The Mirror

NYT’s Leibovich on radio show: Can he get a lifeline?

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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New York Times Magazine writer and This Town author Mark Leibovich would not get trapped in a Hillary Clinton question in an appearance on a conservative radio program Tuesday. Except that host Hugh Hewitt was like a dog with a bone and wouldn’t let it go.

And there Leibovich was, trapped.

The question: “How would you describe Secretary Hillary Clinton’s achievements as Secretary of State?”

Leibovich hemmed and hawed and was open about his desire to duck the question. “Um, geez, um, look, I think, I don’t cover the State Department,” he said. “You have that look on your face like you expect me to duck this question. Here’s the deal…I have not written any stories on Hillary Clinton since 2008. How about, what’s like the graceful way to duck a question? I honestly don’t know. …Let’s see, what did she do? She traveled a lot. That’s the thing, they’re always like well, she logged 8 zillion miles. It’s like, since when did that become, you know, diplomacy by odometer?”

(Pssst…Clinton aides are not  going to be too pleased with that response.)

Soon enough, Hewitt moved on to Republicans for president in 2016. “I want to play with you the Republican game,” he told Leibovich, before rattling off names like Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio and expecting him to comment on each one. Most interesting, Leibovich had attitude as he spoke of a “Morning Joe culture” and what that means for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

On Christie: “Very compelling, seems to be the frontrunner which usually means he doesn’t have a shot. When the liberal media, when the media, when the conservative media, when they annoint someone, when the ‘Morning Joe’ culture annoints someone and he’s beloved on Morning Joe. He’s kind of like the moderate Republican that a lot of people in the media wish were more of a mainstream Republican than he is.”

Leibovich told Hewitt that these days he only sometimes watches “Morning Joe.” What would he possibly choose over watching the show Washington loves to obsess over? It’s been awhile since he’s appeared on the program, he says. Nowadays he’s helping his children get ready for school.