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MSNBC host Keith Olbermann is a known critic of Hillary Clinton, but by cable-news standards, he was restrained during his interview with the senator from New York last night. By Olbermann’s standards, he was almost sedated. We suppose that’s okay; it wouldn’t kill him to lend the appropriate gravitas to the situation on the eve of the Most Important Pennsylvania Primary Ever to Occur on April 22. He started by citing the latest survey to come out at that given millisecond, noting the Pennsylvania race was “fairly competitive” but in Clinton’s favor at 48 percent to 43 percent. To signify her happy role as marginal front-runner, HRC thus appeared in an extremely bright red blazer (it was, dare we say, a St. John’s knit?). Though she sounded hoarse, she looked good — the hair and makeup gods had blessed her on this night.
Olbermann’s opening question addressed gas pricing and whether it would determine the election in November. Clinton said she didn’t believe the economy would recover. As Little Miss Sunshine launched into her speech about $117 barrels of oil and Enron and the sort of serious policy/issue stuff that actually matters and yet we hear so precious little of, we couldn’t help but be distracted. It wasn’t because we had yet to watch Gossip Girl (though we could feel it burning a hole in our DVR); no, we were totally distracted by HRC’s jewelry. She was layering her necklaces! And they were of varying length. Trendy! They caught the klieg lights just so, causing them to seem incredibly shiny, such that we couldn’t even tell if the necklaces — and is she wearing three, or is it just two? — were silver or gold.
After a bit of complimentary back-and-forth about the debate, Hillary’s blinding jewelry started to irritate Olbermann and he dug in with a few tougher questions: First up, that new campaign ad with the image of Osama bin Laden — Olbermann referred to the tactic as a “bloody shirt” and a scare tactic. Then Olbermann brought up her swipe at Obama for “cheering on McCain,” noting that she herself had made similar McCain-friendly comments just a month prior. HRC just kind of babbled her way through the hypocrisy issue as best she could by not answering the question. Classic like her St. John’s knit!
The “tough” portion of the interview then concluded, and Olbermann switched to everyone’s favorite old chestnut, the Historic Nature of the Candidacy. Did Hillary think criticism of her campaign was sexism? Cue the robo-laugh! Er, we think that’s what it was. At this point in the campaign, the lady’s so hoarse that any “spontaneous” noise sounds like a death squeak. Then Olbermann brought up Richard Mellon Scaife — he of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” — and his paper’s recent endorsement of Clinton; why didn’t she reject him? Oops, she hit the robo-laughter button again! HRC, all smiles, said she was “dumbfounded” but believed in Scaife’s “redemption” and that his conversion should be a sign to “anyone who doubts my ability to bridge the most incredible chasms.” She said this with the wide, delirious eyes of someone who’d just seen the Virgin Mary in a taco shell.
And so Olbermann, knowing he could press no further, finally set the feverish woman loose into the cool Pennsylvania night. —Jessica Coen