Fox News Relies On False Interpretation Of Clinton Remarks To Invent Absurd Claim
Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT
After spending the day falsely claiming that former President Bill Clinton is in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts for high-income earners when in fact he opposes doing so, Fox News relied on its distortion to invent an absurd claim: that Clinton's nonexistent break with President Obama on the tax cuts was aimed at sabotaging Obama's reelection campaign so that Clinton remains the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win re-election.
This absurd theory seems to have originated from a Washington Post blog entry by Suzi Parker, who wrote on Wednesday [emphasis added]:
On Tuesday in a CNBC interview, Clinton seemed to differ with Obama again by endorsing another extension of the Bush tax cuts across the board.
While he may be right about the economy, Democrats want to see a unified front on the campaign trail. And that's hard to get when Clinton is involved. Remember how he undermined Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential race with some of his off-the-cuff remarks? Some Hillary supporters still blame him for her loss. One thing was guaranteed when he went off-message: He got media attention.
That's likely what is at play here -- ego. No other politician loves attention more than Clinton, and yes, that's saying something. While a part of him really wants to see Obama win, another part of him doesn't. This is a man who loves to remind people that he is the only Democrat to be re-elected as president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Fox News picked up this idea, but went further with it. On America Live, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley said:
CROWLEY: But there's a bigger reason, I think a more profound reason why Bill Clinton does not want to see Barack Obama re-elected - that's because Bill Clinton has been the only president since the end of World War Two, since Franklin Roosevelt, to win a second term. And he wants that historical distinction for himself.
He does not want to share it -- yes, the only Democrat to get re-elected to a second term. He doesn't want to share that distinction with Barack Obama or anybody else.
Fox News contributor Dick Morris -- who has been reveling in absurd conspiracy theories -- similarly parroted the claim on The O'Reilly Factor, agreeing that Clinton "is really trying to undermine" Obama:
MORRIS: I think that he wants to be the only president since FDR, the only Democratic president since FDR to get re-elected after serving a full term in office. And the first since Truman to be re-elected period. And I think that that's an important thing to him.
On Neil Cavuto's Fox News show, the Daily Caller's Jamie Weinstein joined in the chorus, saying:
WEINSTEIN: President Clinton, I think, is, you know, somewhat of a megalomaniac. He wants to think highly of himself, he wants other people to think highly of his record. He right now can boast that he is the only Democrat to be re-elected to two terms, since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Maybe, just maybe, he wants to keep that after 2012.
In fact, Clinton has not gone "rogue," as Weinstein put it; both he and Obama agree that the Bush tax cuts should not be extended for high-income earners, as Clinton stated in his CNBC interview.