Clinton is all too adept at repeating errors

In his 1999 tell-all, All Too Human, recovering Clintonista George Stephanopoulos recalls a "sweet moment" from the 1992 Presidential campaign.

In his 1999 tell-all, All Too Human, recovering Clintonista George Stephanopoulos recalls a "sweet moment" from the 1992 Presidential campaign.

Bill Clinton was watching a focus group's real-time reactions to TV clips. When an image of his wife, Hillary, appeared before the group, response turned swiftly negative. To the barely stifled amusement of all in the room, Clinton earnestly muttered, "Oh man, they don't like her hair."

It's a story that illustrates not just Clinton's genuine adoration for his wife, but his total loss of perspective in matters regarding her. The Clinton who couldn't believe a focus group would dislike his wife is the same Clinton who threatened to punch columnist William Safire on the nose in 1996 for writing that Hillary was a "congenital liar."

And it was that same Clinton who made an unfortunate appearance at a press conference in his Harlem office last week, where he was supposed to be announcing a $10 million donation his foundation was making to fight childhood AIDS.

Having learned that longtime GOP strategist Arthur Finkelstein was launching Stop Her Now, an effort to remove Sen. Clinton from power and prevent her from reaching the White House, the ex-President took to the podium and attacked.

But he didn't attack the effort, he attacked the man for being gay and Republican, descriptors Clinton feels can apply in concert only to the "self-loathing."

With a few poorly selected words, Clinton managed not only to offend much of the gay population - who haven't forgotten who's signature is on the Federal Defense of Marriage Act - he managed to give big publicity to an otherwise unknown campaign. News of his own donation? Completely lost.

Another chapter in the saga that is All Too Human - but not too smart.

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.

    Ratings:

    1. Clueless

    2. Ill-advised

    3. On the right track

    4. Savvy

    5. Ingenious

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