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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Anonymous WND Attack on Clinton Conflicts With Fellow Clinton-Hater
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 13 WorldNetDaily article quotes an anonymous "long-time aide" to the Clintons as saying that "Bill and Hillary Clinton had a secret pact to first take turns as governor of Arkansas, then as U.S. president, but Bill at the last minute reneged on his end of the deal."

The blinking red light here is that the source is anonymous. That person is further described in the article as a "confidante, who has been with Clinton from the start" and a "well-placed source," but no explanation is offered as to why this person demanded -- and WND granted him/her -- anonymity.

This is a reminder that WND has no reservations about jettisoning what little journalistic integrity it has in order to advance its political agenda, a key component of which is a white-hot hatred of the Clintons. Remember what WND editor Joseph Farah himself has said about quotes from anonymous sources: that they're "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."

Nevertheless, WND has no reservation about resorting to anonymous sources when it deems necessary. For example, it used an anonymous source in 2002 to claim that the Clintons were mean to their pets.

The WND story continues:

In 1990, Bill Clinton was supposed to retire as governor of Arkansas and support his wife in that role, the long-time aide told WND in an exclusive interview. But he changed his mind about giving up the post and kept his decision from Hillary.

"Bill screwed Hillary over when he announced his plans to run for re-election in Arkansas," said the aide, who insisted on anonymity.

"He was supposed to step aside and let Hillary run for governor," he said.

"But he didn't tell Hillary about his change of plans, and she heard it when she was sitting behind him when he made the announcement."

This conflicts with the record of that time told by a different Clinton-hater, Dick Morris. From his 2004 attack book "Rewriting History":

As it came to seem less likely that Bill was going to run for governor [in 1990], another lost chapter in Hillary's life transpired: The first lady of Arkansas decide that she would try to become governor. ... With a giddy expectancy she began planning her own run for office.


They asked me to conduct a poll to assess her chances of winning, and I greed.

But the results that came back were devastating, and they would have a crucial impact on Hillary's political development: According to the poll numbers, she couldn't win. It wasn't that people didn't like her. In fact, she was quite popular. But voters just didn't feel she could be her own person as governor. They worried that she would just be a placeholder for Bill, a warm body to keep the governorship in the family -- who would step aside should her husband's presidential race fall short.

There was some precedent for the idea -- but it was the wrong kind of precedent. when Alabama's term limits law had made Governor George Wallace retire in 1966, he persuaded his wife, Lurleen, to run in his place. After she died in office (and her term was completed by the state's lieutenant governor), he came back for eight more years in office. Now, as we discussed hillary's potential candidacy, I made a big mistake: I referred to the Arkansas voters' reaction as "the Lurleen Wallace factor."


They [the Clintons] actually insisted that I take a second poll, reminding the respondents more explicitly of her achievements (which Bill listed for me at tedious length). But it was no use. The voters just refused to see Hillary as anything but Bill's puppet.

In other words, by Morris' account, Hillary didn't run for Arkansas governor in 1990 because polling showed she couldn't win, not because Bill pulled a switcheroo on her in public.

Morris' account is Carl Bernstein's Hillary bio, which the WND article described as stating that "does not allude to any betrayal, though, and suggests Hillary simply changed her mind about running." WND did not note that Morris is the source for Bernstein's account, nor, strangely, did it note that Bernstein wrote the book, identifying it only by title. Similarly, WND identified the Hillary book by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, "Her Way," only by title and not mentioning the authors, repeating that book's claim that the Clintons had a "secret pact of ambition" without noting that questions have been raised about that claim.

(We would add that Morris is a likely possibility for WND's anonymous source since 1) this account conflicts with what he said publicly and 2) he works for the competition, NewsMax.)

So, which Clinton-hater are we to trust? WND's anonymous source (who can be assumed to be a Clinton-hater simply by virtue of collaborating with WND), or Dick Morris?

(Thanks to J.S. for research assistance.)

Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 5:10 PM EDT

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