Call them the shoe truthers.
Some conservative media figures are openly wondering if Hillary Clinton staged an incident during a speech in Las Vegas on Thursday in which a woman in the audience threw a shoe at her. The shoe appeared to miss the rumored 2016 presidential hopeful, who ducked and made light of it, while the reported thrower, Alison Michelle Ernst, was booked by the authorities.
A blog post published Monday at the website of Fox News commentator Bernard Goldberg speculated that Clinton probably “calculated it beforehand,” as is “almost always true” with things that happen to her.
“So it would not be stretching logic to suppose that Hillary arranged to have the shoe thrown at her,” wrote Arthur Louis at Goldberg’s site. “Remembering the Bush incident [when an Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at President George W. Bush], she may have calculated that this would make her seem presidential. This would explain why Ms. Ernst was not pounded to a pulp by Hillary’s bodyguards, and why she seems on the verge of getting off scot free. Don’t be too surprised, the next time you visit Phoenix, if you see her sitting at a table in a downtown Hillary for President store front, stuffing and sealing envelopes.”
On Monday, Rush Limbaugh entertained the same idea, telling radio listeners he “can totally relate” to those who believe that “everything the Clintons do is staged or choreographed.” Asked about it by a listener, he emphasized that he hadn’t studied the incident and isn’t too concerned about it, but said people have told him Clinton’s reaction “wasn’t natural.”
“I’m sorry, I’m ill-equipped to comment,” Limbaugh said, adding: “Maybe it’s because, in my subconscious, I think it was staged, or set up, or whatever. … I don’t know why anybody would be throwing a shoe at Hillary unless — maybe it’s an attempt to make the Benghazi people look like nuts and lunatics and wackos.” (Listen to his remarks below, via the liberal watchdog Media Matters.)
Other conservatives steered clear of trutherism but slammed the “liberal media” for obscuring George W. Bush’s superiority in the art of shoe-dodging.
“What one clearly sees in this video is that Hillary Clinton makes no effort whatsoever to actually ‘dodge’ the shoe,” wrote Sonny Bunch at the Washington Free Beacon. “Rather, she flinches after it has gone whizzing by her head. A far more accurate headline would’ve been ‘Hillary Clinton Luckily Unharmed by Her Slow Reflexes.’ Typical liberal media, covering up the truth for their favored candidates. … Whereas Hillary reacts well after the danger has passed, George W. Bush preemptively sees danger coming and positions himself to avoid it.”
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg favorably cited Bunch’s piece and found a way to make his point with a Benghazi reference.
“I don’t expect reporters to say ‘Hillary Clinton instinctively cowered from shoe like it was the unavoidable truth about Benghazi.’ But, as the guy who was hit by a Ford pickup truck told the police, that was no Dodge,” he wrote.
CNN clipped the video of the Clinton shoe-throwing incident.
[h/t National Journal’s Alex Seitz-Wald]