside the studio. Co-host
Matt Lauer promised that "we are going to take those instruments and
donate them to schools so we can return music education to public
schools," as if it has been taken away.
was inside for a nine-and-a-half-minute session of Katie Couric
interviewing Hillary and VH1 President John Sykes. Hillary got plenty of
time to explain the value of music education as Sykes stressed how
"children and education" are "high on her list" of
priorities and "she's been amazing."
point did Couric provide any evidence music education is being cut nor did
she ask Hillary how such a bad thing could occur during the Clinton
administration years. The VH1 Web page also lacks any substantive
information on this project, but you can check it out at: http://www.vh1.com/insidevh1/savethemus/
soon got to what's really important, asking her: "Are you a big
Knicks fan? Are you rooting for them?"
interview did not stick to the frivolous: Couric gave Hillary a chance to
take a political shot at Republicans: "I think when you look at
what's happening in the country today a Democrat is going to win this
Senate seat to replace Senator Moynihan which is as it should be. Because
the Democratic Party as we saw again yesterday with the way the
Republicans treated the gun laws in the House of Representatives is much
more in touch with the mainstream, not only of America but particularly of
failed to challenge her indictment of the GOP, so will Today now provide
likely Republican candidates Rick Lazio and Rudy Giuliani with a similar
laudatory and unchallenged 12 minute showcase?
of pressing her with a challenging question Couric moved on to how she
would present a $1 million grant later in the day to a school. As the
segment ended Hillary got another opportunity to affirm: "And for
kids. That's what really counts."
Watch a portion of this interview as Couric asks Hillary Clinton about the
Knicks and Clinton denounces the Republican stand on gun control. MRC
Webmaster Sean Henry has posted a RealPlayer clip. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
the details of what viewers heard and saw this morning, as transcribed by
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
viewers watched Hillary Clinton collect instruments outside from fans,
Matt Lauer opened the hour:
"8 o'clock now on this Thursday morning,
the tenth day of June 1999 and yes that is the First Lady of the United
States, Hillary Rodham Clinton who is in town again in New York again this
morning. And she's here for a couple of good reasons of course the one
that we're most proud of is that she's here to help us participate in
the VH1 Save the Music campaign. She is collecting old the instruments
from people who've come down to the studio area outside Rockefeller
Plaza. And of course we are going to take those instruments and donate
them to schools so we can return music education to public schools. And
she's doing very well, she's making a good haul."
Katie Couric: "Actually we've got a lot of
people waiting to hand their instruments over but I think Mrs. Clinton is
finding out the individual stories behind each instrument which I'm sure
is a thrill for people who've come by our studio this morning. We're
gonna be chatting with Mrs. Clinton in just a few minutes about her
interests in keep music programs alive in public schools and of course we
probably will ask her a few questions about her political intentions as
Lauer: "We should also mention that Mrs.
Clinton has been very active in the Save the Music campaign and it has
meant a lot to her in the past couple of years so again it's wonderful
to have her here for that."
and Lauer then talked briefly with Hillary:
Lauer: "Alright you wanna walk over here and
see how Mrs. Clinton is doing?"
Couric: "Sure why not?"
Lauer: "Why don't we join her?"
Hillary Clinton, holding a violin: "Oh
that's a beautiful instrument. Is that yours? It's your
grandmother's. Oh my gosh. Thank you for thinking of all these young
kids. That really is a wonderful gift."
Audience member: "They deserve a chance. I
mean I don't think music programs should be cut out of schools. It just
help kids so much so. If I can do something nice for people."
Couric: "Well that's so nice because that
must have some sentimental value for you?"
Audience member: "It does, it does, but, but
you know. I don't play it so."
Couric: "So someone else will."
Clinton: "This will live on."
Couric: "Hi Mrs. Clinton!"
Clinton: "Hi Katie how are you?"
Couric: "How are you? Good morning!"
Clinton: "This is something. People come
from all over to bring these instruments. Their grandfather's, their
grandmother's, their parent's, their own when they were in
Couric: "And you are finding out sort of the
stories behind the instruments aren't you? If they played them and why
they are willing to part company with them."
Clinton: "Yeah. And a lot of them, you know,
you can tell it's a really emotional moment."
Couric: "Yeah there are some more here
Lauer: "You know I thought you'd would
bring a saxophone with you from the White House?"
Clinton: "I already gave one."
Lauer: "Okay good we like to hear
Couric: "Actually the Clintons got involved
with this, we'll be talking about that."
kept going with Today showing Hillary talking with members of the crowd.
the news update, the group moved inside. Couric introduced her interview:
"As you know we've been collecting musical
instruments all week for our 'VH1 Save the Music Today' drive, a
program started by the VH1 cable channel that takes old instruments
refurbishes them and gives them to schools whose education programs in
music have been cut. Last fall as part of the program President Clinton
donated one of his own saxophones to a Washington DC school and First Lady
Hillary Clinton visited a public school to tell students just how
important she believes music education is. Mrs. Clinton is here this
morning to talk about the Save the Music program and she's joined by VH1
President John Sykes. Good morning nice to see you both."
Couric's first question: "Now I guess you called on Mrs. Clinton
John because you were trying to get the President to donate his sax and it
just wasn't happening so you needed to go to the real power right?"
President John Sykes admired how after they asked Hillary for Bill
Clinton's sax they got it in two weeks. "Now that's power"
he exclaimed, "This was high on her list. Children and
education." He added that "she's been amazing" in her
wondered: "Why did it capture your attention? I mean you're asked
to do a million different things I'm sure."
Clinton claimed arts education have been dropped
from too many schools.
Couric responded: "But as you know public
education is in trouble in some places. I don't want to make a blanket
statement. But some public schools are struggling to teach children even
the basics, so can you understand how some school officials might say,
'Music education is great but it's not a necessity in a child's
Clinton called that "shortsighted."
Couric helpfully pointed out: "Also if you
are interested in music and that sort of bleeds into after school hours
you're doing something and not getting into trouble in other ways."
Sykes then claimed, without offering any evidence
of any reductions in school spending, that while "the Dow is over
10,000 now...we're shortchanging our kids in public schools."
Hillary stressed how both music and sports are good for kids, Couric
pitched up this softball: "Speaking of sports, how about those Knicks?"
Couric followed-up: "Did you watch last
night?....Are you a big Knicks fan? Are you rooting for them?"
Clinton: "I'm becoming a big Knicks
Couric: "More and more every day huh?"
Clinton: "Well I've always been a Patrick
Ewing fan because you know he went to Georgetown and he is somebody that
we have followed in our household. And I've just always admired his
determination and his you know absolute commitment and this may be the
Couric: "Meanwhile I know the New York
Yankees are heading to the White House today to be honored for winning the
World Series. You a Yankees fan too?"
Clinton: "Well now the fact is I've always
been a Yankees fan."
Couric: "I thought you were a Cubs
Clinton: "I am. I am a Cubs fan but I needed
an American League team because when you're from Chicago you cannot root
for both the Cubs and the Sox. I mean that's, you know there is a
dividing line that you can't cross there. So as a young girl I became
very interested and enamored of the Yankees. So I'm excited about this
afternoon. We're gonna have them all there at the White House."
then broached the Senate race for which Today was giving Hillary a cozy
platform: "This is your 11th trip to New York this year. Newsweek
says you're in the process of leasing an apartment here."
Hillary said she's "going around
collecting offers of you know people's guest rooms and extra beds and
Couric tried a joke: "I heard George
Stephanopoulos offered his apartment to you? He called Harold Ickes but he
said he was just kidding?"
A bewildered Clinton asked "Is that
right?" and then laughed.
Couric: "Alrighty. This is the first trip to
New York since you announced that you are gonna form an exploratory
committee to decide whether you will indeed run for Senate but as you know
Congresswoman Nita Lowey bowed out. No one else's name has really
surfaced. If you decide not to throw your hat in the ring, if you will,
won't that create a lot of problems for the Democratic Party here in New
Clinton let loose and contradicted any defense
Today had that this was a non-political appearance:
"Well I think a Democrat will win the Senate
race and I'm looking forward to going out and listening to New Yorkers
and just having a good time as I did yesterday in Binghamton. We had a
fabulous time. I learned a lot, I saw a lot of people I had a great
experience and I'm gonna be doing a lot of that in July and August. But
I think when you look at what's happening in the country today a
Democrat is going to win this Senate seat to replace Senator Moynihan
which is as it should be. Because the Democratic Party as we saw again
yesterday with the way the Republicans treated the gun laws in the House
of Representatives is much more in touch with the mainstream, not only of
America but particularly of New York."
moved on: "From here I know that you all are heading to a New York
City school for a big announcement. Can you tell me quickly about
Sykes explained how they were going to a school
in Harlem to donate $1 million, prompting Couric to enthuse: "Well
it's a terrific program."
joked: "I understand tomorrow you, Matt and Al are gonna play for
Couric: "Uh I don't think so, I don't
think so. But it is a great program. We just hope that we were able to
help a lot of kids as well. And Mrs. Clinton will you come back when you
can stay longer and talk in more detail about your political
Clinton: "Sure will. I will do that."
end of the interview crosstalk of thank yous and good-byes you could hear
Clinton taking one last chance to talk about kids: "And for kids.
That's what really counts."
There's nothing wrong with Today promoting a private effort to do good,
but by showcasing Hillary Clinton NBC owner General Electric gave the
Clinton for Senate effort quite a large in-kind contribution. When
conservatives like Steve Forbes want 30 seconds of airtime to make
themselves look like wonderful, caring people they have to pay for it. But
if you're a liberal like Hillary you get 12 minutes for free. --
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