Tears and timbre not enough to impress Hitchens

We recently caught up with Christopher Hitchens quite accidentally on K Street, where he was being interviewed on the sidewalk by al Jazeera TV. The Vanity Fair magazine contributor and British-American author who penned “God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” made the time to grace us with his wit on the topic of — what else? — the presidential races and, more specifically, his intense dislike for the Clintons. On that day, he wore a lavender button-down shirt with no tie, a striped blazer and black corduroy pants. The interview transpired a day after the New Hampshire primary, so Hitchens was in something of a foul mood.

How are you feeling about last night’s primary?
Very bitter.

Really?
Mostly disappointed. I knew it wasn’t time, that the Clintons weren’t finished. I could almost taste it that we’d never have to think again of that couple. It seems that you’d need a silver bullet barreling through the heart [to stop them].

Hillary’s tears — do you think they were manufactured?
There’s a catch in the voice and the eyes started to glisten.

But were they real?
Yeah, it’s not very easy to fake that kind of thing. She was trying to choke it back. It’s maudlin, that kind of [act]. But it was real. You have to give her that.

So now are we going to see a more emotional Hillary?
That would be tragic. I’m sure the idea is being floated by some of her people.

Do you think looks matter?
Sure. It was Rush Limbaugh who said it: “Imagine this woman [Hillary] growing older.”

But older women have been in politics for quite a while.
I used to think [Margaret] Thatcher was attractive. I thought she had a strong sexual aura when she was a bit younger.

Are you serious?
I was in the minority.

And men? Do they age so well?
It isn’t true that men age all that well. [Bill] Clinton looks much older than his years and Al Gore hasn’t aged all that well.

Yes, he has gained weight. So where does Sen. Clinton go from here?
The problem with her is that she does generate a huge anti-vote.

Who are you rooting for?
People should keep an eye on [former Sen. John] Edwards [D-N.C.]. I know him and his wife. I think he is a good person.

But can he win?
He’s the guy who made us suddenly realize that we don’t need to choose these two [Hillary and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)]. The [Democrats] have never gotten a bull’s roar near the White House without a Southerner. Electability is so boring.

What’s boring about it?
It assumes what it has to prove. Electability is a test of what? Of absolutely nothing at all.

What do you think of Obama?
Lightweight. Verbose, lightweight.

Do you think he’s a good speaker?
No. He doesn’t know when to stop. He has a nice voice. Complete unnecessary drool, but a nice timbre.

What else don’t you like about him?
He belongs to this flaky liberal church in Chicago.

What about Hillary’s cackle?
Everything about her irritates me. Everything about her makes me want to slap her face. Just sitting there, I can’t stand her.

What do you make of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R)?
It’s preposterous that a hick and huckster, a guy who attributes his existence here not to evolution and who thinks Adam and Eve were real people — and recently — [should be taken seriously].

Do you think Americans generally are not as intelligent?
I am one. [What I think is that] Americans, in fact, do not come from small towns. This is all a myth.

How do you follow the races? What network do you watch most?
I don’t watch television. If it wasn’t for DVDs, I wouldn’t have one.

Have you been going on TV often for the election coverage?
No. At times like this I don’t get asked. You have to be more of a regular guy that I hope I’m not. It’s David Gergen time. … You have to be a member of the punditocracy.

Then how do you get your news?
E-mails, newspapers mostly. For 9/11 I turned on the Weather Channel. Even that was covering it.

To recommend a political personality for 20 Questions, call Betsy Rothstein at (202)628-8516 or email at betsyr@thehill.com