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Vanity Fair and the new "Friends of Bill" Clinton

Todd S. Purdum, former New York Times staffer and current Vanity Fair national editor, lets loose in the July issue of the magazine with a lengthy profile of Bill Clinton after leaving the White House.Bill Clinton profile in July Vanity Affair with Angelina Jolie on the cover  It's getting reduced to sex in some places -- friends worried that he was spending suspicion-raising time with attractive women on the road -- but there's no smoking gun (to stick with political metaphors), and focusing on speculation about a return to form for the former wanderer-in-chief does the article a disservice.

Purdum, who covered portions of the Clinton administration, offers up a deeply reported look at a primal force in politics facing his own dissipation.  Scandal, big-bucks speaking fees, big-bucks pals like Ron Burkle with private planes, but also heart surgery and a clear physical deterioration.  Bill Clinton is no longer the man he once was, though he is still a force -- Purdum describes Clinton as "the smiling, snowy-haired man who is the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral he attends."

Purdum, who is married to Clinton's former press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, writes:

"To know Clinton is, sooner or later, to be exasperated by his indiscipline and disappointed by his shortcomings. But through it all, it has been easy enough to retain an enduring admiration — even affection — for a president whose sins against decorum and the dignity of his office seemed venial in contrast to the systemic indifference, incompetence, corruption, and constitutional predations of his successor’s administration. That is, easy enough until now.

"This winter, as Clinton moved with seeming abandon to stain his wife’s presidential campaign in the name of saving it, as disclosures about his dubious associates piled up, as his refusal to disclose the names of donors to his presidential library and foundation and his and his wife’s reluctance to release their income tax returns created crippling and completely avoidable distractions for Hillary Clinton’s own long-suffering ambition, I found myself asking again and again, What’s the matter with him?"

What's the matter, indeed.

-- Scott Martelle

Comments () | Archives (53)

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Just a bunch of crap. Bill Clinton is the greatest President this country has had since FDR. His personal life is between him and his wonderful wife Hillary. I don't blame him one bit for being pissed off with Vanity Fair.

Purdom describes Clinton as "the smiling, snowy-haired man who is the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral he attends."
Alice Roosevelt Longworth said it even better.
"My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening."

Once accused never acquitted. Fact, Billy did get disbarred for lying in a Bimbo (sex victim) trial in Arkansas. If there is Smoke there is, has been or will be Fire. I don't know what to make of the veracity of Vanity Fair revelation. I do know the ghost of Monica Lewinsky et. al. will live on. And for that reason and perhaps no other Bill will never be allowed to set foot in the White House after disgracing the Home of our Nation. He never should have did what he did in the White House.

The real problem with Bill goes much deeper. We Americans have some expectations concerning the behavior of our ex-presidents, one of which is that they should comport themselves in a statesman-like way and another that they should keep themselves above the fray of partisan politics. Some presidents who have done this (John Adam, Hoover, Ford) have gained a universal respect they never enjoyed while in office. The trouble with Bill is that he seems not to understand what is required of him, and is retroactively demeaning the office of the presidency.

it is incredible how Liberal memory does a diservice to history. Bill CLinton presided over the "post cold war" divedend that he was fortuante to have given to him by Reagan, Bush. and Charlie Wilson. He did nothing of signficance save serve in the success of others. Let us hope we have now heard the last of Bill Clinton. His personal shortcomings occupying the highest office, is all anyone is going to remember. I feel sorrow for Hilary, but yet as everyone else wonders the same, what makes her stay with him? What moral compass does she use? It is to bad she was tied to his wagon.

Bill Clinton is rumored to buy Vanity Fair and rename it:

SO I guess Obama and his surrogates could not come up with anything more against Hillary eh?

They have to drum up Bill... Sure, he's just like most men, after all. BUT what they fail to acknowledge is, he was the best Democratic president we've had in a long long time!

IF that's the best you can come up with OBAMA, BRING 'EM ON!!! You're gonna lose in November anyway.

bill clinton's long list of indiscretions indicate his amazingly poor judgement, his narcissistic disorder, and his egomaniacal disregard for the role of ex-president. mr. arnold, he's not a rock star, he's the former leader of the free world. he should act like it, and stop pushing his trailer-trash ethic over every aspect of his professional life.

"Greatest president since FDR?" I don't think so. Bill Clinton made it possible for the election of George Bush in 2000. That's Clinton's legacy--eight years of the worst president since the founding of our nation.

The way Hillary conducted her campaign for the WH this year, no wonder Bill sought the past refuge of other women (besides his ego, urging him on). I wasn't aware of the eight documented encounters Bill Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky, as revealed in the release of the WH papers earlier this year. Was all of this insistence on winning the Presidency by Hillary a personal ultimatum to Bill Clinton for his indiscretions in the White House? Hillary knew Bill's pattern of personal behavior way before Bill Clinton's Presidency, but her own quest for power and control took precedence over anything that could be construed as Bill's pseudo respect for Hillary Clinton as a person and their marriage as a whole.

If Hillary cares greater about the issues than of herself (which she claimed in her political campaigns), she will make her concession speech by June 7, 2008.

excellent point dfs. the trouble is, a narcissist will always find a rationale for whatever behavior they want to indulge. they are never wrong, never have to apologize, because as the center of the universe they simply cannot be at fault. i work in entertainment, it is littered with people of this type; bill clinton is just another textbook example of the form....

Who cares who he sleeps (or does not sleep) with? Why does America believe that they have a right to access any American's private life. How would YOU like someone looking in YOUR bedroom window? Geez, these folks are nothing more than peeping toms.

Bill Clinton is the same person he always was - slick Willy. He's never been anything but an opportunistic, charlatan of a politician for whom "truth" is nothing more than what he wants it to be. He always promised everyone something and ultimately delivered nothing - unless it directly benefited him.

BJ said:
"They have to drum up Bill... Sure, he's just like most men, after all. BUT what they fail to acknowledge is, he was the best Democratic president we've had in a long long time! "

First of all, he is NOT like most men. Most men would not have disgraced the presidency as he did. ...and second, you're right -he was the best Democratic president in a long time. That in itself is nothing to brag about. He was only one of a few who were re-electd to a second term, and he almost didn't get to finish that.

G.A.Browne got it right with his/her comment.

Bill Clinton is the man. You pipsqueaks just hate somebody who is living the LIFE. You are also ingrates who forget that his term was the best there is of any President in the last century.

Bill's legacy is also losing the Democratic majority in the House and Senate. By the way, this is coming from a man who once shook his hand and was a supporter.

According to the VF article, ole Bill Clinton is making millions $$$ from the Burkles and Dubai billionaires of the world. No one even knows how many millions Bill Clinton (and Hillary) stand to earn from Bill's efforts. It's a secret.

Besides flying around in borrowed private jets, ole Bill is hanging around sludge like Jeffrey Epstein, an about to be convicted felon (sex-related charges).

Why didn't all Bills backroom deals and conflicts of interest come up in the Democratic campaign? If Michelle Obama had been doing those deals or hanging around with some of Bill's friends it would have been on ALL the talk shows.

What a piece of work Bill Clinton is.

I'm assuming all of the Bill Clinton would have come out in a general election if Hillary had become the nominee. I don't see how she would have been elected with not only her own personal baggage but ole Bill's too.

lol Those of you who think other men have not disgraced the White House in the same way Bill did are delusional. Just about every president if not ALL OF THEM were cheating or did cheat on their wives at some point in time. I don't know who ya'll are trying to kid. Bill got caught and they made an example out of him. Flat out. So you can say the same for JFK, Roosevelt, and probably Reagan and Bush as well. Those affairs have been swept under the rug I'm sure. So for those of you "holier than thou" out there, probably you should think more objectively and stop judging others.

To this mindless writer get alife idiot. Its writers like you who disgrace the proffession with crap like this. Bill Clinton is loved and respected all over the world.

So what is Vanity Fair saying here? Much of NOTHING that I can tell. This is pure speculation alluding to something that might not even exist. Bill probably has large groups for lunch comprised of attractive and unattractive people as well. This is an attempt to draw negative attention on the Clintons to further bolster the golden halo of the magical candidate Obama.

No proof of any wrong doing by Pres. Clinton here. I admire how hard he has worked for his wife. The big wheels of the DNC have turned on Hillary and are now trying to shove Obama in our faces and force him on the country.

Bill Clinton made some mistakes, but he went to work for working class Americans everyday. So I applaud him!!

This article must have its origins with the Obama campaign. The unethical methodology used to get him elected the first time was followed up by what? The next time he was elected it was due to an annonymous information leak that crippled his opponent. Let's hear more about that one..... this seems to be more of the same from the candidate of 'CHANGE'

This is nothing! Vanity Fair is fishing in an empty pond. There is no proof of any wrong doing on the part of Bill Clinton here - so VF should stop trying to make things up!

I am grateful for the positive difference Pres. Clinton made in the lives of working Americans when he was in office. He made some mistakes, but he did his job as president and helped people.

Journalism in this country has hit rock bottom ranging from being "totally in the tank" for BHO to this nonsense.

What a piece of crap article ... "deeply reported" ... that's a joke, right ? Dozens of quotes or allusions to "anonymous aides" ... whatever. Todd Purdum seems like a small, bitter man. I love how he can't resist including a couple of trivial slights he imagined Clinton visited upon him ... and who's the narcissist ?

Dollar Bill is cashing in and doesn't like being called out, much less reminded that he's lost some political skill.

The real story is the classic savage Clinton response- they start with their standard why-didn't-you-talk-about-how-great-I-am / won't-someone-think-of-the-children line, denounce the piece as "personal destruction" but in the next breath spit out every possible bit of mud they can find at the writer and magazine. (Remember how they were saying Monica was a liar and stalker, even when she had not made charges herself, until the evidence overwhelmed them?) Just like they did all who displeased them.

It's the 90s all over again! What better way to remind the superdelegates of the scummy side of this narcissistic man's 8-year Me-Generation series of ego trips and unending devotion to lying, sometimes seemingly just for the sake of lying to see if you can get away with it.

It is amazing how dillusional the Clinton supporters are. Is this not the same President who lied to the American people and to congress about his affair? Is this not the same President who sold technology to the Chinese? Is this not the same President that has more dealing with shady charactes than slim shady? Obama didnt do anything to Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is tarnishing Bill Clinton! How about doing some homework and research the accusations about Bill and see what you come up with. I would guess alot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh never mind, just ask Monica.

How many millions of dollars is obama getting from the islamic countries to run for and buy the presidency????????????????????

I am always amazed that so many concerned, dedicated and intelligent people have been so brainwashed by the amoral humanistic sludge that passes for civics and ethics these days that they can continue to believe B. Clinton was and is anything but a complete failure in every respect save duplicity.

He is a failure as a man, a husband, a leader, a father and a president and has only succeeded in fooling the masses and enriching himself by lies and underhanded dealings.

This is a man who stood on the shoulders of giants and pissed on their heads. He can claim not 1 accomplishment, not 1 original idea and not 1 bit of less than mind bogglingly bad judgment.

The Democratic Party will never enjoy any lasting success until they grow up and abandon this sycophantic love fest for lying amoral individualism hating American hating hucksters in it for their own gain.

He's a brilliant, but rather flawed guy. The terrorists planned and trained for 911 while he was doin what he was doin in the White House. That pretty much erases whatever good he did.

I voted for Bill in ’92--mostly because Bush I was abysmal and Perot was an evil dwarf, but for the last three elections, I voted for Ralph Nader.

Bill wasn’t a terrible Prez, and I always knew the impeachment over fellatio was ridiculous, but he certainly wasn’t a great one.

If FDR symbolizes progress and making the country better, while Reagan represents regress and making the country worse, Bill lies smackdab in the middle, not doing a damn thing once elected, and only fighting when his own skin’s at risk (i.e. during the impeachment).

A mediocre President at best, whose prosperity was so superficial that W merely had to put a feather on its back and it came crumbling down. Plus, he didn’t have a war to deal with. Hill would simply do nothing, and not fight for anyone but herself. She’s not evil, but she is a hack, and just another creature of Washington.

Barack Obama is a fresh face, and represents change, as well as a turn away from the disastrous Reaganist policies that have dominated politics for the past 30 years. He would take action once elected, and actually fight for change, unlike Hillary Clinton. That’s why I voted for him, and that’s why I’ll vote Democratic for the first time since 1992 (I gave Bill the benefit of the doubt, but by ’96, I was fed up with his ineffectiveness and stealth Republicanism). Obama will win in a landslide, and has a chance to be the best President since FDR (the last truly great Prez, Bubba doesn’t even come close).

Obama ’08

Hillary's "long suffering ambition"??? What's the matter with the media??? Is it a crime that a woman harbors ambition and acts on it??? Would they have said the same with McCain, and Obama, in particular, for being ambitious, albeit having a blank resume from Obama?

I am so disgusted the main media, to try to make a story out of this.

Although I have always identified with the Dem agenda, I'm quite determined that I'm going to do everything that I can to see that Obama loses (should he become nominee), and that Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi get their butts kicked. BIG TIME.

This story is not an Obama plant. The man cheated on her from Arkansas to the Oval Office (literally). After almost losing his opportunity to be president because of his appetite he still was reckless enough to bring about Monicagate. One of Hillary's most loyal supporters, Andrew Young, even spoke about how Hillary had the right network to be president because Hillary had a committee to deal with Bill's bimbo eruptions.

Clinton Era was good for most Americans (which why I think they should make it mandatory that all Presidents get oral sex while in office) but that does not make him a good president. he turned his back everytime a terrorist hit an American target (USS Cole, Kenya, World trade center 1st time, ect...) They had Osama bid laden is their sites he called it off. Economy was good up to world trade center 2. Hillary herself will promise everyone anything, and when don't deliver blame eveyone else for it, why not Bill did.

Bill Clinton( and Hilary) seem to be easy targets, only because of their high visibility. I. Purdom admits that in comparison to the current administration, Clinton's sins are minuscule. Where is the evidence of his current crimes? I only read snide insinuations in the article. He did not declare donors, he did not show records or returns. I would dispute some of those assertions. I do not know what it is with these Clinton accusers. I cannot forget Whitewater. For a $20,000 land deal that went bad, 40 million bucks down the drain, incredible accusations, Hilary almost accused of murder. Even the impeachment seemed predicated on such an insignificant episode. I get the feeling that Purdom expects Clinton to be a saint. He made some mistakes. There have been many scandals in the White House over the years. Clinton is not high up on the scale. Democrats are still being swiftboated
I wish they had given Bush the peach. The last seven years have been hard on me. I would like to sentence Purdom to another Bush presidency for his article.
I am also upset at his lack of compassion for Clinton, his health problems, and other failings. Clinton,despite some flaws, has always tried to do good, during his political life.

Bill Clinton was and is baggage to Senator Hillary's nomiination. He claims the Media disrespects his wife.
What about his affairs with Gennifer, Paula, Monica and others? Only an Jackass would dishonor the Office of President the American people handed him. Thank heavens for the Obama run for President.

Why is it that the democrats are so quick to criticize a living ex-president who provides such a sharp contrast to the Bush's administration? Who else can we name as great ex-president for the democrats who actually delivered? not Carter (his total incompetence)?

Looks like the DEMs want to hold the world record of loosing the white house, even when it is a no-brainer year to win.

The star at every opening isn't just former President Bill Clinton. I'ts also Mrs Bill. But wasn't Bill the original star of the Mr Bill show on SNL on NBC?
And is the Prophet of The Republican Party Ronald Reagan still jealous like the rest of Republican Party America?
The Republican s were always jealous of The Clintons.The Reason?
They couldn't sleep with them. The Cllintons were young good looking and intelligent. Something the Republicans never were. But when the Clinton's caught up with the Republicans over that Lotto Thing back in 1994 that was it fom them. Only Carter and Kennedy knewthe whole story and they lied to Bill and Hillary and picked out Barack Obama for President at the suggestion of James A Baker 3d.
Enjoy the loot.

dePaul Consiglio

Vote for America
Into the Future and Back to the Age of The Pioneers

Innuendo is all one needs to be printed in national media? This former NYTimes reporter cites a friend of a friend who saw Clinton in an elevator and 'Knew he was up to no good'? This article should have been printed in the National Enquirer not one of the best mags in America. Purdum states unequivocally that none of his circumstantial stories have any proof to them at all. One would have to believe this reporter's 'friends' on the inside to be completely honest with him.

This story reeks of every aides craziest rumor put to print and treated as fact. It's a hatchet job with no facts and out-on-a-limb critiques extending even so far as Clinton's Christmas card excerpts.

It's pathetic that this type of journalism is more and more excepted in mainstream media these days. The dumbing down of the population is moving along quite nicely.

what I find interesting is that many of these 'former Clinton aides' have marched over to the Obama camp and are now supporting him and have no trouble thrashing the Clintons and even implying that they are much for the loyalty, intent and motivation of 'former Clinton aides'...

Bob Beckel stated last night on Fox that Todd Prudum is a republican operative...and sadly his wife, Dee Dee Myers has not sounded very loyal towards the Clintons lately...perhaps she is looking for a job in an Obama admin...

...perhaps Todd Purdum is trying to start trouble to muddy the waters for Hillary as a possible VP candidate...

...the media has been out to get the Clintons from the beginning of the primary season...

Imagine what Bill "The Bard" (Shakespeare) would do to the Bill "The Sleeze" (Clinton) story. It would be greater than Hamlet, King Lear, Richard III, Romeo and Hulliet, and The Merchant of Venice. Hillary would be immortalized for all time as his helpmate, soulmate, partner, antagonist, coach, towel holder, screaming me-me, pimp, etc., etc.. What a play! Is there no one to write such a classic? Guess not!

Now seems like a great time to jump on the bash-Clinton band wagon, but sensible folks will take the high road. Bill's wife and Hillary's husband are in retirement now. so let them age gracefully. Their thirst for power will remain unquenched. Their dream is officially over. Hillary's husband's street cred is officially gone, and Bill's wife's street cred never actually existed. Please remember: sex addiction is a disease just like herpes or Wilkes-Barre syndrome. The inflicted cannot help it. God bless Hillary's husband? No, no, no...God damn Hillary's husband!

If Obama is required to give up his church to get public votes, why isn't Hillary required to give up her husband to get votes.( For all the crap he pulled in the white house with his affairs.) Actions speak louder then words. and Bill's actions were worse then the words spoken by the preachers.

Didn't Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid tell everyone it would all be over this week one way or the other?

Now will come the articles saying how Hillary was actually the Veep during the Clinton years instead of Al Gore. That way the Obama campaign can get out of naming her vice president gracefully without fears of igniting her "core constituency", who will have forgotten all about this by November. Politics as usual. As long as no one else finds out about it, and journalists have to protect your sources, right?

Isn't politics wonderful?

Take a look in the mirror, Todd S. Purdum. You are no longer the man you used to be...
You're no Charles Foster Kane, but you've certainly lost your sled.

Look at these comments--they prove what the anti-Clintons have said for years. The Clintons are divisive, and they may be the worst thing to have happened to America since Richard Nixon.

Really amazing that some Dems hate Obama so much they'd endure another 8 years of Republican rule. Someone tell me why you hate him -- other than that he beat Hillary.

All of the past presidents have had affairs and cheated on their wives while in the white house, eh? Looks like we need a woman president - this would never happen with Hillary as president in the White House. She would take the job seriously. Obama? I can see him cheating on his wife. Heck, he probably already has.

The Clinton's will soon be exiting the world stage and not a moment too soon I might add.

Who cares if all the crooked politicians cheat on their spouses? The President stopped being a role model for our children with the first term of Clinton. What we need is another real American hero in office like Ronald Reagan was. Clinton made a joke of the position, and between he and his wife they committed more crimes than Al Cappone. They will say and do anything for power and money. All I can say to Mr. Obama is "if you are foolish enough to have Hillary as your VP you will need counseling since you apparently have a death wish". Just remember the JFK/LBJ administration and how LBJ eventually did become President. Hillary would do ANYTHING to be the President, and you are the only person in her way.

first of all the comment posted by geo

"How many millions of dollars is obama getting from the islamic countries to run for and buy the presidency????????????????????"

Ok - you are officially an idiot. stick to the point, that's what a blog is all about.

Methinks Rove has begun to work his magic. First slime Bill and then Hillary. Soon it will be Obama and his wife. I have thought for some time that Herr Rove left the White House to be out of the limelight to do his thing. This will be Rove III. And it will be more spectacular than Swift Boat and Win in Florida, if not, then steal it. The Supremes will clean up the mess. And we get the Occupant for eight years.

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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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