Director Harry Thomason on the ‘New Landscape’ for Hillary Clinton

Harry Thomason predicts that Hillary Clinton will narrow the gap with Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary vote, but he also reflects on a changed dynamics as she wages her presidential bid.

“It is such a new landscape this political cycle that I don’t know,” Thomason tells Variety’s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “I hope [by this summer] we are talking about her competency and how she can do the job.”

Thomason and his wife Linda Bloodworth-Thomason have known Bill and Hillary Clinton since their Arkansas days, and were responsible for key production moments like the 1992 convention film, “The Man from Hope.” Thomason also produced and directed the 2004 documentary “The Hunting of the President,” about the far right campaign to discredit Bill Clinton. He is raising funds for an updated film.

“It’s odd. For years starting in the 1960s people were saying, ‘Well, we need a woman president. This is not right.’ All women then were pushing for a woman president, and that all has sort of gone away,” he says. “I don’t know if there should be a woman president just for the sake of there being a woman president, but it is interesting that people don’t even discuss that now. It is just ‘Hillary is one of the guys running for president,’ which is both good and bad. But she does carry a lot of the burden that male candidates don’t carry. There is no doubt about it.”

Thomason calls Sanders “a good man. His programs sound very good, and if you are young and idealistic and haven’t been beaten up in the world, then I could see how you would say, ‘Yes, let’s go with Bernie. He is going to make everything right, and we are going to sing folk songs.’ And unfortunately, from my point of view, that is great and I hope that we can get there. But right now you have got a group of people who don’t want you to get there, and you have got to take them on, and punch that road as far toward Bernie Sanders’ programs as you can. And I think she will be better for that.”

Listen below:

Tom Wheeler Takes on the Set-Top Box

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler talks about his proposal to “open up” the set-top box, the device that most subscribers to cable and satellite services are forced to rent from their providers. His proposal has run into opposition from those industries, but Wheeler says that it’s an area where competition is badly needed. It also may change the way Americans watch television.

Staying in Des Moines

The Iowa caucuses are history, but producer Brent Roske is staying there. He moved to Des Moines last year to host a weekly public affairs program, “Roske on Politics,” and produced an update to his web series, “Chasing the Hill.” It is called “Courting Des Moines.”

Roske talks about his decision to stay in Des Moines permanently.

Hillary vs. Bernie

Anthony York of data analytics firm Zignal Labs talks about Sanders’ ability to draw social media attention, and perhaps help his unexpected rise in the polls against Clinton.

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

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