Oh, man. The “R” word. That word that doomed so many Republican candidates. That word which spawned countless hours of cable news hand-wringing and resulted in the sequestering over a dozen Senate and 50 House candidates for a two-day sensitivity training session in January. Yes, that “R” word.
It has scuttled political candidacies in the past, and it has now ensnared Hillary Clinton.
On Monday, The Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman posted the results of yet another investigation into details of Clinton’s past which had somehow been overlooked by the mainstream press. Goodman unearthed audio of Clinton from the early 1980s speaking about one of the most influential cases of her legal career: the defense of a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.
In the audio, Clinton brags about her acumen in handling that case and mocks the prosecution’s fumbling of key evidence, particularly a tainted pair of underwear worn by the accused. In the end, Clinton successfully negotiated a plea bargain for her client based on a legal technicality.
On Tuesday, in reaction to this discovery, a panel of CNN political reporters and analysts noted that Clinton was essentially doing what any good defense attorney would do. While Clinton’s decision to brag about her success in this instance may be in poor taste, it does not overstep any ethical boundary.
That said, most of the political panel conceded that this audio is a political problem for Clinton.
“I think it’s good lawyering, but I think it’s bad politics,” said CNN reporter Brianna Keilar. “And I think it’s really bad for a certain subset of voters, and that would be young people.”
She added that Clinton’s brand as a “champion of women and girls” is damaged by the revelation that she attacked the character of a child rape victim. “I think it really pokes a hole in that narrative,” Keilar submitted.
CNN’s Dana Bash agreed. “I think we should also look at it from the perspective of the fact she was a young woman in a man’s world in the South,” she qualified. “The question then becomes, did she have a choice to go beyond that and, in the affidavit, what many will view as blaming the victim.”
Bash added that this issue was particularly sensitive because it involved “something as incredibly sensitive and incredibly explosive as rape.”
Finally, CNN’s Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger suggested that the audio indicates how tenacious Clinton is when she has a goal set for herself.
Okay, so two out of three members of CNN’s political panel noted that the audio of Clinton bragging about getting a rape accuser off is a political problem for her.
In related news, MSNBC’s Krystal Ball continues to wage her war against Clinton from the left.
After urging Clinton not to run for the White House and to cede the Democratic presidential nomination to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in February, Ball insisted that Clinton’s gaffetasmic book tour is evidence that she is both “tone-deaf” and “unrelatable.” Ball delivered the unkindest cut of all when she asked if Clinton is the Democratic version of Mitt Romney.
An all-around stellar week for the presumptive Democratic 2016 nominee.