Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tougher Questions but Came out Better

That is the judgment of Josh Marshall on last night's Commander in Chief forum-though Matt Lauer seemed to think it was the Emailer in Chief forum-and I agree with Marshall.

On Lauer's making Hillary's portion all about emails and zero about issues see my earlier post.

As Marshall notes many liberals were very critical of Lauer for giving Trump cushy treatment after being hyper aggressive with Hillary.

I largely agree with Sheila Devitt:

"@EricBoehlert Lauer went after her from the start. Then was impatient and fidgety through many of her responses. Relaxed with Trump."

"As I talked about in my piece linked to above about Lauer's email obsession, while I think he did a very poor job in his Hillary Q&A, I agree with Marshall that -even though Lauer failed to call out Trump's lies about Libya and Iraq and unpardonably didn't make a peep about Trump's attack on the Kahn's-overall the Trump portion was pretty ineffective at showing just how unqualified Trump really is."

" The audience questions to Hillary Clinton were tougher and Lauer was more aggressive with her. But I still think she came out of it better. The first audience question for Clinton especially was pretty rough. But she answered it well. And I thought she held up pretty well with Lauer as well. (At least from memory, I don't think any of the questions Trump got were actually critical of him or addressed to his vulnerabilities.) Trump had it easier but I think he did worse."

"I had an eye on Twitter as I was watching and I saw lots of people saying that Lauer went easier on Trump than Clinton. I follow many different people but certainly my follow list leans toward people who are not Trump supporters. Still, I think this was an exaggerated response. I thought Lauer actually went at Trump too. And in many cases Trump's statements were so nonsensical that a) it was probably a bit hard to know how to respond and b) Trump's ignorance spoke for itself."

I do agree that much of Trump's nonsense spoke for itself. I agree Lauer was overly aggressive with Hillary, but like Marshall I agree Lauer may have been more effective with Trump than many liberals feel, which is not to say I think Lauer was flawless by any stretch and think he should have mentioned the Khan family for sure. As for not calling out Trump's lies on Iraq and Libya, maybe Chris Wallace already got to him!

The Beltway loves their 'Both sides do it' narrative and so they are claiming 'Both candidates had a bad night.'

"Hillary Clinton spent a third of the time fending off questions about her emails. Donald Trump struggled to explain his secret plan to defeat the Islamic State."

"Both presidential candidates walked into Wednesday night’s national security forum seeking to prove themselves ready to serve as commander in chief. Clinton sought to showcase her superior experience, and Trump to indict her foreign policy along with President Barack Obama’s. Instead, both almost immediately found themselves on the defensive."

Read more:

If simply being asked critical questions means you've had a bad night then it's pretty meaningless. This is another optics thing, I guess. The fact that she was asked so many email questions proves she had a terrible night. I think it's Lauer who had the terrible night.

As Josh Marshall says, I think Hillary handled the email questions very deftly.

"Lauer's devoting a third of Clinton's time to emails was terrible. But on question after question Clinton - clearly by design - tried to bury everyone in policy detail and command of the issues. She was smothering us with experience and we were smothered. You can think she's a liar and a crook and the worst person in the world. But you couldn't watch that segment and not realize she knows basically all the relevant issues inside and out. She's prepared. Whether you support her or like her is another matter. But she's prepared. I think Trump came off as cocky and ignorant. And I don't mean to me - I know he's cocky and ignorant. My best guess is that people who are wary of Trump but open to supporting him will not be reassured by that performance."

Exactly. She was able to come off looking good even while he conducted his email inquisition as she was able to use it to show off her command of the issues. Like this whole email thing is very granular and she certainly at least impresses you as highly knowledgeable like when she pointed out that 'C' doesn't stand for 'classified'-as Donald Trump thinks-but 'confidential'-the lowest degree of classified.

As for the emails, they are the most-deliberately-overhyped story of 2016. Now that Elijah Cummings has released Colin Powell''s email conversations with Hillary we know that Powell, not Hillary was lying. 

John Harwood.

"this (not very damning) Powell-to-HRC email more damning than any known HRC email (1/2): "we just went about our business & stopped asking."

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