A reader's guide to the salacious new book.
By Blake Wilson
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005, at 5:04 PM PT
How nasty is The Truth About Hillary, Edward Klein's new biography of the former first lady? Let's just say that Monica Lewinsky appears on Page 1, groping Bill Clinton's crotch at the rope line outside a cocktail reception for his 50th birthday. Klein, who used to edit the New York Times Magazine and now churns out books on the Kennedys, includes tawdry Hillary tidbits that he gathered in interviews with mostly anonymous sources ranging from Hillary's first boyfriend to high-ranking White House staffers. Clinton's spokesman, Philippe Reines, told Reuters, "This is a book full of blatant and vicious fabrications contrived by someone who writes trash for cash.'' Want to see what all the fuss is about? Here's Slate's handy guide to the muck that Klein raked in:
Bill and Hillary in the Boudoir
Pages 91-92: Dolly Kyle Browning, who says she was Bill Clinton's longtime mistress, tells Klein that Bill asked her to pray for Hillary to get pregnant. "He and Hillary never had much of a sexual relationship," she explains. "Also, Billy had a low sperm count, and he and Hillary were going to a fertility specialist in California. They had been trying for quite a while without any success."
Pages 90-91: An unnamed source tells Klein that, after a night of heavy drinking at a Bermuda resort, Bill bragged, "I'm going back to my cottage to rape my wife." A source says he joined the Clintons for breakfast the next day. "When we get there," he tells Klein, "the place looks like World War III. There are pillows and busted-up furniture all over the place."
Page 91: Klein's source asserts that Bill learned Hillary was pregnant by reading the newspaper: "Hillary hasn't been feeling well recently," Bill told him. "She went to the doctor, and the doctor called a press conference, and lo and behold, I'm holding the Arkansas Gazette reading that my wife is pregnant." "Do you know what night that happened?" Bill continued, "It was in Bermuda ... And you were there!"
Bill in Other Women's Boudoirs
Page 70: Klein reports that Bill was already a veteran womanizer when he and Hillary met at Yale Law School. "Bill's pattern," one of his classmates tells Klein, "was seduction and betrayal. The latter seemed to come as naturally to him as the former. He would do anything as long as he got what he wanted from people."
Page 213: Klein alleges that Clinton recently had an affair with a divorced woman in her early 40s who lived in Chappaqua, N.Y. Klein says Clinton would spend the night at her house while the Secret Service sat parked in the driveway.
How Hillary Managed Bill's Women
Pages 98-99: Little Rock private investigator Ivan Duda tells Klein that Hillary called on him after Bill was defeated in his second governor's race. According to Duda, she said, "I want you to get rid of all these bitches he's seeing. ... I want you to give me the names and addresses and phone numbers, and we can get them under control."
Page 110: Klein writes that Hillary and her Deputy Chief of Staff Evelyn Lieberman allowed Bill to keep a number of mistresses on the White House staff. Klein repeats the characteristically sketchy claim of a "high-level White House staffer" who tells him that "the assumption among the women in the White House was that Bill took [one staffer] on political trips and that she stayed with him in his hotel room."
Hillary and Vince Foster
Page 22: Michael Galster, a former Arkansas prison contractor who had social connections to the Clintons, tells Klein that when he considered blowing the whistle on a crooked scheme that implicated Bill, Vince Foster came to intimidate him: "You know what your noncooperation means as far as the state's renewing your orthopedic contract, don't you, Mike?"
Page 21: According to Galster, "It was accepted as a fact that Hillary and Vince were sleeping with each other."
Hillary's First Love
Pages 49, 52: Jim Yrigoyen, Hillary's first boyfriend, tells Klein that when he crossed her, she gave him a bloody nose. Later, when he pelted her with some well-aimed throws in a snowball fight, she attacked him. "She got pretty angry, and came after me, punching and hitting me in the chest and face." The next day, she broke up with him. Jim became a high school guidance counselor.
Hillary as Carpetbagger
Page 168-169: A source "close to" Daniel Patrick Moynihan tells Klein that when Hillary met with the incumbent senator to discuss her bid for his seat, things went so badly that Moynihan left the room. During the meeting, the source says, Liz Moynihan told Hillary, "The reason you're not doing well in New York … is because Jews don't like you."
Page 175: Klein got his hands on a confidential fund-raising plan for Hillary's Senate campaign that was drafted in early 1999. She and her staff set out to raise $25 million in hard money and planned to raise more than two-thirds of the money from out of state.
Hillary and the Truth
Page 169: Klein's gossipy source also tells him that Liz Moynihan said Hillary is "duplicitous. ... She would say or do anything that would forward her ambitions. She can look you straight in the eye and lie, and sort of not know she's lying. Lying isn't a sufficient word; it's distortion—distorting the truth to fit the case."
Hillary as Cynical Careerist
Pages 221-222: Klein asserts that when a group of women came to ask Senator Hillary to support the Child Care Bill, she nixed the idea: "It's not going to fly," Hillary supposedly told them. "I'm not going to spend my political capital on something that's doomed before it starts." The leader of the group tells Klein, "I think Hillary's ambition simply got the better of her, and that she will do anything to get to the White House."
Pages 238-239: Hillary kept her own 2008 prospects in mind throughout the Kerry/Edwards campaign. "Think of that famous line of hers from the New Hampshire primary of 1992," an anonymous Democratic politico tells Klein. "She said she'd campaign 'until the last dog dies.' Well, the dogs were still alive and barking when she stopped campaigning for John Kerry."
Hillary as Lesbian?
Pages 62-63: A college classmate of Hillary's tells Klein: "The notion of a woman being a lesbian was fascinating to Hillary. ... But she was much more interested in lesbianism as a political statement than a sexual practice. ... Hillary talked about it a lot, read lesbian literature, and embraced it as a revolutionary concept."
Hillary's Appearance and Personal Hygiene
Page 220: An anonymous doctor "who had knowledge of such matters" tells Klein that Hillary has "been Botoxed to the hilt."
Pages 24-25: Hillary's friends tell Klein that she hates the way she looks. Klein writes: "As a young woman ... Hillary had felt so hopelessly unattractive that she did not bother to shave her legs and underarms, and deliberately dressed badly so that she would not have to compete with more attractive women in a contest she could not possibly win."
Page 84: Dolly Kyle Browning on Hillary when she arrived in Arkansas to help with the 1974 Congressional race: "You should have seen her! No, you should have smelled her."
Page 25: A physician "who had observed [Hillary] at close quarters" speculates that her lumpy legs and bad figure may be the result of chronic lymphedema, a circulatory-system disorder that might have been caused by an obstetrical infection he suspects she contracted after her pregnancy with Chelsea.
The Lewinsky Affair
Page 105: An anonymous White House official tells Klein that Hillary's office pulled strings to get Monica a job as a White House intern as a favor for major fund-raiser Walter Kaye. "Every summer, we would put five hundred kids in jobs as unpaid interns in the White House and other governmental agencies," the official said. "At least fifty of them came through big donors. It wasn't a big deal."
Pages 136-137: Hillary claimed in her memoir Living History that she first learned the truth about Bill and Monica the day that he admitted the affair to the grand jury. Klein asserts that she must have known earlier because she had commissioned Robert Shrum to write a speech for Bill that admitted the truth. (Klein says she then scrapped the speech.)
Page 106: Klein reports that Monica and Bill were able to begin their affair during the 1995 federal government shutdown because a short-staffed Hillary couldn't keep an eye on him. "During this time," a White House source tells Klein, "Bill Clinton was wandering around the White House unchecked. ... Normally, when Hillary's people were there, the President wasn't allowed to wander."Blake Wilson is a Slate editorial assistant.