HH: Joined now by CNN’s Jake Tapper, who was out at the house of Richard Nixon yesterday on Veterans Day doing a special speech about The Outpost. Jake, what time did you go back to Washington, D.C. today? Or did you broadcast from L.A?
JT: It was, no, it was a pretty brutal schedule. I did the Reagan Library in the morning, I did the Nixon Library in the evening, I got on a redeye, I landed in New York City this morning, I interviewed Governor Palin, and then I got on a train for D.C. and then did the show from D.C. at 4:00.
HH: That is pretty remarkable. Sarah Palin was the big interview today. I want to play a couple of cuts, get you to comment on it. You went to talk to her about Chris Christie. Here is what Sarah Palin had to say to Jake Tapper earlier today. Cut number five:
JT: Governor Christies hears about his appearance.
SP: That’s because it’s been extreme, okay? So it’s hard to, it’s hard for some people not to comment on it. Speaking of Hillary Clinton, though, I’ll never forget Bill Clinton saying about Barack Obama and his stories, his agenda, that it was the biggest fairy tale he’d ever seen. And he was right, because Barack Obama was not qualified, he was not prepared, and that, the manifestation of that today is the problem that we see left and right in our economy.
HH: So Jake Tapper, she deflected off of that after acknowledging it. Were you satisfied with her answer?
JT: Yeah, I mean, the question, the original question was about the sexism that both she and Hillary Clinton experienced in media coverage in 2008, and what should any woman preparing to run for president in 2016 be prepared for. And she talked a lot about sexist coverage, including like how a woman looks, and how a woman dresses. And she said something along the lines of a man’s appearance is never talked about that much. And that’s when I said well, Governor Christie’s appearance gets covered a lot. And that’s when she said the comment about it being extreme.
HH: His size is extreme.
JT: She basically brought it back…
HH: That’s going to generate some headlines.
JT: …brought it back to Hillary.
HH: So when you interviewed Governor Christie last week, I was watching on Election Day. How long was the roll around in the bus that you were on?
JT: The interview was about 20 or 25 minutes, and the time on the bus was, I don’t know, about maybe like 40 minutes. And then we had this time, and then he went into a diner to talk a little bit there, and he pressed the flesh. He really, he’s one of these guys like Bill Clinton who loves shaking hands and meeting people and talking to people.
HH: Yeah, what I was reminded of was the Straight Talk Express from 2000 with John McCain. He never got that magic back in ’08, but do you think it’s the same kind of energy that he’ll bring to 2016?
JT: I don’t know. It was certainly the most time I’ve had to ask a candidate anything on the record that I’ve ever had since 2000, since the Straight Talk Express. I mean, that was A) you know, kind of lightning in the bottle, and B) ultimately not successful for McCain. So I’m sure Governor Christie hopes the comparisons aren’t too close. But he is the kind of guy who answers the questions. He’s not somebody that you have to do a ton of follow up on, because he does, he tends to answer the initial question. And I can see why conservatives might confuse reporters who like access and candor, and confuse that with liberal media sensing a kindred spirit. But I think it’s more the access and the candor.
HH: Oh, I don’t think that at all with Christie. I think that he has one ideological issue, which is he signed the legislation about therapy for young people confused about their gender, and a lot of people on the Evangelical side think that might be a threat to religious liberty. And it was no coincidence that Marco Rubio showed up at the Supreme Court last week. Town of Greece was being argued. And I think that’s how that divide is going to play out. But I love the candor. In fact, the last time I talked to him, and the only time I talked to him in 2012, he was in Lordstown, Ohio, talking to UAW workers. And that’s not really where you normally find Republicans, in Lordstown. They just don’t go there very often.
JT: Well, and that’s, I mean, I do think, just as, if I can put on my analyst hat for a second, however poorly people might think that he’ll play in Iowa, I do think that he has a Reagan Democrat, a potential to reach Reagan Democrats. And when you look at the exit poll, and look, I know New Jersey is not Alabama. But when you look at the exit polls, it’s just remarkable how successful he was in winning over traditionally Democratic groups, whether it’s women or Latinos or people at all education levels, and almost every income level.
HH: Now I want to switch over back to Hillary, which you were talking about with former Governor Palin today. The former Secretary of State was the first out of the box on what became Obamacare. She is, in fact, Obamacare’s grandmother, is what I like to tell people about her. Does she have to distance herself from Obamacare at this point, Jake Tapper?
JT: I don’t know, it’s interesting, we had Joel Pollack from Breitbart News on our panel today, and he thought that Bill Clinton, what Bill Clinton said today in that interview in which Bill Clinton extolled the virtues of Obamacare, but then also made this comment that got a lot of press, and he must have known it would, saying that he thought that the bill would need to be, the law would need to be tweaked so that the commitment that the President made, that if you like your health care you can keep your health care, would have to be kept. And Joel Pollack thought that that was, that was a way for Hillary to be distancing herself from Obamacare. Her husband out there presenting himself and the Clinton brand as pragmatic and opposed to some of the unpopular parts of the bill.
HH: But Jake Tapper, does that work? If we remember correctly, Ira Magaziner and Hillary cooked up an even more complicated, even less market-oriented disaster of an Obamacare bill back when it was Hillarycare. Can she possible distance herself from this fiasco?
JT: Well, first of all, I’m sure she would distance herself from your description of if then. But I mean, it’s an interesting question. You go back and look at the ’93-’94 debate, the Clinton bill was an employer mandate. And the Republicans, not all of them, but Bob Dole and the mainstream establishment Republicans were pushing the individual mandate. Now Obama has embraced the individual mandate after, and you might remember this during the Democratic primaries, Hillary was supporting it and Obama was against it. But now Obama has the individual mandate. I don’t know. And again, this is just Joel’s theory. I mean, Hillary Clinton hasn’t said anything about Obamacare. And if I were her, I probably wouldn’t until the bill has had more time to play out and have the kinks worked out. And obviously, the coverage that it’s been experiencing since October 1st is not going to be the coverage that it has in perpetuity.
HH: So Jake, I’ve got 40 seconds left. When she finally comes out and answers questions, the first questions are about Benghazi, and the second questions are about Obamacare/Hillarcare. What’s the third question? Is there a third question? Or does it all depend upon Benghazi and Obamacare?
JT: I think her tenure at the State Department. And I think NSA wiretapping. I think she will now be tagged with the legacies, positive and negative, of not just her husband’s administration, but Obama’s administration. And she’s going to have to reconcile herself to distancing herself and embracing parts of both and carving a new path. And that’s not going to be easy to do.
HH: No, it’s not. Jake Tapper, congratulations on the publication of the paperback edition of The Outpost. I’m glad you got out to California, finally. Have a great recovery from the back and forth. No one likes to do that.
End of interview.