From a Feb. 19 New York Times article:
Back when Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was first lady, no one better embodied what she once called the “vast right-wing conspiracy” than Richard Mellon Scaife.
Mr. Scaife, reclusive heir to the Mellon banking fortune, spent more than $2 million investigating and publicizing accusations about the supposed involvement of Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in corrupt land deals, sexual affairs, drug running and murder.
But now, as Mrs. Clinton is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Scaife’s checkbook is staying in his pocket.
Christopher Ruddy, who once worked full-time for Mr. Scaife investigating the Clintons and now runs a conservative online publication he co-owns with Mr. Scaife, said, “Both of us have had a rethinking.”
“Clinton wasn’t such a bad president,” Mr. Ruddy said. “In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick feels that way today.”
As for the conservative response to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, Mr. Ruddy said, “The level of intensity and anger toward Hillary is not getting to the level that it was toward Bill Clinton when he was president.” He added, “She has moderated and developed a separate image."
Just because Ruddy and Scaife have chilled out about the Clintons doesn't mean that NewsMax won't be critical of them, Hillary in particular, as the 2008 presidential race gears up:
- Dick Morris has two Feb. 19 columns bashing Hillary. Nowhere is it disclosed that he is actively working against Hillary's campaign, which conflicts with his political consultant/pundit work.
- NewsMax columnist John LeBoutillier runs an anti-Hillary PAC. A few weeks ago, he called her "a polarizing, divisive, hard-left screaming figure."
- In December, NewsMax columnist Charles R. Smith practically salivated at the prospect of engaging in some old-school Clinton-hating.
- Columnist Ronald Kessler repeated without challenge a false anecdote by Morris about Hillary and 9/11.
Ruddy may have softened his views on the Clintons, but doesn't mean that NewsMax will go similarly soft. There are too many Clinton-haters still writing for NewsMax.