Washington Post television columnist Lisa de Moraes reports that Dan Rather’s efforts to play Monica Lewinsky to Bill “My Life” Clinton on CBS’s “60 Minutes” this past Sunday drew some 15.4 million viewers.
That number sounds good (and it’s 2 million more than Hillary got for her own book-promo interview for ABC last year)–except that, as Moraes reports, it’s well behind the 22 million who tuned in for the final game of the NBA Finals last Tuesday. And as Moraes notes, basketball and Bill are running neck and neck on “60 Minutes.” She writes:
“Upon asking a CBS News rep when a ’60 Minutes’ broadcast had last averaged 15.4 million viewers, we were told simply, ‘That is not the way to cover this story.’
“That’s network-speak for ‘not so long ago.’
“And, in fact, you need only go back to March 28, when ’60 Minutes’ had a March Madness college basketball lead-in.”
In honor of Bill’s book, however (release date today!), I’m linking to this choice assessment by Mark Steyn for the U.K. Telegraph:
“Mr Clinton also expands on the details of his belated confession to Hillary. In Mrs Clinton’s version (from last year’s unreadable doorstopper autobiography), she says she could ‘hardly breathe’ and was ‘gulping for air’, which sounds more like Monica’s problem. Now Bill tells us that she made him sleep on the couch. I assumed he was speaking metaphorically, but apparently not: he claims he was banished to an actual couch in a living room next to their bedroom, for two months.
“Is that really true? In that summer of 1998, when he was lobbing cruise missiles at abandoned Osama training camps in Afghanistan, the President was doing so on the basis of a couple of hours’ tossing on the couch? If you say so.”
Steyn also tells the John Kerry campaign people not to worry about Bill’s grandstanding ways, which they complain “suck all the oxygen” out of the corpse-faced senator’s run for the presidency. Writes Steyn:
“Last week, at the launch of The Hunting of the President, the new documentary about the heroically-embattled Bill, he strolled out on stage after the movie and talked for so long that Gene Lyons, one of the co-authors of the book on which it was based, announced that the panel discussion with the film creators would have to be cancelled. In The ‘I’m The President!’ Show Starring Bill Clinton, there’s only one speaking part, and everyone else is bit players and extras.
“This would be bad news for Kerry, except that he’s such a terrible candidate people like him more the less they see of him. He took a week off as a mark of respect for the late President Reagan and his numbers inched up. If he had taken another week off as a mark of respect for the late Ray Charles, he could have opened up a clear lead. If he took the summer off as a mark of respect for the late Sir Peter Ustinov and the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, he would be heading for a landslide. So Clinton sucking up Kerry’s oxygen is the best news there is for the Senator.”