MSNBC's Colgan obsessed with Sen. Clinton's past "Coke-bottle glasses"

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

Discussing the presidential prospects of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, political analyst Flavia Colgan asserted that Clinton will have an "authenticity" problem in "moving to the right on issues" because "a lot of folks aren't going to be able to disregard ... those pictures of her with Coke-bottle glasses." Colgan has twice previously referred to Clinton's "Coke-bottle glasses" as evidence of an "authenticity" or "trust" problem.

On the December 19 edition of MSNBC News Live, along with Republican strategist Frank Donatelli and MSNBC political analyst Flavia Colgan, host Chris Jansing discussed the presidential prospects of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). Jansing asked Colgan about a Newsweek poll that showed Clinton with 48 percent and Giuliani with 47 percent in a hypothetical match-up, which, as Media Matters for America noted, Newsweek left out of its article purporting to assess Clinton's electability. Colgan asserted that Clinton will have an "authenticity" problem in "moving to the right on issues" because "a lot of folks aren't going to be able to disregard ... those pictures of her with Coke-bottle glasses."

Colgan has referred to Clinton's "Coke-bottle glasses" as evidence of an "authenticity" or "trust" problem at least two other times this year on MSNBC. As Media Matters documented, on the August 21 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, Boston radio host Michael Graham asserted that Clinton "is not going to be elected president in 2008 under any circumstances, period," because "the first woman elected president of the United States is not going to be a b -- a witch, and that's just the way it is." Colgan responded: "I have never supported Hillary Clinton on this program or any other for president. I think it's very sophomoric, with all of the points you could make about why not having Hillary, to say she's a witch." Colgan then asserted that "a lot of liberals have been very upset with her," adding that, "yet, no one's going to trust her as a conservative 'cause they still remember her and those Coke-bottle glasses." On the May 31 edition of MSNBC's Situation with Tucker Carlson, Colgan asserted to host Tucker Carlson that "I can name a number of issues that the left is upset with her about and the right certainly will never take her as -- as a moderate. They still have the vision of her in Coke-bottle glasses."

From the 1 p.m. ET hour of the December 19 edition of MSNBC News Live:

DONATELLI: That being said, though, the one big negative for her has always been electability, and to the extent that she can show that she runs even with the Republican front-runners, it can only be helpful to her.

JANSING: Yeah, I mean, a lot of people are looking at this poll, obviously Hillary supporters, Flavia, and saying, "See, the electability question is a specious one." But is it and if it's not about electability, what's her biggest obstacle?

COLGAN: Well, I think her biggest obstacle is a number of things. One, I think, that watching [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL] and his charisma and his ability to connect on a visceral, emotional level with people has really highlighted one of her weaknesses, which is likability and, again, I go back to authenticity. You have Hillary trying to move to the right on issues, but yet a lot of folks aren't going to be able to disregard, you know, those pictures of her with Coke-bottle glasses. So, you still have conservatives feeling that she's a liberal and are never really going to trust her and now progressives and populists wondering where she stands.

From the August 21 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:

GRAHAM: The nomination is hers if she wants it. This is meaningless. She'll be on the cover of Time, Newsweek, Home & Garden, Popular Mechanics -- doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. And it doesn't matter in 2008 either, because Hillary Clinton is not going to be elected president in 2008 under any circumstances, period, for one obvious reason -- the first woman elected president of the United States is not going to be a b -- a witch, and that's just the way it is.

There's a certain -- America is not ready for it, that's it. And it's not fair, it's not unfair, it's just the way things are.

CARLSON: If you want a woman for president, what about [Sen.] Barbara Boxer [D-CA]? What about [Sen.] Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]? People who have actually done something for their country, who have served in the Senate for infinitely longer than Mrs. Clinton has. Who actually have impressive records. I mean, why not them? I don't get that. Why is that, Flavia? If you want a woman for president, why one of the least experienced people in national life, Hillary Clinton?

COLGAN: Look, Tucker, I have -- I have never supported Hillary Clinton on this program or any other for president. I think it's very sophomoric with all of the points you could make about why not having Hillary, to say she's a witch. I mean, absolutely, there are other -- there are other women who I think the country will -- but one point I want to bring up: Time. I think it's absurd that she's been on the cover 11 times. I think it's absurd that she's on the cover this month where 35 words are dedicated to the federal court opinion basically saying that the wireless tapping stuff was unconstitutional. I think this is ridiculous for her to be getting so much hype and I don't, as a Democrat, support her or think that she is a great candidate for us because I don't think she can win. I don't think she can --

CARLSON: What about your liberal friends? What about friends you know who are involved in politics who are liberals? Most liberals I know don't seem to support her. What's your experience?

COLGAN: No, my experience is that a lot of liberals have been very upset with her, not only that they don't feel that she hasn't taken on a lot of the big issues and instead has focused on, you know, flag-burning bills, but that she also has, you know, kind of tried to have it both ways and hasn't had a very strong position on Iraq, wasn't on the right thing on the bankruptcy bill, but yet no one's going to trust her as a conservative 'cause they still remember her and those Coke-bottle glasses.

From the May 31 edition of MSNBC's Situation with Tucker Carlson:

CARLSON: I want to read you quotes from Hillary Clinton, just to refresh your memory in case you don't remember.

"What do our government institutions mean?" Hillary Clinton wondered aloud. "What do our lives in today's world mean? What does it mean to be educated? What does it mean to be a journalist? What does it mean to -- in today's world to pursue not only vocations but to be part of institutions, to be human? We are breaking new ground. It's not going to be easy to redefine who we are as human beings in this post-modern age," end quote.

That's garbage; like that's sophomore in college stuff. I mean, I'm getting back to my original point, which was: Where is the evidence Hillary Clinton has interesting, thoughtful ideas about the world? I don't see any.

COLGAN: Well, the problem is that when you're trying to be cautious all the time and trying to sort of follow the-inside-the-Beltway -- what consultants tell you, and a lot of pundits marvel at, that she is able to triangulate; she certainly doesn't triangulate as well as her husband.

And you really hit on the core. Whether it's Iraq -- I mean, I can name a number of issues that the left is upset with her about and the right certainly will never take her as -- as a moderate -- they still have the vision of her in Coke-bottle glasses -- but more than that; sometimes, the whole is greater than the sum of its part. And I think that there is a visceral gut reaction by a lot of Americans, whether this is fair or not -- I can't look into her soul -- but that she doesn't have an authenticity about her. That she makes decisions based on political calculus.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Gender
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Flavia Colgan
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Hillary Clinton
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