Wednesday, November 10, 2010
George Stephanopoulos discussing his spin response to video footage capturing Bob Kerrey telling Bill Clinton a dirty joke, from ALL TOO HUMAN
"What Governor Clinton has said is that he and Bob Kerrey are good friends...." The opening phrase sends a double message: Not only is the story old news, but it's not even important enough for Clinton to make his own statement. "Good Friends" is a signal to Kerrey's people that we won't go out of our way to hurt him, which is not to say that we will go out of our way to help him.
"Senator Kerrey clearly thought it was a private conversation, and Governor Clinton is going to respect that...." This is Senator Kerrey's problem; Clinton is merely a forgiving observer. Our guy just listened to the joke, as opposed to the poor sap who told it. But we do "respect" Senator Kerrey's right to lose sight of the fact that he's in the middle of a presidential campaign, where everyone knows there's no such thing as a private conversation.
"There were a lot of bad jokes flying around that auditorium... some more tasteless than others." We're not saying Clinton's never told a bad joke; you press guys probably have one on tape. But yes, if you insist, Kerrey's joke was worse. It was--and this is the key word, the most vivid word in the statement, the one that turns the knife--"tasteless."