The conservative media reaction to Hillary Clinton's belated apology over the email "scandal" has been a predictable mix of mockery and "It's about time!" Once in a while, though, these folks can surprise you, as Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade did Wednesday morning.
In case you missed it, Hillary Clinton made good on the media's demand that she strong together the magic words "I'm sorry" with the words "I made a mistake" when she sat down with ABC News' David Muir Tuesday night:
"...I do think I could have and should have done a better job answering questions earlier. As I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts, one for personal, one for work-related e-mails. That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility. And I'm trying to be as transparent as I possibly can. I am looking forward, finally to testifying before Congress, something I've been asking for for nearly a year.
So as you sit here, millions watching tonight, did you make a mistake?
"I did, I did. As I said, it was allowed. And there was no hiding it. It was totally above board. Everybody in the government, I communicated with, and that was a lot of people, knew I was using a personal e-mail. But I'm sorry that it has you know, raised all of these questions. I do take responsibility for having made what is clearly not the best decision."
The apology, despite being no different in substance from what Hillary told Andrea Mitchell on Friday, seems to have done the trick with the mainstream media, which sees this as a turning of the page on the email issue. But even on Fox News, there's a little bit of love being shown to Hillary this morning, at least from co-host Brian Kilmeade.
While his fellow Fox friends were slamming the belatedness and political calculation of the apology, Brian Kilmeade actually made a couple of really sharp points in Hillary's defense, and at least one of them was intentional:
"In a situation and an era where every day we wake up and find out something else that we had was hacked by another government looking to do us harm, whether it's that or a major movie company, we find out our secretary of state was willy-nilly emailing back and forth with the most important people in our country."
"And she's also saying to the President, and saying to David Muir to the President, 'I used email back and forth to everybody, and if they had a problem with it, why didn't they tell me now?' And how interesting was it yesterday that David Axelrod comes out and mocked the fact that she came out with this story in the New York Times saying how she's going to redo her image and show more of a human side, and really he's already come down on her for the fact that he (sic) used private email, yet she is subtly going back at him and others saying 'I was emailing with you, you never said a word about it. If you had a problem with it, you could've stopped it in its tracks.'"
The first point Kilmeade makes, albeit probably unintentionally, is that while government servers like the one everyone thinks Hillary should have used have been hacked repeatedly, there has been absolutely no evidence produced that Hillary Clinton's email server was ever breached. Sounds like Hillary's "mistake" was more of a happy accident.
But he also intentionally pointed out that this email story is something of a sandbagging effort, in that everyone Hillary ever emailed while at State had to, by definition, have known she wasn't using a dot gov email. In particular, he's referring to David Axelrod, who told the Morning Joe crew in June that he'd have been very concerned had he but known the email address that he was typing in every time he emailed Hillary:
Despite all the fretting about email guidance and policies, what this amounts to is petulant complaining about Hillary Clinton thinking she's different from everybody else, but you know what? Hillary Clinton is different from everybody else. When one in fifty of your political opposition thinks of the word "murder" when they hear your name, when you've been the subject of witch hunt after witch hunt for decades, you guard your privacy a little more, and when you're the head of an agency, you tailor your approach to compliance with that in mind. I mean, who did Hillary think he was, the Queen of the State Department?