It started innocently enough. Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, was to conduct a 15 minute interview with former President Clinton. The ground rules stipulated that Wallace was to spend half the time on questions about Clinton's pet fund raising project, the "Clinton Global Initiative," and the other half of the interview on anything else.
After three or four introductory questions leading into Clinton's fund raising project, Wallace then said the following:
"When we announced that you were going to be on "Fox News Sunday," I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I've got to say, I was surprised. Most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn't you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaeda out of business when you were president?"
It was then that you could see the blood drain out of Clinton's face. All Hell broke loose and he lost it completely. It was Clinton meltdown - big time. It was as if Wallace had accused Clinton of something really preposterous and morally offensive, like having sex with an intern in the Oval Office at the White House.
Clinton's face became red, his eyes jumped between squinty stares and popped out insanity. Wow! It was the ol' defensive Clinton of the Monica Lewinski days all over again.
Clinton intimidatingly pushed his face into Wallace's, he wagged that famous finger in Wallace's face and leaned over and aggressively tapped on Wallace's clipboard several times. He began stuttering and slurring his speech. As he squirmed in his seat, rocking back and forth, his pant legs rode up higher and higher and his short socks fell down exposing those infamous pasty white legs. The sight was spooky, especially since it is so close to Halloween. Clinton looked absolutely maniacal. The only thing missing was him rolling two steel balls in the palm of his hand.
"You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because [News Corp. Chairman] Rupert Murdoch's supporting my work on climate change," Clinton said. "You said you'd spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7-billion-plus in three days from 215 different commitments. And you don't care."
Wallace then attempted to explain that he was bringing up the question on why Clinton didn't do more to stop bin Laden because it is on people's minds. "There's a reason it's on people's minds: Because there's been a serious disinformation campaign to create that impression," Clinton said.
Clinton then blamed the Republican factions in Congress and Pentagon for stymieing his antiterrorism efforts. "All of President Bush's neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office," Clinton said. "All the right-wingers who now say I didn't do enough, said I did too much - same people."
Right-wing factions, Clinton said, are trying to rewrite history to cover up their failing to focus on Al Qaeda when President Bush took office in 2001. It's the "vast right-wing conspiracy" again. "I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since," Clinton declared, "And if I were still president, we'd have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him."
Clinton turned the interview highly personal when he glowered at Wallace and barked "So you did FOX's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. And you've got that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could."
Clinton couldn't stop ranting about how he wanted to do more but everyone was against him. "The entire military was against sending Special Forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter," Clinton continued. "And no one thought we could do it otherwise, because we could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was president."
Watching this out of control display was scary, funny, and sad all at the same time. I fully expected that the next statement I would hear out of Clinton's mouth would be:
"They were all disloyal. I tried to run the ship properly by the book, but they fought me at every turn. If the crew wanted to walk around with their shirttails hanging out, that's all right, let them! Take the towline - defective equipment, no more, no less. But they encouraged the crew to go around, scoffing at me and spreading wild rumors about steaming in circles and then 'Old Yellowstain.' I was to blame for Lieutenant Maryk's incompetence and poor seamanship. Lieutenant Maryk was the perfect officer, but not Captain Queeg.
"Ah, but the strawberries! That's, that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with, with geometric logic, that, that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist. And I would have produced that key if they hadn't pulled the Caine out of action. I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officer…. Naturally, I can only cover these things from memory... If I've left anything out, just ask me specific questions - and I'll be glad to answer them one by one."
Yes, I'm sure that if Clinton were still president he would get to the bottom of it all. He would have killed bin Laden. He would have rooted out terror around the globe. He would have established a lasting peace in the Middle East. And he would have surely produced the duplicate key to the wardroom icebox. If the vast right-wing conspiracy didn't thwart him at every turn, that is.