Hillary Rodham Clinton will appear on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” on Tuesday, according to an announcement from Comedy Central. Ms. Clinton has been in Europe promoting her book, and Mr. Stewart has been on vacation for the past two weeks, so in a way their impending interview is a big “welcome back” moment for both.
Gee, what will they talk about? Clinton has appeared on the show twice before, in 2008 and 2003, so she’ll be ready for Stewart’s conversational style, which mixes jabbing one-liners with actual policy questions. That means she’ll probably have some sort of prepared strategy for dealing with the issue of her family’s wealth.
That’s likely to be an opening subject, in our opinion. Clinton has been in trouble for her wealth gaffes of sorts: She said the family was “dead broke” when it left the White House, for instance. More recently, The Washington Post charted the $100 million worth of talks delivered by husband Bill, and news reports indicate that daughter Chelsea gets $75,000 for public appearances. Why are Clinton words so expensive?
Then there is Ms. Clinton’s book itself, “Hard Choices.” It has done pretty well by most authors’ standards: At the moment, it is No. 2 on The New York Times's nonfiction hardcover bestseller. "The Daily Show” will give Clinton the opportunity to pitch the volume to a fairly sympathetic argument. We see that Comedy Central is helping in that regard: "The Daily Show” website has a “buy 'Hard Choices' ” link that takes you direct to Amazon.
The question Stewart might ask, though, is whether it bothers Clinton that the No. 1 hardcover bestseller is an anti-Clinton book, “Blood Feud,” which depicts a purported war between the Clinton and Obama families. (“Blood Feud” has been generally ignored as thinly sourced and unreliable by the mainstream media.) Plus, there’s a second purported Clinton exposé coming out later this month, “Clinton, Inc.,” by Weekly Standard online editor Daniel Halper. Is there an organized anti-Clinton industrial complex?
Finally, as to wonkishness, Stewart might ask what Clinton would do as president, anyway. Why bother to run again? What’s the point? This could give her an opportunity to circle around and talk about the economy.
On her book tour, she’s talked with increasing frequency about income inequality, wrote Politico’s David Nather last week. She might also stress a need to address economic problems of the middle class.
This somewhat populist pitch would have the virtue of echoing the issues Bill Clinton talked about during his time in the White House and appealing to a somewhat different universe of voters than has President Obama’s economic approach.
“Most Democrats believe voters will see the economy as the major unfinished business of Obama’s presidency, and they’ll be looking for any ideas Clinton can offer on how to speed up the economic recovery and improve the quality of their lives,” Mr. Nather wrote.
It could also be an indirect defense against buck-raking accusations. It’s possible that US voters are more interested in what she says she might do for them than in what she may have done for herself.