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Politics

Hillary Clinton Wraps Network Interviews with Town Hall on CNN, Ping Pong on Fox News

FNCHillaryFollowing ABC, CBS and NBC interviews last week, Hillary Clinton finished a round of network news interviews related to her new book, “Hard Choices,” with a live town hall on CNN followed by a live joint interview today on Fox News.

The town hall moderated by Christiane Amanpour included questions from the audience, ranging from immigration, to gun control, and marijuana policy. The town hall wrapped at 6:02 and 40 minutes later, Clinton was on Fox News taking part in a joint interview with Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren, which amounted to a ping pong match as Baier got 7 minutes, followed by Van Susteren for 7 minutes, then Baier, and back to Van Susteren, wrapping at 7:20pm.

Today’s news of the arrest of a suspect in the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack led both interviews. CNN’s Amanpour spent about 5 minutes on the arrest and Clinton’s role as Secretary of State at the time. Amanpour went for the emotional, asking Clinton if she had known how dangerous the situation in Benghazi was shaping up to be, “might you not have held [Amb. Chris Stevens] back on 9/11, of all days?” “I think we would have certainly cautioned, and maybe even directed people to just shelter in place,” Clinton said.

On Fox News, Baier spent his first 7 minutes, and part of his second 7 minutes, questioning Clinton on Benghazi, from the news of today’s arrest, to that night in 2012, to how the administration characterized it early on, and whom to blame for it. “This was the fog of war,” Clinton said.

Other topics in the Fox interview included the crisis in Iraq, the release of POW Bowe Berghdal, (and the Guantanamo prisoners released in exchange), the IRS scandal, whether she’ll run in 2016, and the detention of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooresi in Mexico, a case Van Susteren has been following closely.

As Clinton finished her round of interviews the results of a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll were released. 38% of registered voters said they would “probably” or be “almost certain to” vote for Clinton should she run in 2016, while 37% said they would definitely oppose her.

Dana Bash: I Tried to Get Eric Cantor ‘Off His Talking Points’

Bash CantorFollowing her “State of the Union” interview with recently defeated Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor yesterday, CNN’s Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash acknowledged her game plan.

“I tried to get him off his talking points. I don’t know how successful I was,” Bash told chief political analyst Gloria Borger (the two filled in for Candy Crowley).

One of Bash’s attempts: “You’re a pol [politician], you’re such a pol,” she said, trying to get more out of Cantor as he suggested it wasn’t worthwhile to evaluate the results of his race against Dave Brat.

Cantor also appeared on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” speaking with ABC’s Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl. “Absolutely, I don’t think anyone in the country thought that the outcome would be what it was,” Cantor said, acknowledging his shock at the results.

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A Busy Friday for Senator John McCain

As potential U.S. action in Iraq drew saturation coverage on TV news today, Senator John McCain lent his voice.

The Arizona Senator, who has urged President Obama to “get a new national security team,” appeared on cable news five times across MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN.

He started on “Morning Joe” and “New Day” this morning, first telling an MSNBC panel we should’ve left stabilizing forces in Iraq similar to Japan, Germany, Korea, and Bosnia. Speaking with Chris Cuomo, McCain got specific on Iraq: “Airstrikes are something to be considered.”

Next, he appeared on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” in a pre-recorded interview. “I think I’d put David Petraeus on a plane to Baghdad right now to sort all of this out,” he told Mitchell.

On-set in New York, McCain joined Neil Cavuto on “Your World” in the 4pmET hour following an Army press conference updating the condition of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is now back in the U.S. undergoing treatment. “Right now, he probably deserves a lot of our patience,” McCain said.

McCain rounded out the day back on CNN, appearing on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” weighing in on which members of the president’s national security team need to go. “The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, number one, the National Security Adviser [Susan Rice], number two…who should probably spend time with her family on Sundays,” he said.

Pres. Obama: ‘We Will Not Be Sending U.S. Troops Back Into Combat in Iraq’

President Obama delivered a statement on Iraq from the South Lawn of the White House shortly before noon. The broadcast and cable networks all provided live coverage of his remarks on the increased violence in the region.

On NBC, David Gregory anchored from Washington with Peter Alexander at the White House and Richard Engel in Iraq. David Muir anchored for ABC, joined by Terry Moran in Northern Iraq. CBS’ special report was anchored by Scott Pelley in New York with Major Garrett at the White House.

As for the cable networks: Wolf Blitzer anchored on CNN, with Arwa Damon in Iraq. Eric Shawn and Uma Pemmaraju anchored on Fox News, joined by “Special Report” anchor Bret Baier from Washington. On MSNBC, Tamron Hall anchored with Chuck Todd contributing.

Obama said he is weighing the options for U.S. military support in Iraq, but ruled out using ground forces in the conflict. “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options,” he said.

Bret Baier: Cantor Loss ‘Biggest Political Story We’ve Seen in Decades’

BaierFNC’s Bret Baier is officially ready for the midterms.

“This definitely puts you in election mode,” Baier tells TVNewser following coverage of Eric Cantor‘s loss last night in his House race primary. “Seeing this type of upset throws you right into the mix of what November will be.”

We talked with Baier this afternoon about his new book, “Special Heart,” (more on that tomorrow) but had to ask about last night’s Virginia primary and how the media were caught off guard by the results.

“There was no internal polling [at Fox News]. There wasn’t a lot of polling in the race period,” Baier says, noting that the signals he was getting from Republicans on Capitol Hill was that Cantor’s victory was a “no-brainer.”

“No one really expected it. We noted on my show last night before the numbers started coming in that it was a little closer than people thought. But still, it didn’t seem like it would happen. It’s arguably the biggest political story we’ve seen in decades. There has never been a House Majority Leader who has lost in a primary in the history of our republic.”

How Cable News Hosts Reacted to Eric Cantor Defeat

Cable news might occasionally be criticized for predictable political coverage, but last night, top anchors and reporters reacted to an unpredicted political stunner: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor‘s defeat in Virginia’s congressional primary.

“His loss marks a huge victory for the Tea Party movement,” Sean Hannity said before his exclusive interview with the victorious candidate, Dave Brat, via phone. “If you go door to door knocking, the American people know the country is heading in the wrong direction,” Brat told Hannity.

“This is a huge, huge moment in the Republican Party; it’s also a huge moment in politics,” Bret Baier said as he took over coverage during the 8pmET hour. “One of the most powerful Republicans on Capitol Hill goes down,” Megyn Kelly added later on her show.

“Shocking is an overused term in our political discourse, but this news tonight earns the term,” Rachel Maddow said while interrupting a pre-recorded “All In with Chris Hayes” (Hayes came back live at 8:38pmET). “This is the single biggest political upset I’ve ever seen in my life,” Steve Kornacki, host of “Up,” said via phone. Chuck Todd called it a “major upset,” and suggested an important ripple effect: “immigration [reform]…dead.” Todd interview Brat this morning on “Daily Rundown.”

“A seismic shift,” CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash called it as Anderson Cooper broke the news. “Republicans who weren’t running scared may now start running scared,” chief political analyst Gloria Borger said.

Bush Library ‘Had No Editorial Control’ Over ’41 on 41′

41on41AilesTVNewser was at the screening last night for the new CNN Films presentation of “41 on 41,” which will air this Sunday, Father’s Day, on CNN.

The film features 41 people sharing intimate stories about the 41st president, George H.W. Bush, as a politician, a president, a father and a grandfather.  In some cases — like that of Pierce Bush, one of 24 Bush grandchildren — the portrait is very intimate. (Listen closely for the story about what was found on Barbara Bush‘s laptop).

“41 on 41″ is executive produced by President Bush’s former White House speechwriter, Mary Kate Cary, and Rick Kaplan, the former president of CNN, and later MSNBC. “It’s good to have Rick back in the building,” said CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker in his introduction of the screening.

The film is backed by the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, but in the Q&A following the screening, Cary noted the Library “had no editorial control” of the documentary and only provided funding. “This was made as any other independent film would have been made,” said Cary. She said the “41″ theme played throughout the 10-month film-making process, which included 45-minute sit-downs with the 41 participants. In all, the crew traveled 41,000 miles gathering the interviews.

Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw are featured back-to-back sharing stories of Pres. Bush’s military service. Cary says while it was a challenge to get the list down to just 41, there are a few people she wished could have made the film, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who couldn’t participate due to health reasons, and Tiger Yang, who was assigned to the Bushes during his role as U.S. Liaison to Beijing in 1974-75 and is now a high-ranking Chinese politician. Cary said it was a challenge to get the Chinese government to participate at all in the project.

As for the 41st president, he’s seen the film and enjoyed it. “He was very humbled,” said Cary. “In a Lou Gehrig way, he said, ‘I’m the luckiest guy in the world.’”

Eric Cantor Loss is ‘Shocking,’ ‘Stunning’ and All-Encompassing on Cable News

VARaceJaws dropped in network newsrooms across the country tonight as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his congressional primary to Tea Party challenger Dave Brat.

Cable news networks went into overdrive with the stunning news. At 8:06pm MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow interrupted Chris Hayes‘ show, which had been pre-recorded. Maddow called it “a shocking development in American politics.” (Hayes returned live at 8:38pm). CNN’s Anderson Cooper called the race at 8:11pm and FNC’s Trace Gallagher broke in to the O’Reilly Factor at 8:14pmET, before Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly picked up coverage and filled out the 8pmET hour.

As vote totals came in in the 7pmET hour, the news networks began speculating that Cantor looked to go down to defeat. Dana Perino in for Greta Van Susteren on Fox News reported Cantor was trailing Brat, as did Erin Burnett on CNN, and Lou Dobbs on FBN.

Chris Cuomo on Hillary Clinton: Media ‘Couldn’t Help Her More’

CuomoIn a segment about Hillary Clinton‘s upcoming interview with Diane Sawyer, CNN’s Chris Cuomo suggested the media has helped the potential presidential candidate.

“We couldn’t help her any more than we have,” Cuomo said. “She’s got just a free ride so far from the media…we’re the biggest ones promoting her campaign, so it better happen.”

Cuomo also praised his former ABC colleague, Diane Sawyer.

“I was actually happy that Diane pressed her the way she did,” Cuomo said, adding it was a “dicey” move for Sawyer, whose tough questions could backfire on her if Hillary becomes a candidate.

Sawyer’s interview with Clinton airs tonight at 9pmET on ABC.

CBS, NBC Get Advance Copies of Clinton Memoir

ABC News may be getting the first interviews with Hillary Clinton, but NBC News and CBS News were the first networks to get their hands on advance copies of “Hard Choices,” which is set to be released Tuesday. The memoir is published by Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS.

“CBS Evening News” first reported on the book’s details Thursday night, and both “Today” and “CBS This Morning” had details from the book this morning. CBS’ Nancy Cordes reported on the book at 7:11 a.m. and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell was on the air with her report at 7:13 a.m. Both networks said they bought a copy at a bookstore.

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