Hillary Clinton has been taking some well-deserved flack for essentially doing the GOP’s dirty work for them, but I had underestimated the lengths she’d go to stop Barack Obama. Over at TPM, Josh Marshall has a remarkable behind-the-scenes view of Clinton’s attempt to drag the Rev. Wright affair back into the media spotlight :
Now obviously, Hillary’s been in the political big leagues for a while. She knows how to deflect a question. But it’s actually much richer than this. This afternoon Greg Sargent and I were talking this over and one of us realized that this wasn’t just any Pittsburgh paper. It was the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the money-losing, vanity, fringe sheet of Richard Mellon Scaife, funder of the Arkansas Project, the American Spectator during its prime Clinton-hunting years and virtually every right-wing operation of note at one point or another over the last twenty years or more.
In fact, what I only discovered late this evening, when Eric Kleefeld sent me this link at National Review Online, is that not only was it Scaife’s paper. Scaife himself was there sitting just to Clinton’s right apparently taking part in the questioning.
For those who need a reminder of who Scaife is, here’s a bit from a CNN bio published during the Lewinsky scandal :
Scaife gave to GOPAC, the political fund that helped make Newt Gingrich speaker in 1994. Gingrich says Scaife’s money laid the basis for modern conservatism. And his money still flows:
* To the Heritage Foundation alone, nearly $3.5 million from Scaife foundations in the most recent three years on record.
* $1.22 million to the American Enterprise Institute.
* $1.40 million to Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
* $325,000 to the Cato Institute.
* $575,000 to the Citizens for a Sound Economy, among others.
Scaife has particular contempt for the Clintons. At a Heritage Foundation event in November 1994, Scaife said, “I think maybe Hillary and company have it figured out right. They wouldn’t be happy here.”
Scaife’s foundations shovel millions into groups hostile to Bill Clinton. The Free Congress Foundation, which runs a conservative cable channel, received $1.9 million from 1994 to 1996.
Hollywood’s Center for the Study of Public Culture, which sees liberal bias in the movies, got nearly $1.8 million. Accuracy in Media, a group still promoting the idea that Clinton aide Vince Foster may have been murdered, got $675,000.
At Scaife’s newspaper his reporter Christopher Ruddy doggedly pursues the Foster case. And when Ruddy’s book, “The Strange Death of Vincent Foster,” got a bad write-up in the American Spectator, saying Ruddy sounded like a “right-wing nut,” Scaife cut off the magazine’s money.
This is a man who literally spent millions trying to convince people that the Clintons are murderers, yet when Hillary got caught in a string of embarrassing lies that threaten to derail her presidential bid, she goes straight to heart of “the vast right wing conspiracy”.
I suppose if you’re in the business of character assassination, why not go to the best, right?