Pay Up, Carville!
Read Page 248; Write $100,000 Check.
Posted Friday, August 6, 1999
Note: This item has an update appended at the end.
Clinton adviser James Carville has been running around offering $100,000 "to any reporter who can show me that Hillary Clinton linked the president's sexual misconduct with his childhood," as reported in Thursday's Washington Post.
You'd think Carville would have nailed down the matter before issuing such a generous challenge. Think again!. After kausfiles.com posted an item earlier today on the disingenuousness of reporter Lucinda Franks, who has begun denying that her Talk profile of Hillary contained any such childhood-cheating link, I received an email from reader Eric Fingerhut. Fingerhut points to a passage in Franks' profile -- a passage that comes after the piece has jumped to page 248 of Talk, and after the passages (which Franks now says are "two separate parts of her interview") in which Hillary discusses first Bill's philandering and then the "abuse" he endured as a child. On page 248, Hillary says:
This seems pretty dispositive. The "behavior" in question is clearly philandering. (In the previous sentences Hillary had talked about having a "confrontation" with Bill over it.) The "past" in question is clearly Bill's childhood. I suppose if you were a Clintonesque logician you could say Hillary doesn't explicitly say it's "his past" that "was causing his behavior" -- the two halves of the key sentence could be logically separate. But Hillary clearly sees a "link." Carville is wrong. And Franks is more clearly dissembling than I'd previously realized. (Moral: read the jump!)
James: the check for $100,000 should be made out to Eric Fingerhut. He writes for Washington Jewish Week. I can get you his address.
Update: Carville Craters, Fumfaws!
James Carville went on the Today show this morning and abruptly withdrew his rash $100,000 wager. The wager, as Carville outlined it to Katie Couric, had already been tellingly modified from the one Carville described to Howie Kurtz earlier in the week. Carville now says he was planning to pay the $100,000 to his alma mater, and only if Hillary Clinton had "excused" the President's behavior by referring to his childhood in her interview with Talk reporter Lucinda Franks. (To Kurtz, Carville wagered that Hillary hadn't "linked" the two issues.)
Carville's lame excuse for reneging was that Franks had now told the New York Times that Hillary "never made the connection" between abuse and philandering. (See this previous item for a discussion of Franks' claims.) But if Carville really believes Franks, why doesn't he put his money behind her?
Worse, for Carville, Couric was armed with the page 248 "smoking gun" quote (described above) in which Hillary clearly makes the controversial connection. After Carville had pontificated about how "the media, a lot of them haven't read the story," Couric read him from page 248, producing this rare, enjoyable paragraph of the normally confident and glib Carville reduced to utter, fumfawing incoherence:
Sounds like an outtake from the crazy slave's monologue in Waiting for Godot. What a pathetic performance!
P.S.: Couric also had another video clip in which Franks affirmed the connection she now denies. (Franks: "I think [Hillary] views her husband's sexual transgressions ... as a manifestation of the problems and compulsions and weaknesses that he had as a child.")
This fast-developing summer brouhaha is unfolding by the hour. To read today's earlier (but still relevant!) posting on Lucinda Franks' changing story, click on this sentence. And keep clicking back for the latest. I'll get RSI before you do!
Copyright 1999 Mickey Kaus.