The Rachel Maddow Show | January 04, 2013
>>> pop quiz . all right. the date is august 29th , 1996 . what is going on in american politics on that date? okay. it's 1996 , so it's an even numbered year. that means it's an election year, and '96 was a presidential election year. those were the clinton years. so right, bill clinton was president. 1996 he was running for reelection. and in late august, that would mean we're getting close to labor day , which means it's getting to be time for the conventions. august 29th , 1996 . here was on that date the white house press briefing. peter knight , the national campaign manage over the clinton /gore campaign, and leon panetta , who was white house chief of staff at the time. now he is secretary of defense. but then he was bill clinton 's white house chief of staff . and on this date, on august 29th , 1996 in american politics , leon panetta was white house chief of staff . and that night his boss, bill clinton , was due to give his big speech, his speech at the democratic convention , accepting his party's nomination to be reelected president of the united states . huge day for the clinton white house , right? and on that date at the white house press briefing, seven of the first ten questions that leon panetta and company got asked by the press were not about president clinton and his big night . the press was totally distracted from that that day. the country was totally distracted from that. what was it that rained on the clinton campaign's big parade? this day, the day he should have been triumphantly starting his march to reelection, what was it? it wasn't a war breaking out, an international incident . it wasn't anything the republicans had done to derail the attention from president clinton on the most important day of his reelection campaign. what was it? it was something else that just submarined that whole moment in presidential politics , that whole crucial day in that campaign. what was it? that's next, because it turns out it is still around now.