“We have to destroy her story.”
The speaker: Hillary Clinton.
The man who took note of her words: George Stephanopoulos.
“I was with her” later wrote the man who is now the anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, noting his agreement.
At the time -- early 1992 -- Hillary Clinton was simply The Wife. The chief adviser and partner in the then-blossoming presidential campaign of husband Bill Clinton. Stephanopoulos was the devoted Bill Clinton aide and public face of the Clinton campaign, on his way to making his eventual media career.
Today, Hillary Clinton is a former Secretary of State and the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Stephanopoulos is the anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America. A position which Stephanopoulos has used unabashedly to push the liberal agenda, whether trying to blame the murderous rampage in Aurora, Colorado on the Tea Party, hyping a “secret tape” of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, pushing an “urgent plea” for the Obama gun control agenda or fawning over Robert Redford’s movie glamorizing leftist terrorists and on and on.
Close to the top of said liberal agenda, on the political side, is the preservation of Mrs. Clinton’s reputation and record as Secretary of State. A necessity for her presumed 2016 presidential candidacy that is thoroughly entangled with both the record and long-term historical legacy of the Obama presidency itself.
Thus, the tactics used to smear Bill Clinton’s women -- his “bimbo eruptions” as the phrase of the day went -- are now being wheeled out to deal with Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi whistleblowers.
First, let’s see how the Clinton game works, from bimbos to Benghazi
Clinton Rule One: Dismiss the accusation as Old News.
• Bimbos: This was a Clinton favorite in dealing with the bimbo eruptions. The allegation of an affair by a Little Rock woman named Connie Hamzy was “eight years earlier.” The allegation from Gennifer Flowers was both “old and untrue.” The news of an allegation from Paula Jones? The President told Stephanopoulos he “didn’t remember.”
• Benghazi: White House press secretary Jay Carney is trotted out to say that Benghazi happened “a long time ago.”
The Message: Both Bimbos and Benghazi are Old News, and therefore unimportant.
Clinton Rule Two: Attack the messenger.
• Bimbos: “I’m not going to comment on tabloid trash” was Stephanopoulos’s answer to the Star tabloid’s revelations of Gennifer Flowers’ relationship with Clinton. Paul Begala dismissed the Star story by saying it came from a paper that wrote stories of “alien babies.”
• Benghazi: Three days ago on May 6th, comes this story from Media Matters, run by Hillary Clinton acolyte David Brock. The headline:
Fox Hurls New Benghazi Attacks Full Of Old, Tired Falsehoods
And like clock work, over at Salon, political reporter Alex Seitz-Wald writes:
…those trying to fan flames of scandal have so embarrassed and discredited themselves by pushing bogus story lines on Benghazi that it may be hard for the media and American people to take any new allegations seriously. For instance, the last time we saw a “Benghazi whistle-blower,” it was an anonymous Fox News source, but he seemed to know so little about basic special operations that military analysts called him a clown and an embarrassment.
Got that? The Clinton attack-the-messenger strategy once used to deal with bimbo eruptions in the Star now shows up at Salon, written by Alex Seitz-Wald. And who is he? Why, a former assistant editor at Think Progress. And what is Think Progress? A blog set up by the Center for American Progress, which in turn is run by ex-Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. Wrote Robert Dreyfuss in the Nation:
In looking at Podesta's center, there's no escaping the imprint of the Clintons. It's not completely wrong to see it as a shadow government, a kind of Clinton White-House-in-exile—or a White House staff in readiness for President Hillary Clinton.
So the Center for American Progress and Media Matters are involved in this? Hmmm. Boasted Hillary Clinton back in the early years of the George W. Bush presidency:
“I helped to start and support…Media Matters and Center for American Progress.”
The Message: Hillary Clinton's critics have no credibility.
Clinton Rule Three: Call the accuser a liar and say they are doing it for money or publicity.
• Bimbos: “She had a motive to lie,” Stephanopoulos decided of Gennifer Flowers. So Flowers was portrayed as a liar -- until Flowers produced tapes of her conversations with Clinton. Paula Jones joined the list of women “whose stories were so suspect that their accounts shouldn’t be dignified by the media.” Not satisfied with simply calling Jones a liar, Bill Clinton’s campaign guru James Carville memorably said of Jones: “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find.”
• Benghazi: Now we move on through the years to Benghazi, and what do we get from the Hillary loyalists at the State Department? Sure enough, up steps State Department spokesmen Patrick Ventrell to accuse Greg Hicks’s attorney, Victoria Toensing, of lying, saying of the longtime attorney with an impeccable record for telling the truth that she had made “patently false” statements in representing Hicks. Designed, so goes the unspoken thought, to give Toensing free publicity.
The Message: Hillary Clinton’s accusers have an axe to grind.
Clinton Rule Four: Cover up inconvenient truths
• Bimbos: What happened to those Rose Law Firm records that disappeared -- only to be “found” looking lonely on a table in the middle of the White House Residence? How to deal with the story of Monica Lewinsky when it finally burst into public view? Send Hillary to the Today Show to tell Matt Lauer that not only is the story not true but that “…the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.” Wrote the Washington Post of Bill Clinton’s decision to cover up his affair with Lewinsky:
On Jan. 21, 1998, the day the Monica Lewinsky story broke in the mainstream press, (pollster Dick) Morris says Clinton called, explained that he had "slipped up" with Lewinsky and asked Morris to take a poll about the potential impact. When Morris reported that Americans would favor his impeachment or resignation if he lied under oath, he says Clinton replied: "Well, we'll just have to win, then."
In other words? Just lie. Which, among other moments, resulted in this famous moment in the White House Roosevelt Room where, at the conclusion of remarks on another subject, Clinton looked directly into the television cameras, pointed his finger and memorably said:
“Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you!”
And thus the Clinton cover-up proceeded -- until it finally unraveled in front of a grand jury, with an angry President forced to confess on national television -- as seen here.
Benghazi: The astonishing statement made by UN Ambassador Susan Rice on five Sunday talk shows has now been revealed as a falsehood. Let’s check in with the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes, who has managed to get his hands on the smoking gun: an exchange of emails that show U.S/ intelligence officials almost immediately understanding -- while the Benghazi attack was still on-going -- that “al Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved.”
Even as the White House strove last week to move beyond questions about the Benghazi attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults. The Weekly Standard has obtained a timeline briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailing the heavy substantive revisions made to the CIA’s talking points, just six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and additional information about why the changes were made and by whom.
Which is to say, Steve Hayes has put his hands on the thread that finally unraveled a cover-up.
And note this. Hayes pointedly says that it was Hillary Clinton’s State Department that kept insisting the draft talking points for Rice be changed to reflect a decided untruth about the Benghazi attacks. Writes Hayes:
The talking points were first distributed to officials in the interagency vetting process at 6:52 p.m. on Friday. Less than an hour later, at 7:39 p.m., an individual identified in the House report only as a “senior State Department official” responded to raise “serious concerns” about the draft. That official, whom The Weekly Standard has confirmed was State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, worried that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings.”
In an attempt to address those concerns, CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia and made minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy. The changes, she wrote, did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,” and State Department leadership was contacting National Security Council officials directly. Moments later, according to the House report, “White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.”
And there is one more interesting point in the area of a Hillary Clinton cover-up on Benghazi.
It turns out the frequently cited “Accountability Review Board” headed by Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen -- never bothered to interview Secretary Clinton. Who, of course, picked them to head the State Department’s internal investigation of Benghazi. Over at PJ Media, in an article tellingly titled “Clinton’s Republican Guard,” Andrew McCarthy writes -- and I have put in bold print McCarthy’s last sentence here:
How could the ARB report be a whitewash when its investigation was run by such Washington eminences as Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Michael Mullen?
The answer is simple: Pickering and Mullen were not chosen by accident; then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tapped them because, to insulate herself, she needed a pair of Beltway careerists held in high esteem by the progressive-friendly Republican establishment. As night follows day, Pickering and Mullen produced exactly the shoddy, politicized report that was expected of them -- bleaching away the malfeasance of Clinton, a central figure in the scandal whom they did not even bother to interview.
Mrs. Clinton is a master of this game.
Say again: Mrs. Clinton is a master of this game.
And what did we learn in yesterday’s hearing from Greg Hicks, the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya who has been a career foreign service officer for 22 years? Right on cue, we learn that when the honest Mr. Hicks talked to investigators about Benghazi, he received a searing phone reprimand from one very angry Cheryl Mills. Cheryl Mills being then-Secretary Clinton’s chief of staff -- and the deputy Clinton White House Counsel who defended President Clinton in his Senate impeachment trial. Ms. Mills is a card carrying member of Hillaryland. And Mr. Hicks was suddenly demoted from a deputy chief of mission -- to a mere Desk Officer. Like the Clinton “bimbos,” Greg Hicks was learning the hard way about what happens when you tell the truth. There is a price to be paid if you mess with the Clintons.
The Message: Cover-up is always, always the Clinton rule. Whether it's bimbos -- or dead Americans.
What we have here is nothing more than a continuation of the Clinton ethic from the 1990s. And the mainstream media -- now as then -- is poised to go along. Wherever else Hillary Clinton is to face tough scrutiny, it won’t be on George Stephanopoulos’s ABC.
The Clinton formula is as old as it is predictable. Let’s run through the Clinton check list.
• Dismiss the charges as old news? Check.
• Attack the messenger? Check.
• Call the accuser a liar and say they are doing it for money or publicity? Check.
• Cover up inconvenient truths? Check.
Hillary Clinton is indeed a master of this game.
From Bimbos to Benghazi, nothing -- absolutely nothing -- has changed.