Book On Hillary Sparks Criticism

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., smiles as she speaks to the media during the annual Renaissance Weekend at the Charleston Place Hotel in Charleston, S.C., Friday, Dec. 31, 2004. AP

A spokesman for Sen. Hillary Clinton is branding a new book about the New York Democrat as being "full of blatant fabrications."

Edward Klein, in his book "The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President," says Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan - who publicly championed her 2000 race for the Senate - was privately less enthused about the former First Lady.

According to an excerpt in July's Vanity Fair magazine, both Moynihan and his wife, Liz, felt disdain for the aspiring senator and didn't trust them when she initially approached them for support.

Ultimately, they did back her and Clinton kicked off her Senate campaign with a news conference at the Moynihans' upstate farm. On Monday she called Senator Moynihan, who died in 2003, her "wonderful predecessor" and said, "I so wish he were with us now. I can just hear him saying what needs to be said about the president and the Republican leadership."

According to Klein's book, Moynihan made no secret of the fact that he found both Hillary Clinton and then-President Bill Clinton difficult to deal with and told friends that he had a long list of people he disliked in the Clinton administration, and that Hillary Clinton was at the top of the list.

The book also quotes "an insider" as saying the veteran senator and scholar, who advised presidents of both parties at various times in his career, blamed Hillary Clinton for the Clinton administration failing to follow his advice on both welfare reform and health care.

Klein says Liz Moynihan, who managed her husband's campaigns, said of Hillary Clinton, "I believe that she believes that God approves of her, and that therefore she can't do anything wrong. I suppose it's a Midwestern Methodist view, the equivalent of Nixon and Quakerism."

Mrs. Moynihan is furthermore quoted as calling Hillary Clinton "duplicitous."

"She would say or do anything that would forward her ambitions," Mrs. Moynihan is quoted as saying. "She can look you straight in the eye and lie, and sort of not know she's lying. 'Lying' isn't a sufficient word; it's a distortion of the truth to fit her case."

Asked to comment on the excerpt, Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said: "Senator Clinton will always be proud to have had the support of Senator Moynihan, and as she has said many times, wishes she still had his wisdom and counsel. Beyond that, we don't comment on works of fiction, let alone a book full of blatant fabrications."

The Moynihans' daughter, Maura Moynihan, denied Klein's report and told The Associated Press that her mother has given up public life and will not comment.

"I think I know my parents better," she said. "The reporting is utterly and completely wrong."

Clinton leads potential GOP Senate opponents 2-1 in recent polls and is considered a Democratic contender for the presidency in 2008, although she has not said that she plans to run.

Addressing a crowd of 1,000 supporters at a fundraiser Monday in New York City, the New York senator aimed squarely at the Bush administration, claiming it "wants to turn Washington into an evidence-free zone."

"We are living in a time when the other side doesn't want us to see the facts. Facts are inconvenient - facts about global warming, facts about mercury in the air, facts about people staying unemployed longer," said Clinton. "Facts are stubborn, persistent and annoying if you believe that decisions should be made on ideology and partisan politics."

The New York Women for Hillary breakfast at a midtown hotel raised $250,000 for Clinton's 2006 re-election campaign.

Clinton said of President Bush, "There has never been an administration, I don't believe, in our history more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda."

"Whether it's the right to organize and be part of the American labor movement ... whether it's the right to be able to be have a choice when it comes to the most private and intimate decisions that a woman has to make, whether it is to protect the environment - whatever it is that we slowly but surely built up during the 20th century, this current administration and their allies in Congress want to turn the clock back on all of that," said Clinton.

She said Janice Rogers Brown, a California Supreme Court justice nominated to the federal appeals bench by President Bush, "truly sees the world in 19th century terms."

Brown, derided by civil rights leaders as a radical judge, has referred to President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal as "the triumph of our socialist revolution."

  • Francie Grace