Sleaze for sale: How Hillary Clinton’s enemies use the media.

From the Hillary Clinton Quarterly archives —

When Bill Clinton became the 42nd president of the United States, Little Rock, Arkansas, officially became the red light district of American politics.

What’s being sold in Little Rock these days are rumor and innuendo about Bill and Hillary Clinton, and the trade is brisk. As in other American cities, the Little Rock district is inhabited by a predictable assortment of sleazy regulars — in this case, ultra-conservative Rambo-types and Ross Perot pseudo-operatives.

What’s surprising, however, are the number of respectable journalists nibbling at the edges, somewhat like shy, first-time johns, titillated by the sleazy spectacle, but afraid to score, lest they catch some fatal disease or, worse, get caught by their wives.

Our story about “sleaze for sale” begins on November, 14, 1992, a few days after Bill and Hillary Clinton won the right to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The story ultimately leads to some of the most respected media in this country, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and CBS News.

Following a report in the Little Rock Democrat-Gazette in early November, 1992, about our intention to publish the Hillary Clinton Quarterly, we received a phone call from a man who said he had proof that Hillary Clinton had “as many affairs as Bill Clinton.”

The man’s name was Larry Case. He described himself as a retired private investigator with connections to those friendly folks who brought us the Gennifer Flowers affair. Larry Case shared some amazing information with us. Hillary, he said, “was involved with several lawyers at the law firm,” while half of Hillary’s friends “were having affairs with Bill.”

As we reviewed our media clippings regarding the troopers’ story, we were amazed to discover that Hillary Clinton, while vocal in her defense of her husband, never denied or responded to the troopers’ allegations regarding her own alleged infidelities.

Case specifically mentioned someone named Barret Hamilton, Junior. “They had an affair. The state police found pictures of him and Hillary.” Our would-be Little Rock informant also said that he could put us in touch with railroad workers who would testify that they had slept with Hillary Clinton.

We were just a little bit curious: why hadn’t these allegations about the soon-to-be First Lady been reported before? Case said they thought they had enough dirt to discredit Bill Clinton. “We didn’t feel she was a factor, so nobody reported on her,” he told us.

We thanked Case for calling and went back to working on other stories for the premier issue of HCQ. A few days later, however, we received another phone call from Little Rock, this time from someone named Larry Nichols. Larry #2 told us that Larry #1 had suggested he call. Larry #2 had worked for Clinton at the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority. His story was pretty much what we heard from Larry #1. Mrs. Clinton, Nichols told us, was “dating a Mr. Dennison at the Rose Law Firm.”

Nichols explained that “Hillary and Bill have what you’d call an open relationship.” Why, we asked Larry #2, did these stories never appear before? No one would dare say anything negative about the Clintons, he told us. “This state is so zipped up,” was how he described it.

The two phone calls — one from Larry Case, the other from Larry Nichols — were our first glimpses at the sordid underbelly of American politics. In all candor, from a journalistic standpoint we initially felt intrigued by the calls. There had been enough in the press about Bill’s philandering that it seemed conceivable that Hillary might have tried to even the score by doing the same. Now, just as they were preparing for Washington, we were getting phone calls from two self-described Little Rock insiders who could bring down a President, or a First Lady, if they could prove their story.

On the other hand, it was clear that the Two Larrys were attempting nothing less than character assassination. Neither Larry offered any proof, their motivation was suspect, and the idea of publishing their remarks made us feel as sleazy as the allegations. We decided to leave the dirty work to the tabloids.

Then came “Troopergate.”

David Brock’s piece in the American Spectator raised the art of political pornography to a new level. What made the story significant was the painful and faltering response of Bill Clinton to allegations of marital infidelity, and the casualness of the mainstream media in repeating the allegations.

We decided to find out what we could — specifically as the story related to Hillary Clinton. Brock offered some tasty vignettes of Hillary responding to Bill’s indiscretions, as well as a detailed report of the First Lady engaging in some amorous activity with her law partner, American Spectator.

As we reviewed our media clippings regarding the troopers’ story, we were amazed to discover that Hillary Clinton, while vocal in her defense of her husband, never denied or responded to the troopers’ allegations regarding her own alleged infidelities. We called the White House press office and asked deputy press secretary Neel Lattimore about it. “We were never specifically asked about her by the press,” he said. “Well, then, we’re asking,” we said, incredulous about this example of blatant gender bias. “Mrs. Clinton refuses to dignify the story — any part of the Spectator story — with a response,” said Mr. Lattimore. At least we asked.

We braced ourselves for the worst and called Little Rock. It had been more than a year since Larry Case and Larry Nichols first called us. We never reached Larry Nichols, though we had a strange conversation with a woman who answered for him. “I just want out of this mess,” she told us. We did speak to Larry Case, once in mid-December, 1993, a day or two after the Troopergate story broke, and then in mid-March, 1994, after Troopergate had disappeared from the radar screen and just as Whitewater was heating up.

Talking to Larry Case is an eerie experience. Like an episode from the Mad magazine cartoon, “Spy vs. Spy,” we knew that while we were recording him, with his permission, he was recording us, without our permission. Our conversations lasted well over two hours. From what he said to us, it’s very clear that disseminating rumors about Bill and Hillary Clinton is second only to chicken farming as a growth industry in Arkansas. As Case put it, “everybody here had something for sale in regards to Clinton.”

What’s also clear is that there is a substantial and steady demand for anti-Clinton stories — the more lurid the better. The market, in approximate order of significance, includes members of the far-right media, pro-choice evangelicals with cash in their pockets, national and local Republicans, the tabloids (both foreign and domestic), and lastly, the mainstream media.

With such a demand for anti-Clinton material, it’s clearly a seller’s market: the amount of substantiated scandal for sale is significantly less than the number of potential buyers. Indeed, there appears to be a hierarchy among scandal mongers. At the apex are those who can substantiate their stories with tape recordings, witnesses, or affidavits. At the bottom of the scandal chain are story tellers with unverifiable, albeit racy, stories to tell. No doubt, Pareto’s law rules here, so that 80% of the rumors come from 20% of the rumor-mongers.

What is more astonishing than the lurid tales told by people like the Two Larrys is the complicity of some of the nation’s most respected media in creating and nourishing a market for Clinton-bashing. The traditional media, based on some hypocritical journalistic standard, wait for the tabloids to break a new Clinton scandal. Then, once news of the scandal itself becomes news, the mainstream press then freely reports it. Informants like the Two Larrys come in handy, both for providing tips about which angles of a story to pursue, and for actual information.

In checking out Case’s story, we confirmed that he has met and/or had telephone conversations with Bill Rempel, an investigative journalist for the Los Angeles Times, John Fund, an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal, and Bill Simmons, Little Rock bureau chief of the Associated Press. John Paxon of CBS News did not return our phone calls.

No one will admit to using any information provided by Larry Case. Given our own experience, we have to ask why these otherwise credible news organizations are dealing with Larry Case (and all the other Larrys) in the first place?
John Fund, who told us that he did attend the Washington meeting described in our interview with Case, blamed the Clintons for forcing journalists to rely on questionable sources and informants. If the Clintons were more forthright in disclosing information, he argued, the press wouldn’t need the Larry Cases of the world. (Such an argument reminds us of the john who blames his frigid wife for his trips to the whore house.)

Later in our conversation, Fund agreed that the boundaries among traditional media, print and electronic tabloids, radio talk shows, celebrity journalists and cause-related newsletters have become so blurred that it becomes nearly impossible to sort out good sources from bad sources, a credible news tip from one that’s completely self-serving.

At the very least we have to acknowledge the baseness of the game being played, not just by someone like Larry Case, who freely admits he hates Clinton and is out to make a buck, but by everyone who hangs out in the red light district and is trying to score.
What follows is a transcript of two conversations with Larry Case. Our purpose in publishing the transcript is to give our readers a first-hand look at the Little Rock rumor mill. It is not for the squeamish or the gullible. After getting Larry’s permission to turn on our tape recorder, we asked him about the American Spectator story, which had just broken in the media that week.

First Conversation — December, 1993
HCQ: Why is it that these stories didn’t come out before?
CASE: Well, I can tell you why not. Because the local media here is feeding off of him being president. You being a writer and whatever yourself, you know when you got the president from your home state, you pretty well want to keep him there, ‘cause it’s kind of like “designer news,” you know.
HCQ: Do you know anything about the president or his staff people trying to keep things quiet?
CASE: Oh, yeah.
HCQ: Such as what?
CASE: Well, I won’t go into it on the phone.
HCQ: Well, they did say, I guess Bruce Lindsey said in a report that they did discuss it with troopers. Were they offering people jobs, as far as you know?
CASE: The Clinton Administration?
HCQ: Yeah.
CASE: Oh, yeah.
HCQ: I mean to keep quiet about what was . . .
CASE: Sure.
HCQ: When I called Larry Nichols the woman who answered seemed pretty upset about something. Do you have an idea? She had said she just wanted out and I wasn’t sure what she was referring to.
CASE: I understand that she is telling everybody that they don’t want no calls, but Larry Nichols was on A Current Affair last night. He is, you know, he got me trapped into some of this stuff by virtue of trying to come to me and getting my information. . . Larry Nichols has nothing, nothing whatsoever does he have. Whatever he had, he had from me. Larry Nichols has told so many lies in the last few months and it can be proven.
HCQ: What’s his motivation?
CASE: Uh, he hates Clinton. I mean I personally hate Clinton, too, but my motivation is, Clinton made all these offers to me, and he made them through other people, and he made them to me directly at the mansion, that I was going to be the head of the “ABC,” if I would take care of some problem he had.
HCQ: ABC is what?
CASE: Alcohol Beverage Control. So therefore that offer was made to me in the presence of the colonel of the Arkansas State Police and . . .
HCQ: Goodwin?
CASE: Yeah. . .and the director of finance and administration. We were all at the same meeting at the governor’s mansion at 7:30 a.m. in the morning. The meeting was called the day before and I didn’t know it until that night, and I had no idea Goodwin was going to be there. He told me he didn’t know he was going to be there. These offers had been made to me. That’s my personal situation.
HCQ: And that just never came to pass.
CASE: No.
HCQ: You’re a retired P.I.?
CASE: I’m a retired P.I., you know, but I was virtually forced out of the P.I. business, but I was going to leave anyway because I had so many offers. Once they tried to discredit me, as they’re doing to these state troopers. You’re gonna watch these state troopers take a fall. You just mark my words, these troopers are on their way down.
HCQ: They’re up against some pretty powerful people.
CASE: Very powerful people. And I really don’t know what their lawyers are doing by not letting them release names. They’re not releasing names. They’re just telling incidents and situations.
HCQ: How do you account for the fact that the AP had talked to a number of these women, that they all denied it or just refused to comment?
CASE: That was all planned. The local AP here is a joke, and I will tell the chief of the local bureau that myself. I sent him tape recordings of prostitutes that I had interviewed on the telephone and never met in my life and they gave me detailed descriptions of Clinton and, you know, everything. I gave him copies of those tapes.
HCQ: Who did you give those to?
CASE: Bill Simmons, chief of the bureau of the Associated Press here in Little Rock. He is an avid Clinton fan. And he either destroyed them or misplaced them or sent them back to me with a letter, which I have from him, saying that he was sorry that they got messed up in his tape machine. Now that’s what I received back on more than two occasions.
HCQ: Well, who would have hired you to look into Bill Clinton’s private life?
CASE: I won’t comment about that.
HCQ: Republicans, I’ve got to presume.
CASE: You know, I won’t comment on that.
HCQ: Does Ross Perot have anything to do with any of this?
CASE: I won’t comment about that. (Long pause) If you check my phone records, you would see phone calls back and forth between Ross Perot’s office and my house.
HCQ: I would.
CASE: Yes.
HCQ: Well, now, another question. When you called here, I wrote down, I didn’t tape record our conversation, but I kept notes. You said about Hillary Clinton: “She had as many affairs as Bill Clinton.”
CASE: That’s the information that people were giving to me, which I never even looked into. I got one man right now, I just left him, talking about a lesbian affair that she had. You know that Vince Foster was supposed to be her boyfriend.
HCQ: Yeah, I heard rumors about that. You had also mentioned someone named Barret Hamilton.
CASE: Yeah. Junior.
HCQ: Right.
CASE: Now my understanding is that when he died they cleaned out all the photographs at his condo in Colorado and here, too, of when he was with Hillary. Now that’s my understanding.
HCQ: That could only come from the state police.
CASE: I can’t comment on that. I’m having enough pressure here now, I don’t need no. . .
HCQ: Are you getting a lot of calls.
CASE: Shit. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
HCQ: I think this is all a big plot by Little Rock to get back in the news.
CASE: (Laughs) I don’t know what it is. Little Rock won’t go against Clinton for more than a 12-hour period. They’re hot on it for about 12 hours and then they’re cooled off. But the Associated Press here is strictly pro-Clinton.
HCQ: ou said you had played for Simmons. . .
CASE: I left the tapes with him. I’ve got letters, documents, signed by him back to me where he destroyed them or lost them, whatever. . . Every time something would happen to my recordings, he’d send them back to me with documentation.
HCQ: Were you working with Larry Nichols at one point?
CASE: No! Larry Nichols contacted me. I have no idea about Larry Nichols, till the Los Angeles Times told me we needed to get together and Bill Rempel told me Larry Nichols wanted to talk to me, and I called Larry Nichols and he responded. It was a great mistake, basically because I have caught Larry Nichols in so many lies. And I recorded my conversations with Larry Nichols. At one point he was telling me who he was doing it for — it was Republicans, he named them, he gave me names. I don’t know if you know this, I was contacted and I have faxed copies by a Washington law firm to me and an associate of mine in Arizona trying to buy everything we had two days before the election.
HCQ: What is the purpose now of coming out with these stories?
CASE: I don’t know what they’re doing it for. There’s been two other state troopers that was with them originally and now they have backed off.
HCQ: So now there’s just Patterson and Perry.
CASE: They’re trying to find Danny Ferguson and Ronnie Anderson.
HCQ: As far as Mrs. Clinton is concerned, the only place where she comes into the picture is when she had this argument with her husband.
CASE: Yes. Now he does have a temper. Larry Patterson acknowledged on CNN the other night that he had taken a girl to see Clinton off when he left for Washington. Hillary ran up to Larry and said “I know what she’s doing here and you better get that whore out of here.” I’m under the impression that that was Suzy W—, Suzy being the one that they alleged had his baby here, that worked in the governor’s office. I can tell you this that as of last night she is on a week’s vacation and she has been transferred to Bill Clinton’s Little Rock presidential office.
HCQ: If I have more questions, would you mind if I call back?
CASE: No, I don’t mind. Like I said, other than Vince Foster. . . I can tell you this. I was contacted by the Park police when Vince died. Remember how he died? They requested two tapes that I had. I certified mailed them to Captain Hume of the Park police return receipt requested. It took me two months to get that return receipt after two tracers. After two months I finally got it.
HCQ: This was a tape of . . .
CASE: This was a tape of conversations in regard to the Vince Foster murder. You can call them and ask them. I have no problem with you asking them what was on the tapes. I have copies of all the certification, where I sent it, then I have the return receipt when they signed for it.
HCQ: What do your instincts tell you about Foster and Hillary?
CASE: Vince Foster? Everyone around here says they were boyfriend-girlfriend. That’s what everybody tells me, I’m talking about in the legal profession.
HCQ: You have obviously some instincts as an investigator. Do you think there’s something to that?
CASE: I know there is. If I wanted to look into it, I’d know where I’d go.
HCQ: Where’s that?
CASE: I don’t want to comment on that. I would wait. I’m not going to jump on Hillary while they’re dumping all over Bill. You know you don’t want to side track one story. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that I wouldn’t like to see Bill get downed, you know, just get taken completely out of office, because he is a liar. He doesn’t do nothing but tell lies to everybody. There’s documentation, you know, that he makes phone calls when he’s here to other women. But nobody’s ever looked that up.
HCQ: So you think these two troopers, Perry and Patterson, are telling the truth?
CASE: I can tell you they’re telling the truth.
HCQ: And the White House is just trying to keep this quiet?
CASE: Yeah, and the director of the Arkansas state police, who was here while Clinton was, and is still here, may talk soon, because I understand he’s fixing to leave the agency. He’s got enough time — hell, he’s retired two or three times.
HCQ: That’s Goodwin?
CASE: Yeah, Goodwin. Now he’s trying to hold his force intact out there. I think he’s being forced to lie. Now Goodwin doesn’t like to lie. He does not like to lie.
HCQ: Did you used to meet with him?
CASE: All the time. Everyday. And that’s what made everybody mad. Everybody else had to have a meeting with him and I could just go up there, go in his office, and shut the door. We went out socially. What are they saying where you’re at?
HCQ: It’s the straight AP story. It’s just. . .I mean people tell me the motivation of these troopers is suspect because they might write a book and make money. I have to remind people that the president has a strong motivation, if it is true, to keep the story from coming out. You can’t decide what the truth is based on motivation.
CASE: Most of them would have a reason, the troopers and the president. The people around here now are shying away from those troopers. I don’t care if Goodwin came out and said he knew it was true, if he came out and said it, they’d do the same number on him as they’re doing on those troopers. I just know how they work around here.
HCQ: You don’t doubt that Bill Clinton himself actually called these troopers. The White House said that.
CASE: He did call them. Now he had called Mark Allen, another former guard. He made numerous calls to Buddy Young. I don’t know if he acknowledged it yet. Buddy Young was his right-hand man.
HCQ: How come they didn’t make you an offer like that?
CASE: They made me an offer and then they tried to run me with it.
HCQ: That was the ABC?
CASE: ABC.
HCQ: Thank you for your time. I may need to call again. I hope you’ll take a minute to talk to me.
CASE: Any time.

Second Conversation — March, 1994 (More Sleaze for Sale!)
HCQ: The initial reason I wanted to call again, and you were correct, is that last time you said, “watch these troopers take a fall.” Now that story has just disappeared from sight. What’s happened to those guys?
CASE: I know both of them have been transferred. Larry Paterson has been transferred to the automobile dealership detail, which is a demotion from what he was doing. Now he goes to car lots and inspects them so that they can get their dealer tags. Now would you not call that a demotion?
HCQ: Yeah, that’s a demotion. And you’re certainly right about that. Is there anything that you’re aware of that, separate from what they have said, relates to Mrs. Clinton and the accusations that they made?
CASE: About Hillary and Vince?
HCQ: Yes, and you had also mentioned Barret Hamilton at one point.
CASE: The initial information that I had about Hamilton I supplied many months ago to Bill Rempel.
HCQ: He said none of that stuff panned out, that he’s never done a story based on any information you gave him.
CASE: The stories that I gave him were “girlie” stories. The stories that I talked to him about — you know the stuff that he could back up or substantiate — the biggest part of the time he had called them himself, and he had talked to them, and he had got the same response out of them that I had. This was back early on.
HCQ: Response from whom? Troopers?
CASE: No, girls. . . girls that he interviewed, that I interviewed. And there were recordings of my interviews with girls that I supplied to him. And he has them in his stockpile out there. He has recordings and stuff of girls that I interviewed that had been with Bill Clinton. Let me also tell you this. The only way that I knew how to get ahold of one of them was through Bill Rempel. He told me how to get ahold of them. He has sat on stories out there involving Bill Clinton and . . .
HCQ: Why?
CASE: I have no idea. . . . Because, I guess, it’s not their type of story. Additionally, the information I supplied to him, yes it was, it had all to do with, you know, women and stuff like that.
HCQ: What about the state troopers in the American Spectator story? They talked about a party at which Vince Foster and Hillary Clinton displayed some affection towards each other. Do you know anything about that? Is there anything, any shred of evidence that substantiates the rumor that Hillary and Vince Foster were more than professional associates?
CASE: All that I have in regards to that is people telling me, that knew them both closely, and which I did record, the people that I talked to, and the attorneys involved that I talked to. I had many people call me and tell me. As far as physically seeing them, no, I did not see them.
HCQ: You have recordings of people? Where? From the Rose Law Firm?
CASE: From the Rose Law Firm and from Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
HCQ: And you have tape recordings. Would you be willing. . .
CASE: No.
HCQ: How do I know you really have them?
CASE: Well, that’ll come out, you know, soon. I’m sure that those recordings of people talking to me will be asked for before the grand jury — the one in regards to Vince Foster and Hillary Clinton.
HCQ: I’m not exactly the New York Times, Larry, but I do try to maintain some journalistic integrity and credibility. What is it that you can say to me or show me or tell me that’s going to give me some confidence that there’s some validity to the story?
CASE: First of all, I’m not the one wanting to write a story.
HCQ: I understand, but from what you’ve told me, in terms of your dislike for Bill Clinton, it sounds as if you wouldn’t mind getting the story out if it were possible.
CASE: I wouldn’t mind getting the story out, but as it’s going here in this town, everybody’s tried to clam everything up.
HCQ: Including you? Are you under pressure?
CASE: None that I feel.
HCQ: You seem reluctant to share information you say you have.
CASE: First of all, since you called me I have called Bill Rempel. He has not returned my phone call, and I’m going to confront him. Every conversation that Bill Rempel and I had in depth about anything, I recorded. I supplied him with information from day one about things nobody else knew. And he hounded me about things nobody else knew. I just want to get the story straight with him about what he’s trying to say about my information. Larry Nichols —
HCQ: Wait! Larry, if I can just interrupt for one second and close one part of this conversation we can go on. As far as you’re concerned, in providing information to me, there’s nothing regarding Hillary Clinton.
CASE: Nothing that I will provide you at this point.
HCQ: OK. So it’s all just hearsay, and I have to take your word for it.
CASE: As far as I’m concerned, I’m not telling you anything.
HCQ: OK. So why did you call me in November of 1992 about Hillary having affairs?
CASE: When did I call you?
HCQ: It was November 14th, 1992.
CASE: Now who called who?
HCQ: You called me.
CASE: I didn’t even know who the hell you were.
HCQ: Well, I think you did.
CASE: Now how the hell would I even have got your number.
HCQ: Probably from an article that was in the Little Rock Democrat-Gazette about my publication.
CASE: I do remember seeing something in there now. . .
HCQ: About the Hillary Clinton Quarterly. And you called on 11/14/92. And I didn’t know who you were.
CASE: Yeah, I remember that.
HCQ: And you said, “She had as many affairs as Bill Clinton.” I took notes.
CASE: Yes, she did.
HCQ: And you mentioned Bill Rempel.
CASE: I did make that statement.
HCQ: So what I’m trying to say is, there are all these allegations out there and part of my interest is that you called me with this information and in the meantime there’s been a lot of public discussion about these issues and I’m trying to find out if there’s any truth to it. You seemed like a likely source, since you had already broached the subject with me. All I’m saying is, as a journalist, I need something that says, this isn’t just some guy who’s pissed off at Bill Clinton, do you know what I mean? If there’s nothing, that’s fine. I’m perfectly willing to think of Hillary Clinton as a saint if that’s what she is.
CASE: You know as well as I do that there’s enough people out there that do not like Bill Clinton. And he’s lied to enough people to have a lot of enemies, and I’m one of them. But I’m not going to make up stuff about his wife on my own just to hurt him. Now if I repeat or have repeated something that someone told me to you or somebody else, it’s strictly hearsay as far as I’m concerned because it’s what someone else has told me. But it’s not based on something that I’m making up because I do record conversations when people call and talk to me. If they’re going to whitewash it and they’re going to look at it like this, they don’t need to know the story.
HCQ: Larry, who is feeding a lot of the Whitewater stories out there?
CASE: I think Dave Bossie, Debbie Stone, and Larry Nichols, because Dave Bossie, Debbie Stone, Floyd Brown, flew me and Larry Nichols to Washington. We stayed at Number One Washington Circle. We met with a guy named John Fund. He is (sic) senior editor of the Wall Street Journal. Floyd Brown was in there, Debbie Stone was in there, her sister was in there but I do not know her name. Now when Nichols and I got there, Nichols turns to me and says, “I hope you got something,” “What do you mean?” I said. He says, “I don’t have nothing.” I said, “What are you talking about?” He says, “Well, all I got is a tape.” He had with him a tape of the Iran Contras fighting. He didn’t know nothing about what he’d been doing.
HCQ: What was this meeting about? Flowers?
CASE: No, it was a book they were going to do early on.
HCQ: The Slick Willie book?
CASE: Yes. And he, Larry, everybody leaves, and so I wire the room. The entire meeting with Floyd Brown, John Fund, Debbie Stone, David Bosse and myself, Larry Nichols and there were two or three others, people in there who were high-up reporters, I don’t know where, the entire meeting was recorded. They’re well aware of that. Larry Nichols was well aware of that. Now everything that went on in that meeting was not real kosher.
HCQ: Now basically this was a meeting about how to screw Bill Clinton.
CASE: That’s right. That’s basically what it was — how to take down Bill Clinton. Everybody was taking shots. I got copies of all their notes, I got the room key, I got everything proving that we were there. Before I left, from that room, the first night we were there, I called Colonel Tommy Goodwin at the Arkansas state police. He returned my phone call from Little Rock to that room, verifying that I was there.
HCQ: Now, what is the Ross Perot angle on this? Why were you getting calls from him?
CASE: I was contacted, there was a group of attorneys contacted me and a friend I had out in Arizona, and offered us some big money two days before the election. They faxed a bunch of stuff to him in Arizona, which I have copies of everything to him. Braden, Mark Braden in Washington, and he’s with a large law firm, he faxed a picture of himself, his background, his history, and a copy of a contract agreement for us to supply stuff to him two days before the election.
HCQ: Who did Braden work for?
CASE: Braden, he, I recorded his conversations, along with two other lawyers, two big law firms were involved because they called me and when I told them no, they called my man in Arizona. My man in Arizona is where I sent everything when it got so hot around here.
HCQ: But the guys in Washington, the attorneys, they were trying to do the same thing, which is to take down Clinton?
CASE: That’s right, that’s right.
HCQ: How do you get hooked up with these people?
CASE: These people called me through somebody else. . .
HCQ: What does Perot have to do with the two Washington law firms?
CASE: Nothing, unless he had them call me.
HCQ: You said you got calls from Perot’s people.
CASE: I did. What I’m trying to tell you is when I wouldn’t deal with him and wouldn’t get him what they wanted, I feel like they tried to come in the back door with the attorneys in Washington.
HCQ: Did you give them any information?
CASE: I did not give them anything.
HCQ: Larry Nichols?
CASE: Larry Nichols didn’t even know who there were. For all I know, Larry Nichols might have told them how to contact me because at that time we did have the information up for sale.
HCQ: Have you gotten paid for any information that you’ve given regarding Clinton?
CASE: Well, I ain’t going to comment on that.
HCQ: Is that one of your objectives?
CASE: At this point in time, it would probably be my main objective.
HCQ: If I offered you money for something regarding Hillary Clinton, is that something you’re interested in?
CASE: My only interest now, my only interest whatsoever, is financial gain. I have nothing else to gain by any of this. I’m not somebody running for office or wanting to take down some politician just because I’m going to run for office like a lot of people around here in Arkansas. That was their game and I think they were using Larry Nichols.
HCQ: It sounds like he had a real hatred for Bill Clinton.
CASE: He does have a hatred for Bill Clinton. When he did this, he evidently ruffled the feathers of the Republican Party, too, because they got off of him. He came to me and said he had $375,000. They were going to wire transfer it to his bank account. He wanted me to meet with him the next day and he wanted everything that I had. We met the next day, he was supposed to bring a copy of the wire transfer to prove, you know, that he had the backing and everything. I called his bank, he had nothing, all he was trying to do was con the stuff out of me. He never even had the front money.
HCQ: Where was that coming from?
CASE: I think it was local Republicans. He never would tell me. He said it was coming out of Washington. A conservative contractor.
HCQ: It sounds like you can get whatever money can buy out there if you want something against Clinton.
CASE: That’s exactly the way it was for awhile. Everybody here had something for sale in regards to Clinton.
HCQ: Does that mean it wasn’t true?
CASE: No. No. You know they got to take care of themselves. You say something against Clinton back then your ass is grass. It’s still the same way. Anything you say against him, anything you come up with, and it was true, they could turn it around and make you look like an asshole.
HCQ: You mentioned that your tapes of people talking about Hillary might be subpoenaed?
CASE: I would assume.
HCQ: Why do you assume that?
CASE: From what I’ve read here, locally, they’re going to look at the Vince Foster — Hillary connection and there’s a couple of people know I have the tapes.
HCQ: That’s just tapes of other people repeating the rumors. Did you have any contact with the Park police?
CASE: Yes, I did.
HCQ: What was that all about?
CASE: That was about some recordings. I talked to Captain Hume.
HCQ: Those were just, what, conversations?
CASE: Yeah.
HCQ: So essentially what you’re saying is, you have had some contact with Perot but it didn’t go anywhere. They were trying to get you to do something.
CASE: This is before the election.
HCQ: Who would I talk to down there?
CASE: I’d have to look up the names somewhere.
HCQ: OK.
CASE: The last ones I talked to were top aides.
HCQ: Would he be discrediting Bill Clinton?
CASE: I don’t know. Do you know John Paxon at CBS News?
HCQ: I know the name.
CASE: Call him. He knows I talk to the Perot campaign. He’ll tell you. Tell him I told him to tell you. He’s called me. He called me last week.
HCQ: Paxon?
CASE: Paxon. P-a-x-o-n. CBS News out of Dallas. He calls me every time something comes up. He’ll tell you everything that I ever told him. I want everyone to know that conversations they have with me, I’m not going to lie because I’m on the same recordings that they are, you know.

First Lady Hillary Clinton strikes back at her critics.

“What I do not like and what I find regrettable is the amount of hatred that is being conveyed and really injected into our political system. I don’t have any problem with anybody disagreeing with this President on any policy position. But this personal, vicious hatred that for the time being is aimed primarily at the President, and to a lesser extent myself, I think is very dangerous for our political process.”

— First Lady Hillary Clinton

After enduring months of highly personal attacks against herself and her husband, First Lady Hillary Clinton lashed back at her most outspoken critics in a discussion of health care reform with reporters. The White House faxed HCQ a copy of her remarks. Here is a verbatim transcript of the highlights.

Reporter: You told Peter Maier that there are right-wing radical ideologues who don’t want people to have health care in this country. Who are you talking about? Who are these folks?

Mrs. Clinton: Well, you know I think they are a combination of the same kind of people who have been around in our country since its beginnings, the sort of ideologically-opposed who think that nobody should get anything from anybody else. And there’s a streak of that in American politics. There always has been.

There are people who opposed social security, opposed civil rights, opposed minimum wage, opposed Medicare, opposed Medicaid. I mean at every step along the way, there is this small core of people who do not believe that government should do anything. Now they’re the same people who drive down highways paid for by government funds. They are the same people who love the Defense Department which is funded by government money, but they have a different mind set when it comes to social policy in trying to be a compassionate and caring nation.

Then there are the people who for opportunistic reasons are opposing health care reform both because it is in their financial interest to do so because they want to be able to maintain the status quo and they are not above inciting other people to be very emotional about helping them to sustain their favored position. And then there are those who are for political reasons opposing health care reform because there are lots of people who don’t want any changes and particularly don’t want changes by this President to occur.

Now, most of the people I’ve just described are ones who pull the strings of others and inflame people by making charges of socialized medicine, for example, or the government is going to take over the health care system. And there’s a very well-organized and well-financed effort to convey that message so that, for example, when you see people protesting in the streets as we saw a couple of weeks ago, as I personally saw in Seattle, they were there in large measure because they’d been inflamed by a local radio talk show host who finds it in his own personal financial opportunistic interest to take this position. I had no idea whether the man was insured or not, but he inflames people who are sitting at home that somehow the Clintons are going to take over the government and they’re going to find themselves without a doctor or whatever their arguments are.

And if you talk to these people very often they don’t have a clue about what health care reform is about. They are responding to these emotional kinds of attacks. And I just think that’s part and parcel of what you always find when you look at moments of a lot of change converging at the same point in American history. You will find that strain of people. And I think it’s very unfortunate, but it’s something that is part of our political scene.

What I do not like and what I find regrettable is the amount of hatred that is being conveyed and really injected into our political system. I don’t have any problem with anybody disagreeing with this President on any policy position. I don’t have a problem with any member of Congress opposing health care reform because he doesn’t think it’s a good idea or he wants to use it as a political weapon. I mean, that’s politics.

But this personal, vicious hatred that for the time being is aimed primarily at the President, and to a lesser extent myself, I think is very dangerous for our political process. And I think those who are encouraging it should think long and hard about the consequences of such encouragement. And in a free society, certainly people are free to say or do what they think furthers their political agenda.

But we have to draw the line on violence, and you have to draw the line on protests that incite violence. And a lot of the talk that is coming out is, to me, very sad, and I think we’ll have very unfortunate consequences for our entire body politic and not just for this Administration.

Reporter: Mrs. Clinton, you said earlier that the debate has heightened public understanding of the health care issues. But as we approach the elections the rhetoric is getting increasingly more partisan. Do you think that helps public understanding or just adds to some of the confusion?

Mrs. Clinton: I think that’s a fair question because it has, in the last couple of weeks, gotten increasingly partisan and it’s brought out all the old bromides. I see some of these signs that look like they’ve been around since Social Security, about socialism. And I don’t think that’s particularly beneficial for the substantive debate. But actually, it may be helpful in sharpening the differences, because when someone gets on TV as a member of the Congress and says health care reform which is meant to guarantee you private insurance is socialism, I think it’s fair then to ask, well, you must be against Social Security and Medicare, right? Oh, no, that’s different.

So I think that, in effect, the partisan rhetoric which is now filling the airwaves and the halls of Congress may help politically because it’s so far-fetched. And I think that once that becomes clear to people, then we can go back to hammering out the substance of what needs to be done.

Reporter: You talk a lot about the power of special interests. And I don’t want to prejudge the outcome of the debate at all, it seems like a toss-up to me, but should health care reform fail, what do you think that history will record as the reason? Have you been — you talk a lot about special interests, have you been sobered at all — discovered the American electorate is —

Mrs. Clinton: No, no. But I think it’s just reinforced what is an unfortunate fact of life, which is that huge amounts of money spent to convey an intense negative message has a very powerful impact. We know that. It’s one of the real unfortunate effects in our political life of negative advertising. And it is always easier to be against something than to be for something, particularly if being for something means you are for changes that affect a lot of people and which have a very broad constituency instead of a narrow focused constituency.

So nothing about this has been surprising. It’s been right in line with what has always happened. I mean I saw a study that seemed to suggest that in 1947 or ’48 the special interests — largely at that time, organized medicine against Harry Truman’s health care reform — spent $60 million. Now $60 million in the late ’40s was a whole lot of money.

And that was before commercial insurers took off; it was before a lot of the interests we’re up against today that have a vested stake in how the system currently runs were very well established. So now the latest survey or the latest amount of money that has been guessed at having been spent against us in the whole campaign for health care reform and trying to get the message out to people is about $120 million. I think that’s what the Annenberg Institute or somebody — the Annenberg Institute which has followed the debate said their estimate was that $120 million had been spent against the idea of health care reform.

So when you’ve got that kind of money being spent when its message is very simple — its message is, don’t do it — whereas the positive message ranges from physicians who are for universal coverage but concerned about a willing provider, to pharmaceuticals that are for universal coverage but are concerned about any impact on drug pricing, to community action groups that are for universal coverage but want a single-payer system.

I mean, you go down the line of everybody who’s for health care reform, particularly defined as universal coverage, it’s a very broad group of organizations and interests. They cannot possibly have the intensity that the negative forces have. That is just, I think, to be expected.

Reporter: You just said, and the President has said a lot, that every time you moved toward the Republicans, they step back. Well, there are actually a number of Democrats that have also been equally as unyielding, and some — Senator Breaux, for example, has actually moved away from positions he held earlier, like the trigger mandate. What do you have to say for them? Does that frustrate you; does it anger you? Or why hasn’t the Democratic Party been more united on this issue?

Mrs. Clinton: Oh, please, Hillary. (Laughter.) I mean, this is part of being a Democrat. (Laughter.) Think of where we were a year ago — the budget would never pass, you’d never get a majority, the Democrats were deserting the President, it will never work, it will raise unemployment, it will destroy interest rates, and on and on and on and on.

Well, we got it done and, by golly, it worked. And we got it done with all Democrats. And actually, we don’t need quite as many Democrats because Senator Jeffords understands health care reform, unlike many others. And in fact, his support for health care reform has increased, as I understand it, his ratings in Vermont by 20 points.

So we’re going to have a hard-fought battle down to the very end with a small group of Democrats and all but one of the Republicans claiming the sky is falling and that all kinds of terrible things will happen. And then, eventually, we will get a vote that will be a majority vote for a decent bill.

Reporter: Will you get it done with all Democrats again?

Mrs. Clinton: No, we’ve got Senator Jeffords. (Laughter.)

Well, we didn’t have him on the budget and, I mean, I don’t think you should — that’s not insignificant. And I think that — the thing about those who understand the issue — and I cannot stress this enough because many of the opponents of health care reform get away with rhetoric. It’s like Senator Gramm going on TV and saying, it’s socialized medicine, socialized medicine. And because our TV culture is such that the idea of getting at the truth is to have one side say the sky is falling and the other side say no it’s not, then at the end of 30 minutes they say, thank you very much. And nobody presses these guys to say, oh, really? And how is it that it’s socialized medicine? What does that mean? Does that mean that private insurance is going to start telling Americans what doctors they can use? Does that mean Medicare, which is paid for by a payroll tax, which is certainly a mandate, is going to all of a sudden start telling my mother what doctor she can use?

Nobody ever presses these guys. They get away with it day in and day out. So my hope is that as the debate actually is joined, and people have to defend their positions in public over a sustained period of time, this will become clearer to the American public about what really is at stake in this debate. And I have a lot of confidence that the outcome is going to be positive. And if it’s a 51 vote, fine. If we hadn’t had a 51 vote on the budget, we would not have 4 million new jobs, in my view.

So these are the kinds of trade-offs you make in life. And if you are trying to stand for something, and you believe it’s bigger than yourself and you think it’s the right thing to do, you stand up and get counted, no matter what the opposition or the political flack might be.

Reporter: Do you want to comment on the press coverage, print and press coverage?

Mrs. Clinton: Oh, I think the print press has been terrific. (Laughter.) No, I’m serious. If this debate had been played out based on what most of you — not all — but the vast majority of you have written, we would be further along. And I really mean this. Most of you have really gotten into the issue; you have studied it. What you’ve written has been clear and understandable to people. You’ve covered all sides of it, you’ve asked the hard questions.

And again, that’s the difference between 1994 and 1934. I mean, it is not thoughtful print journalism, unfortunately, in many respects which drives these social policy debates. It is the 30-second ad; it is the very well organized direct mail campaign; it is the radio talk show network. So I wish that all this debate were played out on the basis of what the majority of you have written, because I think you’ve done a real service.

Was Hillary confrontational or just trying to get a job done?

Many people wonder if Hillary Clinton was excessively confrontational as First Lady, or just a woman trying to get a job done in a man’s world, i.e. D.C. politics?

An article from Bloomberg.com asks the same question and uses transcripts from the Miller Center at the University of Virginia to come up with the answer it wanted: yes, Hillary was confrontational.

As an example, the article includes a long excerpt from Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, who recounted the experience of legislative affairs director, Pat Griffin, with First Lady Hillary Clinton:

I’ll never forget, Pat Griffin came out of that meeting and his eyes were that wide and he said, ‘You will not believe what I’ve just been through.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I had been at another staff meeting. He said, ‘I can’t believe it, I can’t believe what I’ve just been through.’ I said, ‘What’s the matter?’ He said, ‘The first lady just tore everybody a new a–hole.’ I said, ‘Really?’ It was that first experience.

I’d say “how awful,” but I think this quote and other excerpts from the transcripts must be put into context. First, remember that Hillary went to the White House from the governor’s mansion in Arkansas. From my own first-hand experience with the anti-Clinton crowd in Arkansas, they were brutal in their attacks on both Hillary and Bill Clinton. Whatever they wanted to say, they said, whether or not there were facts behind the attacks. So I think it is fair to say that Hillary was wary of having the same experience in Washington (which she did).

Second, she was given the task of health care reform, and we all know how difficult that was, both for her and later for President Obama. Certainly there was pressure on her to get the job done successfully. It took a strong, focused leader to do it, and she knew it. To others it might have seemed “confrontational,” but she was relentless in getting others to do their jobs so that she could do hers.

Third, let’s also remember that she was really the first woman to take an active political role as First Lady. She was a woman trying to do what traditionally was a “man’s job.” She broke new ground as a woman in Washington politics. In order for the insiders to take her seriously, she had to be tougher, more focused, and — yes — more confrontational than a man in the same position.

In retrospect, there’s no doubt that she learned from her early experiences as First Lady. She became more adroit and polished as a political force. The Bloomberg article ends with a comment from Alan Blinder, an economist, who served on Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers:

I think she’s much more politically astute now than she was in early 1993. I think she learned. She’s really smart. She learns, and she knows she made mistakes. She’s said it herself. I know she was not as politically astute then as she is now because there were a lot of these—I mentioned a couple of these—these alleged political ideas. How we were going to get the small-business lobby? How we were going to get the old-line industries? They were complete flops.

That’s a fair assessment, I think, of what happened during the Clinton Administration and Hillary’s role. Given the extenuating circumstances that she faced, she did remarkably well as First Lady. And, as we know, moved on to accomplish greater things after the left the White House.