Vanity Fair national editor Todd Purdum, the former New York Times White House correspondent, was subjected to some tough words from the man he used to cover today, prompted by Purdum’s latest story in VF, "The Comeback Id," which takes a critical look at Clinton’s post-presidency.
Former President Bill Clinton told the Huffington Post’s Mayhill Fowler that Purdum was "sleazy" and "a really dishonest reporter. And one of our guys talked to him . . . And I haven’t read [the article]. There’s just five or six blatant lies in there. But he’s a real slimy guy."
Purdum writes of Clinton’s "cavernous narcissism," looks at "the motley crew that constitutes some of the post-presidential rat pack" (gazillionaires Ron Burkle and Steve Bing), and says that "among the not-so-small cadre of Clinton friends and former aides, concern about the company the boss keeps is persistent, palpable, and pained. No former president of the United States has ever traveled with such a fast crowd, and most 61-year-old American men of Clinton’s generation don’t, either. ‘I just think those guys are radioactive,’ one former aide to Clinton who is still in occasional affectionate touch with him told me recently, referring to Burkle and (to a lesser extent) Bing. ‘I stay far away from them.’"
The former president’s monologue made it clear that he saw Purdum’s story as part of a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy co-run by the media and the Barack Obama campaign to take down his wife.
"You know he didn’t use a single name, cite a single source in all those things he said.. It’s just slimy. It’s part of the national media’s attempt to nail Hillary for Obama. It’s the most biased press coverage in modern history. It’s another way of helping Obama. They had all these people standing up in his church cheering, calling Hillary a white racist, and he didn’t do anything about it. The first day he said ‘Ah, well.’ Because that’s what they do– he gets other people to slime her. So then they saw the movie they thought this is a great ad for John McCain — maybe I oughta quit the church. It’s all politics. It’s all about the bias of the media for Obama. Don’t think anything about it."
"But I’m telling ya, all it’s doing is driving her supporters further and further away– because they know exactly what it is– this has been the most rigged coverage in modern history– and the guy ought to be ashamed of himself. But he has no shame."
UPDATE: The Huffington Post has posted the audio as well; the reporter did not apparently identify herself as a journalist. Meanwhile, Clinton campaign spox Jay Carson has issued a statement saying,
"President Clinton was understandably upset about an outrageously unfair article, but the language today was inappropriate and he wishes he had not used it."