Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s disastrous appearance Monday night on CBS — which produced a record amount of comment and views on both our Facebook page, Twitter account and Arkansas Blog — apparently didn’t harm her standing as a Trump surrogate.
She’s back on the air today and her comments demonstrate that Trump’s plan to recoup from his poor performance is to go after Bill Clinton’s sexual history. Monica and Gennifer never get old for the Clinton haters and misogynists like Trump, who think a straying man must somehow be a commentary on the woman, not the strayer. (More here on the orchestration of Trump campaign use of Bill Clinton’s past.)
Rutledge picked up on Rudy Giuliani’s similar remarks. (He’s another paragon of lack of virtue in marriage.) Here’s one short clip showing her answer when an MSNBC host asked her about Trump’s personal attacks on Hillary Clinton. Why do it? Rutledge responds:
Why as the wife of president would you ignore your husband’s indiscretions and why would you call someone a neurotic loony tune?
CLARIFICATION: A reader took exception to the original headline saying that Rutledge “blamed” Hillary for Bill Clinton’s misdeeds. I see a blaming of the woman when critics took about a wife’s supposed ignoring of a husband’s acts. But I see the point, so let it just say that Rutledge, without plausible evidence, faults Hillary Clinton for “ignoring” what happened. Also: The Trump campaign and allies have for months desceribed Hillary Clinton as an “enabler” of her husband’s activities. Rutledge merely joined the chorus. To me that’s blaming, even if the precise word not used.
One plausible explanation is that maybe Hillary Clinton decided to preserve her marriage, unlike the thrice-married philanderer Rutledge is a surrogate for. And, to be precise, the phrase Rutledge was looking for was “narcissistic loony tune.” We don’t know for sure that Hillary Clinton ever said that. We do know it was said privately. And we do know that, in 2014, 18 years after Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, it came out because a reporter for a conservative newspaper dug through the personal papers of the late Diane Blair, the University of Arkansas professor and friend of Hillary. She kept a journal.
The friend, Diane Blair, described Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the way her husband handled the Lewinsky affair: “It was a lapse, but she says to his credit he tried to manage someone who was clearly a ‘narcissistic loony toon,’ but it was beyond control,” she wrote in notes reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website.
Ignored Bill Clinton’s indiscretions? I think the body language of the first family after Hillary Clinton realized she’d been deceived still speaks volumes on that score.
Hillary Clinton spoke about it in her memoir, “Living History,” as CNN noted in writing about release of the Blair papers.
Clinton described herself as “dumbfounded, heartbroken and outraged” when her husband told her about his relations with Lewinsky.
“Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him,” she wrote. “‘What do you mean? What are you saying? Why did you lie to me?'”
No matter. A cursory Google search shows that Rutledge has merely been programmed with the blame-it-on-Hillary meme that has sold tens of thousands of right-wing anti-Clinton books. Delivered in her inimitable cornpone style.
The Clinton comments arose as she defended Trump for referring to a former Venezuelan beauty queen as a fat pig. In the fuller clip, you can find a litany of reminiscences about the Clinton campaign of 1992 to turn the attention from Trump.
Why talk about a woman’s weight gain, why not take the high road? “We have so many more important issues to discuss,” Rutledge seemed to agree. But if we are to look at Trump, she said, we must look at Clinton treatment of women. She hadn’t memorized all the talking points, but relied partially on quotes — not from Hillary Clinton — but by Clinton campaign aides 24 years ago.
Do you really want to talk about indiscretions given Trump and Giuliani, Rutledge was asked. She claimed, without proof, that Hillary Clinton had called women names. “She is not a good role model for women. As a woman, I can assure you, Hillary Clinton offends me.” Keep talking and Hillary might do a little better in Arkansas than anticipated.
From the wayback machine for Rutledge: That time Donald Trump called Paula Jones “a loser.”
Also for Rutledge, wiser words from Chelsea Clinton:
“My reaction to that is just what my reaction has been kind of every time Trump has gone after my mom or my family,” Clinton said, “which is that it’s a distraction from his inability to talk about what’s actually at stake in this election and to offer concrete, comprehensive proposals about the economy, or our public school system, or debt-free college, or keeping our country safe and Americans safe here at home and around the world.”
“Candidly, I don’t remember a time in my life when my parents and my family weren’t being attacked, and so it just sort of seems to be in that tradition, unfortunately. And what I find most troubling by far are … Trump’s continued, relentless attacks on whole swaths of our country and even our global community: women, Muslims, Americans with disabilities, a Gold Star family. I mean, that, to me, is far more troubling than whatever his most recent screed against my mom or my family [is].”