Hillary on Trump and Megyn Kelly: He's outrageous -- but what Marco Rubio said about abortion is just as troubling; Update: Rubio fires back

Two clips via Mediate, one of which has Hillary admitting that she attended Trump’s wedding in Florida because she thought it’d be “fun” since he was an entertainer at the time, not a candidate for office. Interesting how our would-be first woman president, always eager to show off her feminist bona fides, makes exceptions for “entertainers” when they say things about women that raise eyebrows in others.

The first clip below is more interesting, though, for what it tells you about where Hillary thinks the race is going and how much damage she thinks Trump is doing to the GOP as a party. Answer: Not much. Reporters want her to issue the requisite condemnation of Trump’s “blood” comment about Kelly, which she dutifully does, but she’s more interested in discussing Marco Rubio’s answer at the debate about opposing abortion exceptions for rape and incest. The Clintons, at least for now, are still betting that they have more to fear long-term from Rubio than from Trump; at the very least, they think Rubio’s comment might be seen by single women as representative of the party as a whole in a way that Trump’s remark about Kelly isn’t. The problem with believing that “Trump will ruin the Republican brand,” apart from the fact that it was already ruined in many ways before he even thought of running, is that Trump is so sui generis as a candidate that it’s hard to impute his views on anything to anyone else. He’s one of a kind, particularly in his willingness to say jerky things (like routinely calling his opponents “losers”) that professional pols would need to answer for. Rubio, by contrast, is a guy who can stand in for the rest of the field in certain matters, like, say, their uniformly pro-life attitudes. Wounding Trump achieves nothing for Hillary. Wounding Rubio wounds him and, potentially, the wider party.

As for her comments about the “incredibly impressive” Megyn Kelly, does this mean Hillary’s ready for a “Kelly File” interview? Kelly herself has called that “epic television” in the making; now that she’s in the national spotlight as a respected woman news anchor who’s been attacked by Trump, Hillary could agree to appear knowing that it’d be seen symbolically as a feminist statement of solidarity. If she doesn’t seize the opportunity, it can only be because she’s afraid a Kelly interview would be harder for her than she’s comfortable with. Which, let’s face it, it would be.

Incidentally, since we’re on the topic of Kelly and Trump, anyone still want to argue that Fox is on a crusade to destroy him after reading this?

Immediately following Thursday’s debate, Fox was deluged with pro-Trump emails. The chatter on Twitter was equally in Trump’s favor. “In the beginning, virtually 100 percent of the emails were against Megyn Kelly,” one Fox source, who was briefed on the situation, told me. “Roger was not happy. Most of the Fox viewers were taking Trump’s side.” 

Things got worse for Ailes over the weekend. In a phone conversation, Trump told Sean Hannity that “he was never doing Fox again,” according to one person with knowledge of the call. The anti-Kelly emails, and threat of a boycott by Trump, seem to have pushed Ailes to diffuse the war. One Fox personality told me that Fox producers gave instructions to tell in-house talent not to bring up Trump’s controversial comments that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the debate. According to one count, Fox only aired Trump’s comment once since Friday, while CNN mentioned it at least 50 times.

In recent days, Ailes got a glimpse of what a Trump-less Fox News would look like. On Sunday, Trump called in to the four other public-affairs shows; this morning he gave interviews to Today and Morning Joe. Inside Fox, this was alarming. “This thing with Megyn got way ahead of Roger and bigger than he must have thought,” one Fox personality said. “Roger wants this to blow over,” another source added. “He’s upset that conservatives are mad at Fox.” Online, Ailes also took flak. Both the Drudge Report and Breitbart News carried pro-Trump headlines.

As I said on Friday, Trump is the goose that just laid a ratings egg made of pure gold for Fox News. Why would Ailes want to kill that?

Update: Rubio was ready for this one.

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