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Hillary Stages ‘Kinetic Butinsky Action’ on Question Intended for SecDef

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By Doug Powers  •  March 27, 2011 03:02 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton were guests on Meet the Press this morning, and host David Gregory gave Gates a 9 a.m. phone call that Hillary decided to barge in and answer herself after Gates, in the previous question, stated that Libya is not a vital interest for the United States.

Newsbusters:

It was a stunning power play. On Meet The Press this morning, after Defense Secretary Bob Gates conceded that Libya is not a “vital interest” of the United States–but before he could complete his comments–Hillary cut him off. She launched into a minute-and-forty-second monologue seeking to justify US military involvement in Libya.
[…]
Clearly Clinton didn’t trust Gates to make a sufficiently muscular defense of President Obama’s policy. Host David Gregory never gave Gates a chance to defend himself. When Hillary finished her monologue, Gregory moved on to another subject: inviting Hillary to comment on the death of Geraldine Ferraro.

Gates never got to say another word. It was a classic DC big-footing, and one the Defense Secretary would seem unlikely to forget anytime soon.

The look on Gates’ face at the end of this clip after Hillary took a handoff intended for him and ran away with with the ball speaks volumes:

Update: The duo had a very similar approach to the same line of questioning on ABC’s “This Week Without Christiane Amanpour.” Jake Tapper asked Gates if Libya posed a threat to the US, he answered no, and Hillary was there to clarify and reiterate. Was the “good cop, better cop” thing a planned routine for the day? If Gates actually blew it by admitting Libya wasn’t a threat to the US during their first appearance (I’m not aware which one was recorded first) resulting in Hillary taking over the interview, it’s unlikely he’d have said almost the exact same thing on a subsequent program.

**Written by Doug Powers

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