1. He showed leadership by not pulling out of Somalia while the bodies were still warm.
2. Contrary to Chris Wallace’s assertion, Bin Laden wasn’t involved in Mogadishu. Which, actually, wasn’t Chris Wallace’s assertion.
3. He was all set to do exactly what Bush ended up doing after 9/11 except that he couldn’t get basing rights in Uzbekistan and the CIA and FBI wouldn’t “certify” that Bin Laden was responsible for the embassy bombings. Really? I’d be curious to know what Michael Scheuer has to say about that. I’d also be curious to know why, if the FBI refused to certify, Osama’s been on their Ten Most Wanted list for his role in the embassy bombings since June 1999.
4. He had eight years to confront Islamic extremism, four years to address Bin Laden’s declaration of war on the U.S., and two and a half years to respond to the embassy bombings, yet somehow Republicans had “three times” as long as Clinton did to get him.
5. Despite the fact that it’s central to a debate that’s been raging for weeks, Wallace’s question about whether he did enough to eliminate Bin Laden is a “conservative hit job” designed to appease Fox’s right-wing viewers, who’ll all be very, very sore when they find out Rupert Murdoch is working with Clinton on climate change. Presumably Wallace should have stuck to the script followed by Meredith “Giggles” Vieira, CNN schlockmeister Larry King, who bombarded Clinton with tough questions like “How’s your health?” and “Have you seen Gore’s movie?”, and of course Keith Olbermann, who played his part perfectly except for the lack of a blue dress.
6. The “entire military” was against using special forces to go in and get Bin Laden, thereby rendering Clinton powerless under the “Entire Military” exception to the Constitution’s commander-in-chief clause.
7. John Warner, Lindsey Graham, and the rest of the McCain anti-belly slap contingent are proof that some Republicans still believe in the Constitution.
8. Republicans will do well in November if terrorism is the central issue because Americans know the multicultural left is hopelessly ideologically compromised on Islamic extremism. Which is to say, because Americans will be “scared.”
Enough blather. Here’s the video.
Update: Jim Pinkerton thinks Clinton was looking for an opening to bash Fox.
Update: Byron York takes Clinton’s advice and reads Richard Clarke’s book. Money:
[I]t’s not quite accurate to say that Clinton tried to kill bin Laden. Rather, he tried to convince — as opposed to, say, order — U.S. military and intelligence agencies to kill bin Laden. And when, on a number of occasions, those agencies refused to act, Clinton, the commander-in-chief, gave up.
Clinton did not give up in the sense of an executive who gives an order and then moves on to other things, thinking the order is being carried out when in fact it is being ignored. Instead, Clinton knew at the time that his top military and intelligence officials were dragging their feet on going after bin Laden and al Qaeda. He gave up rather than use his authority to force them into action.
Update: Dorkafork says I missed the biggest fact-check of all: “I remember a lot of criticisms of Clinton, but the criticism that he was ‘too obsessed’ with bin Laden isn’t one of them.”
Update: “Touch it.”
Update: Wallace says he’s surprised at Clinton’s nutrootsy “conspiratorial view.” He also wants to know, as I do, why he was the only one on Clinton’s media tour to put this rather pertinent question to him.
Update: I caught Chris Muir with his pants down. Last night his Day By Day strip had Clinton saying, “Touch it.” This morning he has him saying, “Help me with my pants.” Chicken.
Update: Jonah Goldberg points to NR’s editorial after the cruise missile strike in ’98 as proof that plenty of conservatives were happy to see Billy Jeff take a shot at Osama.
Update: Patterico discovers, contrary to Clinton’s belief, that Chris Wallace has asked these questions of Bush administration officials. So “conservative hit job” really is Clintonspeak for “tough but fair.” Surprise.
Update: Billy Jeff says Osama had absolutely positively nothing to do with Mogadishu. His own Department of Justice said otherwise. Go read the 1998 grand jury indictment at Tammy Bruce’s site.
I said we’d have a field day fact-checking him. This is just the beginning.
Update: Now we’re really rolling: Jake Tapper of ABC News googled around and discovered that there were indeed people speculating about a “wag the dog” scenario in 1998. But they weren’t Republicans.
Update: Clinton — who’s adamantly anti-torture and very pro-Constitution, says he ordered the CIA to kill Bin Laden. There’s just one small problem with that.
Update (Ian): Chris Wallace comments:
The President was clearly stung by any suggestion that he had not done everything he could to get bin Laden. He attacked right-wingers–accused me of a “conservative hit job”–and even spun a theory I still don’t understand that somehow Fox was trying to cover up the fact that NewsCorp. chief Rupert Murdoch was supporting his Global Initiative. I still have no idea what set him off.
Former President Clinton is a very big man. As he leaned forward–wagging his finger in my face–and then poking the notes I was holding–I felt as if a mountain was coming down in front of me.