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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Money and the Clintons

Twenty-one years have passed since the 1992 election, in which Jerry Brown tried to make an issue of the Clintons' finances:



Many voters have no direct memory of the many ethical questions that surrounded the couple in the 1990s.  That is why Lloyd Green's Daily Beast article is important:
Put kindly, the Clintons have a tropism towards other people’s money. Put more bluntly, Hill and Bill are the Bonnie and Clyde of campaign fundraising.

Who can forget Clinton’s final-days pardon of fugitive oil trader and Scooter Libby client, the now late Marc Rich, or those Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers? In the incredulous words of DreamWorks' David Geffen, a big-time Democratic donor and former fan of the Clintons, “Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?”
Opposition researchers on both sides should not assume that reporters know this history.  It is quite likely that most of those covering the 2016 were in grade school when Whitewater was a top story. Peter Hamby writes:
In the summer of 2012, Reid Epstein’s editors at Politico moved him from the Romney beat to the White House. Epstein, then 33, remembers being among the oldest reporters in the press pack when he left the Romney bubble. At the White House, he was suddenly one of the youngest.
This isn’t too surprising. Since the 2004 campaign, with budgetary and deadline pressures weighing heavily on editors, news outlets have increasingly opted to send younger and more digitally savvy reporters on the road with campaigns.
The White House beat, meanwhile, is considered a “prestige” job. Editors and television bureau chiefs often put their more experienced reporters there, even though it’s a heavily controlled and sometimes too-cozy environment with very little news to sniff out. Plus, you can have children and maintain healthy personal relationships while covering the White House. The president lives in Washington, too, after all. Not so on a campaign.
Chuck Todd calls campaign coverage, with its ruthless travel schedule and ungodly morning call times, “a young man’s, a young woman’s game.”
They may know all about Twitter, but have they ever heard of the McDougals, Webster Hubbell, and the Rose Law Firm?  The challenge for oppo guys is to educate the press about such things.