Scripted Interview: CNN’s Brianna Keilar Hurls Softballs, Humanizes Hillary

Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Iowa
David Greedy/Getty Images

We learned last month that CNN’s Brianna Keilar is quite capable of interviewing a presidential candidate. Keiler proved it when she appropriately dug into Republican Dr. Ben Carson as he tried to dodge questions on the issue of gay rights (there’s no dodging when you’re running for president).

The Brianna Keilar who bloodied Carson is, as expected, nothing close to the Brianna Keilar who interviewed Hillary Clinton Tuesday afternoon.

During a 20-or-so minute interview that — again, as expected — came off as something scripted between the left-wing cable news network and the Clinton campaign, Keilar asked some of the right questions but then allowed Hillary to answer them with soundbites, platitudes, and half-truths. There were no follow ups, no digging into the details, and not a single question Hillary could not have expected, planned for, and rehearsed the answer for.

Questions about Hillary and trust all centered around … polls!

Which is exactly why the entire interview — Hillary’s first national interview since announcing her candidacy! — came off as a scripted effort at political rehabilitation, not the tense, difficult, precise, unrelenting interview it should have been.

There is no question Hillary knew all these questions were coming, so she had her canned answers ready. Rather than throw Clinton off her talking points with facts, details, and tough follow-ups Clinton didn’t expect, Keilar would just move on to the next expected question and the next canned answer and the next expected question and the next canned answer.

After allowing Hillary to get away with her canned answers about her email scandal, the only question Keilar asked about the Clinton Foundation is whether or not the Foundation would close if she became president.

Then it was on to the kind of over-the-plate questions Republicans never get: Please bash Donald Trump and your opponents; which woman should go on the $10 bill; who is the best Hillary impersonator.

Naturally, the big headline coming out of the interview is Hillary attacking Trump.

In a throwaway moment, Keilar did remind voters that Trump has supported Hillary in the past but never asked a tough question like, “Will you return his donations?”

Need I add that there was not a single question about Benghazi.

The entire interview was scripted to do 8 very important things:

  1. Allow Hillary to pretend she’s answered “all the scandal questions.”
  2. Humanize Hillary.
  3. Keep the Trump story alive.
  4. Bloody Republicans.
  5. Not mention Benghazi.
  6. No unexpected questions Hillary wasn’t ready for.
  7. Put no pressure on Hillary.
  8. Not trip Hillary up.

Number 8 is the most important. At all times Hillary must look in control and in command, while Republicans are made to feckless and on defense.

No wonder the Clinton campaign hand-picked Breilar to do the interview.

And it is no accident that this interview came just two weeks after Keilar attended the wedding of a senior Clinton campaign staffer.

Below are imperfect transcripts of Keilar’s questions, so that you get the gist.

– Bernie Sanders is attracting a lot of attention; big crowds. Why is it that a self-described Democratic Socialist’s campaign is attracting attention when yours is not.

– Sen. Sanders says he will raise taxes. Will you?

Hillary dodges. Refuses to answer.

– Six-in-ten Americans don’t see you as trustworthy. Do you feel any responsibility for that?

Hillary blames the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

– Do you have any responsibility for this trust deficit?

Hillary claims there’s no evidence against her.

– Would you vote for someone you don’t trust?

– What was the thought process behind your email policy?

Hillary says she did nothing wrong — only what others in her position have done.

– You’re saying you did the same things [with your email] other Secretary of States did?

– A Democrat Attorney General criticized your handling of your email.

– Has the Clinton Foundation controversy made you think about what will happen to the Foundation if you are president?

Hillary exalts how proud she is of the Foundation

– Let’s talk now about Republicans. Can you believe there could be another Clinton/Bush election 25 years later?

– What do you think about Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals.

– But Isn’t Jeb’s position on immigration different from Trump’s?

– Last week an “undocumented immigrant’ killed a woman, do you support sanctuary cities?

Hilary blames it on a government snafu.

– What’s changed when it comes to your approach with the media?

– Have you given any thought of the woman who should be in the ten-dollar bill?

– Who is a better Hillary impersonator on Saturday Night Live

Democrats sure got it good, especially on CNN.

The Clinton News Network returns.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC               


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