Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them*—Clinton Edition

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In recent years, my memories of Bill Clinton's presidency had been suffused with a golden glow of nostalgia for a booming economy, low unemployment, the "end of welfare as we know it," and, most miraculously of all, federal budget surpluses. Our holiday from history in the 1990s was truly a halcyon time. I had almost forgotten how irritatingly self-righteous and economical with the truth the Clintons could be. Their recent shenanigans in the current campaign is bringing it all back. The most recent installment occurred in the Democratic candidates' debate in South Carolina.

Obama struck back during the debate, but, as the Clintons well know, lies tend to stick even after they are rebutted. The Washington Post's highly useful Fact Checker column parses Hillary Clinton's latest statements.

First, Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.) claimed that Obama had said that "he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10-15 years." The Post Fact Checker notes:

Obama did not say that he "really liked the ideas of the Republicans" in his interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal on Jan. 14. Here is the quote:

"I think it is fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you've heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they're being debated among the presidential candidates, and it's all tax cuts. Well, you know, we've done that, we tried it. That's not really going to solve our energy problems."

Then Clinton asserted that Obama had done legal work for a Chicago slumlord. The Post Fact Checker finds:

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama received $168,000 in campaign contributions from Rezko and his associates after 1995. Obama has denied doing any legal work directly for Rezko or his companies. During Monday night's debate, he said that he had done "about five hours' worth of work" on a joint real estate development project involving Rezko and a Chicago church group.

William Miceli, Obama's supervisor at the law firm, said the firm represented the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., a nonprofit group that redeveloped a run-down property on Chicago's South Side with Rezko. He called Clinton's assertion that Obama represented Rezko in a slum landlord business "categorically untrue."

"He was a very junior lawyer at the time, who was given responsibility for basic due diligence, document review," said Miceli, adding that Obama did what he was told by the firm. According to Miceli, that was the only time Obama worked on a Rezko-related project while at the law firm.

I don't think that I'm the only voter who will be turned off by such reminders of earlier Clinton era mendacity.

Disclosure: I don't know for whom I am going to vote yet. I did buy two $25 tickets to Obama's speech in Charlottesville as a present for my wife who tends to vote Democratic. As I reported at Hit & Run, I was underwhelmed. In addition, I predicted in January, 2007 that Obama would be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. Perhaps I cannot be objective about Sen. Clinton's lack of veracity because I have several very expensive dinners riding on this prediction.

*Headline shamelessly appropriated, remixed and recontextualized from Al Franken.

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  1. I feel for you Ron, I think my $1,000 bet against Hillary boils down to what happens this weekend. Keep the dirt coming!

  2. Anybody care to fact check the assertion that Hillary Clinton worked on a real estate deal, which took RTC money, intended for the widows and orphans that lost their life savings in Madison Guaranty, and put it in her husband’s campaign coffers?

    Anybody care to fact check that most everyone in the deal, except for President Clinton and her but including the sitting Governor of Arkansas, either went to prison for the fraud or fled the country?

    …’cause I’m pretty sure that’s all true.

    Regardless of whether Obama worked on this deal and whether it was unethical, Hillary Clinton faulting someone for working on an unethical real estate deal is like David Duke faulting someone for being racially insensitive.

  3. When you beleive you are smarter than everyone else, then telling lies is just a means to the righteous end.

  4. It isn’t just that she’s a liar. I expect that from every politician.

    Hillary Clinton is a crook.

  5. When you beleive you are smarter than everyone else, then telling lies is just a means to the righteous end.

    One of my predictions at the beginning of this primary season was that Clinton’s personality – that is, her mean-spiritedness and sense of entitlement to be the president – would lose her the nomination. I sincerely hope that turns out to be true, but my hope has very little audacity to it. That and the Democratic Party has shown too many times in the past that their single greatest campaign talent is for bending over backwards to lose elections.

  6. Kinda makes you wish Obama filled his suit a little better, doesn’t it?

  7. Yeah, I’m sure Obama fought the good fight while he was at Sidley & Austin too. No bloodsucking chupacabras there.

    All this Hillary hate is disgusting. We single them out for stretching the truth when we all admit that its a necessary part of politics. We single them out for hitting targets hard. What the hell is wrong with that? Are we saying that we don’t want a president of the united freaking states to play hardball?

    Get off your high horses. Obama is no saint, Hillary is not satan, and the entire field of candidates is nothing more than human.

  8. Obama is no saint, Hillary is not satan, and the entire field of candidates is nothing more than human.

    You’re 2/3 correct.

  9. Hey why isn’t there a Hit and Run article about the 935 false statements made by the administration about Iraq prior to the war????

    935 lies and the liars who tell them!

  10. My argument for Obama has for a long time been this:

    For a start, excepting Ron Paul the Republican choices this year are all beyond terrible. Now that Fred’s gone, Mitt’s the only one of them I could vote for, and that’d be against the considerable objection of my stomach.

    Now, I don’t expect Barack Obama to roll into office and fix the country. I wouldn’t expect him to do much of anything, actually; his presidency would be one led by the Democratic Congress, with all the horror you would imagine that’d entail. However, what Obama stands a decent chance at doing, that the other candidates do not, is taking to the president’s traditional role in foreign policy, going abroad and working some of his conciliation powers on allies and not-quite-allies that we’ve alienated over the last eight years. It won’t be backed up by real policy changes (I suspect that of all the candidates, only the fringey ones would try for real changes to how we deal abroad) and so the boon is unlikely to last, but it should buy some time after eight years of deranged cowboy rhetoric to sort out a better idea.

  11. “You’re 2/3 correct.”

    You’re right. Romney is an android.

  12. …most miraculously of all, federal budget surpluses.

    That would be projected budget surpluses. Chickens were being counted that never hatched.

  13. Lamar: You are correct–all politicians lie. It’s just that the Clintons are particularly enthusiastic about it. Opinions will vary on this matter.

  14. The Clintons and Bush et al do seem to be better at it/more enthusiastic than Bush Sr. Reagan? Dunno – I was less critical of politicians when I was 14, as my criticism tended to be closer to home. Carter, less enthusiastic.

    My problem with Hillary is that she’s the Rove/Cheney of the Team Blue set. She’s far more interested in running the machine to her advantage than in any actual agenda, but what agenda she’s got ends up scaring me. I don’t need 4/8 more years of this shit.

    That and between Bush and Clinton, we’ve had 28 years with two families on the winning ticket. That’s enough. No more Cintons, and no more Bushes. At least until 2016.

  15. *Headline shamelessly appropriated, remixed and recontextualized from Al Franken.

    Living in the state where Franken is running for Senate – I find this not at all amusing.

  16. The Clinton’s are satan. Bush lied to get into power and lied about WMD to start the the Iraq War. The Clintons are lying the same way that Bush did to get into power. Do we really need another Bush? We should have some self respect for ourselves and our country and not vote these liars into office.

  17. I don’t think Americans are so much appalled by liars as they are about liars who insist they are not lying. We want honest liars, up-front crooks. The Clintons are sanctimonious liars. That’s why half the country hates their slimy guts.

  18. Since a politician never believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him. ~Charles de Gaulle

    Da Little,

    I am of the opinion that things have to get much worse before you can get people to leave their couches and turn off their tvs. Until then, they’re entertained and allotted the liberties to escape from reality whenever they want. Nothing attractive about reading non fiction, questioning everything you’ve ever been told in your life or actively pursuing change.

  19. All your sources are ridiculously biased in favor of Obama. If you read the full quote, Obama goes on to say. Here is what Obama said AFTER the quote you so selectively picked: “He tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, ‘We want clarity, we want optimism, we want, you know, a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing”. Now if that isn’t praising Reagan, I don’t know what is. Stop the completely un-based Hillary hate, seriously. Grow up.

    And do you mind citing sources about Rezko other than Obama himself? What, you don’t take Hillary for her word, but you take Obama’s? Ridiculous. Do your research.

  20. Err… not VERY expensive, I hope. But I’m pretty sure the bet was that Obama would be the next *president*.

  21. And do you mind citing sources about Rezko other than Obama himself?

    Charlene, I understand not RTFA, but you could at least read the post.

    William Miceli, Obama’s supervisor at the law firm, said the firm represented the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., a nonprofit group that redeveloped a run-down property on Chicago’s South Side with Rezko. He called Clinton’s assertion that Obama represented Rezko in a slum landlord business “categorically untrue.”

  22. Charlene: Of course, Obama praised Reagan for his dynamism and optimism, NOT his policies as implied by Sen. Clinton. What do you find that the Post Fact Checker got wrong?

    “Hillary-hate?” Puhleeze!

  23. Julian: Nope. The bet was that Obama would be the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. See my Tea Leaves 2007 post in which I wrote:

    Ok, the first one is not for 2007, but for 2008. I predict that Barack Hussein Obama will be the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. This will become clearer throughout 2007. Why? The Jack Kennedy phenomenon. He is attractive. And he has no record, which means that voters can project whatever hopes and dreams they have onto him.

    You could still win. 😉

  24. her mean-spiritedness and sense of entitlement to be the president – would lose her the nomination

    I second that motion.

  25. “Get off your high horses. Obama is no saint, Hillary is not satan, and the entire field of candidates is nothing more than human.”

    I didn’t say she was Satan. *microphone tap* Is this thing on? I said she stole taxpayer money intended to bail out an S&L.

    She put the deal together, the structure together to do that. Almost everybody involved went to jail–that isn’t how I feel, it’s a fact.

    She’s a crook.

    The only defense she ever offered was that she didn’t know what was going on. …and that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy!

    Hillary Clinton is a crook. …and it doesn’t matter if I hate her or not. She did what she did and it was crooked. …and now she’s pointing fingers about questionable real estate deals? Holy Moley!

    Point fingers and yell Clinton hatred all you like–that won’t change the fact that Hillary Clinton is a crook.

    A bunch of pe

  26. “The only defense she ever offered was that she didn’t know what was going on. …and that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy!”

    I dunno Ken, she probably had other defenses that led to the failure of the independent proescutor to bring any indictments on this issue. He had access to things you and I don’t, and a team of experts looking into the thing, and found nothing indictable. But you, mighty seer of the truth, found what he did not! Why are’nt you dean of Pepperdine?

  27. “I dunno Ken, she probably had other defenses that led to the failure of the independent proescutor to bring any indictments on this issue. He had access to things you and I don’t, and a team of experts looking into the thing, and found nothing indictable.”

    Fifteen people went to prison.

    …including the Governor of Arkansas and the White House Council.

    Was Al Capone a crook? …before they got him on tax evasion, that is?

    Like I said, there’s no question that the money got there–their defense has just been that they didn’t know how.

  28. “Like I said, there’s no question that the money got there–their defense has just been that they didn’t know how.”

    …in spite of Hillary having been at Rose.

  29. Hilary is an evil whore.

  30. Anyone who says that “praising reagan” is somehow in violation of any particular basic principles is a fucking idiot. NO President can be praised without an opponent finding some aspect of the person that was negative, and then saying “oh, so you support NUCLEAR WAR AND THE DAY AFTER AND HOMELESS PEOPLE AND THE WAR ON DRUGS!@!”…

    it’s fucking stupid. The longer they fight these “He said/she said” squabbles, the fewer people want to vote for either of them

  31. From The Keystrokes of John Q. Public | January 23, 2008, 11:18am | #

    Hey why isn’t there a Hit and Run article about the 935 false statements made by the administration about Iraq prior to the war????”

    Reason mag is a shill for big Bush.

  32. Fifteen people went to prison.

    …including the Governor of Arkansas and the White House Council.

    All of whom were actually engaged in illegal activities as they managed, organized, and carried out the scheme.

    As opposed to doing the billing. I heard that there was a receptionist who routed some calls, and she didn’t get convicted, either. Ohnoes!

  33. Hillary was lying here. She claimed Obama praised Reagan’s ideas. No, he praised Reagan’s political strategy, which involved offering ideas that contrasted to the elements of the status quo that people disliked.

    There is nothing in that interview expressing support for Reagan’s ideas. Politics works the same way for the people you agree with as for the people you disagree with.

  34. “Hillary Clinton is a crook.”

    I AM NOT A CROOK!

  35. Here’s the thing about Bill. When he lies, he tends to punctuate them with little slight-of-mind support phrases like, “And I’m not making this up.”

    It’s a trick common to all confidence men and grifters.

  36. …and the entire field of candidates is nothing more than human.

    i have several david icke books that say otherwise!

  37. Hillary has lived with “an uncommonly good liar” (forgot the source) for quite some time. She must have learned a few tricks of the trade.

  38. She must have learned a few tricks of the trade.

    In that family, there’s no telling who learned what from who.

  39. “going abroad and working some of his conciliation powers on allies and not-quite-allies that we’ve alienated over the last eight years.”

    Can you name one ally (or even a not-quite-ally) of eight years ago that now is alienated? Please show your work.

  40. “Living in the state where Franken is running for Senate – I find this not at all amusing.”

    Yowling at the fencepost?

  41. “Hillary Clinton is a crook. …and it doesn’t matter…”

    …what anybody says because I hate her. She’s a crook because I hate her, and I hate her because she’s a crook, and moreover, kind sir, she’s guilty because she’s a crook and I hate her, so she must be guilty. If she weren’t a guilty crook, I would be completely objective and unbiased, but you see, she’s a guilty, crooked crook whom I hate because she’s guilty.

    Remember when she was investigated and not indicted? That proves that she’s a crook. They didn’t have enough evidence to indict her because of her guilty crookedness, see. How is this not clear to everyone?

  42. Now, Lamar, you ignore an important point: the same investigation that exhonorated her implicated other people.

    I’m sorry, but if you don’t see how that proves her guilt, then you are teh partisan.

  43. You mean other people were found guilty while she wasn’t even indicted? That’s the smoking gun! She’s soooo guilty.

  44. Wait, THAT’S a “smoking gun?”

    I think I’ve been using that term wrong…

  45. My most favorite recent one is Bill saying he was against the Iraq war from the beginning.

  46. Note:

    This is how bribe your politician with real estate works…and this is how Whitewater worked.

    Sell a piece of property below cost to a politician…give the politician a loan to buy the land…the politician flips the property pays off the loan and takes home a tidy profit.

    Tada!

    Clinton is a crook.

  47. So, how does it work if they lose money?

    You know, like Whitewater?

  48. “My most favorite recent one is Bill saying he was against the Iraq war from the beginning.”

    And since it’s coming from White House advisors, you know you can trust it.

    JC: I guess John McCain is a crook too (Keating)? Rudy’s certainly a crook (Kerik). I’m beginning to think that everybody’s a crook.

  49. So, how does it work if they lose money?

    You know, like Whitewater?

    Yes joe the briber losses money…that is how bribes work. If someone is giving money to a corrupt politician then they loose that money in exchange for favor, and in particular to a Real Estate bribe when they are selling below cost.

  50. JC: I guess John McCain is a crook too (Keating)? Rudy’s certainly a crook (Kerik). I’m beginning to think that everybody’s a crook.

    I didn’t call them crooks for lying about his support for the Iraq war I call ed them crooks for taking bribes in the form of real estate deals….for the Iraq thing i would just call them liars.

  51. You are about to snatch the pebble, Lamar

  52. “Yes joe the briber losses money…that is how bribes work.”

    If this were true, bribes would have fallen out of use a long, long time ago.

  53. joshua,

    The Clintons lost money.

    Which kind of throws your whole narrative into doubt.

    “The bribers lose money.” Jesus Christ, WTF?

  54. Here’s a good example of real estate bribery:

    http://www.dukecunningham.org/cunningham-home.php

  55. If this were true, bribes would have fallen out of use a long, long time ago.

    Wow…is this the whole political strategy of all democrats? To miss quote people constantly and ofiscate fact?

    Clinton did it when he made false claims about Obama.

    Joe makes a false claim about who lost money (some shell company) and who gained money (the Clintons) and who gained favor (the bribers).

    Now you are doing it Lamar. Money in exchange for favor is that i said…simply because the Clintons and the people bribing them used a shell company that went broke is really just a side issue and does not immunize the Clintons.

  56. So much hate on both sides. Reading this would make me feel Hilary would loose all the primaries 90-10 to obama. Are the folks here from GOP or they just blog n never vote ? why is hilary winning

  57. The Clintons lost money.

    No they didn’t…the shell company they set up lost money…the Clintons walked away with the profits from selling the land they got under cost.

  58. I’m just not impressed with the whole accusation. It certainly paints them in a sleazy light, and I think that’s a fair assessment. Crooks? Nah. Just ego-maniacal f**ckers. For a list of others in this category, see the “The Presidential Candidate Ranking Game — Who is Worse?”

  59. Joe makes a false claim about who lost money (some shell company) and who gained money (the Clintons) and who gained favor (the bribers).

    Actually, I reported the findings of the Special Prosecutors who investigated the matter. My god, they’ve gotten to Ken Starr, too!

  60. “So much hate on both sides. Reading this would make me feel Hilary would loose all the primaries 90-10 to obama. Are the folks here from GOP or they just blog n never vote ? why is hilary winning”

    Hillary is LOOSING 36 to 38 in terms of regular, elected delagates. She gets about 60% of the superdelagates, because the clintons have control of the party, but these can change whenever they wish. The media is also saying that she won the last 3 contests, though in one of those Obama got more delegates, and in another there ARE no delegates, and 40% of the votes were against her (“uncommited”) when she was the only one on the ballot!

  61. “Hillary Clinton is a crook. …and it doesn’t matter…”

    I don’t think anybody’s ever butchered one of my comments like that ever before–congratulations!

    “…what anybody says because I hate her. She’s a crook because I hate her, and I hate her because she’s a crook, and moreover, kind sir, she’s guilty because she’s a crook and I hate her, so she must be guilty.”

    I didn’t say she’s a crook because I hate her; I said she’s a crook regardless of whether I hate her.

    I do despise her, not particularly unusual with me and any given politician, in part because she’s a crook.

    Stealing to put money in your husband’s election campaign–that was low. Stealing from those who were trying to help people who lost their life’s savings–that was really low. Stealing from those who lost their life’s savings–that was really, really low.

    …and if she doesn’t criticize Obama for his lack of acumen in the futures markets, I might not bring up her astounding history there either.

    Of course, the ridiculous account she gave about her futures trading activities won’t be the result of my hatred of her either.

    “Remember when she was investigated and not indicted? That proves that she’s a crook. They didn’t have enough evidence to indict her because of her guilty crookedness, see. How is this not clear to everyone?

    The stolen money went to her husband’s campaign.

  62. “All of whom were actually engaged in illegal activities as they managed, organized, and carried out the scheme.”

    The White House Council that went to prison was a partner at the Rose. Vince Foster was a partner at Rose.

    Just because Hillary Clinton was a partners at Rose and was in the Whitewater deal doesn’t mean she knew what was going on, but standing in Vince Foster’s office with a smoking gun in her hand wouldn’t necessarily mean, with metaphysical certitude, that she just pulled the trigger either.

    I’m sure sometimes complete strangers steal things and put them in other people’s accounts–I’m sure it happens all the time!

    “As opposed to doing the billing. I heard that there was a receptionist who routed some calls, and she didn’t get convicted, either. Ohnoes!”

    She wasn’t a receptionist, joe. She was a partner in the firm and a partner in the real estate deal.

  63. You yourself selectively quoted Obama… where is the quote on “Ronald Reagan… in a way that Carter, Nixon or Clinton did not”?

    Oh Phullleaze! its Obama who is waxing poetic about Reagan’s accomplishments.

    And demeaning the 60’s and 70’s (Republican codeword for Civil rights, women’s rights and Vietnam war opposition) to boot!

  64. Ken Shultz,

    Just because Hillary Clinton was a partners at Rose and was in the Whitewater deal doesn’t mean she knew what was going on Yes. That’s true. Do you know anything about law firms, Ken? Attorneys have their own cases and projects. Even partners. No, wait, especially parnters, since their seniority means they don’t have as much oversight.

    Stealing to put money in your husband’s election campaign–that was low. The people who actually know what they’re talking about don’t think this happened.

    Stealing from those who were trying to help people who lost their life’s savings–that was really low. Stealing from those who lost their life’s savings–that was really, really low. Yes, that’s why the people who did so were charged, convicted, and sentenced.

  65. You yourself selectively quoted Obama… where is the quote on “Ronald Reagan… in a way that Carter, Nixon or Clinton did not”?

    Awesome! You complain about selective quotations, and then chop up that quote to leave us guessing.

    What are those three dots, again? “ruled like a wicked awesome president?” “totally and completely pwned as the bestest leader ev-ah?” “had an agenda that was godlike in its humaneness and brilliance?”

    I guess we’ll never know.

  66. The following is not about joe. …no kidding, at all.

    “…what anybody says because I hate her. She’s a crook because I hate her, and I hate her because she’s a crook, and moreover, kind sir, she’s guilty because she’s a crook and I hate her, so she must be guilty.”

    …but ever notice…? There’s a certain stripe of true believer?

    It doesn’t matter if I’m talkin’ about the Clintons or the Bush Administration or Ron Paul, the general consensus of the true believers from all camps always seems to be that it’s all about hate.

    Think what we’re doing in Iraq is wrong or dumb? Think President Bush has managed the war incompetently? …that’s because you’re a Bush Hater!

    Are you suspicious of Ron Paul’s explanation for what was in the newsletters? Think he probably knew exactly who wrote what–in spite of what he said? Well then you must be a Ron Paul Hater!

    Think the Clintons tried to use FBI files against their political enemies? Think they took cronyism to a new level? Think that if the money ended up in their campaign fund via a partnership they put together, then they must have known something about it? …that’s because you’re a Clinton Hater!

    That son of a bitch Clinton raised my taxes! I have a whole list of people I despise. If I told you Osama bin Laden was on it, would someone denounce my criticism of his despicable actions as the ravings of a bin Laden Hater?

    Just because I don’t like the person I’m charging doesn’t mean the charges aren’t true.

  67. Who the hell cares about Whitewater anymore? It’s a dead issue. If she broke the law about it, she got away with it. If she didn’t, she’s getting slandered. There will be plenty of opportunity to judge Hillary’s honesty between now and November.

  68. You have to admit, Ken, describing the cronyism in the Clinton administration as “a new level” demonstrates a pretty big bias.

  69. “You have to admit, Ken, describing the cronyism in the Clinton administration as “a new level” demonstrates a pretty big bias.”

    Accuse me of bias?! Guilty as charged.

    But about the cronyism, let’s leave Ron Brown alone already! …and hasn’t eveybody already forgotten about Johnny Chung?! …and all those Al Gore freaky temple appearances?! Why has all that up again? Lincoln bedroom sleepovers?! Old news. And why bring up that Clinton pardoned four of the people convicted in Whitewater, et. al.

    You’re right though, cronyism is a game a lot of President’s have played well.

  70. True believer? You probably won’t catch me voting for Hillary. It’s just that I base my decision on her policies and goals, not political hatchet jobs and dirty laundry. I see her and Mitt Romney as the same poll driven politician. Of course, depending on what happens, I can’t totally rule Clinton out. Say, for example, Huckabee gets the nomination….

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