Read The Truth About Hillary Online

Authors: Edward Klein

Tags: #Biographies & Memoirs, #Leaders & Notable People, #Political, #Specific Groups, #Women, #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Family Saga, #Politics & Social Sciences, #Politics & Government, #Ideologies & Doctrines, #Conservatism & Liberalism, #Political Science, #History & Theory, #Specific Topics, #Commentary & Opinion, #Sagas

The Truth About Hillary (3 page)

BOOK: The Truth About Hillary
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That was true, of course. But it still did not explain what made Hillary tick. After all this time, and all the effort that had been devoted to understanding her, the essential Hillary re- mained one of the great mysteries of our time.

What made her so difficult to understand was the fact that she was motivated not by one, but by many different feelings, ideas, and impulses—some conscious, others repressed—and that these feelings, ideas, and impulses were frequently at odds with each other.

She was a mother, but she wasn’t maternal. She was a wife, but she had no wifely instincts.

She said she was passionately in love with her husband, but many of her closest friends and aides were lesbians.

She inspired fierce loyalty among her followers, but she fre- quently stabbed them in the back.

She professed to be a devout Christian, but she cheated and lied at the drop of a hat.

She was a liberal who promised to use her power to help the weak and disenfranchised, but she acted more like a misanthrope who distrusted people and avoided their company.

14 THE TRUTH ABOUT HILLARY

For years, she denied she had any plans to run for president, yet she had always harbored the grandiose dream of succeed- ing her husband in the White House, and creating an empire of her own.*

In short, everything about Hillary was ambiguous; every- thing she stood for, she stood for the opposite. She seemed to lack the innate knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, and the obligation to tell the truth.

*Commenting on Hillary’s decision not to run for president in 2004, Bill Clinton told ABC’s
Good Morning America
: “She doesn’t want to be president
this time
” [italics added].
6

C
H A P T E R T W O

Hillary’s Bubble

T

he butler found the second-floor hallway com- pletely deserted. Not a single Secret Service agent was in sight.

Early in the Clinton administration, the Big Girl had a fit when stories began appearing in the press saying that she had thrown a lamp at Bill and called him a “stupid motherfucker.”
1
Another time, it was reported, she had burst into a room looking for her husband, and shouted at a Secret Service officer, “Where’s the miserable cocksucker?”
2

She blamed these press leaks on the plainclothes Secret Ser- vice officers who were stationed in the private residence, and she had them banished from the family quarters, where they had stood vigil since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The officers were moved down one level, where they could no longer witness the Clintons’
Jerry Springer
–style free-for-alls.

Hillary didn’t trust the White House ushers, either.

Until her ill-conceived decision to fire the entire Travel Of- fice blew up in her face, she was planning to fire all the ushers as

15

16 THE TRUTH ABOUT HILLARY

well, and replace them with people she knew and trusted.
3
When she realized she would have to live with the current crop of ush- ers whether she liked it or not, she placed restrictions on their access to the family quarters.

During the day, they were allowed to bring important papers—such as résumés of Supreme Court nominees and other applicants for high office—directly to the Big Girl, who signed off on all White House appointments. But once the President and First Lady retired for the night, the ushers had orders to leave messages on a table outside the elevator, where the doors to the residence were firmly shut.
4

Some of the staff felt that the Big Girl’s extreme suspicion of people and their motives bordered on paranoia. When she first arrived in Washington and realized she could not control the White House press corps, she tried to move the reporters out of their quarters in the West Wing and into the Old Executive Of- fice Building. The reporters howled in protest, and Hillary was forced to abandon her plan.
5

However, her defeat only made her more determined than ever to rein in the obstreperous press. She had the White House pressroom sealed off from the rest of the West Wing so that the reporters could not have easy access to the President’s press secretary.
6
What’s more, when she traveled domestically, she did not allow reporters to fly on her plane, because, as she explained, she did not like to be scrutinized by journalists during her downtime.

This obsession with privacy extended to the White House switchboard, whose operators were famous for being able to reach anybody anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Hillary ordered the installation of bedside telephones that did not go through the switchboard, so that she and her husband could talk on the encrypted phone lines and not worry about someone listening in. Every Sunday, the Army Signal Corps

Hillar y’ s Bubble
17

came to the White House to check the phones for taps and to make sure they were secure.
7

And so, by January 1998—the start of the sixth year of the Clinton presidency—Bill and Hillary Clinton governed America as co–chief executives from inside a giant protective bubble. All presidents live inside a bubble, but Hillary’s bubble was unique, because it was designed to conceal her moral imperfections. She always had to look perfect in her own eyes and everyone else’s.

“Bill learns from his mistakes,” noted Dick Morris. “Hillary doesn’t make any.”
8

Hillary’s bubble was an effective political tool. It camou- flaged the moral decay in the Clinton White House, and misled many people into believing that the Clintons were the victims of their political adversaries, rather than the other way around. It helped deflect Kenneth Starr’s quest for the truth about White- water, and left him sputtering in frustration. And it helped Bill Clinton win reelection—the first time in more than a half century that a Democratic president had won a second term in office.

These triumphs should have thrilled Hillary, and given her a sense of self-satisfaction. But that was not the case. Instead, as this morning’s frantic summons for the butler demonstrated, she was in an anxious state of mind.

The reason for this was not hard to find. All of Washington was abuzz with talk that Bill Clinton had gotten himself into woman trouble again, and that this time he might not be able to wriggle out of it. Members of Hillary’s staff had alerted her sev- eral days before that
Newsweek
magazine and the
Washington Post
, the paper whose Watergate investigation had led to the res- ignation of Richard Nixon, were hot on the trail of an equally sensational story—this one involving sex in the Oval Office be- tween Bill Clinton and a young White House intern.

While Hillary brooded over what to do about the brewing

18 THE TRUTH ABOUT HILLARY

scandal, she had stopped speaking to her husband. Everyone in the White House could feel the tension that existed between the Big Girl and the President, and a sense of panic began to engulf the place. Staffers sniped at each other in the corridors of the West Wing. Senior aides spoke in hushed tones into their cell phones. And a few battle-scarred veterans of past Clinton wars— such as press spokesman Mike McCurry and damage control chief Lanny Davis—tried to put some distance between them- selves and what they saw as the coming apocalypse.

“The mood inside the West Wing . . . had never been grim- mer,”
Newsweek
noted. “Staunch defenders who had lived through all the various -gates were disconsolate. There were tears and anger and a sense that maybe this time Clinton the great survivor was pushing his luck.”
9

Suddenly, Hillary’s bubble had burst.

C
H A P T E R T H R E E

Tacky Kaki

W

hen the butler entered the First Family’s eat- in kitchen, he found the Big Girl, dressed in paja- mas and a robe, seated at a table before a small

mirror. She was being fussed over by Isabelle Goetz, a slender young Frenchwoman who worked at Salon Cristophe, Washing- ton’s trendiest and most expensive hair salon. (Cristophe, the legendary Belgian stylist, cut Bill Clinton’s hair. The President once held up air traffic at Los Angeles Airport while he got a

$200 haircut from Cristophe aboard Air Force One.) When summoned by the White House, Isabelle came roaring over on her motorcycle.

The tip of the Big Girl’s nose was crimson, and the dusky bags under her eyes were puffier than usual. A wastepaper basket by her side was brimming with used tissues. She was nursing a bad head cold.

This room had once served as Margaret Truman’s bedroom. It had been done over, along with the rest of the White House,

19

20 THE TRUTH ABOUT HILLARY

by Hillary’s Little Rock decorator, Katherine “Kaki” Hocker- smith, who was known by some of her colleagues in the world of interior design as Tacky Kaki.

Kaki had a weakness for the Victorian period, and she had heaped yards of heavy velvet upholstery and gold Napoleonic laurel leaves on the public rooms of the White House.
1
When she was through with the Lincoln Sitting Room, critics said it looked like Belle Watling’s whorehouse parlor in
Gone With the Wind
.
2

On the other hand, Kaki had shown uncharacteristic re- straint when it came to the family quarters. She had replaced the eighteenth century–style hand-painted wallpaper that Nancy Reagan had chosen for the master bedroom because its pattern of birds in flight spooked Bill Clinton, who said it reminded him of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie
The Birds.
3

The kitchen resembled the Clintons’ eat-in kitchen in the Arkansas governor’s mansion; it was decorated in florals, chintzes, and linens to create an English country feeling. Comfortable white faux-wicker chairs flanked the table, which always had a fresh arrangement of flowers. The walls were covered in a fruit- patterned wallpaper by Country Life.

Hillary liked to say that she was involved in every detail of Kaki’s White House redecoration. But those who knew Hil- lary’s lack of interest in the domestic arts were more than a little skeptical.

“When Barbara Bush took [Hillary] on a tour of the White House after the election,” Richard L. Berke reported in the
New York Times
, “Mrs. Clinton expressed no interest in decorating chores and was far more preoccupied with building bookshelves for her huge collection. . . .”
4

Nonetheless, Hillary wanted to make a political statement by erasing the Republican ambiance created by Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush and putting her own Boomer stamp on the White

Tacky Kaki
21

House. No one knew exactly how much money Kaki and Hillary had lavished on their White House project. Some estimates ran as high as $400,000, about a quarter of a million dollars more than had been budgeted. The Clintons claimed that all the money came from private donations.

Christopher Emery, a White House usher who was fired by Hillary for chatting on the phone with former First Lady Bar- bara Bush,* told the author of this book that Hillary had not only exceeded her budget allotment, but had secretly tapped into Historical Association funds.
5

Whatever the final figure, one thing was clear: there was more to the redecoration project than met the eye. It was one of the factors leading up to the apparent suicide in July 1993 of Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr., Hillary’s colleague from her Rose Law Firm days in Little Rock, who handled all of her private affairs in the White House, and who guarded her secrets. Vince Foster and Hillary had met years before while working with the Legal Services Corporation. In Little Rock, they spent countless hours together, established an intimate bond, and con- soled each other about their unhappy marriages. Several Arkan- sas state troopers charged that Vince and Hillary had been lovers, and that when Bill Clinton was out of town, Vince would spend the night with Hillary at the governor’s mansion. There were also reports that Hillary and Vince stayed together overnight in

a remote cabin in the woods.
6

“Within the small circle of politically clued-in people in Little Rock, it was accepted as a fact that Hillary and Vince were sleeping with each other,” said Michael Galster, a medical

BOOK: The Truth About Hillary
12.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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