Fox News had sought to sell it as the interview in which Clinton "lost it". No doubt firing up their base to prepare themselves for his anger rather than what he had to say.
However, what I find most interesting is the reaction of the White House to Clinton's claim that he made more effort to kill bin Laden in the last two months he was in office than the Bush administration did in the eight months they were in power before 9-11.
Tony Snow had this to say:
Q: Any reaction to former President Clinton’s comments on what he did about Osama bin Laden, compared to what’s been done -the Fox interview, especially? He kind of implied that he’d done more than had been done the first nine months. I wonder if there’s any comment on that.
MR. SNOW: Well, he retorts; you decide. It’s my view that -well, not my view. President Clinton clearly had strong feelings, but I’m going to let -we’re just not going to engage.
In other words the White House plan on offering no defence to Clinton's charge that they did bugger all about catching bin Laden despite the CIA confirming - on Bush's watch - that al Qaeda were responsible for the attack on the USS Cole.
They will offer no defence against Clinton's charge that Dick Clarke was ignored and could not get an audience with Bush despite eight months of trying, and that the Presidential Daily Brief entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” was dismissed as Bush continued with his vacation rather than responding to this clear signal of bin Laden's intent to strike inside America.
Clinton, ever the shrewdest of political operators, has done well to move the spotlight back on to the inaction of the Bush administration who have, so far, been protected from this kind of criticism due to the sheer horror of 9-11. However, through the documentary The Path to 9-11, the right wing have made a fatal mistake in attempting to rewrite history and place the blame for 9-11 at Clinton's door. This has made discussion of what exactly Bush did prior to 9-11 fair game in a way that it never was before.
Clinton rightly pointed out that most Republicans opposed his attempts to get bin Laden as "Wag the dog" or simply as an attempt to divert attention away from the Monika Lewinsky scandal.
Indeed, when Clinton attempted to kill bin Laden, two weeks after the murderous terror attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, he was savaged by right wingers and his motives mocked:
"Senators Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) swiftly voiced concern that Clinton might have acted to divert public attention from his personal problems related to the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.
Indeed, at the time some described Clinton's bombing of Iraq as a reason to impeach him.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) and House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas).
"I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time," Lott said in a statement. "Both the timing and the policy are subject to question."
"The suspicion some people have about the president's motives in this attack is itself a powerful argument for impeachment," Armey said in a statement. "After months of lies, the president has given millions of people around the world reason to doubt that he has sent Americans into battle for the right reasons."
For these same right wingers to now claim that Clinton was lax on terrorism is the height of hypocrisy, as they were the loudest voices opposing him at the time.
And for Bush's camp to somehow attempt to lay the blame for 9-11 at Clinton's door ignores the fact Clinton during his exit interview with President Bush stressed that bin Laden was the greatest threat to US security and not Iraq as Bush had claimed during the campaign.
"In his campaign, Bush had said he thought the biggest security issue was Iraq and a national missile defense," Clinton said. "I told him that in my opinion, the biggest security problem was Osama bin Laden."So it is no great surprise that Snow and the White House do not wish to engage in a discussion of the points that Clinton raised. They do not wish to engage because it is an argument that they are certain to lose.
Clinton said his inability to convince Bush of the danger from al Qaeda was "one of the two or three of the biggest disappointments that I had."
Wallace did the right wing no favours when he attempted his ambush of Clinton as it has backfired on them spectacularly.
Right wing theories that seek to ignore the fact that Bush was Commander in Chief on 9-11 are best left to discussions around right wing dinner tables. The mistake Wallace made was to articulate this in front of Clinton, and to give Clinton the opportunity to blast this nonsense out of the water.
Had Wallace not done so, Clinton would have been forced - as have all Democrats post 9-11 - to refuse to play "partisan politics". Wallace opened the flood gates, an act of extreme foolishness from a Republican stand point.
Snow is trying to jam Wallace's thumb back into the dyke when he says, "We're not going to engage".
I bet they are not. Their record on this is disgraceful. And it deserves to be more widely examined.