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Both Sides Now w/ Huffington & Matalin -- Policy After OBL? Gingrich a "Jerk"? Carville Attractive?

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By Mark Green

Frenemies Mary Matalin and Hilary Rosen (sitting in for Arianna) couldn't be more palsy as they disagree on about everything other than that it's fine that bin Laden is dead and Secretary Clinton is doing great. There's no beyond-left-and-right on the policy impact after OBL, on Gingrich's political rep and Gibson's movie rep. Then we talk about prominent political couples -- the Gores, Arnold-Maria, Mary-James.

Also, Mary Matalin clears up any possible confusion -- her imprint, Threshold Editions, is publishing Dick Cheney's memoir, not -- repeat not -- the bin Laden diaries.

*On Policy after OBL. There's no disagreement about the president's successful raid but plenty on the policy implications. Hilary thinks his death should expedite our timetable of leaving Afghanistan since the costs now greatly exceed any benefits, though Mary believes that killing should have no impact on Petraeus's military assessment of July. Is Cheney or Obama right on water-boarding and torture? Mary ardently argues that the evidence proves that "enhanced interrogation" worked to lead to the death of OBL. Hilary as robustly counters that "the short answer is that Obama got bin Laden with information developed since the end of that program in 2006."

As for Chris Wallace's assertion that if shooting bin Laden in the end was justified, why not the lesser punishment of water-boarding? Mary says both are ok since we water-board "our own troops" (in training); Hilary counters that that comparison is a red herring because of the difference between hurting someone who's restrained in captivity and killing someone in the theater of war.

We listen to Jon Stewart weigh in on credit to 43: "the Bushies are the Winklevoss twins of terrorism. If they killed bin Laden, they would have killed bin Laden."

*On Hillary Clinton's Performance. Forget get the Lincoln analogies -- this "team of rivals" is really an effective team. So how did HRC go from being threatened with indictment by Senator D'Amato in the '90s to today's love-fest? Ms. Matalin thinks that her problem previously were those who didn't like an unelected person, the First Lady, having so much public power, while today's Hillary is the total package -- she's good at hard diplomacy, soft diplomacy, leadership. Vice President Cheney, for example, loved working with her because she "had great integrity and did her homework." Ms. Rosen agrees, adding that an extra dimension of her performance is that "she's an emissary not only to her counter-parts but also to heads of state because she understands the politics" of what's going on.

*On Newt's Presidential Candidacy. The host bluntly wonders how it's possible for Gingrich to overcome his unpopular government shutdown, impeachment drive, serial adultry and ethics violations that forced his resignation? Mary notes that such liabilities have less relevance given current issues and "everyone has baggage." Hilary observes, in effect, that there's baggage and then there's baggage and that his quick intelligence cannot hurdle his impulse to act like, well, a "jerk."

We listen to a montage of several of his intemperate, divisive comments -- his Nazi Tourette's Syndrome and bird whistles on race ("Kenyan, anti-colonial" Obama). In a country that likes their presidents to seem to be good guys personally -- Reagan, Bush, Bush, Clinton, Obama -- are such comments disqualifying? Mary wonders when the host will string together quotes making Obama look foolish. "Are you saying that Obama is as nasty and divisive as Gingrich?" "Yes" she answers, referring to his comment about people clinging to their guns and religion.

*Quick Takes: Mel Gibson, Cell Phones, The Pill and Marriage Breakups of the Powerful. The women discuss whether a) reviewers should only write about Mel Gibson's acting skills in his new movie The Beaver or whether his consistent anti-semitism should color views, b) it's effective or big-brotherism for cell phones to be integrated into our emergency alert system, c) women on the Pill are choosing less attractive men because their sense of smell is altered and d) "why it seems that long-standing public marriages -- Al & Tipper, Arnold & Maria -- are falling apart? Answers include: "as a lesbian, that's a tough one" and "I still find James attractive."(To learn more, listen to the full show by clicking below.)

Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now, which is powered by the American Federation of Teachers.

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