Saturday, June 25

Franken Punks Hillary Basher Ed Klein

On his Friday Show, Air America Radio Host Al Franken faced off with the author of the new sordid Hillary Clinton "tell-all" book - The Truth About Hillary - and with the help of Salon Columnist Joe Conason, proceeded to systematically expose Klein's book as a pack of lies and distortions in a wonderful display of hard-nosed, but still polite, questioning:

In the book, Klein asserts that Bill Clinton raped Hillary in order to conceive Chelsa, and that Hillary herself has "lesbian tendencies". Some of the allegations have been so outrageous that many Conservatives have denouced the book as "over the top" in it's vicious attack on the character of Hillary Clinton.

Conservative columnist John Podhoretz on The Truth about Hillary,
"This is one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn't have to suffer through another word."
Streaming audio of the broadcast: Part 1. | Part 2.

Read full transcript courtesy of Media Matters.

Some key highlights:

On the subject of Pat Moynohan and Hillary Clinton:

FRANKEN: Yeah. Okay, and on page 172 --


FRANKEN: This is a thing about [Sen. Daniel Patrick] Pat Moynihan [D-NY] and not being able to say her [Clinton's] name [during a press conference to announce her candidacy for the New York seat in the U.S. Senate from which Moynihan was retiring], and now let me quote the book and then I'll quote what...anyway, I'll just quote what you wrote:


"God, I almost forgot," he said, with a mischievous grin. "I'm here to say that I hope she will go all the way, I mean to go all the way with her. I think she's going to win. I think it's going to be wonderful for New York. For Moynihan, apparently, it was easier to say "she" than 'Hillary.'"

Now did you leave anything out there, in between the two sentences you quoted?

KLEIN: Are you reading from my book?


.... (Later)

FRANKEN: Well, this is what Moynihan said, and this is how he got into it. He said, "Now I have the great pleasure to welcome Mrs. Clinton to the farm and turn over the microphone to our candidate. Before you do, before I do... Oh, my God, I almost forgot. Yesterday Hillary Clinton established an exploratory committee as regards to her candidacy for the Senate, United States Senate from New York, a seat which I will vacate in a year and a half." And then you pick up with, "I'm here to say, I hope she will go all the way. I mean to go all the way with her. I think she's going to win. I think she's going to be wonderful for New York." So you leave out --

KLEIN: I left out an ellipsis.

CONASON: You did not.

FRANKEN: You didn't leave out an ellipsis. You deliberately left out the --

KLEIN: There's no --

CONASON: I know you don't have the book in front of you. How much would you like to bet there's no ellipsis on that page?

FRANKEN: No, he's saying that's what he left out.

KLEIN: That's what I'm saying, Joe.

CONASON: No, there's no ellipsis.

FRANKEN: No, he's saying he left it out.

KLEIN: I should have put in an ellipsis.

CONASON: Oh. And why would you have cut out the two references to her name and put in an ellipsis? That would have been equally dishonest.

FRANKEN: You know why? Because I -- here -- this is what I think, Ed, and you may take issue with this. I think you deliberately left it out because it would have hurt the sentence where you say, "For Moynihan it was easier to say 'she' than 'Hillary.' " I think that's why you left out the sentence that says, "Hillary."

KLEIN: Well I --

On the issue of FILEGATE

FRANKEN: OK. Ah, let's talk about the FBI files that you talk about, sort of what was called "Filegate." And you call it the "Purloined FBI Files," and you write about it on page 39.

KLEIN: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

FRANKEN: And later, in a Salon interview, you said, "Like Nixon, Hillary has used FBI files against her enemies."

KLEIN: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

FRANKEN: Now, you know that she was absolved of this by the Office of Independent Counsel.

KLEIN: Well, she may --

FRANKEN: I mean, shouldn't you have written about that? Shouldn't you have given that information to your readers?

KLEIN: It's still my -- it's still my belief and contention that Craig Livingstone was responsible for taking those files, and that he was operating under direct orders from Hillary.

CONASON: Do you know whose files those were? I mean, did you ever look at the names of the people whose files they were?

KLEIN: They were a lot of Republican activists --

CONASON: There were not, actually. They were not. Can -- name one Republican activist whose file was taken. One.

KLEIN: I couldn't do that 'cause I --

CONASON: You couldn't! 'Cause you haven't looked at the names! Did you ever look at the names?

KLEIN: No, I haven't.

CONASON: Okay. Ah, you've never looked at the names, but you know they're a lot of Republican activists. How would you know that if you've never looked at the names?

KLEIN: I've read it in The New York Times and other publications.

CONASON: Oh, no, you didn't. You did not. You did not.

FRANKEN: You know, Ed, the first --

CONASON: Because the people whose names were on that list were former White House employees. Most of them were people like gardeners and janitors and people like that. I've looked at every name on that list --

KLEIN: Former White House employees --

CONASON: That's correct.

On the issue of President Clinton's devestating HAIRCUT at LAX

FRANKEN: Okay. How about the, ah, LAX thing? The haircut that supposedly held up traffic at LAX.

KLEIN: Mm-hmmm [affirmative].

FRANKEN: Now you know that that's not true, right?

KLEIN: No, I don't know that's not true.

CONASON: Again because you didn't do any reporting. That was, that story was debunked at the time that it came out 12 years ago. You, you, I mean it's just astonishing to me --

KLEIN: What?

CONASON: -- how little work was put into this book --

KLEIN: Well, you know --

CONASON: -- in terms of trying to establish whether any of this stuff that you've written here is true!

KLEIN: So, you're saying, Joe, that the president did not hold up traffic --


KLEIN: -- at LAX?

CONASON: I'm saying that not only would I say that, but that's the established fact that's been reported after that story came out in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the FAA made it very clear that not one flight was held up as a result of that.

KLEIN: Well, Joe --

CONASON: And that was established a long time ago.

KLEIN: You and I are reading different, ah, newspapers, I think.

CONASON: No It's, it's not a matter of reading different newspapers; it's a matter of what the Federal Aviation Administration said about this incident. It was debunked at the time.

Now, what I have to say is THIS is the way you handle a liar and a political hack. This is the way that people should interview Bill O'Reilly, this is the way that Karl Rove should be handled, how Limbaugh should be questioned. You don't have to be mean, you don't have to call names - all you have to do is know the facts and simply present them with conviction.

Now is that really too much to ask?

Media Matters Full Breakdown of "The Truth About Hillary".


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