The State Department released nearly 3,000 emails from Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s first year as Secretary of State in 2009, and included in those emails were messages from CNN Analyst Paul Begala, who requested talking points on Clinton’s accomplishments for what he called a “dopey CNN report card” segment.
The New York Times reported that “while an ostensibly nonpartisan figure” as Secretary of State, Clinton “clearly still worried about retiring her $23 million campaign debt from 2008,” judging by an email her chief of protocol, Capricia Marshall, sent to Begala in April 2009.
“Thank you so very much!!!” Marshall wrote. “We raised 500K from the email contest!! You are all amazing — the world adores you! You put a serious hole in HRC debt!”
In response, Begala, who was an advisor to former President Bill Clinton, asked for talking points on what “HRC has accomplished in the first hundred days” as Secretary.
“I gave Sec. Clinton an A+ in our dopey CNN report card last night,” Begala wrote after the segment. “So did Donna Brazile. The only two A+’s all night.”
Following the release of the email, Begala addressed it on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper on Wednesday, and he claimed that he did disclose his personal bias when he gave Clinton an “A+” and that the audience didn’t need “a congressional subpoena to know that I love Hillary Clinton.”
“The first 100 days of the Obama administration were consumed with the economic crisis,” Begala said. “Plus it’s not my beat. It seemed to me the world was doing just fine with Hillary as secretary of state, but I didn’t know the specifics. I knew I was going to be asked about them. Who am I supposed to ask? The Koch brothers?”
Referring to Begala’s comment about CNN being “dopey,” Tapper asked Begala if he felt the same way about Tapper’s segments.
“No,” Begala replied. “Let me say, I was dopey to put that in an email. I was feeling grumpy. I was on the set I think with (former presidential adviser David) Gergen, these very tall people and I’m short. So I was feeling like a dwarf. I picked the wrong dwarf. Sometimes I say things that are dopey. That’s part of the gig, I guess.”
In March, when it was revealed that Clinton had used her personal email for government business during her tenure as Secretary of State, Politico reported that Begala was among the Clinton allies “who believe the all-but-certain nominee is enough of a defined quantity in voters’ eyes that Republican attacks on her email policies cannot sway them.”
In a statement regarding Clinton’s emails, Begala said, “Voters do not give a shit. They do not even give a fart. Find me one persuadable voter who agrees with HRC on the issues but will vote against her because she has a non-archival-compliant email system and I’ll kiss your ass in Macy’s window and say it smells like roses.”