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June 12, 2005
Ed Klein Goes Too Far

I'm no fan of the Clintons, but the Right has had its problem reining in its vitriol regarding Bill and Hillary since 1992. The last five years have seen that mostly disappear (and reappear as Bush hysteria on the Left), but with Hillary running for re-election to the Senate in 2006 and probably for President in 2008, everyone expected it to return sometime. However, no one could have predicted that former Newsweek editor Ed Klein, of all people, would fan the flames of Clintonosis with a disgusting personal attack that purports to dissect Chelsea's conception (hat tip: Strata-Sphere):

"I'm going back to my cottage to rape my wife," Klein quotes Bill Clinton as saying during a Bermuda getaway in 1979.

In the morning, the Clintons' room "looked like World War III. There are pillows and busted-up furniture all over the place," an unnamed source tells Klein.

Klein source claims Bill later learned Hillary was pregnant reading about it in the ARKANSAS GAZETTE.

"The fact that his wife didn't tell him that she was pregnant before she told a reporter doesn't seem to phase him one bit, because he says, 'Do you know what night that happened?"

"'No,' I say. 'When?"

"'It was Bermuda,' he says, 'And you were there!'"

If Drudge has this quote and context correct, it's a mind-boggling anecdote to put into anyone's biography -- and a completely inexcusable and ridiculous claim. It's difficult to think of a more personal, disgusting, and indefensible accusation to toss at someone than to claim he raped his wife. Adding that they conceived their only child out of an act of violence adds another dimension of shamelessness to Klein's allegation.

Drudge reports that Hillary plans to sue Klein for libel, and it's hard to blame her. In the first place, Hillary may have put up with Bill's philandering for Chelsea's benefit and Bill's career, but she's hardly a woman who would have stuck around with someone that casually violent. On the other hand, it's one of those have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife allegations that put the Clintons in an impossible position. Now that the smear has been made public, how exactly are they supposed to prove otherwise? Who would think that an author would someday require them to prove how their child was conceived? It's a cowardly accusation -- and note that the former Newsweek foreign editor (and former NY Times Magazine editor-in-chief) uses an anonymous source for his authentication.

Someone needs to ask Ed Klein why he felt it necessary to include this accusation as part of his biography. It's hardly germane to her politics, or to her life in politics. It's the kind of tawdry Weekly World News gossip/hit piece that serves no purpose but character assassination. It also makes Hillary into a victim, this time almost certainly for real -- not of this purported rape, but of Klein's base attack.

If this is the level of professionalism we can expect from former Newsweek editors, small wonder we end up with Qu'ran-flushing frauds from the magazine now. Whether Ed Klein absorbed the Newsweek standards for sourcing and newsworthiness during his tenure or set those standards himself, the two are not unrelated. And regardless of whether Hillary or the Bush administration gets targeted by these reckless, irresponsible, and repulsive attacks, the public should respond by denying them their payday.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 12, 2005 9:43 PM

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