Hillary Clinton almost didn’t need to show up. After all, the interview was more about Diane Sawyer’s questions than it was about Clinton’s answers, and Sawyer’s questions had been played over and over and over again in network promos advertising the show.
So Monday night, when ABC finally got around to televising Hillary Clinton: Public and Private—One-on-One with Diane Sawyer, there was a sense of anti-climax in the air, and on the air. The show maybe wasn’t so much Hill’s Greatest Hits as Diane’s Most Askable Questions, and the questions were there as much to prompt viewer tweets, it seemed, as to elicit news from Clinton, possibly the next president of the United States.
The hashtag #HillaryonABC sat in the lower righthand corner throughout the show. Does that mean Clinton is running on the ABC ticket? Well, for now. She’s slated to appear Tuesday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, where she’ll be grilled, no doubt mercilessly (yes, LOL) by Robin Roberts. Ooh, bet Hillary was up all night studying for that one. Maybe she’ll be asked to dance, the way theGMA anchors all do in their promos.
As for the Sawyer interview, the ABC World News anchor was strong and studious and technically delivered the goods, question-wise. But it was Hillary’s game, and it was Hillary and her mollycoddling (Hillycoddling?) staff who decided ahead of time how much news she was prepared to make. Answer: Almost none. She was there to sell her book, Hard Choices, out Tuesday, and Hard Choices got a Hard Sell. In preview clips from the show that aired earlier, Clinton managed to work the title of the book into an unrelated question about Vladimir Putin or something.
She knows what she wants. Does she want to be president? Will she run? The closest she got to answering that was “probably, likely” she’ll make and announce her decision next year. There’s a hot scoop. Sawyer asked, “Is the White House yours to lose?” and other good questions, but they hit a blank wall and fell splat.
Indeed, the questions were so generic, they seemed pre-asked, and not just because we’d heard them asked 100 times already in the promos. On Monday night, the answers proved just enough to be more than nothing, and not usually enough to be something.
Sawyer kept plugging away. She even hopped up to retrieve a photo from a table in the Clintons’ fabulously lavish home to ask questions about the Clintons’ early married life and courtship.
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