Last week’s edition of FOX News Sunday was not the first time Bill Clinton jabbed his finger, blamed a network for his problems, and not take any personal responsibility. And it will certainly not be the last. The former President sparred with the late Peter Jennings during a 2004 interview at the Clinton library.
Jennings, who passed away last year, received rage after noting Clinton was ranked 41 (out of 41) for moral authority by a C-SPAN organized panel occupied by 58 historians. He responded “they were wrong about that” because “they were wrong about that”. Clinton then went on to wagging his finger at Jennings saying “you don’t have any example where I ever lied to the American people about my job”, to only conclude that he doesn’t “really care what they [the American people” think”. Jennings stopped him right in his tracks and confidently voiced “oh yes you do”, Clinton responds “you don’t want to go there, Peter”.
The most important part of the interview is encapsulated in what followed Clinton’s “you don’t want to get there” remark. Clinton, like his FNC interview, blamed the network for repeating “every little sleazy thing” Kenneth Starr “leaked”. Another similarity is where he admitted he failed. This failure wasn’t about his adulterous relationship(s), but that he let getting caught get to him.
CLINTON: You don’t want to go there, Peter. You don’t want to go there. Not after what you people did and the way you, your network, what you did with Kenneth Starr. The way your people repeated every little sleazy thing he leaked. No one has any idea what that’s like. That’s where I failed. You want to know where I failed? I really let it, it hurt me. I thought I believed in a, I thought I lived in a country where people believe in the Constitution and the rule of law, freedom of speech. You never had to live in a time when people you knew and cared about were being indicted, carted off to jail, bankrupted, ruined because they were Democrats and because they would not lie. So I think we showed a lot of moral fiber to stand up to that, to stand up to these constant investigations, to this constant bodyguard of lies, this avalanche that was thrown at all of us. And, yes, I failed once. And I sure paid for it. And I’m sorry.
Jason Smith has other great moments in “finger wagging” history.
Update (10:35pm): I added more video from earlier in the interview so you could see what really sparked Clenis.