Scarborough claimed Clinton used "code language" when saying "no matter where you worship or the color of your skin ... we are all equal in the voting booth"

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough claimed that when Hillary Clinton said, "[N]o matter where you were born, or how much money you are born into, no matter where you worship, or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth," she was using "code language." Scarborough made the "code" claim two more times on Morning Joe.

On the March 20 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton's comment during a March 19 speech in Michigan calling for a new primary election in that state, "no matter where you were born, or how much money you are born into, no matter where you worship, or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth," host Joe Scarborough claimed Clinton was using "code language." After saying to co-host Mika Brzezinski, "I want you to hear code language" and "listen to what she slips into this statement," Scarborough aired a clip of Clinton's comments. He then asserted, "You know, it just so happened, for the first time ... she said 'no matter where you worship, or the color of your skin.' " Scarborough added: "Poof! Did you see the light bulbs go off in the back of -- on top of everybody's head?"

In her speech, Clinton said:

CLINTON: Every voice should have the chance to be heard and every vote counted. This goes way beyond this election and it goes way beyond who's running, because no matter where you were born, or how much money you were born into, no matter where you worship or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth. For me, it has been a long struggle to get to the point where barriers were knocked down and doors opened and we still haven't completed that journey.

But it is the vote that has given voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. It is through that vote that women, African American, Latinos and so many others have claimed their rights as full and equal citizens. We have made our laws more just and our society more fair. Each vote is a declaration of our dreams for our children and a reflection of our prayers for our nation's future. That is why generations of brave men and women marched and protested, risked and gave their lives for this right.

It is because of them that both Senator Obama and I stand before you as candidates for the Democratic nomination. It is because of all those who came before that we are both in this race today. We should carry on that legacy by saying clearly that we will protect and cherish the right to vote for all people.

In response to Scarborough's remark, guest co-host Tucker Carlson, former host of MSNBC's Tucker, commented, "'As far as I know,' in other words." Carlson added, "'Look, I don't think he's ever killed puppies, as far as I know.'" Carlson was referencing comments about Obama's religion Clinton made during an interview on the March 2 edition of CBS' 60 Minutes. But during that interview, when asked, "You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?" Clinton immediately responded, "Of course not," as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented. Indeed, it was in her fourth separate response to Steve Kroft's repeated questions about Obama's religion that she asserted that Obama was not a Muslim "as far as I know," and Clinton followed that statement by noting that she, too, has been the victim of "ridiculous rumors" -- making clear that she knows the Obama rumors are false. Indeed, responding to Carlson's statement, Scarborough commented, "I think that was garbage," and co-host Mika Brzezinski added, "That was overblown."

Later in the program, Scarborough again referenced Clinton's March 19 comment, saying "Also, Hillary Clinton speaking in code. I love that. I love that. She is tough." Brzezinski replied, "Well, you think she's speaking in code," and later said, "I'm not sure she was speaking in code." In a third segment, discussing Obama's March 18 speech on race in America, Brzezinski asserted that "the question also is what do the other candidates do with this," adding, "Here's Hillary Clinton yesterday, some think she might have gone there." Scarborough commented, "a little code speech," to which Brzezinski replied, "Nah, maybe not." Brzezinski then aired Clinton's March 19 comment, about which Scarborough asked MSNBC contributor John Ridley, "Whether -- yeah, 'it doesn't matter what church you worship at, or the color of your skin.' Little jab there?" Ridley replied, "I think so." He later added, however, "[B]y the way, I'm not accusing her."

From the March 20 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: We'll get to that in a second, but Hillary Clinton -- I want you to hear code language.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, boy.

SCARBOROUGH: Listen, Hillary is talking --

BRZEZINSKI: Here we go.

SCARBOROUGH: -- about Michigan. But listen to what she slips in to this statement.

CLINTON [video clip]: This goes way beyond this election, and it goes way beyond who's running. Because no matter where you were born, or how much money you are born into, no matter where you worship, or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth.

SCARBOROUGH: You know, it just so happened, for the first time --

BRZEZINSKI: That's good.

SCARBOROUGH: -- she said, "No matter where you worship, or the color of your skin." Poof! Did you see the light bulbs go off in the back of -- you know, on top of everybody's head?

CARLSON: "As far as I know," in other words.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh.

CARLSON and SCARBOROUGH: "As far as I know."

BRZEZINSKI: You guys are so cynical.

CARLSON: "Look, I don't think he's ever killed puppies, as far as I know."

BRZEZINSKI: Stop it.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, at least I think that was garbage.

BRZEZINSKI: That was overblown.

[...]

BRZEZINSKI: And we got to talk about Dick Cheney in that interview.

SCARBOROUGH: So?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, I'm just saying.

SCARBOROUGH: We're going to talk about Dick Cheney --

BRZEZINSKI: And John McCain.

SCARBOROUGH: He had quite an interview. John McCain getting confused in Iraq. It happens.

BRZEZINSKI: There's a lot going on.

SCARBOROUGH: It happens, there's a lot going on. Also, Hillary Clinton speaking in code. I love that. I love that. She is tough.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, you think she's speaking in code.

CARLSON: You like the code-talkers, huh?

SCARBOROUGH: I just love how tough she is.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, now. I'm not sure she was speaking in code.

CARLSON: She's the toughest person I have ever watched.

SCARBOROUGH: Has your opinion not changed of Hillary Clinton? Seriously, she's tough. I love tough. I respect tough. She's built Ford tough.

CARLSON: As long as she's not whining about being a woman or being discriminated against, I respect her toughness. She's tougher, she is emotionally tougher than any person I have ever watched.

BRZEZINSKI: OK.

SCARBOROUGH: I have never ever seen anybody in public service, seriously, that is emotionally as tough.

CARLSON: She's one hard chick, no doubt about that.

SCARBOROUGH: I will say this. You just drove it into the ditch, and now we're going to get all of these things said about us. You know who else is tough? Who else is a tough woman?

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, God.

CARLSON: Who?

SCARBOROUGH: Mika Brzezinski.

CARLSON: I agree. I admire that.

SCARBOROUGH: To put up with me every day.

CARLSON: I'm not saying that in a nasty way. I mean that with all sincerity. That's the one thing I really admire about Hillary.

BRZEZINSKI: I'm just crazy, is what I am, but OK.

SCARBOROUGH: She is tough. But Mika is tough to put up with me every day. That's what the emailers are saying.

[...]

BRZEZINSKI: Well, John, the question also is, what do the other candidates do with this? You think they'd just want to stay away, right? I mean, enough, why -- don't touch it. Here's Hillary Clinton yesterday. Some think that she might have gone there.

SCARBOROUGH: A little code speech here.

BRZEZINSKI: Nah, maybe not.

SCARBOROUGH: Listen to this.

BRZEZINSKI: Here.

CLINTON [video clip]: This goes way beyond this election, and it goes way beyond who's running. Because no matter where you were born, or how much money you are born into, no matter where you worship, or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth.

SCARBOROUGH: Whether -- yeah, "it doesn't matter what church you worship at, or the color of your skin." Little jab there?

RIDLEY: I think so. I think it would be hard for Senator Clinton to go to the disenfranchised black voters in Florida and say that "your vote matters all the time." I think it would be hard for her to go to the folks who were hit by Hurricane Katrina and say, "Your government's always looking out for you." I would also say, look, I understand how Senator Clinton -- and by the way, I'm not accusing her. I understand how she could possibly get away with going toward Barack Obama with this in terms of the Democratic election. I think she has to.

Posted In
Elections
Person
Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, John Ridley
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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