Citing "Clintonian answer," Carlson found another reason to call Obama "a wuss"

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

MSNBC's Tucker Carlson called Sen. Barack Obama a "wuss" and a "BS artist," citing Obama's response to the question, "What does the word 'Clintonian' mean to you?" during a recent ABC News interview. Carlson asserted that "[h]e should just [have] come out and sa[id], 'Yeah, [Sen. Hillary Clinton is] Clintonian.' ... 'That's why they call it Clintonian.' " He later claimed that people "who plan to vote for her know that she is Clintonian in her answers. I mean, that's seen as a good thing a lot of the time. Why doesn't Barack Obama have the gumption, the moxie, the toughness?"

On the November 27 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson called Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "a wuss," citing an interview that aired on the November 26 edition of ABC's Nightline, during which co-host Terry Moran asked Obama, "What does the word 'Clintonian' mean to you?" Obama responded: "I didn't know that that was a verb or an adjective," later adding, "[I]t's something that probably bounces around on the cable shows, and I don't watch them enough to know. I haven't heard it used on Nightline that much. Be more precise." Teasing his segment on Obama, Tucker asserted: "Barack Obama says he doesn't know what the word 'Clintonian' means, and yet -- and here's the irony, ladies and gentlemen -- he's a master of Clintonian answers." Introducing the segment, Carlson stated: "[I]f there were ever a Clintonian answer to the question of defining the word 'Clintonian,' Barack Obama gave it to Terry Moran. Here to determine if Obama's Clintonian answer on 'Clintonianism' makes him an honorary Clinton, we welcome back associate editor of The Hill, A.B. Stoddard, and Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst Hilary Rosen."

Carlson went on to say: "I like Barack Obama. I hate it when he says stuff like this because it shakes my faith a little bit in him. What a BS artist." Carlson further stated that Obama "could have told the truth" when responding to Moran's question, adding, "[A] Democratic political consultant, who's a friend of mine, said it best. At the very beginning of this process, he said, 'I watched them at the debate and she's [Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)] in his head. She rattles him. He's afraid of her.' ... He's a wuss, actually. ... I'm serious. He should just come out and say, 'Yeah, she's Clintonian.' ... 'That's why they call it Clintonian.' "

Carlson also claimed that "people who like Hillary Clinton, who plan to vote for her, know that she is Clintonian in her answers. I mean, that's seen as a good thing a lot of the time. Why doesn't Barack Obama have the gumption, the moxie, the toughness?" Rosen then interjected: "Well, first of all, it's much too political a concept for him, and he's above politics." Carlson replied: "Well, that's the problem. ... How can you be from Chicago, from the mean streets of the Windy City, and be above politics? How can you be the Zen Master from Chicago?"

Also during the segment, when Stoddard stated that "Obama always sounds cool until he sounds like a bozo, which actually happens with regularity," Carlson replied: "That's right. You're absolutely right." Rosen further claimed that Obama "actually has a little bit of social awkwardness in regular -- in conversation," adding, "And he tries to ... make debates and interviews be conversation. ... [H]e's not cool, really. He's more kind of wonky that way, where he is awkward."

Despite claiming to "like" him, Carlson has a history of attacking Obama on his show, including making explicit references to his masculinity, as Media Matters for America has documented:

  • On July 2, Carlson said of Obama: "He seems like kind of a wuss." Carlson made this comment after claiming that in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, "Someone's going to give the middle finger to the man," adding: "And the man in this case is a chick!" -- referring to Clinton.
  • On July 6, Carlson read the following excerpt from a speech by Obama: "Somehow we have lost the capacity to recognize ourselves in each other. You know, people talk a lot about the federal deficit, but one of the things I always talk about is an empathy deficit." Carlson then asked: "How high is this guy? It's like what is he -- he always talks between bong hits?" Tucker later said: "Well, he sounds like a pothead to me. I mean, look, tell me what you're for. I don't want to hear about the [']empathy['] -- what the hell is that? Do you know what I mean? If I want a therapist, I'll pay for one."
  • On July 10, Carlson called Obama's "rhetoric" "kind of wimpy" after playing a video clip of an Obama speech, during which Obama said: "I believe then and I still believe that being a leader means that you had better do what is right and leave the politics aside, because there are no do-overs on an issue as important as war."
  • On July 12, Carlson teased a segment on the New Hampshire book clubs Obama's presidential campaign established by saying: "Well, everybody knows that a book club is no place for a man. So why has Barack Obama suddenly turned into Oprah? [Producer] Willie Geist rounds up the girls, brings the chardonnay, and heads to the Oprah book club -- or the Obama book club -- when we come back."
  • On August 1, while discussing a speech in which Obama proposed a strategy to fight terrorism, Carlson asserted: "Like the kid who's had sand kicked in his face one too many times, Barack Obama announced to the world he is no weakling when it comes to foreign policy." Carlson later said: "In the space of a day, Obama the weak has become Obama the fierce," and asked, "Does he mean it?"

From the November 27 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:

CARLSON: Barack Obama says he doesn't know what the word "Clintonian" means, and yet -- and here's the irony, ladies and gentlemen -- he's a master of Clintonian answers. We'll show you an example of that after the break.

[...]

CARLSON: Barack Obama appeared on ABC News' Nightline last night where interviewer Terry Moran asked the Senator, "What does the word 'Clintonian' mean to you?" Obama responded this way: "You know, well, I wasn't sure that -- I didn't know that was a verb or an adjective." Moran followed up by asking, quote, "You've never heard that word, that it's a 'Clintonian' tactic or a 'Clintonian' style of politics?"

Obama pled ignorance; "Well, you know," he said, "it's something that probably bounces around the world of cable shows and I don't watch them enough to know. I haven't heard it used on Nightline that much. Be more precise." Sniff, sniff.

Well, if there were ever a Clintonian answer to the question of defining the word "Clintonian," Barack Obama gave it to Terry Moran. Here to determine if Obama's Clintonian answer on "Clintonianism" makes him an honorary Clinton, we welcome back associate editor of The Hill, A.B. Stoddard, and Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst Hilary Rosen.

I like Barack Obama. I hate it when he says stuff like this because it shakes my faith a little bit in him. What a BS artist.

STODDARD: You always like to say that he's won the cool primary. And Barack Obama always sounds cool until he sounds like a bozo, which actually happens with regularity.

CARLSON: That's right. You're absolutely right.

STODDARD: And that is just one of those bad moments, just like the driver's license answer that he had two weeks to perfect --

CARLSON: It's pathetic.

STODDARD: -- and he flubbed at the debate. And it's just one of those moments he could have said -- I mean, he is -- he says that her answers are based on politics, not principle. He says she straddles. He could have come up with something. They say he could have said, after President Nixon, they used -- you know, there's -- everyone sometimes likes to throw around the term Nixonian. There are things that he could have said, keeping a straight face and still being nice.

CARLSON: Well, he could have told the truth. I mean, a Democratic political consultant, who's a friend of mine, said it best. At the very beginning of this process, he said, "I watched them at the debate and she's in his head. She rattles him. He's afraid of her."

STODDARD: Yeah.

CARLSON: He's a wuss, actually. He -- I'm serious. He should just come out and say, "Yeah, she's Clintonian."

ROSEN: I think he --

CARLSON: "That's why they call it Clintonian."

ROSEN: I think he actually has a little bit of social awkwardness in regular -- in conversation. And he tries to --

STODDARD: Yeah.

ROSEN: -- make debates and interviews be conversation. And his sort of -- he's not cool, really. He's more kind of wonky that way, where he is awkward.

CARLSON: But why not just say -- I mean, everybody knows -- people who like Hillary Clinton, who plan to vote for her, know that she is Clintonian in her answers. I mean, that's seen as a good thing a lot of the time. Why doesn't Barack Obama have the gumption, the moxie, the toughness?

ROSEN: Well, first of all, it's much too political a concept for him, and he's above politics.

CARLSON: Well, that's the problem --

ROSEN: So --

CARLSON: -- exactly, right there. That's it.

ROSEN: Yeah. That's --

CARLSON: How can you be from Chicago, from the mean streets of the Windy City, and be above politics? How can you be the Zen Master from Chicago?

STODDARD: How could you have the nerve take on the Clinton political machine and be above politics?

CARLSON: Can I just say -- if the Clinton political machine -- is absolutely right -- which dominates official Washington, the Democratic official Washington. If Hillary Clinton were to lose this nomination to Barack Obama, what would happen to every single person you know here in the District of Columbia? Would they all move to Belgium? Like the whole city would collapse inward upon itself and become a black hole.

ROSEN: They'd all, you know, be looking for [Obama adviser and Chicago Mayor] Bill Daley and [Obama adviser] David Axelrod's phone number that they have somewhere --

CARLSON: That's right! I mean, all the people who plan to be ambassador to Belgium, like, what would they do?

ROSEN: I don't think anybody has to worry that the, you know, old Democratic establishment will be out there hurting for friends.

CARLSON: I know, but it just bothers me.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Tucker Carlson
Show/Publication
Tucker
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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