Tags: Hillary's | Book | Backfires

Hillary's Book Backfires

Monday, 09 June 2003 12:00 AM

Despite the media frenzy helping to put Hillary’s new book, “Living History,” onto the best-seller lists, her PR efforts have backfired on her political ambitions.

The intent of Hillary’s “Living History” was to rewrite history and create a fairy tale version of her life with Bill Clinton – a story that would mask her and her husband’s greedy climb to power.

The purpose of this rewrite of history was also clear: to recreate Hillary as her own “lady” – a viable presidential candidate of her own.

But the publicity so far for “Living History” indicates that she and her handlers may have badly misjudged public opinion.

For one thing, the book has reminded Americans that she was, and remains, in the shadow of her husband, an impeached former president.

Bill Clinton’s coattails did not work well for Al Gore, who should have glided into the White House in 2000.

Gore lost, and press reports say that Gore and his wife, Tipper, blamed Clinton and his scandal-riddled administration for the loss.

Watching Barbara Walters, one might believe that the Clinton “scandals” were all about sex. During my years covering the Clinton White House, I never reported on Clinton’s bedroom politics.

But the litany of real Clinton scandals are almost endless: Travelgate, Vince Foster’s death and office cover-up, Waco, Whitewater, Madison Guaranty, Chinagate, Lippogate, illegal fund raising, Cattlefutures-gate, Ron Brown’s death, pardongate and on and on.

Even the so-called “sex scandal” was really no such thing: The scandal was about a sexual harassment lawsuit and the Clintons' efforts to obstruct justice in that case.

As it turned out, it was a minor scandal, but one a very timid and inept prosecutor named Ken Starr latched onto.

While Hillary and her husband were never indicted, it is outrageous for her to claim, and for reporters like Barbara Walters to meekly accept, that the investigations “never found anything.”

As it turned out, dozens of the Clintons' aides and associates had to resign, were indicted, went to jail or were referred for criminal indictment.

Hillary would like to whitewash this chapter in her and her husband’s history.

But her new book does serve to imbed in the public’s mind that Hillary Clinton, both as first lady and now as senator, was upstaged by a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky.

This book gave Hillary a tremendous opportunity. It was time for her to have the public forget about Monica and focus on her own achievements.

Instead, Hillary put Monica back into the headlines, with all of Bill’s women problems.

For sure, Hillary is smarter and more disciplined than her husband. It was clear to me, during my years covering the Clintons, that she actually ran the White House. Bill Clinton was too busy with other matters, as the Monica transcripts so well demonstrated.

The spin from this book should have been a repositioning of Hillary. It should have revealed her as the gray power behind her husband – and by doing so, subtly suggesting to the American people that she, too, could be president of the United States.

But Hillary bungled this one.

Even her critics must admit that Hillary has shown remarkable political skills. She helped her husband become governor of Arkansas and stay in office. She helped him win the presidency in 1992 and salvaged his presidency during his first term.

She herself then ran for Senate in a state she had no connection with – and won in a landslide, beating a well-financed Republican. Hillary even won in many Republican districts.

Make no mistake about it: Hillary is a force to be reckoned with, but her book may have just laid the groundwork for her undoing.

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Despite the media frenzy helping to put Hillary's new book, "Living History," onto the best-seller lists, her PR efforts have backfired on her political ambitions. The intent of Hillary's "Living History" was to rewrite history and create a fairy tale version of her life...
Monday, 09 June 2003 12:00 AM
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