During the second presidential debate on Sunday, Hillary Clinton was questioned about a 2013 speech she gave to a housing trade group in which she spoke of the need to take “both a public and a private position” on difficult political issues, according to unverified WikiLeaks transcripts. Moderator Martha Raddatz asked Clinton if it was acceptable “for politicians to be two-faced.”
Clinton’s response would be best characterized as the Steven Spielberg defense. Referring to the filmmaker’s Abraham Lincoln biopic, Clinton pointed to the president’s “master class” in getting Congress to approve the Thirteenth Amendment, suggesting she wasn’t doing anything the first Republican president hadn’t done. “It was principled and it was strategic,” she said. “President Lincoln was trying to convince some people, he used some arguments. Convincing other people, he used other arguments. That was, I thought, a great display of presidential leadership.”
This is true. But there are several reasons that defense doesn’t work for Clinton — probably the same reasons she rushed to change the subject, pivoting to attack WikiLeaks for aiding the Russians in trying to influence an American election.