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David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor who was suspended for saying the Clintons had “pimped out” Chelsea by asking her to campaign for her mother, initially tried to excuse his crude comment.

Perhaps adding to his arrogance — or proving his stupidity — Shuster defended himself in writing, in emails he sent to the Clinton campaign. Only later, after MSNBC forced his hand, did Shuster apologize to the Clintons.

Here’s the exchange with the Clinton campaign —

Original Message—–
From: Philippe Reines
To: David Shuster
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 7:14 p.m.

David – how hard is it for someone, anyone, in the vast MS/NBC universe to contact any one of us at the campaign for comment about Chelsea before going on air and saying that she is being “pimped out” ? It’s absurdly offensive. And what the hell does that even mean?

I just don’t get MSNBC – does GE not allow you to make toll calls? What’s the problem.

Philippe Reines
Press Secretary
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

—–Original Message—–
From: David Shuster
To: Philippe Reines
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 8:51 p.m.

Nice to hear from you, philippe.

It is a fact that chelsea has made calls to superdelegates, as your campaign colleagues have acknowledged. It is also a fact that the campaign has reacted quite harshly to any media who have sought to interview chelsea. That was the point. By slamming any reporter who seeks to chat with chelsea while simultaneously having chelsea do campaign tasks such as trying to convince super delegates to support her mom, that’s the reference.

Chelsea is polite and does a fine job of saying “I don’t want to talk.”. But for campaign staff to then jump down the throat of a reporter who seeks to talk to chelsea…that’s an issue.

————————–
Sent using BlackBerry

—–Original Message—–
From: Philippe Reines
To: David Shuster
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 9:00 p.m.

Since you guys asked for the transcript – here specifically is what David said on air:

SHUSTER: “But doesn’t it seem like she’s being–but doesn’t it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?”

I have a hunch that such offensive and unacceptable language was never used on MSNBC’s air about Karenna Gore, the Bush twins, Venessa & Alex Kerry, Kate Edwards, the Romney sons – or any other adult offspring who chose to campaign on behalf of a parent.

—–Original Message—–
From: Philippe Reines
To: David Shuster
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 9:16: p.m.

David – I want to make sure I’m crystal clear here – you’re saying that because she doesn’t grant interviews and makes calls on behalf of her mother, you are right to say that she is being pimped out?

I don’t need to read a the whole transcript for context, you were way out of line. Nobody’s jumping down your throat about asking for an interview or talking about calls she made. And you know it.

There is simply no excuse for being so offensive.

By actually rationalizing your behavior rather than accepting responsibility and apologizing, you become the poster child for everything wrong with tv journalism, and it’s a shame your NBC colleagues have to be associated with this (expletive).

—–Original Message—–
From: David Shuster
To: Philippe Reines
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 9:29 p.m.

No. That’s not what I’m saying. And if you bothered to look at the transcript and saw all of the glowing things I said about chelsea and the way she was raised, you would know that.

The issue is not her making calls. As + said on the air, I have no problems with that what so ever. The issue is not her refusing interviews. The issue is that the campaign has come down hard on reporters who merely sought to ask chelsea questions. You can’t have it both ways. Reporters have long respected the clintons desire that we avoid chelsea and let her have her space. But to get angry at reporters seeking to talk to her now is patently unfair. And you know that.

————————–
Sent using BlackBerry

—–Original Message—–
From: Philippe Reines
To: David Shuster
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 9:49 p.m.

I think we’ve each said what we have to say on this matter. Based on this email exchange, we’re assuming two things:

1) You are not disputing that you said on air: “But doesn’t it seem like she’s being–but doesn’t it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?”

2) You have no intention of apologizing for the above.

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