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Did you hear that? Bill Clinton's head explodes over Obama and Vanity Fair

Well, talk about going out with class. Ex-President Bill Clinton just went off again during a campaign appearance in South Dakota. The shock waves should be rippling through Chicago and Kansas City any minute.

He was asked about that, shall we say, unflattering Todd Purdum Vanity Fair article again. Talk about smoking near a propane tank. KA-BOOM! went the former leader of the free world about PurdEx-President Bill Clinton got angry again today over a certain magazine article and another candidate who recently quit his church but he added it doesn't bother himum, which would be expected.

"Sleazy." "Dishonest." "Slimy." "Scumbag."

And those were the nice words, as Clinton firmly gripped and refused to release the hand of the inquiring reporter, who was none other than Huffington Post's Mayhill Fowler.

Remember her? Swanky private fundraiser. San Francisco mansion. Barack Obama. Inartful remarks. Bitter small towns clinging to religion and guns.

The Vanity Fair article quotes former Clinton aides criticizing the ex-president for surrounding himself with questionable friends and behaving/speaking in a way that hurt Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Of course, Bill Clinton denies having read....

... the offending article. They all must do that. It's meant as an insult to the writer, see? Their writing is beneath reading by anyone as important as the outraged subject matter.

Even though by denouncing the article again Clinton is driving thousands more people to read it. He'll soon be getting a handwritten thank you letter from the Vanity Fair circulation director.

Ah, but this time Clinton could not resist dragging someone else into the path of his wrath. Maybe you can figure out who Clinton means "didn't do anything about it":

"It's part of the national media's attempt to nail Hillary for Obama," Clinton continued. "It's the most biased press coverage in history. It's another way of helping Obama. They had all these people standing up in this church cheering, calling Hillary a white racist, and he didn't do anything about it.

"The first day he said 'Ah, ah, 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 better quit the church. It's all politics. It's all about the bias of the media for Obama."

Yes, it sure sounds like the Clinton and Obama camps are drawing closer together, doesn't it, and letting bygones be bygones? Bodes well for the general election campaign. Bill's over it already. Clearly.

And what a shocker that all these moves and criticisms are "all politics." Imagine. Politics. Near the end of an American presidential primary campaign. That Clinton is losing.

You can read the whole account here. And there's audio here. Then, amazingly after his rant Clinton told Fowler this whole business "didn't bother me."

Obviously. He's surely telling the truth this time.

(UPDATE: Late today Clinton aides excused their leader by saying he'd been “understandably upset" concerning "an outrageously unfair article.” However, they admitted, the language used about the magazine writer by the former president of the United States and the candidate's spouse “was inappropriate and he wishes he had not used it.”

(So forget everything you just read. Except the part about how the article didn't bother Clinton at all.)

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (57)

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Unfortunately, in attacking the former President for his intemperate remarks during the primary, the media have failed to take into account the impact of Clinton's bypass surgery.
The neuropsychologic impairment and the deterioration of neurocognitive functions, as well as "personality changes" following bypass surgery are well-documented phenomena in the field of medicine.
This may help explain why a politician once known for being a smooth talker and for winning over crowds, now frequently sticks his foot in his mouth and becomes too easily agitated and abrasive.

It is time to end the inflated rivalry. The nation is in need of direction and that direction must be different than where it has been headed for the last 8 years.

We can come together to breathe new life into our government. We need to come together and work side by side for the goals common to both democratic candidates.

It is imperative that the party leaders lead by example because their supporters will not be as willing or as able to embrace their prior opponent. We need to back off the rhetoric, tone down the attacks, and begin laying a foundation for unity in the party. This needs to be started immediately so that festering wounds can be tended to.

I totally agree with him. Hillary Clinton does not deserve the treatment she has gotten throughout this campaign from the media and from her political "friends". I don't agree with her on every position, but there isn't any one who works harder for what she believes in. Above all, her heart is in the right place. I firmly believe that she would do more to help the black community than Barrack Obama will. If the "comments" written in relation to different articles, no one seems to expect fair treatmeant from Obama, they expect special treatment. I have never heard so much racism and hate spouted off as if it is the answer to the problem instead of compounding the problem.

All this bad mouthing of the most successful Democratic president in the last 65 years.

Makes it easy for me a lifelong democrat to vote for McCain.

hey willie, who are "they?"

Bill protecting Hillary or himself??

Hey Andi, I why do you stoop to tabloid writting, I mean
repeating a story about Slicky boy and Obama racist ties
Who cares, Please Andi show some self respect these stories are just, how would you say, Not worthy of a writer of your caliber, How the top retired General, says
John McShame is lax on National Security. Now thats a
a story, and boy what a story, Mr. VeitNam Pow Collaborator vs Ex Air force General, hmm, He made General, McShame couldn't even make the Admrial's list.
I hope I knock the writters block out for you.
cheers and have a great summer

Oh dear God I'm sick of both Clintons, all the Bushes and just want to get on with a better America.


So who cares about vanity fair? Of course you have that bimbo-looking shot of Angelina Jolie, the husband-stealing ....

I wonder if how much money did VF got to disparage one of the best presidents that America has ever had.

Change? What change? I see no change at all, do you? This is the same old sling dirt and mud from elbow deep politics. You old politicos that wait from election to election to do the same old crud every time make me sick to my bones. You hacks that have nothing else to do as nobody will give you ah honest job, you might as well sling is as far as you can. It must pay well,

"Sleazy." "Dishonest." "Slimy." "Scumbag."

Oh...I thought you were talking about Jack Cafferty!

Iowa Doc, you need to read the article.

Obama needs to neutralize Clinton at this point. He should publicly offer her the VP slot before she has a chance to publicly turn it down. It's a win-win for Obama. If she accepts, they'll cruise into the White House. If she turns it down, he'll either: A) win the presidency without her, and not have to deal with Billary Clinton shenanigans, or B) he'll lose to McCain, and she'll be seen as the reason why, because she couldn't swalllow her pride and join the dream ticket. If she's blamed for an Obama loss, she'll be tarnished, if not doomed, as a presidential candidate in 2012 and beyond.

"..calling Hillary a white racist, and he didn't do anything about it.." It was NOT a racial slur!

Why? Well my dear Mr. Clinton, because he didn't "inhale" when he said it, therefore, it really wasn't sex..I mean a slur.

The troubling parts of the article were the items mentioning all the women since he left office, and the quid pro quo treatment for presidential favors. WAs he a great president? Hell, yes. But you have to be myopic and naive to not see that he was going to be an 800 pound albatross if Hillary was the nominee. VF actually did the dems a favor by airing this stuff, because you know the GOP were licking their chops at cutting loose on this. Great president with great, tragic flaws. Was anyone really ready to go through this again?

This is exactly why Republicans win Presidential elections.

It's really sad how democrats turn on democrats. How the liberal and conservative media turns on democrats. How independants turn on democrats... Bill Clinton is the most successful democrat in 60 years, and everyone beats him do, especially after the GOP and conservative media went after him for years... for an affair.

Wake up America. Wake up democrats. Wake up Independants. This Vanity Fair article is the very reason the GOP will continue to rule...

I have a feeling that Republicans will be in the White House for another 8 years, mostly because democrats can't shut up. And I'm not talking about Bill...I'm talking about the democratic voters and the liberal media.

I find the attacks on the Clintons foolish from the standpoint of anything except a faux unity for the Novemeber election.

Hillary supporters have been maligned and insulted, called racists and worse, for doing no more than taking part in America's electoral process. The media has indeed shown bias but more than that, they have altered an election by meddling. It borders on being criminal.

There will be no unity, no single voice for the Democrats this years precisely becasue the media has overstepped its place and Obama has allowed his people to turn an honorable opponent into a true enemy.

I was struck by IowaDoc's comment on the possible effect of by pass surgery Bill Clinton's behavior. As a recent survivor of open heart surgery I can appreciate his problem. But what about the people around him? Why haven't they helped keep his foot out of his mouth? It would be a shame if his place in history were necessarily damaged by medical issues beyond his control.

The story was sleazy and also pointless. Purdum is sleazy, but the King of Sleaze is the person who assigned this stupid, unsourced piece of lurid speculation: Graydon Carter.

Carter needs to be kidnapped by aliens and taken to another planet. Surely, he has delighted us long enough.

This story has even less credibility than the equally dumb, unsourced piece of garbage the NY Times ran on John McCain a month or so ago.

The Bill Clinton façade, eagerly maintained during his active presidency, is coming apart at the seams. There is a new star in town (Obama) and the formerly Clinton friendly media has thrown Bill to the wolves! How does it feel to be on the receiving end for a change Bubba?

Hillary, the Queen of Spin and a Legend in Her Own Mind!

I voted for BC twice but really, on a regular basis, the head on his shoulder gets taken over by the head on his

Let's see: Bubba uses the occasion of a hit-piece to lash out at Sen. Obama (D-Carter's Second Term).

And the problem with this, is, what?

Can you blame his frustration? This primary has very seldom been about the issues... but fair enough, Obama needed and still needs to be vetted... And Bill is fair game, as a spouse, BUT PLEASE, this has NO journalistic value! This is more tabloid press, and has nothing to do with Hillary's candidacy.

WHAT'S CURIOUS tho is... How come some members of the Senate all of a sudden become ill after endorsing OBAMA? Is there some kind of curse happening with this man? First Ted Kennedy, and now Sen. Byrd... hmmm.

yes, the media is in love with Obama. Disgusting, isn't it? They cannot hide their knees quivering, swooning and salivating at Obama. They are willing to throw Mrs. Clinton under the bus. Very sad state indeed! The lousiest primary ever. Shame on you, media.

Goodbye Clintons! And good riddance!

Actually, Iowa Doc, the reporter brought the post cardiac surgery thing in his Vanity Fair article.

In taking Hillary down, is turning me off the Democratic party in general.

This would be a great year for a 3rd party.

"All this bad mouthing of the most successful Democratic president in the last 65 years."

If she were the most successful Democrat of the past 65 years don't you think she would be winning the nomination? She is not winning the nomination nor is she winning the "popular vote" - she even had to change the language around that particular lie/claim today.

You Hillary supporters haven't seemed to notice. But everyone has politely stood by to give her a graceful exit and pretend to "fight for every vote," lay claim to a specious accounting of the popular vote, and act like Michigan was fair. But none of that is true and a reasonable fifth grader knows it.

Barack gonna take the honky down!

Andrew Malcolm! I love your stylish, tongue-in-cheek, superior journalism! This one, which I would refer to as the "imploding" Clinton head is just a classic! Delightful to find something out of the PresCamp08 that actually lifts your spirits. Thank you!

(Well, thank you, Eric.)

Malcom, your rants on the Clintons are as predictable as a bad penny turning up when you least want one. If you ever decide to write anything good or positive about the Clintons, you would probably give your Clinton hating fan base (including Eric) a bad case of indigestion.

Post by-pass cognitive dysfunction and personality disorder is compounding Bill's existing sociopathology by limiting his ability to filter his actions and speech. Expect both to become more inappropriate than ever. The man is a time bomb anywhere near any campaign.

Goodbye Billary. The jig is up!

President Clinton has it very right. This is astounding media bias in favor of one candidate over another.

But it is not unprecedented and it's not even "the worst" media bias we've ever seen. There he has it wrong. He must not have been paying attention to Kerry vs. Bush in 2004, where even Evan Thomas admitted the press was in the hole for Kerry and could deliver "15%" for him, which - given what a horrid candidate Kerry was - it seems they did.

The Clintons can't take being disliked by the press because for the last 15+ years the press slobbered all over them and covered for them.

They couldn't never have handled the last 7 years of overt hatred that the press has demonstrated toward President Bush.

And I'll tell you what...seeing now that oil prices were $56 a barrel in 2006 and unemployment was 4.5% before that election...I'm not so sure I want the "change" the Dems are offering me, anymore.

We can say anything we want, but facts are facts, and the Bush economy was not a bad economy; we just didn't want to give it credit. And he hung in there and stayed true to his vision which is more than Obama has demonstrated he can do. Hillary can do it. But I don't know if her vision is not toxic.

imagine obama in the oval office, hillary pounding on one doorand bill pounding on the other; as we see now, even when it's time to admit defeat and shake hands, both clinton s are classic spoil sports: play by the rules? sure; oh, i'm losing? let's change the rules so i might win; oh, i still lose? well it must be everybody else's fault- right-wing conspiracies, biased media, sexism, today from bill a rigged primary, you name it; like little kids who don't get it their way all they can do is stamp their feet and vent; that would be a great set of advisors to have pounding on the white house doors

Having read the Vanity Fair piece, the Huffington Post's Mayhill Fowler's account, and listened to the audio, I have an observation. Ms. Fowler may have compromised the interview at the beginning by phrasing her opening question:
"Mr. President, what do you think about that hatchet job somebody did on you on Vanity Fair at the end of the race?"
This seems an ingratiating way to win Clinton's confidence that he's speaking to someone who views the Purdum piece the same way he does.
Perhaps Fowler truly views the Purdum piece as a hatchet job. She doesn't say so in her report.
Regardless of her true opinion of Purdum's work, or whether she even read the piece, she did a good job getting the quotes.
But she may want to consider a less biased opening question in future.

This Clinton/ Obama thing is out of hand. Does anyone even care that there is still bickering?

Vote for Ron Paul... Its time we had a grown up in the Oval Office.

Dignity certainly isn't one of former President Clinton's virtues. Let's see if Hilary has any now that it's all over for her.

Unfortunately for America, even our elected officials are truly "representative" of our society - it's always somebody else's fault why it went the way it did. President Bush will probably someday issue a statement that Iraq became a debacle because God was a slimebag for not "standing with His man" - when God never was leading us into this mess in the first place.

Clinton did more to hurt blacks and poor whites than any president. Only he did it with a good ole boy wink and a smile and was thought to be a friend of the black community. Slick Willie indeed. He had the good fortune of being in office during the dot com bubble. So he gets undeserved credit for that period of American financial prosperity. I hope he and Hill are out of politics for good, but something tells me we haven't seen/heard the last of them. He an Hill are fighters for what they want, and they will try to mow down anything/one standing in their path. Bypass surgery hasn't got a thing to do with their destructiveness; egomania has always led them..

"Sleazy." "Dishonest." "Slimy." "Scumbag."
I thought he was talking about the Clinton dynasty

I support Obama, and I agree the media wants to keep this feud going between the Clintons and Obama - it makes them a lot of money so long as we keep watching and they keep selling ads.

Yes, the Republicans would have fought dirty, no, we don't need to go there, after the primary's good as done. At the end of a hard-fought match, the opponents shake hands and give each other props for a good fight. It's time, and to hell with media's need to feed itself and fill us with hate to keep looking for more fuel against each other - from them!

It's clear, volatile tempers are not desirable near the nuclear button, they're not good for presidents or vice-presidents. Let's move on. It's Clinton's supporters who matter now. Baiting Bill or Hillary is not a sport for Dems. Let's show some class.

The question remains - is Hillary the best candidate for Presidency or not. No one seems to be asking that question - more experienced, more intelligent, and more knowledgable in a broader range of areas that either of the men - she got pushed to the side by a somewhat vindictive media and narcissim on the part of black americans. Unfortunately, the national good was also swept to the side and some bloggers like Andrew would like to pretend it didn't happen.

Yet the fact remains it did happen. And we should ask why did did it happen? And the answer is ignorance of the desparate situation the nation is in. Ordinary citizens might be excused for not knowing but people who claim its their job to be in the know and don't bother to read a book or two are good candidates for a horse whipping.

Hillary supporters cannot understand why she seemingly has received "unfair press." In my short life, I have noticed that people who have kind words to say about others tend to receive kind words. Hillary spent this year (since January) attacking Obama viciously, and sometimes quite hatefully. Bill joined in whenever he could. Because of their negative attacks, they did receive negative press. It makes sense to me. You get what you dish out. Thank God it's over.

This is another case of the media searching for conflict, searching for higher ratings as the election season winds down. Reporters - or so called journalist, need to get a life and do some real reporting - on the economy, the school budget cuts, the war in Iraq (remember that?), and stop turning their front pages or lead stories into a tabliod!

Hillary Clinton should run as an indenpendent. As for Bill Clinton no one as done more for the people of Africa than him,for anyone to call him a racist is disgusting.
With the same rules as the GOP Hillary would have run away with the nomination.
The Vanity Fair article is a hit job,naming not one single source. Hillary owes the Democratic Party nothing and would win as an independent.

"Electability," anyone?

This is the tiniest fraction of what we would have seen in the general election with Clinton as the nominee. Can't believe people have so easily forgotten.

Give me Jeremiah Wright any day of the week. That'll blow over. Bill is the gift that keeps on giving. To the GOP.

Bill Clinton has done more to hurt black people than any other president. The facts are legion. However, he has bee very adept at painting a picture to please his needed constituency and many people are very superficial students of American politics, so he carried off his great scam. He is intelligent, he is a smooth talker and he is willing to sell out to the corporate interests (NAFTA, CAFTA, 3 Strikes, welfare elimination, workfare enforcement, etc.) So is Hillary following in his footsteps. As to native intelligence, the Clintons and Obama are near equals, although I tend to think Obama may be a bit smarter than the Clintons.
When it comes to honesty there is no contest. Clintons gave up on honesty when they reigned in Arkansas and haven't bothered with it since.

I really think Comment sections are killing my enjoyment of On-line papers.

If I wanted a bunch of inane ramblings from a group of uneducated hot heads, I'd talk politics at a family reunion.

At least there, I'd get really good potato salad for my time.

Regardless of anything Hillary did in the last 8 years, I have experience her as inherently divisive -- something I think is a foundational ill of our culture in the last 8 years, perpetrated mostly by W and his puppeteers.

But when she sold out and got all military (presumably pandering to the center and proving that she had gonads, even though she's female), and then moved center again and again to distance herself from liberal and move closer to the centrist position, I was very much against her candidacy.

Hey -- the press reflects our society and our society prefers Obama.

Now, sheddup Hillary, and make me a sammich!

Raise you hand if you're sick and tired of these leaders whining about being victims of one thing or anohter, esp. the CLintons. If it's not the media it's the GOP. I can't stomach four more years of their whining and fighting. This is their M.O., people! They create this chaos.

He was a great President, but it's over... it is SO over! And she doesn't have the ethics, the solidity, or the integrity to raise the office from the depths of despair, propagated by the 8 years of crap we've had from all levels of our government: judicial, executive, and legislative.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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