Clinton office blasts Vanity Fair's 'tawdry attack piece'
The office of Bill Clinton has fired back against a sharply critical article on the former president in Vanity Fair, calling it "a tawdry, anonymous quote-filled attack piece" and "journalism of personal destruction at its worst."
Author Todd Purdum begins the Vanity Fair piece by raising insinuations about "the motley crew that constitutes some of the post-presidential rat pack," suggesting that "no former president of the United States has ever traveled with such a fast crowd, and most 61-year-old American men of Clintonís generation donít, either."
Purdum then raises a series of unanswered questions about Clinton, writing, "Virtually no one, except Ron Burkle, knows just what Clinton put into Burkleís investment business, or just what he has done since to earn millions of dollars, with the prospect of reaping millions more. Most of the names of the donors who have contributed some $500 million to Clintonís library and foundation over the past decade are not known, either. Virtually no one, except his doctors and family, knows the precise state of Clintonís health. Virtually no one really knows what strategic role he has played in his wifeís campaign."
Purdum further suggests, "There is reason to believe that Clinton, who never made more than $35,000 a year as governor of Arkansas and left the White House about $12 million in debt, has had his head turned by his ability to enjoy his post-presidential status; that the world of rich friends, adoring fans, and borrowed jets in which he travels has skewed his judgment or, at a minimum, created uncomfortable appearances of impropriety."
Purdum is married to former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers, who served in the Clinton administration in 1993-94.
In rebuttal, the statement released by Clinton's office speaks at length of Clinton's "enormous charitable accomplishments" and charges that "President Clinton has helped save the lives of more than 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency, and Vanity Fair couldn't find time to talk to even one of them for comment."
The Clinton statement also counter-attacks Vanity Fair on the grounds of its own "ethical challenges," its "penchant for libel, which has led to numerous lawsuits," and "Editor in Chief Graydon Carter's capitalization on his position at Vanity Fair to explore consulting and investment deals."
It concludes by denying that "President Clinton had a negative impact on his wife's campaign," quoting various articles in praise of Clinton's skills as a stump speaker and statistics showing large victories by Hillary Clinton in several counties where Bill Clinton spoke.
This video is from ABCNews.com, broadcast June 2, 2008.