BBC's Kay: "[A]s a Clinton," Hillary must "come across as somebody who is prepared to use military action"

››› ››› ROB DIETZ

On The Chris Matthews Show, Katty Kay said that Sen. Hillary Clinton's "calculation" in her presidential campaign "is that she can't stand up there as a woman and sound soft." Kay added: "She knows that as a Clinton and as a woman, she's got to come across as somebody who is prepared to use military action if it's needed." Kay did not explain why being a "Clinton" would necessitate "com[ing] across as someone who is prepared to use military action."

On the September 30 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, during a discussion of Democratic presidential candidates' stances on Iran and other national security issues, BBC Washington correspondent Katty Kay said that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) "calculation is that she can't stand up there as a woman and sound soft." Kay added: "She knows that as a Clinton and as a woman, she's got to come across as somebody who is prepared to use military action if it's needed."

Kay did not explain her apparent view that the public sees Bill Clinton as having been unprepared "to use military action" or her apparent view that Hillary's marriage to Bill poses an obstacle to her coming across as "prepared to use military action if it's needed."

Kay's comments echo the long-perpetuated myth in the media that Democrats are perceived as "soft" on national security. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, polls actually show that the public prefers Democrats on the issue of handling the war in Iraq and on national security. Most recently, a September 14-16 Gallup poll asked: "Looking ahead for the next few years, which political party do you think will do a better job of protecting the country from international terrorism and military threats?" Forty-seven percent answered Democrats, while 42 percent said Republicans. And a September 4-7 Washington Post/ABC News poll asked: "Which political party, the (Democrats) or the (Republicans), do you trust to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq." The poll found that 42 percent answered Democrats, while 31 percent answered Republicans.

Moreover, regarding Kay's suggestion that Clinton's gender also impedes her ability to convince the public that she is "prepared to use military action if needed," polling suggests otherwise. While a July 9-17 CBS News/New York Times poll asked if registered voters "have confidence in Hillary Clinton's ability to deal wisely with an international crisis" or if they are "uneasy about her approach," finding that 52 percent were "uneasy" and 42 percent were "confident," the poll also found that a majority (58 percent) of respondents believe Clinton would be an effective commander in chief, and 68 percent believed that Clinton would likely or very likely to make good decisions in dealing with foreign countries. Further, 75 percent of respondents said they believe Clinton is a "strong leader."

From the September 30 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show:

MATTHEWS: Can a Democrat running today appear just as hawkish as the Republican incumbent and still hold the Democratic base?

KAY: I think Hillary's calculating on two things. First of all, she's got her eye very firmly on the general election and not on the primaries. She's calculating that the base stays with her if she gets the nomination, and that this Democratic base desperately wants to win the White House back and the numbers will turn out.

The other thing I think the calculation is that she can't stand up there as a woman and sound soft. She's going to be America's commander in chief. She knows that as a Clinton and as a woman, she's got to come across as somebody who is prepared to use military action if it's needed.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
NBC
Person
Katty Kay
Show/Publication
The Chris Matthews Show
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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