“Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling,”
The title quote is of course from David Geffen, and it launched the first big dust-up of the 2008 campaign. Rudy Giuliani told me that he thought the collision was accidental. Others see a careful plan –but disagree which side had it laid out. Lost in all the analysis has been a focus on what Geffen asserted about both Clintons: Are the Clintons particularly inclined to lie? I asked Juan Williams and Charles Krauthammer on yesterday’s show about the substance of Geffen’s attack:
HH: Let me follow up with both of you about the substance of the Geffen assertion. Juan Williams, do you think the Clintons are unusually good liars?
JW: (laughing) Well, I must say, there’s substance there. There’s no question that if you look at some of these things, everything from you know, some of the scandals they were involved in even before Monica Lewinsky, you’d have to wonder about is, is, as the former president’s famous for having said.
HH: So Geffen was not out of line to make the comment that he did?
JW: Well, I think, you know, gosh, it was a gutter comment. Is it out of line? Lots of people do lots of things. I mean, this was meant to harm. This was a personal and vindictive comment by a guy who says that for all the money he gave to Bill Clinton, apparently was disappointed that when he wanted somebody pardoned, his guy didn’t get pardoned. Instead, Marc Rich got pardoned, and he thinks that that was a reprehensible act, and he was lied to. So this is a personal thing between Geffen and the Clintons.
HH: But one more time. Was it true?
JW: Was it…I don’t know if…I don’t know if President Clinton had promised him…
HH: Oh, no, not that, that they’re unusually good liars. Do you believe that’s a true statement?
JW: I don’t know. I mean, gosh, how do you judge such a thing? What I said to you was I do believe there are times when the Clintons have lied.
HH: Charles, do you think it was a true statement?
CK: Well, I’m reminded of what the great retired political columnist, William Saffire wrote in the late 90’s. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but he called Hillary, I think I have this right, a congenital liar, and then he got a whole bunch of columns out of it, and explaining what he meant by congenital. And you know, this is not a new story. I never slept with that woman, that’s him, and then there was the Rose documents that showed up miraculously in the White House, their performance on Flowers in 1992 when the story came out on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. These people are pretty good at, let’s say, dissimulating, all right? That’s a cleaner, a nicer word.
HH: But I think the real story here…
CK: And that they’ve got a history of this.
HH: The real story here is not the kafuffle between Obama and Hillary, it’s that no one stepped up to say that Geffen was wrong, Juan Williams. No one came out to defend the Clintons.
CK: Well, yeah.
JW: Well, but wait a second. The Clintons came out.
HH: Well, that’s…
JW: They came out and said they wanted Obama to apologize. They didn’t ask for Geffen’s apology. They tried to use it against Obama, which is, I think, forward looking. Yeah, that’s the danger. But you’re right. I mean, how’s anybody going to defend, I think Charles laid it out for you in terms of not only Monica, but some of these other scandals they’ve been involved in. Dissembled? You know, they have a way of trying to skirt around issues, define it in a way that benefits them. Is that politics? Maybe it’s politics. Maybe that’s the way the game is played. But I think people called him Slick Willy for a reason.
CK: I’ll tell you, he’s unusually good liar. She is not that good a liar.
HH: She’s not that good of a liar (laughing).
CK: And that’s the big difference. And that’s her liability.
HH: She tries with more practice.
CK: He’s a great liar. He’s the best that we’ve had in fifty years.