Todd Purdom’s comprehensive look at Bill Clinton’s post-presidential associations does not break any new ground, but brings together most of things that have troubled me (Ron Burkle, secret foundation donors, etc.).
But among the not-so-small cadre of Clinton friends and former aides, concern about the company the boss keeps is persistent, palpable, and pained. No former president of the United States has ever traveled with such a fast crowd, and most 61-year-old American men of Clinton’s generation don’t, either. “I just think those guys are radioactive,” one former aide to Clinton who is still in occasional affectionate touch with him told me recently, referring to Burkle and (to a lesser extent) Bing. “I stay far away from them.”
Another former aide, trusted by Clinton for his good judgment, said, “On the sort of money, women, all that stuff … I’m the bad guy. All this stuff is kept away from me. Whatever they’re doing, they definitely view me as somebody you cannot confide in.”
It’s obviously hit a sore nerve at Clinton Inc. They put out a savage attack on both Purdom and Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter.
The Clinton camp responded today to Vanity Fair’s long article on Bill with its own 2,476-word memo, which includes attacks on the magazine’s “penchant for libel,” on editor Graydon Carter, and on writer Todd Purdum and his wife, former Clinton aide Dee Dee Myers.
The memo calls the piece “journalism of personal destruction at its worst” and singles out, among other things, Purdum’s suggestion that Clinton’s heart surgery changed his personality.
I know so many people who were big supporters of Bill Clinton through all of his dalliances and other travails. Universally they feel that Clinton has soiled his reputation and I don’t think there is anything he can do to get it back.
UPDATE 2-Boy, Bill sure did Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter a huge promo favor by going ballastic (see first update) on a well respected reporter like Todd Purdum– If traffic to this blog entry is any guage