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Who was that woman on Meet the Press?

By Doug Patton
web posted December 10, 2001

At first I found myself wondering if human cloning had already been perfected and the woman being interviewed on my television screen was an amiable copy of the real thing.

She looked just like the woman who, seven short years ago, had tried to railroad the world's greatest health care system into a socialist nightmare of red tape, rationing and draconian penalties for doctors and patients who dared to do business outside the framework of government control.

She looked just like the woman who had demanded a policy-making role to which she had never been elected, appointed or approved.

Hillary ClintonShe looked just like the woman who had gone on television to accuse "a vast right wing conspiracy" for the scandals that would later lead to her husband's impeachment.

She looked just like the woman who had absconded with taxpayers' property for her own enrichment.

She looked just like the woman who had been privy to every policy decision made during America's long decade of White House decadence.

She looked just like the woman who had made a questionable fortune in cattle futures, and who had been at the heart of a land scandal.

She looked just like the woman who had clawed her way to the very pinnacle of power on the coattails of a sociopath husband, a leftist ideologue who changed her façade but never her beliefs.

It certainly looked like her, but could it really be the same woman? Yes, it was her. There she was, in all her moderate glory, speaking in reasonable tones to Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press.

She praised President Bush's handling of the war on terror. She said that recent terrorist attacks on Israel had not just postponed but "derailed" chances for establishing a Palestinian state. She was almost starting to sound like a conservative, or at least a moderate.

Apparently, this is the kinder, gentler version, she of the campaign trail and the photo op. This is the version of myth and fable, the only one we were ever supposed to see.

Unfortunately, Russert, who loves to throw questions at conservatives that border on the unfair, tossed nerf balls at her. In fact, it almost seemed as if the questions had been submitted to her handlers ahead of time, so relaxed and well prepared was she. The closest Russert came to a tough query was a question about her husband having been distracted from the task of hunting down Osama bin Laden at the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. This she deftly deflected with something like, "He was totally focused and did everything he could." Russert let her get away with it. No follow-up questions about the fact that her husband, while president, had rebuffed an offer from the Sudanese government of information on the activities of bin Laden.

There was no mention of the embarrassment she experienced when she was booed off the stage by her own constituents at a concert honoring New York City police and firefighters.

There was no mention of the scandalous – make that criminal – behavior she and her

accomplice displayed as they prepared to leave the White House, no mention of all the red-hot accusations in Barbara Olsen's new bestseller, "The Final Days." Her temperament already had been well documented by Mrs. Olsen – a sharp, conservative author and attorney who lost her life on the airplane that hit the Pentagon – in a previous book, "Hell to Pay."

Tim Russert seemed no more interested in asking these questions of this woman than she would have been in answering them. In fact, my guess is that these very questions were stipulated as off limits if she was to appear on the program. At least that's how it looked.

And the networks wonder why viewers, hungry for truth – or at least balance – are abandoning them in droves as a primary source of news.

Before the self-serving interview was over, I was jolted back to reality as the old socialist radical returned and began attacking the "Bush tax cuts." She was not a clone after all, but the real thing! I breathed a sigh of relief. I was actually starting to like this woman.

Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a speechwriter and policy advisor for federal, state and local candidates and elected officials. His work appears in various newspapers and on numerous web sites, including,,,, TikiTrash.commentary, and E-mail him at © Copyright 2001 by Doug Patton

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