Sunday 17 December 2017

US Diary: Bill Clinton predicts that Rove's slur 'is just the beginning'

Bill Clinton predicts that Rove's slur 'is just the beginning'

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) smiles as he answers a question about recent remarks by Republicans about his wife Hillary Clinton's health
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) smiles as he answers a question about recent remarks by Republicans about his wife Hillary Clinton's health

Orla Healy

And the gloves are off. Karl Rove, the "evil genius" GOP strategist credited with orchestrating George W Bush's successful presidential campaigns, last week hinted that Hillary Clinton might not be physically or mentally up to the job of president of the United States – a smear he based on what can be most generously described as factually challenged information.

Illustrating just how threatened the Republicans are by the overwhelming support behind Hillary's percolating 2016 campaign, Rove spun a sinister story for attendees at an off-the-record conference that ended up in the New York Post under the sensational headline 'Karl Rove: Hillary may have brain damage'.

According to Rove, voters must question why Hillary spent 30 days in hospital following a concussion in 2012. (She was actually just hospitalised for three days.)

"And when she reappears, she's wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what's up with that," Rove said, failing to mention that Hillary's doctors explained the milk-bottle glasses she was seen wearing when testifying before Congress on Benghazi were to help deal with double vision.

Hillary's spokesman, Nick Merrill, who describes her health status as "100 per cent, period", says Rove's decision to play loose with the facts doesn't soften the attack. "All he wants to do is inject the issue into the echo chamber and he's succeeding. It's flagrant and thinly veiled."

Surprisingly, former House Speaker/GOP bigwig/long-time Clinton adversary Newt Gingrich agreed. And he said so, blasting Rove's comments as typical of what he called a Republican consulting class that "wants to be negative, narrow, personal, avoid ideas and not have to wrestle with the big issue".

Bill Clinton went with a lighter touch. "First they say she faked her concussion," he ridiculed, "and now they have her auditioning for a part on the Walking Dead." He also joked that if Hillary has brain damage "then I must be in really tough shape because she's still quicker than I am". The former prez was deadly serious, however, when he described Rove's dirty tactics as "just the beginning" predicting, with a backhanded dig, that he is sure the Republicans "will get better at it".


Monica Lewinsky's Vanity Fair piece left its mark on David Letterman. The acerbically funny Late Night talk show host surprised his audience last week by admitting that he regrets having made Monica the butt of so many cruel jokes over the years.

"I feel bad about my role in helping push the humiliation to the point of suffocation," Letterman said Wednesday night during an interview with anchorwoman Barbara Walters, who landed the first major TV interview with Lewinsky in 1999. When Walters recalled Lewinsky telling her that she would one day tell her children: "Mommy made a big mistake", Letterman got even more remorseful.

"Let's just say she was working at Dairy Queen –and I'm not being funny," Letterman said. "But let's just say the same thing happened at Dairy Queen, would she then tell her kids that it was a big mistake? Or would she just say, 'Oh for God's sake I was 22, and 22-year-olds are irresponsible'..."

Walters, who has stayed in touch with Lewinsky, also revealed she'd never heard Monica blame the scandal on her youth.

"Because that's what a lot of us feel," Walters continued. "She was just a kid... President Clinton has been able to move on," Walters noted.

"Hillary Clinton may run for president. I wish them both well. Monica is still stuck in the humour of it, and she is an intelligent and nice woman."


Beyonce, Jay-Z and Solange Knowles are dreaming if they think the statement they put out on Thursday night is going to put a stop to the rabid speculation about what sparked the epic post-Met Gala elevator smackdown, caught on grainy surveillance tape, in which the world got to see Solange trying to beat up her brother-in-law as her sister passively looked on – for a full three minutes.

In their first attempt at damage control, the Knowles-Carter clan issued a statement to the Associated Press that explains how "Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred" and "both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologised to each other and we have moved forward as a united family". The statement also notes: "Above all, we are family. We've put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same."

As if. The backstory to the bust-up gaining the most traction is that Solange lost it after deciding that Jay-Z was paying too much attention to her frenemy, statuesque fashion designer Rachel Roy, who just happens to be the ex-wife of Hovah's former business partner Damon Dash.

"Rachel is a little too close to Jay Z," a source tattled to the tabloids. "Solange doesn't like it and Beyonce doesn't like it." Rachel is also a bit of a tease. Earlier on Thursday, in a tweet to promote her new summer collection ("The Beach is better!") she cheekily referenced the 2007 Jay-Z track.

And she's not the only member of the fashion flock invested in drawing this drama out. Handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, who created the gold 'crisp bag' clutch that Solange wore to the Met Gala, just released an ad with a tag line claiming the $1,670 (€1,220) purse is "worth fighting for," while shoe designer Stuart Weitzman is experiencing an extraordinary run on the $398 killer kicks Solange wore with her peachy Philip Lim dress.

As one fashion editor giddily enthused: "Consider these shoes – available in 12 colours – your must-have foot candy for the summer. Or your next street fight."

Sunday Independent

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