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Panel Discusses Clinton's Coverage

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: She's winning the general election today, and he's not according to all the evidence. And I've never seen anything like it. I've never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: The idea that we would have a presidential campaign with so much of what has occurred has been very sexist would be just shrugged off, I think is a very unfortunate commentary.


HUME: So there you have it, a sense of the feeling of grievance in the Clinton camp over how she has been treated--specifically, has she been treated in a way that a plainly sexist?

Some thoughts on this now from Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent of National Public Radio, Nina Easton, Washington Bureau Chief of "Fortune" Magazine, and the syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors all.

Well, how about it, Juan? Has Senator Clinton been subjected to sexist treatment in this campaign?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: There have certainly been moments where I would say that the kind of language that has been used to describe here--here I'm quoting here--"hellish housewife," "she-devil," someone said how we are going to watch a woman age in office--

HUME: I know, but has this been coming from the Obama camp?

WILLIAMS: No. This is all around. Some of this comes from people, the Chris Matthews of the world, who would describe themselves as good liberal Democrats. It's all around.

And I think it has just caught the attention of America's women, who have pretty much been supportive of Hillary Clinton, but who now in watching her in the last moments of her campaign where she is literally grasping at straws to stay in the race, are saying, wait a second, why is she being forced out? You heard this from Bill Clinton in that sound-bite, whey is she being disrespected?

HUME: He said she is being forced out in the face of the fact that she is winning in the polls against McCain.

WILLIAMS: Right, in the polls against McCain. And he says that they media is keeping a secret from the voters that somehow she has the lead in the popular vote.

The point is that she is, in fact, the underdog, that, in fact, the black man in the race, Senator Barack Obama, is being given royal treatment, and anything you would say--

HUME: To avoid racism.

WILLIAMS: --that might be construed as racist immediately sets off alarms. But you can say things about Hillary Clinton and bring out about jokes about nutcrackers and all the rest, and it's OK.

NINA EASTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "FORTUNE MAGAZINE": Yes, she has been subjected to forms of sexism. But, yes, it is really bad form and not leader-like to complain about it and whine about it when you're losing.

This is not a storyline we saw Margaret Thatcher pursue, for example, or any other. I find it interesting that Nancy Pelosi didn't want to go down this route, either.

But I think that there is a very specific storyline going on here that the Clintons are trying to build, and Juan alluded to that, and that is she's a woman, and they're going to claim after Puerto Rico she has gotten the popular vote, the majority of the popular vote, and she got dissed because she's a woman.

And that's what they're grasping at. I think there is a message behind this.

HUME: Do you think a serious case can be made that the reason she is not winning is that she is a woman?

EASTON: Look at the people who are voting for her. They are-- the uber-liberal, most progressive people, who are supposedly non-sexist, are voting for Barack Obama. She is getting the white working class guys. So I don't think that that's actually hurting her at the polls.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I would agree. The reason she is being pushed out of the race is because he is about to amass a majority of delegates. This is about delegates, it's not because she's a woman.

Look, I think one of the problems for her is that she, unlike, as you said, Margaret Thatcher, who made it all on her own, there is a contradiction at the heart of her appeal to feminism, and that is she got her start and she, essentially, got her way into politics as the wife of, on the coattails of her husband.

And that contradicts the central feminist narrative, which is women ought to, can, and should achieve on their own.

So she is a feminist icon, but she it's obvious to anybody who has watched her career, that there is this sort of anachronistic quality to her, because she is not a woman who made it entirely on her own. And that's why I think they're extra touchy about the sexism and gender and discrimination.

Look, Barack Obama is losing a lot of votes entirely on the basis of his race. McCain is being savaged every night by the late night comics because of his age.

She, of course, suffers to some degree as a result of sexism. But take it like a man, and I'm using it as a gender-neutral way. That's grown-up politics. You are always going to lose a segment of the population because of prejudice. You don't whine about it.

WILLIAMS: What's interesting to me is the way she has handled it from the start is she thought she had to make herself more hawkish, especially on the war issue. I don't think that has worked to her advantage with the Democratic base, obviously.

And the second thing to say is all the top people in her campaign, thinking back to Patty Doyle, who was a campaign manager, Maggie Williams, who is now the campaign manager--I could go on--all these top people--Ann Lewis--are women.

And so to say you are blaming it on sexism--wait a second, this is a group of women who ran a campaign that I think was not a very good campaign.

EASTON: I want to go back on this question that she tied her coattails to Bill Clinton. And she also gave up a glittering career to marry this guy--

KRAUTHAMMER: She ended up the first lady of the United States, and that is one quality gets you there, if you marry the right guy.

EASTON: And she knew as New York Senator that she had to put in that hard groundwork to make it on her own. And then to come full circle now to claim that this is just about sexism, I don't think it bodes well for her future. I thing it's Hillary Clinton once again playing victim, and I don't think it's a good role for her.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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