CNN’s Hillary Clinton Countdown Clock ticked off the minutes until her town hall meeting at the Newseum in Washington D.C. begins at 5 PM ET. The event is moderated by the cable news network’s Christiane Amanpour, during which the presumed Democratic presidential candidate will take questions from the public. After that, Clinton is scheduled to do a live interview with Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier from that network’s Washington studio, starting at 6:45 PM ET, and then FNC’s Greta Van Susteren will take a crack at her around 7:15 PM ET.
Clinton has been warming up for this Big Day with dress rehearsals across the TV news landscape, starting with her “surprise guest” appearance on Barbara Walters’ final day on ABC’s The View. Since then, she’s sparred with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer on June 9, chatted with ABC’s Robin Roberts the next morning, and walked around her alma mater with Jane Pauley on June 15.
CNN and FNC have been warming up their viewers this morning. CNN’s Don Lemon nicked Clinton, and his own employer, for this pretense that she’s on a tour to plug her book Hard Choices. Clinton, he said, is “using the media … playing us, and we’re falling right into it.” Moments later, Lemon backpeddled, explaining that by “using the media” he meant she was engaging in smart media strategy, adding generously, “Now is the time if there’s going to be a woman” in the White House. A little later he announced, “I think it’s all but inevitable,” adding for good measure, “She’s a political animal.”
Meanwhile, FNC’s morning show Outnumbered worked up a pretty good head of steam speculating that today’s nabbing of one of the prime suspects in the 2012 Benghazi attack was timed to coincide with Clinton’s FNC interview with Baier later today. “You have the former Secretary of State, who is in the middle of a really high-profile book tour,” co-host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery said. “I think this is convenient for her to shift the talking points from some of the things she’s been discussing.”
Fox Contributor Pete Hegseth, today’s token guy on the FNC gabber, faux-wondered if the timing had anything to do with Clinton’s upcoming FNC interview. “Something clearly changed in the calculus of the United States, and I think a lot has to do with the State Department. I think this thing needs to be tied up in a bow for certain individuals to have a clean break from an incident that will continue to be a scandal and an anchor around a certain individuals’ neck who may want to run for President,” he said. “What a great thing to announce tonight at Fox News that the perpetrators have been brought to justice. It’s all too neat, and it’s too cute.”
FNC on-air talent weren’t the only TV news talent wondering about the timing. Take ABC News’ Rick Klein, who tweeted:
remarkable timing for Hillary – Benghazi suspect capture hours before her Fox News interview. http://t.co/aYx5OI0J71
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) June 17, 2014