Video: Clinton quits Bush debate because of the “hype”

posted at 3:35 pm on November 5, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

I’m pretty sure that some of our friends on the Right will conclude from this that Bill Clinton quit the much-ballyhooed “debate” with George W. Bush because he was afraid to get challenged and beaten in a public forum, but I’m inclined to think otherwise. Bush does well in debates, as Al Gore discovered to his chagrin, but Bill Clinton is no slouch, either — and as the last election campaign showed, not exactly one to shy away from ripping people at a podium. Clinton’s explanation, which gets treated with some barely-concealed scorn by the Fox presenter, is probably true:

Clinton has made a number of appearances with Bush’s father for humanitarian purposes, and the initial description of this event gave the impression that the focus would be on the experience of the presidency rather than policy. Even if Clinton and Bush intended to debate policy, promoting it as a “death match” between the two former Presidents is pretty unseemly, and hardly befits the dignity of their positions. If I were Bill Clinton or George Bush and saw that, I’d be inclined to withdraw, too — and I suspect that Bush would have done so if Clinton hadn’t.

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OT: there’s been a shooting at Fort Hood. 7 dead, 12 wounded. one of the shooters is in custody but there’s at least one more at large, and at AOSHQ they’re saying that there’s a third shooter. dear heaven…

TheQuestion on November 5, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Hype?

I hadn’t even heard about this.

(condolences to those involved with the Ft. Hood incident)

JoeinTX on November 5, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Just IMAGINE if George Bush had quit. The nutroots would be declaring it just another humiliation for him. But their d-bag can do anything he wants and never be criticized (unless he insults the Obamessiah now).

Speedwagon82 on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

OT: there’s been a shooting at Fort Hood. 7 dead, 12 wounded. one of the shooters is in custody but there’s at least one more at large, and at AOSHQ they’re saying that there’s a third shooter. dear heaven…

TheQuestion on November 5, 2009 at 3:36 PM

I just heard that on the radio :(

As for the topic of the thread. I agree. It should never have been plugged in such a wrestling sort of way. Let’s retain some dignity, and self respect in this country.

capejasmine on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

and hardly befits the dignity of their positions.

…….

That dignity, is long gone.

artist on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

“Well, of course, Clinton pulled out.”

Eewww.

Daddy-O on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

I’ve never even heard of this debate.

Keyser-Soze on November 5, 2009 at 3:41 PM

A quitter never loses.

5u93rm4n on November 5, 2009 at 3:41 PM

They did the same thing in Toronto! Can’t we read any articles from that event last month (although I’d rather follow the Ft. Hood news, myself)? It seems to me that it turned out to be, as Dan Rather used to say, a “joint public appearance.”

YYZ on November 5, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Would have been a forum for Bush to criticize Obama’s policies.

They didn’t want that.

freedomplow on November 5, 2009 at 3:42 PM

TheQuestion on November 5, 2009 at 3:36 PM

yes it’s on the local news here. Please all, prayers for the men and women there. A third shooter has been confirmed at the PX.

Annietxgrl on November 5, 2009 at 3:43 PM

I heard the podium wasn’t going to be wide enough.

LibTired on November 5, 2009 at 3:43 PM

OT: Got Fox News on. Talking about the Ft. Hood shooting big time.

newton on November 5, 2009 at 3:44 PM

The marketing for this event seemed a little off…

ninjapirate on November 5, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Daddy-O on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

+1 Lorien worthy

LincolntheHun on November 5, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Bush came out very well than Clinton in Canada & there people in places REALLY believe he is The Best American President.

Anita on November 5, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Appearances are everything, and Clinton doesn’t look good bowing out. Seriously–the only time Clinton balks at a photo op is if he runs risk of losing in any manner. Too, when was Clinton ever truly honorable about anything? (Ah did not have sex with that woman!)

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 3:47 PM

I was looking forward to it, too.

I don’t think it was ever supposed to be a “debate” per se, but things got out of hand with the idiot drive-bys trying to make it out to be something it wasn’t intended to be.

BlueStateBilly on November 5, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Get a clue, Ed. Get a clue.

Percy_Peabody on November 5, 2009 at 3:50 PM

GOOD ONE, VERY GOOD!

“Well, of course, Clinton pulled out.”

Eewww.

Daddy-O on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

ReaganConservative3 on November 5, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Time for an Obama/SpongeBob Squarepants debate.

I love an even playing field.

(sorry Barry, no teleprompters allowed)

fogw on November 5, 2009 at 3:52 PM

One word, five letters, starts with “p”, rhymes with “schmussy”.

fusionaddict on November 5, 2009 at 3:55 PM

BOOOOOOOOOSH!

SouthernGent on November 5, 2009 at 3:56 PM

If Bush bowed out, it would be declared a ‘win’ for Dems, that Bush can’t defend himself against liberal ideas and their presumed perfection.

I’ll reverse those parameters, adding in what I posted earlier. Libs, Clinton, and the rest of the Enemy Party don’t have a leg to stand on in a level discussion of ideas.

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Until this post I had heard that the cancellation was a mutual decision because of inappropriate promotion of the event.

Cindy Munford on November 5, 2009 at 3:57 PM

I hadn’t heard of this either. Why are you posting on it as though its something you’ve been talking about? A little “in case you hadn’t heard…” intro would have been nice.

DaveS on November 5, 2009 at 3:59 PM

I don’t blame him at all. As soon as it was promoted as a “death match” I would have walked away from it too.

Rod on November 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Until this post I had heard that the cancellation was a mutual decision because of inappropriate promotion of the event.

Cindy Munford on November 5, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Like the MSM has ever promoted anything on an even level?

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Just IMAGINE if George Bush had quit. The nutroots would be declaring it just another humiliation for him. But their d-bag can do anything he wants and never be criticized (unless he insults the Obamessiah now).

Speedwagon82 on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Hopefully we’re better than that.

Asher on November 5, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

I don’t have any idea who was responsible for the questionable advertising. I assumed it was the promoter so I don’t want to blame anyone specifically.

Cindy Munford on November 5, 2009 at 4:05 PM

“Well, of course, Clinton pulled out.”

Eewww.

Daddy-O on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Excellent. Just excellent. :D

lorien1973 on November 5, 2009 at 4:06 PM

I don’t see it the MSM claiming the Clinton-cancelled debate as a fight to the death. What’s wrong with that? The MSM would’ve been waxed, I like to think (my singular opinion, mind you), and their boy quit it.

Id the MSM was wrong again, both former presidents could have colluded to knock the MSM off its high horse. Instead, America’s First Black President quit.

People can take that as they wish.

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Cindy Munford on November 5, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Hi, hon!

Advertising means nothing, really. It’s always a game, like how TV stations promote a new series as great but it stinks in the premiere episode. Hype is one thing, but if the hype doesn’t match the result, then people will decide for themselves.

I see Clinton bailing for real reasons in his own head, not for the hype. Everything is hyped, like our fave shampoos or how wonderful Hollywood stars are.

I find Clinton’s excuse to be as lame as thinking one shampoo controls dandruff better than another though both have the same active ingredients.

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 4:11 PM

I’m conflicted here. I ***WANT*** to believe that current and former US Presidents understand the gravity of the position they hold/held. I’ve always wanted to believe that the individuals that occupy that office come to understand & respect that they are stewards of this great nation and that there ARE certain things that are beneath them as holders of the office.

I know that in practice, this isn’t true. But, I’m going to cling to my belief on this one and believe that both former Presidents would have shown enough class to bow-out of something being marketed as a “Death Match”.

I mean seriously…a death match between two people that held the highest office in the land???? If either of them agreed to go through with it, I would have to ask myself what they were thinking.

And prayers going out to those affected by events at Fort Hood today.

mctowler on November 5, 2009 at 4:26 PM

mctowler on November 5, 2009 at 4:26 PM

The media doesn’t much matter, in my view. Despite what the media tried to push, both men could have decided together and without the media, to work together and get something done as a team. Instead, one bowed out.

That works for conservatives like me, going by Clinton’s own record. What I see is the former psychopath-in-chief didn’t like some limits on a possible photo-op. Bush was there–ready, willing, and able. Another Dem bowed out/pissed off.

I like this, actually. Clinton is another epic fail, showing himself as a model of all Dems. Rather than defeat a media he claims by his actions to be ‘unfair’, he ran from them. I love it! He showed both his nature and, by extension, further proof the MSM is biased for the most part.

The potential subjects of MSM questioning often get a list of questions to be asked. Clinton obviously didn’t like the questions, so he ran. His excuse is weak and lame.

That says more about Clinton and Dem/MSM politics than it says about Bush.

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 4:41 PM

“Well, of course, Clinton pulled out.”
Eewww.

Daddy-O on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Perfect!

Any word on the dress?

TXUS on November 5, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Bubba found out Scores NY was having a 2-for-1 night on the same night as the debate. Priorities you know.

angryed on November 5, 2009 at 4:56 PM

I hadn’t heard of this until I read it here.

Torch on November 5, 2009 at 4:58 PM

Perfect!

Any word on the dress?

TXUS on November 5, 2009 at 4:44 PM

For more fun, do you recall what the FBI called that stain on Monica’s dress?

They called it ‘presidue’.

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Bush had too many Hillary and Obama jokes lined up for the debate.

albill on November 5, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Daddy-O on November 5, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Bill Clinton: S3X between the Bush’s.

Johan Klaus on November 5, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Bill’s first clue was the order George had placed for a cream pie.

Speakup on November 5, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Klinton= LOOOOOOOOSER!!!!!!!!

grapeknutz on November 5, 2009 at 5:36 PM

I think that stroke a few years ago hurt Bill Clinton a LOT more than anyone’s letting on. He’s not nearly as sharp as he used to be. Definitely can’t think on his feet anymore.

He probably tried a practice debate, and then decided to the plug.

logis on November 5, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Bill coulda killed the time debating the meaning of the word “is”…and still got his fee.

Army Brat on November 5, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Clinton has made a number of appearances with Bush’s father for humanitarian purposes, and the initial description of this event gave the impression that the focus would be on the experience of the presidency rather than policy.

Obama can tell us what’s “enchanting” about it. Who cares what those non-saviors have to say.

RightWinged on November 5, 2009 at 5:50 PM

I can kind of get Billy’s objection, they who a series of these every year and its never listed as a “Debate” but as a panel, he should have talked with the promoters though instead of having a breakdown.

Clinton’s been off his game, we saw the chinks in his facade during the election, so I wouldn’t doubt he was fearing a trouncing by W.

Rbastid on November 5, 2009 at 5:53 PM

The problem with debating Bush is that its a lose lose for any Democrat. Bush has been so absurdly vilified as an idiot that if you win the debate… well of course you did, you were debating Bush. But if you lose, well you lost a debate to Bush! If he’s an idiot what does that make you!

This is the problem that Democrats’ crazy demagoguery gets them into all the time.

Dark Eden on November 5, 2009 at 6:06 PM

C’mon guys! You have to admit secretly that you’re glad this so-called debate isn’t going to take place. No matter the outcome, the winner is going to be Obama.

year_of_the_dingo on November 5, 2009 at 6:34 PM

Wow,

I had not heard about this until now… Surprising for me that a debate between the two was planned.

That said, I doubt Clinton’s motives. There is something he is not telling us. Clinton is too slick and too good a public operator to simply bow out due to hype. But if his explanation is true then I applaud the former President for upholding the dignity of his old office.

Shogun144 on November 5, 2009 at 6:40 PM

How can you have a debate between these two when they both believe in the same ideology?

ScottyDog on November 5, 2009 at 7:14 PM

After Jimmy Carter, is there any dignity of the Office of the President left?

thuja on November 5, 2009 at 7:55 PM

For more fun, do you recall what the FBI called that stain on Monica’s dress?

They called it ‘presidue’.

Liam on November 5, 2009 at 4:59 PM

HaHa. A new sniglet.

Geochelone on November 5, 2009 at 8:53 PM

After Jimmy Carter, is there any dignity of the Office of the President left?

thuja on November 5, 2009 at 7:55 PM

After Obama, will there be any dignity in the Office of the President?

nyx on November 5, 2009 at 8:55 PM

So cutting and running was Clinton’s exit strategy.

Geochelone on November 5, 2009 at 10:09 PM

Ed,

I can usually follow your logic but I disagree with you on this and I can’t understand why you are so willing to give Clinton a pass. Your conservative bona fides are unassailable but your take on this smacks of a “new tone” type of weaseling. I think maybe the desire that many conservatives have to be liked by liberals may have be creeping in to your thinking. It reminds me of the change I saw in Senator Hatch beginning in the early 90′s. He is now about as reliable as Newt.

Mormon Doc on November 5, 2009 at 10:33 PM

Quitter? Clinton??? Come on you Hot Air hags, you know the one and ONLY quitter in this game is Failin’ Palin. I will give Bush Jr. at least some credit for not hiding behind feckless Twitter rants that seem to satiate you christian maggots.

Good4Onan on November 5, 2009 at 11:02 PM

Looks like his request to have Monica hide under the podium was rejected.

Mr Purple on November 6, 2009 at 2:04 AM

Hype? I’m a political news junky and I never heard of it.

But the reason Clinton pulled out is probably just because there wasn’t enough ca$h in it for him to bother with.

LegendHasIt on November 6, 2009 at 2:10 AM

I think Clinton quit because Bush would have made him look like a monkey!
Bush has real results on his side, Clintoon has Monica’s blue dress and the 9/11 attacks.

Jenfidel on November 6, 2009 at 3:30 AM

Who cares what these washed up old farts do. If they don’t turn into complete traitors like Carter, I suppose we should be happy. I wouldn’t give you a quarter to hear either speak, let alone a pathetic debate.

Jeff from WI on November 6, 2009 at 5:15 AM

I do not care for President Bush to be called a “washed up old f*rt.”
He served our nation admirably for 8 years and has the gray and white hair to prove it.

As for Clinton, he’s a horny old goat, not an old f*rt!

Jenfidel on November 6, 2009 at 6:11 AM

So the “smartest” president is ducking the so-called “dumbest” president? What does that say about Willie? LOL

Ricohoc on November 6, 2009 at 7:03 AM

I do not care for President Bush to be called a “washed up old f*rt.”
He served our nation admirably for 8 years and has the gray and white hair to prove it.

As for Clinton, he’s a horny old goat, not an old f*rt!

Jenfidel on November 6, 2009 at 6:11 AM

Sorry Jen, I too used to respect Bush, but he basically hid out his last term and helped bring about the election of the traitorous scum that are about to ruin our country. It wasn’t all huis fault, but as far as talking to the nation, telling us his plans and telling us why he was doing things, he went MIA the last 4 years and left us hanging trying to defend him.

Jeff from WI on November 6, 2009 at 7:34 AM

his

Jeff from WI on November 6, 2009 at 7:34 AM

There are limits to turning everything into a freak show for publicity.

AnninCA on November 6, 2009 at 8:13 AM

Heavens, couldn’t they at least arm wrestle -the winner getting the country…

Don L on November 6, 2009 at 8:43 AM

Jeff from WI

Truer words were never spoken -the masses were left leaderless and the communications vacuum was left to the anti-America whores that instinctively abuse (and still are) the first amendment for ideology. Bush was the only man in the driver’s seat and he put it on automatic, failing completely to tell us why we are doing something, who and what we are about, and what we must do to keep it and (listen up John McCain and Steele) what is completely dangerous for America about the other side’s agenda.

Don L on November 6, 2009 at 8:49 AM

Yeah, the one thing Bill is most worried about is the dignity of the office of President – as he showed repeatedly while he held it.

Hucklebuck on November 6, 2009 at 10:39 AM