Behind the scenes at the Clinton White House
By Geoff Earle
July 15, 2014 | 2:14am
WASHINGTON — It was an enduring image of his presidency: a chastened Bill Clinton walking his dog while wife Hillary keeps her distance as the family leaves town at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal — but it was all part of a contrived public-repentance campaign, according to a new book.New York Post
With Bill on the skids and his wife’s future prospects on the line, it was necessary for the pubic to see the president being punished, said Weekly Standard online editor Daniel Halper in his new book, “Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine.”
“They understood that politics is all about narrative,” a senior Clinton aide allegedly told Halper. “He had to go to the doghouse — literally. That wasn’t spontaneous!”
Halper said the former first lady became such a sympathetic figure after the Lewinsky scandal that it might have been “the best thing to ever happen to” her politically.
The book, coming out July 22, recounts how the Clintons boosted their mutual prospects by granting favors, holding grudges, cultivating allies, spinning media reports and obliterating opponents.
Halper describes Clinton as positioning herself for a run for the US Senate from New York long before Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) suggested the idea, tacking extra visits to the state onto her schedule during her husband’s second term.
One person described as not keen on the idea of Clinton joining the Senate is Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who was so fearful of being up-staged he coached Rep. Rick Lazio (R-LI), Clinton’s eventual Republican opponent, on his 2000 campaign, according to Lazio.
“I thought he was generally . . . he was supportive,” Lazio said of Schumer. “Quite helpful to me behind the scenes and encouraging.”
Sources detail the Clintons’ long memories for those who have crossed them. Bill Clinton “still hates” former aide George Stephanopoulos, according to a source, because the ABC host wrote a critical book of his time in the White House.
Bill Richardson, who served as Clinton’s ambassador to the UN, still finds himself frozen out for daring to back Barack Obama over Hillary in 2008.
“Every relationship he has is mainly about him and not about the other person,” Richardson told the author.
And a former Secret Service agent complained Hillary was a back-seat driver, saying she “didn’t know the streets, I think, as well as we did.”
The book’s tone is skeptical when it describes the head injury that landed Clinton in the hospital at the end of her tenure as Secretary of State, raising the possibility that she had a stroke but without offering any new evidence.
But not all the tidbits reflect poorly on Clinton’s talents.
One passage tells how Hillary tended to relationships with former critics in the Senate and built a “virtual dossier of praise and support” from top Republicans who might be prone to criticize her.
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams, April 16, 1781.