Daily Revolt

May 30, 2007

Book: 1st Lady Hillary Wanted to use Dirty Tricks Against Washington Post

Hillary would bring a talent for dirty tricks to the White House if elected:
One fascinating, if minor episode, involves Hillary Clinton’s mid-1990s plan to “systematically attack the Washington Post” because of its Whitewater coverage.

Bernstein quotes legal aide Mark Fabiani as revealing the idea of a campaign against the Post “went fairly far down the road before some of us succeeded in stopping it.” Bernstein claims that Hillary told her aides: “We have to figure out all the mistakes that the Post has made. We’re going to document it, and then publicizie it somehow or get a journalism review to write an article about it, or go to the Post editors and complain about [reporter] Sue Schmidt with this evidence, this dramatic evidence in hand."

She called five aides to the White House, including Fabiani and George Stephanopoulos, and she allegedly then said: “You can take it over and meet with [executive editor] Len Downie and ... go through this, and then we can publicize it.”

Fabriani cautioned that she was overreacting -- the Post’s shortcoming were probably more a matter of tone or placement -- but she replied: "No, if you look at it, I'm sure it’s going to be true. Go ahead.”
Bernstein writes that for the next 10 days or so a team compiled a “dossier” on the Post. Finally, “the virtually unanimous opposition of the lawyers and Stephanopolous prevailed.”

One of the aides said that this was an example of Clinton's ability to organize people for a big fight, but in terms of how to respond “her instincts are just awful.”

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