One of the sillier aspects of the campaign is Clinton trying to neutralize her yes vote for the Iraq War by using the schoolyard tactic: “Well, he did it first.”
Her evidence: “Trump told Howard Stern …”
And, the MSM is running with the gotcha as a headline story:
Just for the entertainment value, let’s unpack this story …
First, when did the Howard Stern Show become an official record of anything?
Not exactly the newspaper of record … or even NBC news.
Not exactly a Congressional hearing with testimony under oath.
Second, what exactly was said?
According to Reuters and several sources who are looping the tape:
At an NBC forum on Wednesday night, Clinton pointed to a September 2002 interview Trump gave to radio host Howard Stern to say that Trump had supported the war.
Trump had said “Yeah, I guess so,” when asked about a potential conflict in Iraq.
Various fact-checkers have cited this interview to debunk Trump’s statement that he was always against the war.
“I guess so” … not exactly a resounding endorsement.
In the same interview, he was probably asked about the Mets chances of a trip to the World Series.
Sounds more like a hotel developer who hadn’t thought hard about an issue that he couldn’t influence.
Third, as a notable Secretary of State once shreiked:
“WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?”
Strikes me that there’s a HUGE difference between casting a meaningful vote on the Senate floor and uttering a top-of-mind “I guess so” to Howard Stern & Robin Quivers.
To draw a parallel is pure silliness.
Now cutting to the chase …
I think both Trump and Clinton are playing this one wrong.
Trump doesn’t need to establish his position of Iraq … he just needs to say the Hillary voted for it (a fact) and that she supported Obama’s complete pull-out of troops when she was Secretary of State (also a fact).
His contemporary POV is largely irrelevant.
Clinton should just put her vote in context.
Sadam was a bad guy who boasted that he had WMDs, many governments’ intelligence groups supported the claim, there was popular support for military action – about 75% of Americans were on board at the time, made sense to support the President at a time of crisis.
Easy to imagine why Hillary voted yes.
I sure don’t hold that against her. Maybe other folks do.
Why doesn’t she just tell the truth?
In this case, it might help her.
And, for gosh sakes, stop referencing the Howard Stern Show in a presidential campaign.
It looks silly.