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Hillary Clinton blows name of next Russian president

One of the things that is driving Hillary Clinton and her husband and their latest presidential campaign absolutely crazy is the favoritism of the media they see directed toward her opponent, Barack Obama.

This was captured last weekend in the opening episode of "Saturday Night Live" on a mock panel with actor reporters openly admitting they were "in the tank" for Obama, pressing Clinton with difficult questions while asking Obama if he was comfortable, with the followup question, was he sure he was comfortable.

Clinton couldn't hold it in any longer early in Tuesday night's debate in Cleveland. "Well," she said when asked the first two questions first, "could I just point....

out that, in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time? And I don't mind. You know, I'll be happy to field them, but I do find it curious. And if anybody saw 'Saturday Night Live,' you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow."

So naturally late in the Ohio debate when it came time for the trick question, the kind of TV interview question that got George W. Bush so much unwanted, embarrassing and prolonged attention in 1999 when he couldn't name the president of Pakistan, Tim Russert claimed later that he looked at both candidates Tuesday night as if to say, 'Who wants this one?' And Clinton seemed to respond. So he asked Clinton first.

The question concerned Russia's so-called presidential elections Sunday to pick a successor to Vladimir Putin. Russert wanted to know what Clinton could tell the world about this new president.

In her 204-word response Clinton worked in how he'd been hand-picked by Putin, how Russia's political opposition has been suppressed and how she'd been critical of the Bush administration on a wide variety of issues regarding Russia.

Then, Russert pounced: "Who will it be? Do you know his name?"

Chances are you don't know his name. But then you're not running for president. We'll never know if the name was known by Obama, who is running for president, because Russert chose to put Clinton on the spot. And she blew it. Although the official transcript partially covers up her mistake. It has Clinton replying, "Medvedev -- whatever."

What a tape actually shows the senator said was, "Meh, uhm, Me-ned-vadah -- whatever."

Russert then turned to Obama, who during a forum last summer referred to the president of Canada which, of course, has no president; it has a prime minister. "Do you know anything about him?" Russert asked.

Obama, who looked genuinely relieved not to have gotten the Russian name question, took the easy way out. "Well," he said in his 163-word response, "I think Senator Clinton speaks accurately about him..." and continued to also criticize the Bush administration.

Phew. On such chances do lasting voter impressions rest.

For the record, the all-but-certain about-to-be-elected new president of Russia is Dmitry Medvedev, not to be confused with Andrei Medvedev, the Ukrainian tennis player. But you knew that.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (31)

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I wish someone would ask Bush to say his name. That would certainly be hillarious. But saying that Hillary blew it, is totally unfair. It was obvious she knew exactly who the person is. Russian names can be very hard to pronounce, unless the name is used very often. Unfair, has been typical of the way the media has treated her this whole campaign. SHAME ON YOU MEDIA.....SHAME !

I would direct the writer to Tim Russert's comments immediately following the debate on MSNBC. This question specifically, he said, he did not direct to either of the candidates. He purposely posed the question to both to see who would jump to answer it first.

I think the analysis of this question here may be a bit stretched then, to describe it as an example of how she is treated unfairly by the media, as she claims.

In my opinion, the question didn't illuminate much on the candidates. When Senator Clinton was posed with the question, "What's his name?" her answer was, "M-whatever." Tim Russert then answered it for her, but he should have then posed the direct question to Senator Obama instead, to gauge his knowledge as well. To say however that Senator Obama appeared "relieved" to have not received the question though, I didn't see that at all in his expresssion. Such a comment strikes me as more the bias of Andrew Malcolm.

If anyone wishes to compare the two candidates' understanding on foreign policy, I would suggest reading this analysis of the formal statements from both candidates following Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Obama seems to follow her lead on these things so I doubt he knew it either.She came close to getting it though. I thought it was particularly disturbing that he had not convened one sub committee meeting as chair of the Foreign Rel sub committe yet constantly says Afghanistan's a mess and something needs to be done. Rezco should have been brought up.

Interesting poll in the LA Times that McCain may beat both Clinton and Obama.

Strangely, Clinton may be the more electable Democrat, in spite of all the polling. The simple fact is that only 4 or 5 states will determine the outcome of this election--Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, and perhaps Missouri and Iowa. The rest will fall in line with the results of the 2004 Bush v. Kerry election. Except for the high turnout during the primaries, there is little evidence to support that any red state will move to blue. There simply aren't enough Democrats to turn the tables and the Independents will split between Obama and Clinton.

Clinton has a better shot at winning in any of these industrial states (and Florida) than Barack does, except for the last two (MO and IA). The huge wins Obama racked up in Southern and Mountain states during the primaries are unlikely to lead to general election victories. With Clinton, even Texas can come into play. She can force McCain to spend valuable time and resources there. With Obama, the Latino vote will migrate to McCain, making Texas a fairly safe red state..

The biggest concern for Obama is that his candidacy may place states such as Pennsylvania and even California in play, forcing him to divert his own resources. A candidate who cannot win a single big state, except for his own will be problematic at best.

The upcoming primaries will be interesting. A narrow victory in Texas for Obama is not a good sign. A major loss in Ohio could mean that he may have no chance in the general election in that State.

And given his campaign's insistence to leave out the Florida delegation, he has practically no chance of winning that state in November.

Perhaps the Republicans have found a candidate that they could finally beat. And with the added insurance policy called Ralph Nader, all of a sudden, the skies look rosier than ever for the GOP.

It seems that MSNBC and CNN may have the chance to do something that FOX News always wanted--to put a Republican back into the White House.

i agree with del. malcolm's analysis of this non-event in the debate is slanted at best. yeah, i know, you have a working hypothesis (i.e. negative media bias towards clinton), but not every "hardball" type question is an example of that. as del correctly pointed out, it is clear russet did not direct that question to senator clinton. however, in true tracy flick fashion clinton jumped all over it, not to be outdone by one of the other kids in class. nice try though, malcolm :)

Re:The next president of Russia flap.
I don't think his name is so im-Putin; what is im-Putin is that it appears that Mr. Putin will still call the shots, and that whatever-his-name-is will be just about as important as Benjamin Harrision's vice-president, until Harrison died in office and VP John Tyler became President.....hmmmmmm.

(Very good point, sir.)

Saturday Night Live couldn't have better parodied last night's MSNBC debate. If this weren't such a critical election, for the highest office in our nation, it would have been laughable, it was so blatant.

It was personally humiliating to witness an audience sit silent as the nation watched the good old Frat boys of MSNBC g@ng b@ng a woman who has had the audacity to run for the Presidency. And, yes, Obama is one of the Frat boys, at least for the moment.

GE owns MSNBC. GE's past is mired in environmental hazards, war profiteering and media manipulation. GE has also secured millions of dollars in defense and military contracts, earning itself a place among notorious war profiteering companies such as Lockheed Martin and Halliburton.

At least with Clinton, what you see it what you get. Obama is so slippery it's frightening.

Hillary says 'Shame on you Obama, shame on you.' I can picture a pair of eyes staring right in the camera , and a wagging finger...oh wait I've seen this before. LOL Do we really want another President that scolds us like a dog that peed on the carpet?

The Hillbilly does not have the temperament to be POTUS and CIC. I wouldn't let her babysit a pitbull - she might teach the dog some bad habits.

However both were able to perfectly complete:
From each according to his abilities, to each according to ....

Wow. The difference in media coverage has been so stark and obvious. She "pesters" while he "challenges", when she is up by 200 delegates it is a "near tie and virtual dead heat", when he is up 60, it is a "blowout" and "it's over". When she gives a foreign policy speech surrounded by several strong, respected military leaders (with, gasp, experience - that awful “e” word – she has 27 of them endorsing her, BTW) with full media in attendance, not one of the media “journalists” shows it live. You can’t find clips of it anywhere. Had Obama done the same he would have been hailed “our commander in chief” and that headline would have been splashed on every news outlet available. Ok, let's get real. The reason Hillary was annoyed that she seems to be asked most of the questions first in the debates, is she has clearly articulated her plan and position on every issue and that "who first" format allows Obama to play follow the leader. She outlines her plan, he says "I agree with Hillary" and then is allowed to blather on and on so he gets more air time. Kind of like watching that kid in class keep looking over your shoulder during a test, after you've done all the hard work. He clearly states midway thru the debate that he would "reserve the right" to go back into Iraq (or anywhere) if there was reason to believe it posed a threat to the US. Well, duh?! That's why Hillary voted with John Kerry, Colin Powell, and many Democrats to look further into Iraq under Bush's regime. Also, why has no one mentioned the fact that Obama has voted "present' over 120 times while a senator, when he could have been a leader and taken a stand. We need a leader, not a follower. We need a leader when it is inconvenient, not just when it looks good.

No one got gangbanged on MSNBC. Hillary Clinton decided she was going to go up against Papa Bear Russett in his ring, and she tripped over her own laces.

I didn't sit silent, no. I cheered Papa Bear on. To see him go up against her near-psychotic Joan Crawfordesque glare, and not even flinch, was a wonder to behold.

And I'm a woman.

All I hope is that her total gutter campaign doesn't ruin the chances of other qualified -and hopefully far more dignified - women.

It would have been much more interesting had Obama been able to answer that same question. But he didn't have to did he? He was just able to copy what she said. Disgusting. Wake Up America!!! Hillary '08.

Can we please shine some light on an incredibly disturbing response from Obama -- that he hadn't convened a subcommittee meeting to discuss iraq/un -- because he was campaigning????? He is making his position and wisdom on Iraq a critical component of his message, but can't seem to squeeze in some time to hold even ONE hearing, this entire campaign season?

Wouldn't the candidate that becomes President have an entire staff that would brief them on certain issues, and more specifically names of foreign dignitaries? I would think a pop quiz on world leaders doesn't accurately represent the potential of a candidate. I was happy to see Sen. Obama give Sen. Clinton some credit for knowing about the future Russian President instead of basking in her embarrassment. The gaffes of the campaign trail distract America from focusing on the real issues and end up wasting time clarifying or apologizing. Criticizing the mistakes of others in order to make one's self look better is deplorable and shows just how weak an individual is. I want to see the honor and respect return to politics. I am even starting to be ashamed of the "no W" sticker on my truck because instead of doing something positive I chose negativity.
I don't want a President that just supports one side of the aisle but instead actually represents the people of this country and does what is right and honest. I am currently supporting Sen. Obama but it is time that he started elaborating on his plans to turn this country around. I want Sen. Clinton to explain what was incorrect about the mailer regarding her healthcare plan and clarify her plan. But, right now in our country, negativity trumps decency and hope. I turn 30 on Monday. I hope it doesn't mark the time in my life when I became disillusioned.

Re: David Dawdy

Only it was William Henry Harrison, not Benjamin. Way to go, all-star products of the California educational system...making your own attempts at intelligence irrelevant.

Poor Hillary... she may not get the Pres nod because of this vast left wing consipiracy by the media...

This is a great example of media bias. The headline reads "Hillary Clinton blows name of next Russian president." Is this really the point of the article? And was her slip up really so extreme that you could say she blew it?

Anyone visiting the home page of the latimes website will read this headline, yet most will probably not read the full article which I think makes a very different point.

To the lady cheering on Papa Bear...that's Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, not Tim Russert. Please don't appropriate Colbert and then get it wrong. Your use of the word gangbang is beyond offensive...and I'm a WOMAN.

Well, manipulation of the media is well within the Clinton strategy. However, this time they are on the receiving end. The grass always looks green on the other side. But, the Clintons are reminded that "it is just as hard to mow."

I'm a registered Republican, but McCain is not my candidate of choice. I am, may I confess, leaning towards Obama and rooting for him should he win the Democratic nomination just because I do not like Hillary and everything she stands for. Should SHE win, which is unlikely now, then McCain it is. Even then, it will be another uphill battle she needs to climb.

Aaah, the sweet aroma of redemption to two of the most cunning and ruthless husband and wife politicians of our time. I guess a long, disgraceful, and painful demise suits them better than a quick and rapid defeat early in the primaries. Hillary, is trying to make history worth it? Your ulcers, your guilty conscience, your two-timing husband, your dignity as a person, and your lack of integrity, is manifesting now and is eating you up inside. Should you miraculously win the Presidency, you will forever be in the shadow of Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers. You trying to balance all this while painstakingly pretending to be the "people's choice" and slowly losing your sanity is all worth it. Wow, I guess I will root for you to win the Oval Office.

I am woman hear me roar, was Helen Reddy's classic song symbolizing the equality of women. However, "I am Hillary hear me roar" sounds like a wounded bitch angrily lashing out for attention or her chastising Bill again. Go OBAMA

Hey Ladies,

All the backlashing Hillary is receiving, is what ANY politician vying for president has to deal with in our day. No holds bar in politics ladies, sorry. Hillary should have expected all these slings WHEN she decided to run for president. However, the polls, which had her crowned the first woman president before the first primaries, led her to believe that it would be an rosy path to the White House. She was enjoying her coronation even before the "crown" was made and the preparations for her inaugeration were even planned.

If she's been fairly or unfairly scrutinized by the venim of her opponents, her simply being a woman is NOT the only reason why the media is doing what they are doing. Her being a "woman" just gives her opponents a different dynamic in "bringing her back down to earth."

Needless to say every "cross country excursion" has its speed bumps, pot holes, broken glass, thorns, nails, unforseen weather patterns and deceiving road maps to be reckoned with regardless of a male or female driving the vehicle.

A prominent world renowned chef of either gender would likely chastise ANY of his/her dissatified pupils with the coined cliche, "if you can't take the heat, then get out of the kitchen." That is a non-gender, generalized cliche these days may I add. Welcome to what no longer is solely a "man's world" ladies, it is called politics.

Hillary is a bonafied politician and a woman. So, enjoy the OTHER side of the coin, take the verbal media punches like a man and quit yacking and grumbling that Hillary is being unfairly scrutinized BECAUSE of her gender. No, she's being unfairly scrutinized because she is a POLITICIAN. Her gender is an "addition" attribute to put downs and negative slings that is brutal but normal in the "rights of passage" towards becoming Commander in Chief.

To the media, Obama and McCain supporters, let her rip! Don't hold back BECAUSE she's a "girl". This is a political campaign where the candidates want to win at all cost and NOT a coronation guised as a cotillion to dance, act properly and look good. Please! If this were the case, Ms. Clinton would have been content as a first lady, for Pete's sake.

When the question was asked in open and not specifically to any one of them by name, Mr. Obama as usual took the high road. Give her credit at least she knew the name started with a "M", unlike oh I agree with Clinton.

Dear Ann....

Please refer to Will's post at 5:31 am. HE used the term to describe what MSNBC and Obama were doing to Hillary. *I* said that noone did anything of the sort to Hillary. She didn't do well in the debate, full stop.

I had the same problem with the term as you did.

Secondly, Tim Russert is *my* Papa Bear. I think he's better than Colbert's choice. Cuz underneath that cherubic smile is sharp pointy teeth.

Gimme a break,

It's hard to see you witness Hillary being criticized even for the most trivial issues, isn't it? You know those good ol' days when the Clintons could do wrong yet squirm out of it lookin' like nothing did go wrong? Does "I didn't have sex or inhaled" come to mind? Well, "gimme a break" those days are done and the public is enjoying every minute of it, EVEN THOUGH, Hillary is the lesser of two evils, she's been so deceptive that the public no longer cares. Your defense for Hillary may be valid, but at this point WHO THE HELL CARES!! Evil is as evil does. Hillary's going down, even if she does become president. As long as Monica Lewinsky lives and hubby Bill has that smile on his face, honey!


Read my posts again.

Where, *exactly* did I say I was defending Hillary?

Was it here?
"I didn't sit silent, no. I cheered Papa Bear on. To see him go up against her near-psychotic Joan Crawfordesque glare, and not even flinch, was a wonder to behold"

Was it here?
"All I hope is that her total gutter campaign doesn't ruin the chances of other qualified -and hopefully far more dignified - women."

Or was it here?
"*I* said that noone did anything of the sort to Hillary. She didn't do well in the debate, full stop."

Please, enlighten me, I'd hate anyone to think I was somehow not getting my utter distaste for Clinton's tactics through to people....

WOW, it is almost like HIllary can do no right. What next, her spelling?...oh that happened already...her adulterous husband?...oh that happened already too. Her daughter being named Miss U.S.A. because of her stunning beatuy?...honey, that'll never happen. I guess this is part of the political process that goes into the campaign for president. She's gotta take it. Blacks had overcome, Mexicans had to overcome, Asians -dying on the railroads and sent to concentration camps- had to overcome, Italians and Irish - who weren't WASP'S then not "really" American had to she knows all too clearly that sometimes "life ain't fair" even if you bitch til' your blue.

Black, brown, Muslim, woman or Jew. Ha-ha fooled you, you are white and discrimated against too!

I wonder how the media would dissect Hillary if she were pretty and drop dead gorgeous oppose to being an overdressed, political frump? I know if she was physically beautiful, there would be no Monica Lewinsky. Take care of business at home and perhaps people would vote for you! I am woman, hear me ROAR.

Now Hillary, who are the presidents of Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia? Ask Mikhail Gorbachev, that's ......Gor ba chev.... LOL

Gangbang is offensive but not how Bill Clinton exploited women like Monica?

Hey Eric and Zammy:

So nice to see all the "Unity" and "Hope" all you Obama supporters bring to this race. Seems a little DIVISIVE to me. Not to mention FEAR MONGERING, and what's that 'S' word? Oh yeah, SEXIST. Apologies are in order.

Obama is a politician and he will attempt to turn every unfair advantage including a media stacked against Hillary, a general undercurrent of disparagement to women, and fear of the notion of an empowered female against her. And just because he looks like the innocent while he's doing it doesn't make him the best choice for President. You guys are getting really creative about the notion of change you can believe in. But thanks for your informative emails in any case. They really showed the true character of your movement.

Go Hillary Go!!!!!

K, I would suggest that most negative views you hear regarding Senator Clinton's character are not themes generated by Obama's campaign but rather sentiments developed well before this campaign ever started. Trust me, Hillary was being disparaged long before anyone ever heard the name Barack Obama. In all of my life, I've been taught, by radio, family, newsletters, that "Hillary is bad", just as surely as the sky is blue.

It's because of her performance in the senate that I tried to keep an open mind for her. She seemed serious and ready to work. Truth be told, if she had not been complicit in Bush's war in Iraq, I may well have voted for her. This issue was also the reason I was not inclined to vote for John Edwards. This issue was one of the greatest difficulties I had in 2004 trying to convince others to vote for John Kerry.

To support Senator Obama is not sexist. Many people, men and women, have legitimate reservations about Senator Cilinton. Senator Obama is running a monumental grass-roots campaign with integrity and thoughtfulness, truly funded by the people like no other before, which has captured the imagination and favor of truly the whole world. To suggest that the driving force in this movement is sexism, well, frankly it can be a little insulting. I hear it a lot honestly, and trust me, it doesn't help your case. At the least, its offputting for anyone to have their capabilities of reason demeaned by those expressing opposing views.

You are correct in pointing out the offense of above comments, but to then accuse the entire campaign of holding some grudge against womem, well, its just not accurate. You do a disservice to the persuasiveness of your arguments by suggesting so.

well by living in the USA now not even close to one year It does not surprise me that Clinton does not know his name cause 99.9% of the Americans don’t know anything about anyone outside this country and sadly don’t seem to have a problem with it when ever I ask someone anything I cat Americas favorite answer "who cares" well I do and if they had a brain they would care but most of the teenagers and adults that I asked to fill out the questions on becoming US citizen was not surprisingly actually pretty sad that out of 28 people who I did as to do it for the fun of it only one American of the 28 would have gotten citizenship. funny no I think pretty sad
but "who cares" right ?
Is it not funny to know that all the people that did take that test to become citizen know more about this country than 80% of born Americans needless to say that some high school graduates didn’t pass the writing test now that…. is funny

If you would study plans of terrorist organization Weather underground you would better understand why Obama gave his daughter Russian name. He gave her Russian name because his friends hate America and want to destroy it. Destroy freedom and free enterprise and killing 25 million of American in re-educational camps.
If you do not believe watch videos on:


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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