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Joe Conason Verbally Clobbers Ed Klein

Reported by Marie Therese - June 30, 2005

Last Friday Al Franken and his regular Friday guest, columnist and author Joe Conason, went head-to-head with schlocko author Ed Klein, whose book, The Truth about Hillary, has caused quite a firestorm of disapproval in many quarters. Noted conservatives like John Podhoretz have joined the chorus of reviewers and pundits on both sides of the political spectrum who have distanced themselves from this book. However, Joe Conason verbally slammed Klein using a relentless questionning technique reminiscent of a skilled attorney. After a year of watching FOX News blowhards masquerading as journalists, I thought our readers would like to see how a REAL journalist does it.

Crooks and Liars has the WMA audio of this spirited conversation. However, here's the transcript for those who don't have the Windows Media player (like yours truly) or who simply prefer to read the printed word.

Read on and enjoy! Caution: It's quite long. Unlike FOX News, Al Franken and his guests actually discuss things in depth.

Transcript of The Al Franken Show, Sundance Channel, June 24, 2005, 11:30 PM PDT

Host: Al Franken
Co-host: Katherine Lanpher
Guests: Joe Conason (syndicated columnist and author of "Big Lies" and co-author with Gene Lyons of "The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton") and Ed Klein, author of "The Truth about Hillary."

AL FRANKEN: I'm Al Franken and in the studio with us is Joe Conason and in Washington is Ed Klein. Ed Klein's new book is "The Truth About Hillary." It's published by Sentinel, from Penguin, which is my publisher at Dutton. (facetiously) I'm just, I'm just thrilled about that. He joins us from the Center for American Progress in Washington, D. C. Thank you, Ed, for joining us.

ED KLEIN: Thank you for having me, Al.

FRANKEN: OK. Now, is - is - would you call this book your best work?

KLEIN: I think this is the best book I've written, yes.

FRANKEN: Oh, good. OK. Good. Ah, now I think I found a mistake.

KLEIN: Congratulations.

FRANKEN: Yeah. Now, do you have the book?

KLEIN: In front of me? No.

FRANKEN; Oh, OK. You wrote it so you know the book.

KLEIN: I think so.

FRANKEN: Yeah. OK. And on page 172, this is a thing about Pat Moynihan not being able to say her name. Now let me quote your book and then I'll quote what you wrote: (reads) "'God, I almost forgot,' he said with a mischievous grin" - (corrects his mispronunciation) or mischievous grin - that's talking about [Daniel] Pat[rick] Moynihan the late Senator from New York whose seat Hillary took - (continues reading) "'God, I almost forgot,' he said with a mischievous grin. 'I'm here to say I hope to go all the way. I mean to go all the way with her. I think she's going to winl I think it's going to be wonderful for New York.' For Moynihan, apparently it was easier to say 'she' than 'Hillary.'" (stops reading)

Now did you leave anything out there in between the two sentences you quoted?

KLEIN: Are you reading from my book?


KLEIN: What's the title of my book? I don't think you mentioned it.

FRANKEN: "The Truth about Hillary." Now did you ...

KLEIN (chuckling): OK.

FRANKEN: ... and I actually did mention it in the lead-in but - and I think I just did.

KLEIN: Well, in any case let me answer your question. Pat addressed, as Joe Conason who's sitting there with you can I'm sure attest, Pat addressed the assembled press and mentioned Hillary's name three times.

FRANKEN: Did you leave anything out between the two sentences that you quoted?

KLEIN: Not that I'm aware of.

FRANKEN: Well, you did, you know, and what you said after you quote the two sentences (reads) "For Moynihan " ...

KLEIN: Are there ellipses between the two sentences?

FRANKEN &JOE CONASON (in unison): No.

KLEIN: No. So in other words there's something that is missing ...


CONASON: Al. This is Joe. Why don't you read the actual - what Senator Moynihan
really said ....

FRANKEN: Well this is what ...

CONASON: ... as opposed to what's in Mr. Klein's book.

FRANKEN: Well, this is what Moynihan said and this is how he got into it. He said (reads from remarks made by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, July 7, 1998) "Now, I have the great pleasure to welcome Mrs. Clinton to the farm and turn over the microphone to our candidate. Before you do - before I do, and, oh my God, I almost forgot - yesterday Hillary Clinton established an exploratory committee as regards candidacy for the Senate, United States Senate, from New York, a seat which I will vacate in a year and a half. " - and then you pick up with (reads) "I'm here to say that I hope she will go all the way. I mean to go all the way with her. I think she's going to win. I think she's going to be wonderful for New York." So, you leave out the sentence ...

KLEIN: I left out an ellipsis.

CONASON: You did not.

FRANKEN: You didn't leave out ellipses. You deliberately left out the sentence ...

CONASON: Where's the - there's no - I know you don't have the book in front of you. How much would you like to bet that there's no ellipsis on that page?

FRANKEN: No. He's saying that's what he left out.

KLEIN: That's what I'm saying, Joe.

CONASON: No. There's no ellipsis.

FRANKEN: No. No. He's saying that he left it out.

KLEIN: I should have put in an ellipsis.

CONASON (drawn out): Ohhhh.

FRANKEN (overlaps): Ohh. Yeah.

CONASON: Then why would you have cut out the two references to her name and put in an ellipsis? That would have been equally dishonest.

FRANKEN: You know why? Because - here - this is what I think, Ed - and, and you may take issue with this - I think you deliberately left it out because it would have hurt the sentence where you say (reads) "For Moynihan, apparently it was easier to say 'she' than 'Hillary.'" I think that's why you left out the sentence that says "Hillary."

KLEIN: Well, I ..

FRANKEN: Really. Really. Honestly now - could you address that?

KLEIN: Well, I'd be happy to.


KLEIN: First of all, I didn't know you were a mind-reader so that you're reading why I did something ...

CONASON: Oh, you're not in a good position to say that after reading this.

KLEIN: Oh, why not?

CONASON: Because you've read her mind over and over and I doubt you've ever met her.

KLEIN: Oh, really.

CONASON: No. There's quite a bit about what's in her mind in this book that you could have no possible way of knowing.

KlEIN: Well, let's start with the Moynihan ...

CONASON: But answer this. Where, where -if you had put an ellipsis, wouldn't the purpose of that been to deceive?

KLEIN: No. Absolutely not. Joe, this is ridiculous. You know, we know you know very well that the Moynihans had no use for Hillary.

FRANKEN: No, no, no. I'm just asking you about ....

CONASON: I don't - I don't - I happen not to agree with that. But, but ...

KLEIN: You don't agree with that?

CONASON: Why, did - if that were true, why would you need to deceive the readers into thinking that he hadn't mentioned her name?

FRANKEN: That's true. You know, usually when you have a good case, (makes grimacing face) you don't have to deceive people.

CONASON: You know, I'm not able to read Senator Moynihan's mind. He's gone. I didn't know then - I know he had disagreem -

KLEIN: You didn't have to read his mind.

CONASON: I know he had disagreements. You also get - you've got a lot of things wrong about Moynihan in here but, certainly, you didn't need to, if he really disliked her so much, why would you need to deceive the readers about what he actually said that day? Did you not look it up?

KLEIN: My intention in this book was not to deceive anybody

CONASON: Why did you do that, then?

KLEIN: Well, I didn't do it intentionally, and if I left out some words, I'm sorry. But ...

FRANKEN: And how was it vetted?

KLEIN: That certainly was not my intention and we know that when Pat finally came to do the endorsement, he didn't use the name.

CONASON (surprised): What?!

FRANKEN (surprised): What?! This is the endorsement!

CONASON: This is the endorsement. There's video. There's audio. It's on a transcript.

FRANKEN: Oh, come on, Ed! You can do better than this!

CONASON: He used her name ...

FRANKEN: Come on!

CONASON: He used her name twice and you left it out.

FRANKEN: Just, just admit it that you did this, ya' left it out, so you could make your point which is for Moynihan apparently it was easier to say "she" than "Hillary" ...

CONASON: I don't understand how you could write the sentence: "It was easier to say 'she' than 'Hillary'" if you read the transcript where he mentioned her name twice.

FRANKEN: Three times. Anyway, Ed, we're gonna have to come back. This is gonna be fun.

KLEIN (looks dubious): OK.

FRANKEN: This'll really be fun. Honest.

CONASON: You - you think about the answer while we're takin' a break.

KATHERINE LANPHER: We'll come back to our conversation with Ed Klein, the author of "The Truth about Hillary" here on the Al Franken Show.

FRANKEN: See, it's - it'll be fun, Ed, really. Honest. (shakes head in the affirmative)


FRANKEN: Hey, welcome back to The Al Franken Show. I'm Al Franken.

LANPHER: I'm Katherine Lanpher and sitting with us, of course, is Friday regular Joe Conason. We're continuing our conversation with Edward Klein who has out the new biography "The Truth about Hillary" published by Sentinel.

FRANKEN: And, and, uh, Ed, we want to give you a chance to to kind of respond because I think we - you know, you might get the feeling it's like three against one but I gotta tell ya' Katherine just loves the book! (Lanpher smiles broadly. Conason chuckles.)

KLEIN: Well, that's good to know. Let me ask you a question, Joe.


KLEIN: I'm sorry. Al.


KLEIN: Let me just ask you a question.


KLEIN: When you asked me on this program ...


KLEIN: And spoke to my publisher ...


KLEIN: Did you tell them that Joe Conason was gonna be on?


KLEIN: You did. Well, I - nobody told me.

[The following text appeared in the left half of the screen: "After the show, Al called Adrian Zackheim who confirmed that Mr. Klein had been told that Joe Conason would be part of the segment."]

FRANKEN: Well, your publisher should have told you because I - I'm - I couldn't have emphasized it more. I said, you know, Joe - I - we must have discussed this - the publisher's name again is Adrian ...

KLEIN: Zackheim.

FRANKEN: Zackheim. No. no. no. I discussed that at great length.

KLEIN: Good. Well, he didn't discuss it with me. But, in any case, don't you think in the interests of full disclosure, don't you should tell your audience where Joe has stood on this book, what he's done up to now?

CONASON: We talked about that last week.

FRANKEN: In full dis - yeah - we have done that. We really have,

KLEIN: OK. Fine. Fine.

FRANKEN: Yeah. He - he - he's not alone. There, there are critics of the book that are even - like John Podhoretz - on the right, he says - writes - he's a conservative and he writes (reads from New York Post, June 22, 2005) "This is one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn't have to suffer through another word."

Now, this is a conservative and I gotta say that it wasn't that bad. (Conason chuckles. Klein smiles.)

CONASON: Yeah, I've gotten actually, I have to say, more positive mail from conservatives about my column about this book in The [New York] Observer than I have from right-wingers in a long time.

FRANKEN: But, but I'm sorry that Adrian didn't tell you because you should have known that, but that's ...


FRANKEN: ... really your publisher's fault.



LANPHER: And we were getting back to a question that was asked right before the break about just how conscious you were of putting deception in the book?

KLEIN: I don't believe there is deception in the book and, if I've left out, as I said, an ellipsis, I'm sorry. I certainly didn't intend to.

FRANKEN: OK. Let's talk about the FBI files that you talk about, sir, you know, what was called Filegate and you call it "The Purloined FBI Files" and write about it on page 39. And then later in a Salon interview you said (reads) "Like Nixon Hillary used FBI files against her enemies."

KLEIN: Uh-huh.

FRANKEN (continuing): Now you know that she was absolved of this by the Office of Independent Counsel [Kenneth Starr].

KLEIN: Well, she may ...

FRANKEN: I mean, shouldn't you have written about that? Shouldn't you have given that information to your readers?

KLEIN: It's still my - it's still my belief and contention that Craig Livingstone [former head of White House Security] was responsible for taking those files and that he was operating under direct orders from Hillary.

CONASON: Do you know whose files those were? I mean, did you ever look at the names of the people whose files they were?

KLEIN: There were a lot of Republican activists.

CONASON: They were not, actually. They were not. Name one Republican activist whose file was taken. One.

KLEIN: I couldn't do that.

CONASON: You couldn't, 'cause you haven't looked at the names.

KLEIN: No, I haven't.

CONASON: You never looked at the names but you know there were a lot of Republican activists. How would you know that?

KLEIN: I've read it in the New York Times and other - other papers.

CONASON: Oh, no you didn't. You did not. You did not.

FRANKEN: You know, Ed, Ed, the first ...

CONASON: Because the people whose names that were on that list were former White House employees. Most of them were people like gardeners and janitors and people like - I've looked at every name on that list.

KLEIN: Former White House employees ...

CONASON: That's correct.

KLEIN: ... in the previous Republican administration.

CONASON: Oh, no. [Democratic Political Consultant] James Carville's name was on that list.

KLEIN: Well, yes. But there are ...

CONASON: Why was his name on the list?

KLEIN: ... many, many Republican officials on that list as well.

CONASON: There were ...

KLEIN: Are you saying there weren't?

CONASON: No. I'm saying there was no - there were no Republican activists of any note on that list. If you look through that list, it's hundreds of names of people that you have never heard of and that the Republican Party has no significant connection to.

KLEIN: Can ...

CONASON: And the fact is that those names were taken by mistake, which is what the Office of the Independent Counsel determined and that Mrs. Clinton never used them for any purpose and, you know what, Ed, if you'd done any reporting, you would know that. But you didn't even look at the list!

KLEIN: No. I haven't seen the list. I - I ...

CONASON: You didn't bother to look at the list!

KLEIN: Well, I didn't look at the list because I wasn't doing a book, Joe, on the list. I was doing - that was one paragraph in a 300 page book ...

FRANKEN: But. but, but ...

KLEIN: ... and it was a summary of what the charges, if you recall ..

FRANKEN: But, you've been go ...

KLEIN: ... were against her.

CONASON: What about the ...

FRANKEN: You've been going on ...

CONASON: What about ...

FRANKEN: You've been going on like talking to - in interviews, saying (reads) "Like Nixon, Hillary has used FBI files against her enemies." Now, that's a very serious charge.

KLEIN: How 'bout the - how 'bout the - the Internal Revenue Service ...


CONASON: Don't change the subject, Ed.

FRANKEN: Now wait a minute, I asked you - let's address one thing ...

KLEIN: Why can't we talk about various ...

FRANKEN: Because I want you to ..

KLEIN: ... organs of the government?

FRANKEN: ... I want you to answer ...

CONASON: Because you can't answer the question, that's why.


FRANKEN: Because I want you to answer one question at a time. (reads) "Like Nixon Hillary has used FBI files against her enemies." I think that's a very, very serious charge. Would you - would you characterize that as a serious charge, Ed?

KLEIN: I certainly would.


KLEIN: And I would say that there are many publications who have said the exact same thing.

CONASON: Name one that has any - any - any ...

KLEIN: The New York Times, for one.

FRANKEN: No, it never ...

KLEIN: The Washington Post, for two.

FRANKEN: Baloney!

CONASON: The New York Ti - you mean [New York Times conservative op-ed columnist] William Safire wrote that? Is that who you're talking about? 'Cause he had no evidence for it either.

KLEIN: Oh, you think Saf ...

CONASON: What's the - what's the ...

KLEIN: You think Safire is a congenital liar?

CONASON: I do. I think he - I've said it many times in print. (laughter) He said a lot of things about Hillary Clinton that were totally wrong. He predicted ...

FRANKEN: Let's move on to something else.

CONASON: He predicted she would be indicted and said he would eat crow is she wasn't. And she wasn't.

FRANKEN; Well, but, but - and he did eat the crow. And I saw it. (laughter) OK. Let's, let's turn to page 188 and Suha Arafat and the hug and Hillary's step-grandfather. Would you like to correct the record on that?

KLEIN: Yeah. One should have gone before the other and that was a mistake.

FRANKEN: OK. Now, now what was the significance of that mistake, do you think?

KLEIN: Well, I think that Hillary was trying to position herself with the Jewish voters in New York. I think we can all agree on that.

FRANKEN; But what you said was ...

CONASON: Unlike every other politician.

FRANKEN: Yeah. yeah. What ...

KLEIN: Well she had a particular problem which was that she was perceived by many Jewish voters - I think Mr Conason even would admit to this - as not being sufficiently pro-Israeli - pro-Israel.

FRANKEN: Well, but what you do is you try to draw a cause and effect. You say that ...

KLEIN: I said that that was, in fact. a chronological mistake. She discovered her grandfather - great-grandfather, grandfather, step-grandfather - had been partly Jewish ...

FRANKEN: Let me ...

KLEIN: ... and THEN she went to the Middle East. That's true.

FRANKEN: Let me read what you wrote (reads) "At the end of Mrs. Arafat's speech Hillary applauded enthusiastically, then gave Suha Arafat a big hug and kiss."

KLEIN: Is that true?

FRANKEN: The pho - the photo ...

KLEIN: Is that true, Joe?

FRANKEN: Let me read - let me read the thing and then you can respond. (reads) "The photo of the two women kissing, which played around the world, sowed serious doubts about Hillary in the minds of many Jewish voters. When Hillary realized ...

KLEIN: This ...

FRANKEN: ... that she had gotten herself in a jam with Jewish voters, she suddenly turned up a long lost Jewish step grandfather, an announcement" - OK - "that was dismissed by many" ...

CONASON: This is just such - this is such sloppy work.

LANPHER; Hang on. I want ...

FRANKEN: No. No. But what I'm saying is what I'm saying is ..

LANPHER: I want Ed Klein to respond.

FRANKEN: And, Ed, what I'm saying - what I'm saying, Ed, is the chronology there is there for a reason. You're saying she suddenly discovered this because of the hug.

KLEIN: Well we - this was - this is a chronological mistake in the book ...


KLEIN: ... and I've admitted to it.

FRANKEN: OK. Oh good. OK. How about the LAX thing, the haircut that supposedly held up traffic at LAX?

KLEIN: Uh-huh.

FRANKEN: Now, you know that that's not true, right?

KLEIN: No, I don't know that it's not true.


CONASON: Again, because you didn't do any reporting. That was - that story was debunked at the time that it came out 12 years ago. You - you - I mean, it's just astonishing to me how little work was put into this book...

KLEIN: Well, you know ...

CONASON: ... in terms of actually trying to establish whether any of the stuff you've written here is true.

KLEIN: So, you're saying, Joe, that she - that the President [Bill Clinton] did not hold up traffic at LX [sic].


KLEIN: Or the ...

CONASON: I'm saying - not only would I say that but that's the established fact that's been reported after - after that story came. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the FAA made it very clear that not one flight was held up as a result of that.

KLEIN: Well, Joe ..

CONASON: And that was established a long time ago.

KLEIN: You and I are reading different newspapers, I think.

CONASON: No. It's not a matter of reading different newspapers. It's a matter of what the Federal Aviation Administration said about the incident. It was debunked at the time.

FRANKEN: Do you want to read - do you want to hear what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said?

KLEIN: Well, if you'd like to read it, that's - it's your show.

FRANKEN: Well, OK. The story that - was that (reads) "planes were kept circling as President Bill Clinton had his hair clipped on Air Force One at Los Angeles Airport [LAX]..." This is 1993. (reads) "... last month. The haircut by Beverly Hills stylist Kristoff became such a metaphor for perceived White House arrogance that the President himself felt compelled to apologize for the reported flight delays. But, the reports were wrong. According to the FAA - Federal Aviation Administration - records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the haircut May 18th caused no significant delays in regularly scheduled passenger flights. No circling planes. No traffic jams on runways. Commuter airlines that fly routes routinely affected by the President's haircut reported that they had no record of delays, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

CONASON: What's peculiar to me is you don't seem to care if you get these things right or not.

KLEIN: What's peculiar to me, Mr. Conason, is that you're still stuck back in 1993 instead of 2005. This book ...

CONASON: No. You were writing -

KLEIN: This book - this book ...

CONASON: You were writing about something back in 1993.

KLEIN: Yeah, but this book is about whether Hillary Clinton is qualified by virtue of her character to be President of the United States.

CONASON (overtalks last 7 words): You mean whether you ...

LANPHER: Well, then, let me ask you a question, Ed Klein, when you have so many errors that accumulate, why should we take your interpretation seriously?

KLEIN: Well, but I dispute that there are so many errors accumulating.

CONASON: Well, let's ask about another one. There's a woman that you name in this book named Nancy Pietrafesa ..

KLEIN: Uh-huh.

CONASON: ... who, you say, was rumored to be Hillary's lesbian lover.

KLEIN: Uh-huh. That's true.

CONASON: Now there are two things about that.

FRANKEN; That she, that she was "rumored"?

KLEIN: The rumors are ...


KLEIN: There were rumors, yes.

CONASON (sarcastically): Yeah, those are great journalistic standards. But you misspell her name throughout the book. Did you know that?

KLEIN: Well, do you know that three other authors have also misspelled her name?

CONASON: Yes. I figured they must have because that's where you got it from.

KLEIN: I'm sorry that I misspelled ...

CONASON: Did you try to find ...

KLEIN: ... an "E" instead of an "A"

CONASON: Well, let me ask you something ...

KLEIN: But that's ...

CONASON: Did you try to find her so that you could ask about this rumor?

KLEIN: Of course I did.

CONASON: You did.

KLEIN: Of course.

FRANKEN: And you had trouble?

CONASON; And you tried all the diff ...

FRANKEN: 'Cause the New York Post didn't have trouble.

CONASON: And you tried with all the different spellings?

KLEIN: No. I - I - I tried ...

CONASON: I guess not.

KLEIN: I tried to reach her and, in fact, left messages for her.

CONASON: Really? Where?

KLEIN: Where she lives.

CONASON: Which is - where's that?

KLEIN: Listen, Joe, I don't have her address in front of me.

CONASON: You have no idea where she lives. And you're lying right now.

KLEIN: No. I'm not lying, Joe.

CONASON: Yeah. You are.

FRANKEN: OK. Let's - look - let's ...

LANPHER: I'd like to go back to one of the ...

FRANKEN: No. I want to go back to this one.



LANPHER: OK. Go ahead.

FRANKEN: Melanie Vermeer.

KLEIN: Verveer.

FRANKEN: Verveer.

CONASON: Who is Melanie Verveer?

KLEIN: She was her Chief of Staff for a while.

FRANKEN: Yeah. You know what ..

CONASON: There is no person named Melanie Verveer. There's Melanne Verveer, whom you refer to as mannish-looking, which she's not. But her name is Melanne. M - E - L - double N - E

FRANKEN: Now, I know Melanne ...

CONASON: Now, since you don't know the first name of her Chief of Staff, why should anybody think that you know anything at all about Hillary Clinton?

FRANKEN: Well, I want to go to ...

LANPHER: Please ...

FRANKEN: Let him - let him ...

LANPHER: Please let him respond.

KLEIN: I don't think the question is worth my responding.

CONASON: 'Cause you, you don't know, right?

KLEIN: Well, no ...

CONASON: You don't know her. You don't know her real name.

KLEIN: Of co - she was referred to as "Melanie" to me many, many times and ..

CONASON: By whom?

(Lanpher makes surprised sound. Franken laughs.)

KLEIN: And I think that's how ...

CONASON: No one calls her "Melanie."

KLEIN: Well, I think that's how a lot of people refer to her.

CONASON: Nobody would - nobody calls her that.

KLEIN: And that's the way they referred to her to me.

FRANKEN: Not only do I know Melanne. I know her husband and I have to take offense on calling her "mannish," 'cause I know Melanne and she's a - I think she's a good lookin' woman. And - and - like - let's say, Ed, someone referred to your wife in a book as "simian," say.

KLEIN: Un-huh.

[Clip of text on screen: "Simian (sim-i-an) Relating to , characteristic of, or resembling an ape or monkey."]

FRANKEN: You know. Would you - which, by the way, I doubt your wife is simian-looking. I'm sure that she's very beautiful. Because you're a very manly-looking man. You're very heterosexual-looking, I must say, in the back of the book. [Clip of book jacket photo on screen.] You look like you're in really good shape.

CONASON: I have a feeling that he's never seen Melanne Verveer, who's name he doesn't know. Have you ever seen her?

KLEIN: No, I have not.

CONASON: But she's mannish-looking to you, even though you've never seen her.

KLEIN: She has been described to me that way, yes.

CONASON: She's been - who described her to you that way?

KLEIN: Several people who worked - knew her.

FRANKEN: Who knew her as "Melanie"?

KLEIN: Yes, and who called her "Melanie" to me.

CONASON: Well, they may - maybe they knew someone else. This could all just be another case of terrible reporting and mistaken identity.

FRANKEN (excited): There is a "Melanie" (Conason laughs) - there is a "Melanie" who is - who used to be a male and is a tennis player, a professional tennis player.

CONASON: You know, you - you've been a reporter for a long time, I know. Or at least purporting to be a journalist. Isn't it true that the first thing you learn when you're starting to be a journalist is to spell the names right?

FRANKEN: Oh, come on, it ...

KLEIN: It's such a silly comment, Joe, that it's beneath ...

CONASON: You got a lot of them wrong.

KLEIN: I got some of them wrong. But I'm, I'm sure you've misspelt names in your career.

CONASON: I try to correct them. And I didn't pretend - I ...

KLEIN: Well, I will try to check these in my second edition.

FRANKEN: Ok. Let me ...

KLEIN: And third and fourth editions.

FRANKEN: Let's go to your, your - just your motivation. You write "Isn't it Doctor" - or you said, I'm sorry - to Salon (reads) "Isn't it Doctor [Samuel] Johnson who said that any writer who doesn't write for money is a fool? What I do for a living is write popular non-fiction and the more popular it is, the more books I sell and the more money I make." Now, that - I, I write books, too and I just gotta tell ya' that's not my motivation.

KLEIN: No, you're a political analyst. I'm not.


KLEIN: You're a political person. I'm a biographer.

FRANKEN: Uh-huh.

KLEIN: There's a difference.

FRANKEN: And do you think that maybe some of these conservatives who are reacting to the book like Peggy Noonan and John Podhoretz and others are reacting because it feels like you're just cashin' out here?



KLEIN: I don't think that's the reason. If I - if you'll let me answer, I'll answer that question.

FRANKEN: Yeah. Go ahead.

[For the next ten seconds Franken holds up the New York Post open to John Podhoretz's column of June 22, 2005 which has a large headline that reads "Smear for Profit."]

KLEIN: I think there's a great deal of confusion on the part of the conservatives how to deal with Hillary. They don't know whether to deal with her directly and in a forcible manner, because the last time they tried that with the Clintons during the whole Whitewater and impeachment imbroglio, they were criticized for going overboard and for being too extreme and they felt they were burned by that experience and so they have recently been cozying up to her and so this book, which I've written, is a book that could be written about a man. In other words it takes Hillary Clinton seriously and it treats her as I would have treated a male subject of a biography and there's a great deal of concern on the part of conservatives that this is going to turn her into a victim and make her stronger than ever. So, that's the fundamental reason there's been this split among conservatives about this book.

FRANKEN: OK. I'll thank you, Ed. And I will say that John Podhoretz did write - the headline on his thing was "Smear for Profit." So I think that he actually does believe that - that you did this for money which, actually, you do say that's why you write books 'cause - but I want to thank you for joining us and I know that this couldn't have been a fun - because it really was us gangin' up on you, so I really appreciate it, and, you know, talk to Adrian because I really did tell him that Joe was gonna be here. Thank you. Really. Honestly, thank you for comin' on.

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