Pundits are pondering Bill Clinton's feverish attack on "Fox News Sunday," laying into Chris Wallace for alleged oh-so-clever smirking and pounding the host's leg with his pointy finger for emphasis.
No one asked if Clinton's outburst hurt the publicity for his "Clinton Global Initiative." (It didn't help.) The first question was: staged outrage or a spontaneous reaction?
It's quite a commentary on the Slick One that millions on both sides of the political fence would guess he plotted this tantrum in advance. Count me in on that number. I believe it was staged, a plan to please left-wingers who loathe Fox News with a passion and want them demonized as the communications center of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
Clinton's hot-tempered answer simply does not match the question from Chris Wallace. The central question was tough, but restrained, based on a book by Lawrence Wright, a writer for The New Yorker, not a conservative magazine, to put it mildly. It was not unlike the typical question Tim Russert would ask his guest. But Wallace may have tripped a trigger by mentioning Clinton's 1993 debacle in Somalia, primarily because it's something every other interviewer skips.
The roughest part came when Wallace quoted Osama bin Laden from that Wright book. In the wake of the Somalia debacle, bin Laden reportedly stated, "I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of U.S. troops."
What came flying out of Clinton's mouth sounded like vintage Hillary. Fox is asking me this because "ABC just had a right-wing conservative" show on 9/11! "President Bush's neo-cons" thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden, and they did nothing before 9/11! At least I tried to get Osama, unlike "the right-wingers who are attacking me now!"
But Clinton sounded stranger when he attacked Wallace personally: "So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me." And then it grew even more bizarre: "You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch's supporting my work on climate change." If Murdoch has grown more supportive of the Clintons, then why would he conspire to ruin Clinton's Fox appearance?