Joe Scarborough and former U.S. Representative Harold Ford (D-TN) exchanged sharply different views as to how the sexual history of former president Bill Clinton should be handled during the current presidential campaign. Earlier on the January 11 broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Bloomberg News reporter Mark Halperin had said that allegations of sexual assault made against Clinton had been “proven and acknowledged.”
Scarborough sought to compare the former president to comedian Bill Cosby, who is currently charged on several counts of sexual assault that date back for decades. Show host Scarborough said, “I wonder how the public looks at Bill Cosby and says, ‘This beloved man who changed American culture as much as any entertainment figure in our lifetime is going to have to be accountable for the way he treated women behind closed doors’. How does a public that has come to that conclusion say, ‘The Bill Clinton’s stuff OK’?”
Ford, the son of a former congressman, responded “Raising your voice at me doesn’t make this right.” Ford batted away Scarborough’s comment and said, “Comparing Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby is wrong.”
Scarborough said, “I am fascinated to hear why comparing Bill Cosby to Bill Cosby is wrong.”
Ford replied, “Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton’s cases are completely different.” Alluding to the sheer number of allegations lain against Cosby – which may number as many as 50 – Ford said “The facts are very, very different.” He went on to say, “I just think if Bill Clinton’s political career was not undone by these things, why should Hillary Clinton’s career be undone by these things? Ultimately voters will make the decision.”
Scarborough focused on the apparent disconnection between Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric as a supposed vindicator of women’s rights on one hand, and her husband’s reputation on the other. “This is all about Hillary Clinton’s treatment of women who may have been sexually abused. Can she move forward in this campaign talking about a war on women, talking about — as she did in Northern Iowa — that women who claim to be sexually abused have the right to be heard and the right to be believed — when she says that, is the New York Times right? Do we have to examine what she did to protect herself and her position of power when woman came forward and claimed sexual abuse on her husband’s part?”
Even though Ford then took Republicans to task for their alleged transgressions, he did not seek to defend President Clinton’s behavior in the past.
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