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Kick ‘Em When They're Up, Kick ‘Em When They're Down - Part 3 of 3

Reported by Marie Therese - November 24, 2004

In this final installment we have Bill O'Reilly again dissing the Clintons, this time via his Talking Points Memo (November 19, 2004), the day after the Clinton Presidential Library opened in Little Rock. (The following excerpt is from the Fox News website)

BILL O'Reilly, HOST, THE O'Reilly FACTOR, TALKING POINTS MEMO: The network news anchors usually stay away from controversy. So last night [Thursday, November 18] when Peter Jennings questioned Bill Clinton about how historians have ranked his moral authority, eyebrows went up. Here's some of what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "PRIMETIME LIVE")

PETER JENNINGS, "PRIMETIME LIVE": They gave you a 41st on moral authority.

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT: They're wrong about that.

JENNINGS: After Nixon.

CLINTON: They're wrong about that. Do you know why they're wrong about it? They're wrong about it.

JENNINGS: Why, sir?

CLINTON: Because we had $100 million spent against us and all of these inspections. And in spite of it all, you don't have any example where I ever lied to the American people about my job, whether I ever let the American people down. And I had more support from the world and world leaders and people around the world when I quit than when I started. And I will go to my grave being at peace about it. And I don't really care what they think.

JENNINGS: Oh yes, you do.

CLINTON: They have no...

JENNINGS: Oh, excuse me, Mr. President, you can — I can feel it across the room.

CLINTON: No, no, I care...

JENNINGS: You care very deeply.

CLINTON: I care — you don't want to go there, Peter. You don't want to go there, not after what you people did and the way you, your network, what you did with Kenneth Starr, the way your people repeated every little sleazy thing he leaked. No one has any idea what that's like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Wow. Now let's analyze the situation without emotion. First, President Clinton sincerely believes that a cabal of conservatives launched a witch-hunt against him and that the media picked up every sleazy charge and ran with it.

Mr. Clinton is partially right. The media did slime him with allegations. And some right wingers did not afford him the presumption of innocence.

But there were so many ethical problems during the Clinton administration, it is ludicrous to say that the controversies were manufactured. Campaign finance violations, the Marc Rich pardon, the Travelgate fiasco, Jim Guy Tucker going to jail over Whitewater, "depends what is, is," the suspension of Mr. Clinton's law license. I mean, you don't even have to mention Lewinsky and Paula Jones to have a plateful of questionable activities.

So I'm not buying the witch-hunt deal. And remember, the worst attorney general in history, Janet Reno, killed most of the investigations into these problems.

Now Bill Clinton prefers to look at his accomplishments and uses those to rationalize the other stuff. That's a human trait—most of us rationalize in that way. So he's never going admit that his lack of personal discipline and his ruthless desire to win brought many of his ethical problems on himself.

Mr. Clinton should take comfort in knowing that millions of Americans still think he did a good job despite all the controversy. But the president's ego overrides that solace. He wants us to think he's a victim. Are you buying it?

And that's "The Memo."

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Do you believe there is a vast right-wing conspiracy that worked against Bill Clinton?


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