Ron Fournier, of National Journal reporter and known Clintonian Democrat, slammed Hillary Clinton following the CNN Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Hillary Clinton won . She won because she’s a strong debater. She won because Bernie Sanders is not. She won because the first Democratic presidential debate focused on liberal policies—and not her email scandal or character,” Fournier wrote Wednesday morning in the National Journal. “The embattled front-runner won herself a news cycle or two, because she stretched the truth and played to a friendly audience. It won’t always be so.”
Though it wasn’t widely reported, Team Hillary and the Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz put the word out to the other candidates regarding attacking the frontrunner. In short, any serious challenge to Hillary on Benghazi, the email scandal or her prior statements that proved false would not bode well for their political career. Fournier, who has repeatedly reported on Clinton’s campaigning shortfalls and crisis mismanagement, noted the candidates took the threats seriously and fell in line.
“It took more than an hour before CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Clinton about the covert email system she established as secretary of State in defiance of federal regulations, subverting the Freedom of Information Act, thwarting congressional oversight, and jeopardizing U.S. secrets,” Fournier added. “And, even then, her chief rival offered Clinton cover.”
There are many people, including me, who know a side of Clinton that is strong (2012: “What I Learned Covering Hillary Clinton”) and compelling (2013: “Best Bet for a Third Clinton Term is If She Runs as the ‘Real Hillary’—warm, open, and honest”), which makes her actions this year shamefully inept (“Memo to Hillary: You’re Still The Problem”).
In his article, which served as a continuation of his prior criticism, Fournier noted the moment in the debate when socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said “the American people are sick and tired of hearing” about Hillary Clinton’s “damn” emails. Except, while that certainly played well to the clapping seals in the crowd, it doesn’t to the general election electorate. In the most recent poll, Hillary trails all of the top GOP candidates and 58% of Americans believe she is lying about her emails.
WATCH: Bernie Sanders: The American People Are Sick and Tired of Hearing About Hillary’s Damn Emails
Even though Sanders and O’Malley hit Clinton over trade, noting that she only recently flip-flopped on her prior support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “to curry favor with the party’s union friends,” her rivals and the moderator once again let her slide on what is a major presidential issue.
“I did say when I was secretary of State three years ago that I hoped it would be the gold standard,” Clinton said.
That’s not exactly accurate, and Fournier and others, including PPD’s editor and political analyst, caught on.
. @HillaryClinton lied in her FIRST QUESTION! Lol. On TPP, she didn't say she "hoped" it was the gold standard, she said it WAS. Terrible.
— Richard Baris (@Peoples_Pundit) October 14, 2015
“She was misquoting herself, adding the ‘I hoped’ caveat,” Fournier noted. “See how she does it? It worked Tuesday night. She won. She survived and won with a performance that was as dishonest as it was impressive, that benefited from a friendly crowd and weak field.”
Still, according to most polls, most Democratic voters and obviously the debate crowd don’t seem to care much about honesty and character. Here’s how Fournier saw it:
When Lincoln Chafee, the field’s Rhode Island cipher, dared to criticize Clinton on the email issue, Cooper asked her if she wanted to respond.
“No,” she replied.
The crowd roared.