Bernard: Hillary Clinton "will run a parallel government" if named secretary of state

››› ››› MARK BOCHKIS & MORGAN WEILAND

On Hardball, MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard asserted that if President-elect Barack Obama names Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state, "she will run a parallel government. It will be a huge problem." Additionally, Jennifer Donahue, political director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, asked: "Will she [Clinton] be, in fact, trying to create only one term for Barack Obama?"

Discussing the possibility of Sen. Hillary Clinton becoming the secretary of state in President-elect Barack Obama's administration on the November 14 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard asserted: "If she's secretary of state, she will run a parallel government. It will be a huge problem." Additionally, Jennifer Donahue, political director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, asked: "Will she [Clinton] be laying out the groundwork should Obama have only one term? Will she be, in fact, trying to create only one term for Barack Obama?"

During the program, Bernard also said Clinton "could give him [Obama] some cover, and she could also walk -- go around the world acting as if she is not the secretary of state but the United States -- the president of the United States. That's a huge danger for him. It's a very, very high-level job." Host Chris Matthews then asked Donahue, "[W]ould you trust her to be a loyal subordinate, or believe she would be a bit too aggressive as a colleague?" Donahue responded:

DONAHUE: Well, let's take past as prologue. I mean, how did she handle herself during the nominating fight? How did she handle it when Obama was coming up upon her and then lapped her? She didn't handle it very kindly. She didn't allow him to have his piece. She went negative. She tried to bury him. And I think that he should take a lesson from that. I mean, I understand this idea of hug your friends tight, hug your enemies tighter. I think that's often true. If you look at it, you and I were talking about [Nicolò] Machiavelli and The Prince. Absolutely true stuff in there. And I think it's smart to do it. But what will she do overseas? Will she be laying out the groundwork should Obama have only one term? Will she be, in fact, trying to create only one term for Barack Obama?

Matthews began his response to Donahue by stating: "You guys are so suspicious. Look, I think that since she lost the fight for the nomination, Michelle and Jennifer, she has been not just a good soldier, she has sang the tune of this guy. She's been illustrious, she's been admirable. She -- her spirit seems to be with him."

From the November 14 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: Well, here's the question. Because of the very reason that Jennifer mentioned -- she is a notch or two to the right of this guy Barack Obama. She did vote for the war resolution. She did oppose -- or support naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. She has spoken positively of keeping permanent bases in Iraq. She's a bit of a hawk on the Middle East. She could give him some cover on any Middle East deal that is struck with Israel and Middle Eastern countries.

BERNARD: She could give him some cover, and she could also walk -- go around the world acting as if she is not the secretary of state but the United States -- the president of the United States. That's a huge danger for him. It's a very, very high-level job.

MATTHEWS: Jennifer, would you trust her to be a loyal subordinate, or believe she would be a bit too aggressive as a colleague?

DONAHUE: Well, let's take past as prologue. I mean, how did she handle herself during the nominating fight? How did she handle it when Obama was coming up upon her and then lapped her? She didn't handle it very kindly. She didn't allow him to have his piece. She went negative. She tried to bury him. And I think that he should take a lesson from that. I mean, I understand this idea of hug your friends tight, hug your enemies tighter. I think that's often true. If you look at it, you and I were talking about Machiavelli and The Prince. Absolutely true stuff in there. And I think it's smart to do it. But what will she do overseas? Will she be laying out the groundwork should Obama have only one term? Will she be, in fact, trying to create only one term for Barack Obama?

MATTHEWS: [unintelligible] You guys are so suspicious. Look, I think that since she lost the fight for the nomination, Michelle and Jennifer, she has been not just a good soldier, she has sang the tune of this guy. She's been illustrious, she's been admirable. She -- her spirit seems to be with him. Bill's a little more troubled, obviously, by what happened. But she's been totally with him, and that's why he's obviously thrown her name out. Why would he even be thinking of her if he thought she might be insubordinate?

BERNARD: Well -- well --

MATTHEWS: Why would he think of it?

BERNARD: -- because there are a lot of people out there, particularly women, who are saying, "We've had Madeleine Albright, we've had Condoleezza Rice, let's have another woman in the -- you know, in the top post at the State Department." There will be people also, I will tell you, who will be saying, "Why not Susan Rice?" She was one of his chief foreign policy people --

MATTHEWS: OK -- OK -- this is so hot --

BERNARD: -- throughout the campaign.

[...]

MATTHEWS: We're back with Michelle Bernard and Jennifer Donahue for more of the "Politics Fix." Jennifer, you're up there in New Hampshire, we're down here. I have to tell you, it's amazing to watch how these things develop. First of all, the word comes out tonight -- here we are on Friday night -- that Hillary Clinton has been offered the job if she wants it. That's the word that's floating around. And then she's coming back, the senator from New York, and saying, "Well, I want to look at a couple things like, is Joe Biden gonna get in my way as vice president?" I would assume that among her other concerns are, which are stressed here in the news reporting, is who's gonna get Defense, who's gonna get CIA, who's gonna get NSC, the national security adviser. In other words, she's sort of dictating terms here in what looks to be a proffer of a job. Jennifer, it's an extraordinary position of power she's in, in what normally would be considered one of the great prizes in the world she's being given.

DONAHUE: Yes, and I think this reflects how she behaved in the idea of who was gonna be the vice-presidential candidate that Barack Obama picked, so she's got a competition going on with Biden. Biden's the vice president. Her strength: HHS, Supreme Court -- there's plenty of places -- education, children. These are things that are near and dear to her. I just don't see where she's a foreign policy expert to the extent of Chuck Hagel. Team of rivals? Chuck Hagel. Colin Powell. Both sides of the aisle. Sam Nunn.

MATTHEWS: Right. Well, Jennifer, do you think -- do you think there's an ingenious Machiavellian streak in Barack Obama, who wanted her to hang herself with these public demands, the fact that they're being leaked --

DONAHUE: Ah -- I think --

MATTHEWS: -- and therefore he tried to bring her aboard, but she set too many standards, too many conditions. He just couldn't do it. He couldn't give away his presidency.

DONAHUE: Yeah, I think that's a really good point. I mean, this man can think two steps ahead of any opponent, and that's what we've seen. We see it with him meeting with McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Rahm Emanuel, sort of brokering this big meeting. This guy thinks way ahead of anybody else. That's how he got here; he'll continue to do that. He picked Rahm Emanuel not to be someone who could bring people in every party together but to keep his own party in line. That's what Rahm Emanuel knows how to do. Are they going to keep Hillary Clinton in line? Yes. Are they going to keep watch on her? Yes.

BERNARD: No, they're not going to keep her in line if she's secretary of state. If she's secretary of state --

DONAHUE: Well, that's why she's not gonna get it.

BERNARD: -- she will run a parallel government. It will be a huge problem.

DONAHUE: I don't believe she'll get it.

MATTHEWS: If he hires her, he cannot fire her.

DONAHUE: She's not gonna get it.

[crosstalk]

BERNARD: Well, he could fire her, but it would look horrible. He can't do it.

DONAHUE: He can't do it.

MATTHEWS: That's the prob -- well, we'll decide --

DONAHUE: Michelle, you're right.

MATTHEWS: -- I think you two are probably the toughest people in the world who are on it.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Jennifer Donahue, Michelle Bernard
Show/Publication
Hardball
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