Bill Clinton & Vanity Fair

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:Bill lost it this afternoon about the Purdum Vanity Fair Article 

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

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0 Responses to Bill Clinton & Vanity Fair

  1. Lewis Haidt says:

    I found it amusing the high perch that members of Arianna Huffington-vacationing-with-David-Gefffen off in never-neverland “progressive wing” of the good old Demo-party take in “condeming” bad old Bill with a scarlett letter.

    It seems to me that if Florida and Michigan had followed the rule, simply put, Hilary would be in the lead. She wouldn’t be my choice, BUT, Obama is not a good campaigner himself; the debates have showed it; and like it or no, his campaign touches on so many deep, core, divisive pain and anger-filled fissures in American society, if all the Democatic votes had had their voice, we might have seen that this wasn’t the best year for the first black presidential candidate.

    No one’s perfect, especially those blasting away from their high perched seat chairs in the comfy old blogasphere.

  2. Kevin Miller says:

    I don’t know if anyone else picked up on this classic Clintonian parsing:

    The sensitivity among Clinton’s staff to these questions is such that, after I posed some queries about Clinton’s relationship with Burkle and Co., a spokesman, Jay Carson, e-mailed me this comment: “The ills of the Democratic Party can be seen perfectly in the willingness of fellow Democrats to say bad things about President Clinton. If you ask any Republican about Reagan they will say he still makes the sun rise in the morning, but if you ask Democrats about their only two-term president in 80 years, a man who took the party from the wilderness of loserdom to the White House and created the strongest economy in American history, they’d rather be quoted saying what a reporter wants to hear than protect a strong brand for the party. Republicans look at this behavior and laugh at us.”

    …it is technically true that Clinton is the only 2-term Democratic president in the last 80 years. That is, if you ignore the 4-term Democratic president who was elected during this period.

  3. STS says:

    Bill Clinton is a really frustrating character. I think Garry Wills did a great job of analyzing the roots of this frustration when he reviewed Clinton’s memoir My Life for the New York Review of Books. Basically, he argued that Clinton is addicted to testing how much he can get away with. This basic flaw in his character will always spoil what could have been a really remarkable record.

    That said, the Democrats sure could stand to observe an “11th Commandment” of their own a little more often. Reagan had some personal failings of his own, but Republicans never, ever talk about them.

  4. Tennessee William Shakespeare says:

    I expect to see Hillary Clinton make an extraordinarily gracious concession speech in the next few days.

  5. Dan says:

    An article like that reminds me that one of the common threads running through the story of power and wealth in the top leagues is the eternal presence of Hollywood courtesans. X invests in Y’s company with money from Z, and they all met each other through Hollywood starlet girlfriends (or “high-end fashion designers”) half their ages. Another X stole the dental floss out of Y’s garbage because he suspected that his trophy wife’s kid was actually Y’s. (He just can’t believe that he isn’t virile enough at 103 to keep a 28-year-old wife in sexual awe.) A creepy billionaire with a private jet and a house full of sex toys and genitalia-shaped soap is working a plea deal to minimize the prison time for getting caught having sex with underage girls–with children.


  6. Tennessee William Shakespeare says:


    That is a pretty decent outline for a best seller.
    Not a bad title either.


  7. Pingback: Hillary-Have You No Shame? « Jon Taplin’s Blog

  8. Lewis Haidt says:

    Well, as a recovering ex-indie film producer who x’ed paths w/ Jon where I worked for a scum bag, phone sex having in his office-with a top publicist WMA big shot, while Taplin was tapping away on TO DIE FOR, the story not only has the ring of truth, of a sordid Dallas feature remake-straight-DVD, but I do think a little humility is called for as we rain on the poor Clinton’s parade. I actually have great respect for their imperfect union and Hill could have one if history had been different, but then I too wish I could go back to my days at FOX 2000 and do a few things differently too.

  9. Ron Reiner says:

    What a negative article on Bill Clinton. Fortunately, I’m not a Vanity Fair subscriber otherwise I’d cancel my subscription.

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