Let's Get Serious: CNN Played Softball With Hillary Clinton

Just in case anyone is interested in clarifying the meaning of the phrase “softball questions,” CNN’s interview with Hillary Clinton this week contained two stellar examples.

One of them was this, posed by CNN’s Brianna Keilar: “Have you given any thought to the woman who should be on the $10 bill?”

It’s a “who cares?” question, as in: Who cares who Hillary Clinton wants to see on the $10 bill? We already know the probable answer: Herself. But she’s not going to say that.

What she did say was this: “You know, I am very torn about it,” answered Clinton, who didn’t look at all like she was “torn.”

“I want a woman on a bill,” she averred courageously. “I don't know why they take the $10 bill. Some people are now agitated [sic] for the $20 bill …” 



Keilar seized on this, a possible story -- “Hillary Favors Female Face On 20, Not 10-Dollar Bill.” “$20 -- do you think it should be the $20?” she asked, according to a transcript on the CNN press Web site.

“You know, I want a woman on the bill,” Clinton repeated. “And I think that it might be easier to change the $20 than it is to change the $10. But we'll see. [Hey, wait a minute -- did she mean “change” the picture or actually make change? And whatever she meant, why would one bill be easier to change than the other? They’re both bills printed in the same manner … isn’t the process of changing them sort of the same?]

“And I don't like the idea that as a compromise you would basically have two people on the same bill. One would be a woman,” Clinton continued, raising a scenario I had not heard about before whereby a woman and a man would be pictured on our money.

I was confused, but there came no follow-up; Keilar was already moving on to her next question, in which she used the word “doppelganger.”

“I know you’ve seen your new doppelganger on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Kate McKinnon. She plays you and she plays Justin Bieber,” Keilar informed the former United States Secretary of State, and before that, United States Senator from New York, and before that, First Lady.

Evidently unable to contain her journalistic curiosity on this subject, Keilar then asked Clinton: “Who’s the better Hillary Clinton, Kate McKinnon or Amy Poehler?”

She got no straight answer on this burning question either. “Oh, you know, Amy’s a friend of mine,” Clinton said airily. “And Kate’s doing a great job. You’re not going to get me to pick one or the other. I think I’m the best Hillary Clinton, to be honest.  So I'm just going to be my own little self and kind of keep going along and saying what I believe in and putting forth changes that I think would be good for the country, and you know, I’m not looking for ratings. I’m looking for votes.”

Her answer was stupid. And so was the question. Neither of the two softball questions should have been asked in this interview, which was Clinton’s first such encounter with a journalist since she officially kicked off her campaign last month.

Let the record show that the entire CNN interview with Hillary Clinton lasted just shy of 19 minutes. It can be seen in its entirety here on

The two softball questions came at the very end of the interview. Other topics covered in the interview were: Clinton’s reaction to the growing popularity of Bernie Sanders; Clinton’s views on whether or not to raise taxes (her answer was evasive); the “trust” issue (Clinton blamed Republicans for portraying her as untrustworthy); the deleted e-mails scandal (Clinton told Keilar she did nothing wrong); the Clinton Foundation and whether it represents a conflict of interest for her (Clinton said she was proud of the foundation); Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Trump’s remarks about Mexicans, and Republican views on immigration (this is the part where Clinton said all the Republican candidates are hostile in one way or another to immigrants).

These were all worthwhile issues to get into with her. Others might have been: Her views on race relations in this country and what she might do to help to improve them; her role in the formulation of the Obama administration’s foreign policies, many of which don’t seem to be working very well; and her management generally of the State Department when she was in charge there, including the way her department handled (or didn’t handle) the deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

These are serious issues, as were all the other serious topics Keilar addressed in her interview. We live in serious times and the upcoming election is a crucial one for the U.S. and the world. Softball questions -- about TV comedians and faces on our dollar bills or a candidate’s favorite movie or baseball team--  should be off the table.

4 comments about "Let's Get Serious: CNN Played Softball With Hillary Clinton".
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  1. Mark Van Patten from Retired, July 9, 2015 at 12:46 p.m.

    I thot the Woman on Bill was a subtle jab.

  2. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, July 9, 2015 at 1:33 p.m.

    I hope the first comment part about Stonewall Jackson was a joke? Stonewall Jackson was a confederate general in the civil war (I actually had to look up his first name, Thomas). No relation to the former president, Andrew Jackson (whose nickname was Old Hickory, and I didn't have to look that up).

  3. Marla Goldstein from Around The Bend Media, July 9, 2015 at 8:09 p.m.

    Adam, you're allegedly a television critic. Stick to what you know and leave politics to the grownups.

  4. David Marans from ARF, July 10, 2015 at 11:26 a.m.

    Thanks, Marla. This is not the first time Adam has elected to display his political biases. I'm frankly displeased to see this once again. 

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