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Chris Wallace reacts to shocking Clinton interview

Published:

Last Edited: September 24, 2006, 4:08 pm

Wallace: "I felt as if a mountain was coming down in front of me. "

Wallace and Clinton

Following today's buzz generating conversation with Bill Clinton, Chris Wallace shared some of his post-interview thoughts with FishbowlDC:

I was delighted to get the chance to interview former President Clinton. This was the first one-on-one sitdown he's ever given "Fox News Sunday" during our 10 years on the air.

The groundrules were simple — 15 minutes — to be divided evenly between questions about the Clinton Global Initiative and anything else I wanted to ask.

I intended to keep to the groundrules. In fact I prepared 10 questions, 5 on the CGI and 5 on other issues.

I began the interview with 2 questions about Mr. Clinton's commitment to humanitarian causes. His answers were cogent and good-humored.

Then I asked him about his Administration's record in fighting terror — fully intending to come back to CGI later (as indeed I did).

I asked what I thought was a non-confrontational question about whether he could have done more to "connect the dots and really go after al Qaeda."

I was utterly surprised by the tidal wave of details — emotion — and political attacks that followed.

The President was clearly stung by any suggestion that he had not done everything he could to get bin Laden. He attacked right-wingers — accused me of a "conservative hit job" — and even spun a theory I still don't understand that somehow Fox was trying to cover up the fact that NewsCorp. chief Rupert Murdoch was supporting his Global Initiative. I still have no idea what set him off.

Former President Clinton is a very big man. As he leaned forward — wagging his finger in my face — and then poking the notes I was holding — I felt as if a mountain was coming down in front of me.

The President said I had a smirk. Actually — it was sheer wonder at what I was witnessing.

I tried repeatedly to adhere to the ground rules — to move the President along — and back to the CGI. But he wanted to keep talking about his record fighting terror.

When it became clear he wanted to throw out the ground rules — then I just went with the flow of the interview.

Entry #288

Comments

1.
truecriticComment by truecritic - September 24, 2006, 6:40 pm
I like Chris Wallace. Way too big a deal - I do believe anyone that is or was President would make an effort to get Osama. Shame on anyone that wouldn't. Shame on taking political sides. It should be a united front.

2.
konaneComment by konane - September 24, 2006, 7:06 pm
Way too much babbling and incoherence from someone who has a photographic memory capable of pulling dates, times and events from memory and effectively answering what was a very simple question.

Hit dog always hollers, period.

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