The footage made the rounds on CBS, CNN and elsewhere. The New York Post had some fun with the former president's snoozefest. And the whole episode was mildly embarrassing — for him. No one blamed the pastor for being too dull to hold Clinton's attention.
Yet video of a droopy-eyed Bill Clinton during Hillary Clinton's Democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech Thursday night has conservatives in the media piling on the speaker, not the apparent dozer. (I say apparent because this clip isn't quite as conclusive as the one from that MLK Day service, especially since Bill Clinton had a monitor in front of him, to which he kept looking down.)
Here's a sample of coverage:
It was really long. It dragged on and on. Bill Clinton fell asleep during Hillary’s DNC convention speech. (Gateway Pundit)Looks like the audience at home weren't the only ones lulled into a deep sleep by Hillary's lackluster speech. (Truthfeed)Bill agrees it was a boring speech. (RedStateWatcher)Don't worry, Bill. Many of us felt the same way and also had trouble staying awake. (Townhall)
By Friday afternoon, the Trump campaign was out with an Instagram video.
There are a couple of big reasons why the narrative that Hillary Clinton put Bill to sleep is so irresistible. As I wrote before her address to the Democratic National Convention, she is not regarded as a great orator. The idea that she is so boring that her own husband can't stay awake while listening to her talk reinforces existing beliefs about one of her perceived weaknesses. That's the most obvious reason for conservatives to love this story.
The other, more subtle reason is that Bill Clinton's alleged inattention can be seen as voiding all the great things he said about his wife on Tuesday. If she's really as amazing as he said, she ought to be able to keep him alert, right? But if Bill was just playing a part — perhaps trying to make up for putting her through so much over the years — then it is no surprise that he would fade out.
It's worth noting that the former president also appeared to fall asleep — or at least rest his eyelids — during Ronald Reagan's funeral in 2004.
While in office, he told CBS that "if I can take a nap, even 15 or 20 minutes in the middle of the day, it is really invigorating to me. On the days when I'm a little short of sleep, I try to work it out so that I can sneak off and just lie down for 15 minutes, a half an hour, and it really makes all the difference in the world."
The guy likes to nap. And he has a history of catching a few winks at inappropriate times. That's not really a reflection on Hillary Clinton, but the right side of the press is eager to put Thursday's shut-eye on her.