Tag Archives: Clinton

Corker With Clinton: ‘Probing but Not Slamming’

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker lived up to his reputation as a moderate Republican on Wednesday, reports Chris Carroll. Corker is characterized as “probing but not slamming” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing over last year’s attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Unlike various colleagues, Corker, the committee’s top Republican, didn’t say he would have fired Clinton or that her testimony was unacceptable in response to questions about the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks that killed four Americans, including an ambassador.
Tennessee’s junior senator suggested using the incident to modify America’s approach to North Africa and the Middle East.
“I think it’s an opportunity for us … as a committee, but also as a country, to develop a foreign policy that reflects the dynamics of the region as they really are today,” Corker said.
…While Corker panned the security situation at Benghazi as “a denial of the world today” and its political aftermath as “all that’s wrong with Washington,” the former Chattanooga mayor mostly struck a conciliatory tone. In a question to Clinton, Corker said there were “systemic deficiencies” in Libya and asked her to “mention one reform” since then. Clinton replied that she’s changing department policy and lobbyng Congress for more money for security.
At one point, Corker thanked Clinton for her service, friendship and transparency.
“All Republicans were respectful and most praised her service,” National Journal wrote in a blog post after the hearing. “At times you wouldn’t have known the party affiliation of the member who was speaking — especially when it came to the courtly ranking member, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.”

Bill Haslam ‘Borrowed’ Ernie’s Ethics

Satirist Scott McNutt lampoons Bill Haslam, Ernie and Bill Gibbons in a Sunday piece that starts like this:
Gov. Bill Haslam recently revealed that a story he often tells about his wife’s high school boyfriend, “Ernie,” was “borrowed” from another politician — possibly former President Bill Clinton. Now, he says his administration’s standards of openness and transparency are borrowed, too.
Haslam has long warmed up audiences with a story about meeting Ernie, the former boyfriend who’s now a convenience store clerk. The punchline is that Ernie would now be governor if Crissy Haslam had married him instead of Haslam.
At a press conference last week, after refusing to divulge details of his personal finances, Haslam admitted that the standards of openness and transparency his administration has claimed to hold are actually those of “Ernie,” if Ernie had become governor.
In 2009, Haslam released a summary of his income for 2003-2008, excluding that derived from Pilot (all his investments save his Pilot-Flying J holdings are now in a blind trust). But last week, the governor declined to reveal current information, saying, “Any commitment I made to open government wasn’t my personal commitment.”
“You lied about it?” asked a reporter.
“I borrowed it,” the governor answered. “My administration’s commitment to transparency, and in fact, any vow or claim of integrity I may have made are really Ernie’s.”
When it was pointed out that Haslam had already admitted stealing “Ernie” from Bill Clinton, Haslam replied, “That’s right, and we all know Clinton’s ‘openness’ depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is. So my secrecy about my income ‘is’ his fault.”
Haslam then said when he issued an executive order calling for more openness in state government on his first day in office, it was what Ernie would have done. However, when Haslam signed another order allowing him and his top aides to reveal fewer details of their private incomes than their predecessors, he was pretty sure that was him, not Ernie. He added that he frequently confuses the two.
“Given these revelations, governor, is there anything at all authentic about your commitment to openness?” another reporter asked.
“Probably not, because I seem to have left it in the blind trust with my non-Pilot investments,” Haslam replied. “Still, my insincerity is genuine.”

Haslam Plagiarizing Bill Clinton with ‘Ernie’ Story?

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam has added a new detail to his oft-told anecdote about his wife Crissy’s high school boyfriend.
He acknowledged Tuesday the story isn’t true.
Haslam has been warming up crowds before his speeches with a story about a chance encounter with a former boyfriend named Ernie who’s now a convenience store clerk.
The story is peppered with references to the governor’s two-year campaign for office and to the family-owned Pilot Flying J truck stop chain, where Haslam was president before embarking on a political career.
“She gets up to the cashier, and they give each other this huge hug,” Haslam said in Tuesday’s speech. “And they weren’t at a Pilot, so I’m thinking, wait a minute.”
The punchline involves the governor asking about what would have happened had Crissy Haslam had instead married Ernie.
“And she said, ‘Well, then Ernie would be the governor!'” Haslam said to uproarious laughter.
Reporters who noticed differences in Haslam’s retelling of the story asked the Republican governor after the appearance whether Ernie was real.
“No!” Haslam responded with a laugh.
“It’s an old story, I can’t remember where it came from,” he said. “I think maybe originally it was a Bill and Hillary Clinton, from about 20 years ago.”
In an episode of the former NBC series “The West Wing,” the fictional president tells a staffer a similar story about a ditch digger, but is advised against using it in public.
Haslam told reporters that he’s always on the lookout for new lighthearted anecdotes to work into his public appearances, “because I keep telling the same ones over and over again.”
Note: Jeff Woods has full quotes (and some commentary) on the Haslam remarks.
“Is Ernie real?”
“Noooooooooooo,” Haslam said, shamelessly, as if it were a stupid question.
“You mean that story just sprang from your fertile imagination?” a shocked Pith asked.
No, Haslam said, he stole the anecdote from somewhere. He said he thinks Bill Clinton used to tell it about Hillary.
“You mean, there’s some kind of political joke book that you guys steal from?”
“If there is, I need one because I keep telling the same ones over and over,” the governor replied.

And here, from Woodsie, is the Ernie story as told by the governor.
People ask all the time well how do the two of you like your job? And we do. We love it. We both love what we get to do. It does take an adjustment. We went during the campaign hustling across the state and occasionally wondering about state troopers in our rearview mirror to having state troopers driving you everywhere, which is a lot more convenient.
So every now and then instead of being late we are actually early. And so we were going somewhere about four or five weeks ago and it was Crissie and me and the state trooper driving, and Crissie said, ‘Hey, if we have time I’d love to stop in and grab a Diet Coke somewhere.’
And so he pulls into a convenience store real quick, and I said, ‘I’m fine.’ I was on the phone, and so Crissie runs in. And through the front window of the convenience store, I could see her. And she gets up to the cashier and they give each other this huge hug. We weren’t at a Pilot, so I’m thinking, ‘What’s going on?’ She comes back in the car and I said, ‘What was that all about?’ And she says, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I said, ‘With the cashier?’
And she said, ‘Oh, that was Ernie.’ And I said, ‘Ernie?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, Ernie, my high school boyfriend.’ And I said, ‘Oh, OK.’ And I turned and kind of looked out the window, and I must have been smiling or something. And she said, ‘What are you smiling about?’
And I said I was thinking, ‘What if you’d married Ernie?’ And she said, ‘Well then, Ernie would be the governor.’