Morris, Ingraham claimed Clinton's expression of emotion raises questions about her national security credentials

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

While discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton's emotional response to a question, Dick Morris stated on Hannity & Colmes that "I believe that there could well come a time when there is such a serious threat to the United States that she breaks down like that." Morris added, "I don't think she ought to be president." On Fox & Friends, Laura Ingraham similarly asserted: "[R]emember we have Islamic jihadists, [Osama] bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and all these other freaks that want to come to the United States and wreak havoc upon our population. We can't have people who break down and start crying at the most difficult moments."

On the January 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, while discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) comments during a January 7 campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in which her voice broke when she responded to a question, Fox News contributor Dick Morris stated: "I believe that there could well come a time when there is such a serious threat to the United States that she breaks down like that." Morris continued, "I don't think she ought to be president." Likewise, during the January 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, right-wing radio talk show host Laura Ingraham asserted, "[O]ne thing about the weeping episode -- I actually felt sorry for her for that moment -- but remember we have Islamic jihadists, [Osama] bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and all these other freaks that want to come to the United States and wreak havoc upon our population. We can't have people who break down and start crying at the most difficult moments. I mean, come on. This is the big time. She's in the big time." Ingraham went on to say, "[C]ome on, this is the big leagues. You can't start crying because you're behind. I mean, welcome to politics."

As the blog News Hounds noted, Hannity & Colmes co-host Alan Colmes responded to Morris by saying that "[Republican presidential candidate Mitt] Romney cried on Meet the Press." Indeed, during his December 16, 2007, appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Romney became emotional after host Tim Russert noted that "it wasn't till 1978 that the Mormon Church decided to allow blacks to participate fully." Romney appeared to choke up during his response. He stated, "I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and -- and literally wept. Even at this day it's emotional, and so it's very deep and fundamental in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God." After asserting that Romney "cried on Meet the Press," Colmes asked, "Should he not be president because he cried with Tim Russert?" Morris responded, "No, but I'm not sure that ... he cried in sympathy for himself." Morris went on to say, "Hillary's crying ... is 'I'm being victimized.'"

Although Ingraham discussed Romney during her appearance on Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade did not ask Ingraham whether Romney's emotional reaction during his December 16 Meet the Press appearance raised similar questions about his fitness for the presidency. Romney also became emotional during his December 6, 2007, speech on faith and politics. A December 19 Boston Globe article -- headlined "Romney has another teary moment" -- further noted that during a December 17 campaign event, "his eyes filled with tears for the third time in as many weeks on the presidential campaign trail." From the article:

On Monday at a Londonderry, N.H., military contractor, Romney told a stock campaign story about watching the casket of a US soldier killed in Iraq come off the conveyor belt of a plane at Logan International Airport in Boston. The soldiers he was with saluted and passengers in the terminal paused and put their hands on their hearts, he said.

But then, as he added a new twist to the story, his eyes welled again. "I have five boys of my own," he said. "I imagined what it would be like to lose a son in a situation like that."

That moment prompted reporters to ask him whether he was showing a different side - and Romney to respond that he was just acting like anyone else.

Nor did the Fox News hosts ask Ingraham whether President Bush's emotional moments make him unfit for the presidency. As the blog Think Progress noted, news outlets have repeatedly reported Bush's tears:

  • An April 2002 Newsweek article reported: "The president is tremendously sentimental. Forget about putting his parents anywhere near him. At his inauguration he purposely kept them out of his line of sight so he could stay as dry-eyed as possible. He has learned not to brush the tears away."
  • A January 12, 2007, Washington Post article reported, "The pictures were just what the White House wanted: A teary-eyed President Bush presenting the Medal of Honor posthumously to a slain war hero in the East Room, then flying here to join the chow line with camouflage-clad soldiers as some of them prepare to return to Iraq.
  • A January 12, 2007, Chicago Sun-Times article reported: "A tear rolled down Bush's cheek during the event, an extraordinary display of emotion by the commander-in-chief. Bush has been known to tear up and reportedly once cried in a private meeting with war widows."

From the January 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

DOOCY: Hey, Susan, let me ask you about something that happened there on the trail yesterday. Hillary Clinton was at a diner, she was around a big table, and somebody said, you know, you've been on the campaign trail for so long, you still look good, how do you do it. And then she welled up, and people are making a lot of the tears or near tears, and in fact, I'd say 30 or 40 percent of our emailers think she was faking it. What's been the reaction up there?

SUSAN ESTRICH (columnist and Fox News contributor): Well, two things. First of all, I've known Hillary Clinton for a long time. I watched the whole two minutes of tape. I don't think she was faking it. But it's pure campaign land. I mean, if she were way ahead, everyone would say, "What a genuine show of emotion, you know? She's doing the passion thing." Because you're behind, everybody says, "My God, she's losing it, she's lost it, it must be -- you know, some new strategy to try to get it back." I think it was genuine, but politically it didn't help.

KILMEADE: Hey, Laura -- Laura, do you think that Hillary Clinton loses big, and it's over?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think it could be. I mean, and it's absolutely stunning to many of us -- and certainly me, who thought the Clinton machine was unbeatable. But look: I think one thing about the weeping episode, just to -- I actually felt sorry for her for that moment. But remember, we have Islamic jihadists, bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and all these other freaks that want to come to the United States and wreak havoc upon our population. We can't have people who break down and start crying at the most, you know, difficult moments. I mean, come on. This is the big time. She's been in the big time.

ESTRICH: I don't think anyone really doubts that Hillary is tough enough to be president. I think the question has always been is she nice enough to be president.

CARLSON: Exactly. That was always the complaint.

INGRAHAM: Oh, come on, this is the big leagues. You can't start crying because you're behind. I mean, welcome to politics.

CARLSON: But I think it's good for both men and women to show emotion. We've discussed that before here.

From the January 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

COLMES: Look, I see a great deal of sexism here about the way Hillary is -- you know, first, she's too stiff; she's got no feelings; she's an automaton. Then she finally shows emotion -- it's either calculated, which you did not say, or it's having a breakdown or a meltdown. Let me show you when a man does it and we'll -- how the reaction is totally different. Here's President Bush 41.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH (former president) [video clip]: They took note of his defeated opponent, who showed not merely with words but by his actions what a decent --

HANNITY: That's not the same.

COLMES: He gets a hug. He's not called weak. Should we rescind his presidency because he cried?

MORRIS: Where was that?

COLMES: Where was it?

MORRIS: Yes. Where was he physically?

COLMES: Well, he was physically talking about Jeb Bush.

HANNITY: About his son.

MORRIS: About his son.

COLMES: The point is he was probably crying about the guy who's president now. But that's OK.

MORRIS: And he's 80 years old.

COLMES: And he's a man. He's a man, so it's different, right?

MORRIS: You asked a question, let me answer. He's 80 years old. I don't think he should be elected president now. I don't think he should be president. The most famous example of somebody crying on the campaign trail was [former Sen. Edmund] Muskie [D-ME].

COLMES: And Pat Schroeder.

MORRIS: And everybody felt that after Muskie cried that he was not fit to be president. And I believe that there could well come a time when there is such a serious threat to the United States that she breaks down like that.

COLMES: Mitt Romney cried on Meet the Press.

MORRIS: I don't think she ought to be president.

COLMES: Should he not be president because he cried with Tim Russert? Emotional about how civil rights was recognized by his church? And should Mitt Romney not be president for that reason?

MORRIS: No, but I'm not sure that --

HANNITY: In 1978 --

COLMES: It's a double standard.

MORRIS: I'm not sure he cried in sympathy for himself.

COLMES: I see, but he cried.

MORRIS: Hillary's crying and Muskie's crying is "I'm being victimized" --

COLMES: Well, that's your interpretation.

HANNITY: We've got to run. But our hope is that Alan will be crying.

From the December 16, 2007, edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

RUSSERT: You -- you raise the issue of color of skin. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs. Board of Education, desegregated all our public schools. In 1964, civil rights laws giving full equality to black Americans. And yet it wasn't till 1978 that the Mormon Church decided to allow blacks to participate fully. Here was the headlines in the papers in June of '78. "Mormon Church Dissolves Black Bias. Citing new revelation from God, the president of the Mormon Church decreed for the first time black males could fully participate in church rites." You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation. Didn't you think, "What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?"

ROMNEY: I'm very proud of my faith, and it's the faith of my fathers, and I certainly believe that it is a faith -- well, it's true, and I love my faith, and I'm not going to distance myself in any way from my faith. But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at -- at our lives. My dad marched with Martin Luther King. My mom was a tireless crusader for civil rights. You may recall that my dad walked out of the Republican convention in 1964 in San Francisco in part because Barry Goldwater, in his speech, gave my dad the impression that he was someone who was going to be weak on civil rights. So my dad's reputation, my mom's, and my own has always been one of reaching out to people and not discriminating based upon race or anything else. And so those are my fundamental core beliefs, and I was anxious to see a change in my church.

I can remember when -- when I heard about the change being made. I was driving home from -- I think it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and -- and literally wept. Even at this day it's emotional, and so it's very deep and fundamental in my -- in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God. My faith has always told me that. My faith has also always told me that, in the eyes of God, every individual was, was merited the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter, and I had no question in my mind that African-Americans and, and blacks generally, would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had, and that God is no respecter of persons.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Dick Morris, Laura Ingraham
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes, FOX & Friends
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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