| Pen punch: Hillary
Washington, June 22: A sleaze-coated attempt to end Senator Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid before it has even begun in earnest appears to have backfired.
A new book which alleges that she is a closet lesbian and that her husband Bill Clinton raped her triggering the conception of their daughter Chelsea is No.3 on Amazon.com’s bestseller list.
But the torrent of pre-orders which put The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President near the very top of the Amazon.com best-seller list is largely because of pre-publication hype which hinted at new allegations about the Clintons.
Conservative groups had praised the book long before it came out this week in the hope that it may derail any 2008 bid by Hillary for the White House.
Unfit for Command, a book which questioned Senator John Kerry’s Vietnam war service during the 2004 campaign against President George W. Bush for the presidency had played havoc with the Democratic campaign and damaged Kerry’s prospects.
The author of The Truth About Hillary is Edward Klein, who once covered India and Pakistan for Newsweek. He later rose to become assistant managing editor of the magazine and was subsequently executive editor of the New York Times Magazine for 11 years.
Klein claims in his book that America’s First Lady for eight years knew about Monica Lewinsky’s affair with the President for more than two years before their relationship became public.
But it has a surfeit of silly anecdotes such as one about Hillary Clinton punching and bloodying the nose of her fifth-grade boyfriend for giving away one of her baby rabbits.
What has, however, made many conservatives back off, now that the book is out, is its major flaw that many of the allegations are based on anonymous sources.
For the charge that she knew about the Lewinsky affair and kept silent for two years, Klein relies on an anonymous official of the Democratic Party, who herself had no direct information.
Fox News Channel’s Bill ’ Reilly, a hugely popular prime time conservative talk show host, said this week that “there’s little new” in Klein’s book and that most of it comes “from anonymous sources.... Far too many accusations are coming from people who are settling grudges in a cowardly way”.
Senator Clinton’s spokesman Philippe Reines has responded to allegations in the book that Klein “writes trash for cash”.
He said “this is a book full of blatant and vicious fabrications”.
Undaunted by the controversy, Hillary has been pursuing her political activities, which are clearly tailored to jump into the next presidential race if she senses a chance of victory.
She was in Mexico City today and spoke about the need for immigration reform with an obvious eye on the Hispanic vote bank in America.
So far, she has only said she would run for re-election to the Senate from New York.
Meanwhile, Klein has been defending his use of anonymous sources.
He alleged that the Clintons run a full-time war room to intimidate and dissuade people from speaking to the media without their approval and, therefore, it was necessary to seek recourse to anonymity in his sourcing.
The author is not, however, without supporters. John LeBoutillier, a former Republican Congressman from New York, wrote yesterday that Klein’s book “is a must-read for all of us who want to stop (Hillary Clinton) from being President”.
He described the book as “a well-crafted portrayal of Hillary's lifetime plan to get herself to the Oval Office ' at all costs”.