Special Report

Bill Clinton and Legitimate Rape

Clinton rape scandal resurfaces in Akin controversy: The McCaskill-Clinton videos.

By 8.23.12

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"…the threat, use and cultural acceptance of sexual force is a pervasive process of intimidation that affects all women." -- Feminist Susan Brownmiller in her 1975 bestseller Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape

"Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me." -- President Obama on Congressman Todd Akin's use of the term "legitimate rape"

"Bill Clinton to Have Leading Role at Party's Convention" -- July 30, 2012 New York Times story announcing that the Obama campaign has selected the former President to nominate Obama

So.

The Obama White House has decided to legitimize rape.

Talk about a mistake.

President Obama, after a considerable absence, abruptly appeared in the White House pressroom the other day to address Congressman Todd Akin's wildly offensive comment about "legitimate rape." In the President's own words: "Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me."

In a stroke the President -- not to mention his allies on Capitol Hill, in the media and left-leaning interest groups -- resurrected one of the most divisive moments of the 1990's.

That moment?

What NBC reporter Lisa Myers was said in the day to have called the "very credible" allegation that Bill Clinton raped a Clinton campaign worker named Juanita Broaddrick.

In a ricochet doubtless unintended, the decision by the White House to personally insert the President into the Akin "legitimate rape" controversy now focuses attention on two stark realities:

  • · The selection of Clinton to give the nominating speech for President Obama in a primetime TV slot at the Democrats' convention.
  • · Re-surfacing videos of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill campaigning with Clinton while saying she "wouldn't want him near my daughter." Videos like this one and this one of McCaskill on Meet the Press.

In other words, both Obama -- not to mention McCaskill -- are now essentially and literally "legitimizing rape" by the selection of Clinton as Obama's nominator -- and as the man who raised funds for McCaskill in the first place.

Will McCaskill return the funds Clinton raised for her in 2006? What do you think?

Just call it the legitimizing of rape.

Not to mention that the "legitimate rape" controversy draws attention to the unintended irony of this remark on Clinton's selection by Obama campaign chief David Axelrod:

"There isn't anybody on the planet who has a greater perspective…."

Ouch.

For those who came in late, let's recall the facts. (And note: our friend Mark Levin was the first to raised this subject as the liberal criticism of Akin grew.)

In 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton, then Governor of Arkansas and a former state attorney general, was caught up in a swirl of allegations that he was your basic womanizer. One woman, Gennifer Flowers, came forward in a formal press conference to say that she in fact had been a Clinton paramour. She produced audiotapes of Clinton talking with her over the phone -- talking about both the intimacy of their personal relationship and the campaign. There was much chewing of much political fat. As here with then-Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos on ABC -- where he is now an anchor -- saying "Bill Clinton has no character problem" and that allegations about Flowers and other women were "side issues." (Years later, in his memoirs, Stephanopoulos said simply of Clinton and Flowers: "He lied.") Next, candidate Clinton along with wife Hillary, then both newcomers to the national scene, took to the set of the CBS show 60 Minutes to acknowledge problems in their marriage but insist all was now well. Come November, Clinton was president-elect.

Soon enough -- in late 1993 -- the "Troopergate" scandal erupted, revealed in the pages of The American Spectator. With allegations that Arkansas state troopers had been used during Clinton’s governorship to assist the governor with his womanizing. Paula Jones surfaced for the first time. In other words, the womanizing tales began to blossom more fully in the Clinton first term.

Time passed. Other issues inevitably came to the fore -- the economy, terrorism, the usual. In 1996 Clinton was re-elected with 49% of the vote, defeating former Kansas Senator Bob Dole (and a third party Ross Perot).

In early 1998, out of the seeming blue, another Clinton "bimbo eruption" (as his staff called them) erupted. This one would not go away.

The President was accused of having an affair with a young White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. This in turn launched a veritable small parade of women coming forth with allegations of Clinton's inappropriate sexual behavior.

One of the women involved was Juanita Broaddrick. Ms. Broaddrick, a nursing home administrator and successful professional, had been a campaign volunteer in Clinton's 1978 campaign when then-Attorney General Clinton was running for governor. Lisa Myers of NBC first reported her story for television (no video link available.) But at a later date Broaddrick sat down with the Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz and told her story again.

Here are the key parts of the Broaddrick story as she told them to Rabinowitz:

The story: In 1978, 35-year-old Juanita Broaddrick--a Clinton campaign worker--had already owned a nursing home for five years. Since her graduation from nursing school she had worked for several such facilities and decided she wanted to run one of her own. It was that home that Attorney General Clinton visited one day, on a campaign stop during his run for governor. He invited Juanita, then still married to her first husband, to visit campaign headquarters when she was in Little Rock. As it happened, she told him, she was planning to attend a seminar of the American College of Nursing Home Administrators the very next week and would do just that. On her arrival in Little Rock, she called campaign headquarters. Mrs. Broaddrick was surprised to be greeted by an aide who seemed to expect her call, and who directed her to call the attorney general at his apartment. They arranged to meet at the coffee shop of the Camelot Hotel, where the seminar was held--a noisy place, Mr. Clinton pointed out; they could have coffee in her room.

They had not been there more than five minutes, Mrs. Broaddrick says, when he moved close as they stood looking out at the Arkansas River. He pointed out an old jailhouse and told her that when he became governor, he was going to renovate that place. (The building was later torn down, but in the course of their searches, NBC's investigators found proof that, as Mrs. Broaddrick said, there had been such a jail at the time.) But the conversation did not linger long on the candidate's plans for social reform. For, Mrs. Broaddrick relates, he then put his arms around her, startling her.

"He told me, 'We're both married people,'" she recalls. She recalls, too, that in her effort to make him see she had no interest of this kind in him, she told him yes, they were both married but she was deeply involved with another man--which was true. She was talking about the man she would marry after her divorce, David Broaddrick, now her husband of 18 years.

The argument failed to persuade Mr. Clinton, who, she says, got her onto the bed, held her down forcibly and bit her lips. The sexual entry itself was not without some pain, she recalls, because of her stiffness and resistance. When it was over, she says, he looked down at her and said not to worry, he was sterile--he had had mumps when he was a child. "As though that was the thing on my mind--I wasn't thinking about pregnancy, or about anything," she says. "I felt paralyzed and was starting to cry."

As he got to the door, she remembers, he turned. "This is the part that always stays in my mind--the way he put on his sunglasses. Then he looked at me and said, 'You better put some ice on that.' And then he left."

Her friend Norma Rogers, a nurse who had accompanied her on the trip, found her on the bed. She was, Ms. Rogers related in an interview, in a state of shock--lips swollen to double their size, mouth discolored from the biting, her pantyhose torn in the crotch. "She just stayed on the bed and kept repeating, 'I can't believe what happened.'" Ms. Rogers applied ice to Juanita's mouth, and they drove back home, stopping along the way for more ice.

Broaddrick also told Rabinowitz that after her interview with NBC's Myers, NBC had balked at airing it. The Clinton impeachment proceedings were in full swing, and there was an apparent sentiment within the network not to add to Clinton's woes. According to Broaddrick., Myers had said to her:

"The good news is you're credible. The bad news is you're very credible."

There is, of course, much more to this story. NBC finally aired the Myers-Broaddrick interview -- long after Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in the impeachment trial. At one point early on Broaddrick had even denied the story in an affidavit out of fear. But when the lawyers for Clinton's special prosecutor Kenneth Starr came to her, realizing lying to a federal prosecutor in a presidential impeachment trial was at a whole other level, Broaddrick came forth with her story.

But the first impeachment jury -- members of the U.S. House -- read of her tale. Broaddrick's testimony to the special prosecutor was known as "Jane Doe No. 5" and kept in a closed "evidence room" where Congressmen had to go, read the material, and leave. One of those was Connecticut's moderate Republican Christopher Shays, who later gave this interview to a local radio station. Said Shays of Clinton and the rape allegation from Juanita Broaddrick:

"I believed that he had done it. I believed her that she had been raped 20 yrs ago. And it was vicious rapes, it was twice at the same event."

At one point, interviewer Tom Scott bluntly asks of Shays: "Do you personally believe our president is a rapist?"

Shays responded: "I would like not to say it that way. But the bottom line is that I believe that he did rape Broaddrick."

On another occasion, Broaddrick discussed a later incident involving Hillary Clinton. The conversation is with Sean Hannity here.

Now.

Why is any of this relevant today? Why even bring it up?

Here's why.

Suffice to say, in this corner the thought was that Congressman Todd Akin should abandon his Senate race for his unbelievably inappropriate comments about rape. Rape is not legitimate. Period. Everybody and their GOP or conservative brother and sister from Mitt Romney on down the line had the same belief. There was hardly a conservative anywhere who didn't suggest it would be better if Akin left the Senate race.

Akin decided to stay put.

So the Akin-McCaskill race is now formally on. With Akin expected to have a tough time defeating McCaskill because, well, you know, the "legitimate rape" business.

President Obama has taken after Akin, with the comments noted above. Over at the Democratic National Committee they have a banner on the front page of their website featuring black-and-white photos of Romney, Ryan and -- Todd Akin.

The caption? "The GOP is Dangerously Wrong for Women."

Like clockwork, Nancy Keenan, the President of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), took to the Huffington Post to slam the Romney/Ryan ticket, insisting that the two "… have every intention of a continued War on Women."

And -- get this -- Keenan posted the news on the NARAL website that she was "honored" to be chosen to speak at the Democrats' convention. From the same podium where the man accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick will nominate President Obama. Writes Keenan: "I will speak on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America's million member-activists, and all Americans who understand that women -- not politicians -- should be able to make personal, private health-care decisions."

All of which is to say, when it comes to the allegation that the convention's star speaker other than Obama himself has a rape problem -- the NARAL president will be only to happy to clam up and, to borrow the now famous phrase, legitimize rape.

Also added to the speakers list at the convention in the wake of l'affaire Akin? Sandra Fluke of Rush Limbaugh fame and the President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards. Will Fluke or Richards protest Bill Clinton?
 
Of course not. When it comes to the subject of rape and Bill Clinton, these women are stone mute. They will meekly accept their place and say what they are told.

Over in the Senate, California Senator Barbara Boxer stepped into trouble instantly: "All rape is forced. Am I right on that point?"

Well. Yes. Recall Broaddrick's description to Rabinowitz of the force used on her by Bill Clinton:

"Mr. Clinton….got her onto the bed, held her down forcibly and bit her lips. The sexual entry itself was not without some pain, she recalls, because of her stiffness and resistance."

The injuries she received in this act of rape, Broaddrick says, were apparent enough that on his way out of the room:

"This is the part that always stays in my mind--the way he put on his sunglasses. Then he looked at me and said, 'You better put some ice on that.' And then he left."

Whatever Todd Akins' flaws, his worldview is in fact a world away from that of not only Claire McCaskill and Barack Obama -- but certainly of Bill Clinton.

So let's go from here to that famous feminist text of the 1970's, Susan Brownmiller's Against Our Will: Men Women and Rape.

Brownmiller's book, today advertised by its publisher as the "Bestselling Feminist Classic," says this on the book flap of its first edition:

"…the threat, use and cultural acceptance of sexual force is a pervasive process of intimidation that affects all women."

Stop.

Say again, this liberal bible of feminism talks about the "cultural acceptance of sexual force."

And what is upcoming in the next few weeks?

That's right. The two national political conventions -- major quadrennial features of American culture.

And which convention is featuring in prime time -- for the specific purpose of re-nominating the President of the United States -- the man who was specifically accused as follows?

"Mr. Clinton….got her onto the bed, held her down forcibly and bit her lips. The sexual entry itself was not without some pain, she recalls, because of her stiffness and resistance."

Correct. The convention nominating President Obama.

The very same president who said just this week that:

"Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me."

Obviously, rape is not rape for Obama if the man in question is -- Bill Clinton.

Interestingly, feminist Brownmiller also insisted that rape for women was the same as lynching was for blacks -- a subject that should ring a bell in the White House of the first black president. But, alas, no big deal.

Brownmiller also gives an eerily prescient description in the 1975 of what Broaddrick describes as her three years-later harrowing experience with then-Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Clinton. Writes Brownmiller in a chapter titled Power: Institution and Authority:

…the glamour attached to cultural heroes, such as a movie star, sports figure, rock singer or respected-man-in-the-community, provides a psychologic edge that lessens the need for physical coercion until it is too late for the victim to recognize her predicament.

This description matches almost exactly with what Broaddrick told Rabinowitz. The Attorney General and candidate for governor -- what Brownmiller calls "the respected-man-in-the-community" syndrome -- made a campaign stop at her nursing home business and invited her to "visit his campaign headquarters." She did when next in Little Rock, was instructed to call the Attorney General at his apartment, did so and wound up meeting him at the hotel where her meeting was being held. The rest -- he invites himself to the unsuspecting Broaddrick's room for coffee -- unfolds just as Brownmiller describes in such situations with a power figure. As Broaddrick told Rabinowitz:

"They had not been there more than five minutes, Mrs. Broaddrick says, when he moved close as they stood looking out at the Arkansas River. He pointed out an old jailhouse and told her that when he became governor, he was going to renovate that place….."

In other words, it was too late for Broaddrick to "recognize her predicament." And within five minutes -- five minutes! -- Broaddrick's nightmare began.

So.

In the aftermath of the episode involving Congressman Akin's words, is there not more than a tad bit of irony that the man chosen to nominate Obama is a man who didn't use the words "legitimate rape" -- but is himself accused, in considerably excruciating detail -- of rape?

Which is to say, having now walked themselves out there on the end of a long and fragile limb on Akin's idiotic wording -- insisting the GOP is "dangerous to women" and that Akin is more evidence of a GOP "war on women" -- Democrats and the Obama campaign are blithely giving a pass to an actual accused rapist who is going to be one of the main stars at their convention.

And not only doing it without a peep of concern but thrilled at the very exciting prospect.

Hence the obvious.

Concisely put, Obama, Claire McCaskill and the Democrats are legitimizing rape -- right in the glare of the television lights.

And hoping that no one will notice.

Is this not precisely what Brownmiller was calling "cultural acceptance of sexual force"? Making a man of whom then-Congressman Shays said to the question:

"Do you personally believe our president is a rapist?"

that:

"I would like not to say it that way. But the bottom line is that I believe that he did rape Broaddrick."

And Obama and company are going to run a campaign saying Romney, Ryan and Akin are "dangerous" to women?

Whatever Akin's flaws in this episode -- well discussed and agreed to here -- never has he been accused of actually raping a woman. Akins is more than correct to insist that he represents a different worldview than McCaskill and her liberal allies.

Doubtless the Akin campaign will now recall this interesting October 2006 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press when then-host Tim Russert had this exchange with McCaskill:

MR. RUSSERT: You're having Bill Clinton come in to raise money for you. Do you think Bill Clinton was a great president?

MS. McCASKILL: I do. I think -- I have a lot of problems with some of his, his, his personal issues. I said at...

MR. RUSSERT: But do you...

MS. McCASKILL: I said at the time, "I think he's been a great leader, but I don't want my daughter near him."

So McCaskill didn't want her daughter near the man Congressman Shays said he believed to have raped Juanita Broaddrick -- but she would have that same man come to Missouri and raise money for her? Yes, that's exactly what she said.

Can you say "cultural acceptance of sexual force."

Or, more colorfully put, McCaskill was essentially saying to Juanita Broaddrick, in the fashion of her famous fundraiser, 'You better put some ice on that.'. Then, having helped along the "cultural acceptance of sexual force" -- McCaskill took the money and ran.

And these people think Romney, Ryan and Akin are "dangerous to women"?

Seriously?

What is the difference between Todd Akin and Claire McCaskill? Between Todd Akin and Bill Clinton? Between Todd Akin and Barack Obama?

Akin used the wrong words -- and apologized for those words.

Bill Clinton stands "very credibly" accused of rape.

And liberals from Barack Obama to Claire McCaskill and the President of NARAL and Senator Boxer simply give Bill Clinton a pass. They will take his money (McCaskill) and his honeyed words to a national TV audience (Obama). And never say a word.

In short, they will do in harsh reality what Todd Akin would never dream of doing.

Give a pass to an allegation of "legitimate rape."

Contrary to what President Obama tried to say, if you are a liberal....

Rape is not rape.

It's no big deal.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.