Appearing on Road to City Hall, on the New York cable news channel NY1, Maura Moynihan, daughter of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), dismissed Edward Klein's new attack book on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President (Sentinel, June 2005), as "an attempt to smear Senator Clinton." Interviewer Davidson Goldin quoted excerpts from Klein's book that supposedly demonstrated animosity between Moynihan's parents and Clinton. Moynihan described Klein's accounts of these interactions between Clinton and her parents -- to which Moynihan was a witness -- as "utterly and completely false."
From the June 9 edition of NY1's Road to City Hall:
MOYNIHAN: Well, I'd like to see the tapes and the transcripts of these alleged tapes because my mother says that she hasn't spoken to him [Klein] in many, many years; certainly never spoke to him about this book; certainly never gave him the quotes that he alleges to --
GOLDIN: He says he has kept extensive records and he stands by his reporting.
MOYNIHAN: Well the only other person -- two people -- in the room during this conversation in 1999 between --
GOLDIN: In Washington, D.C.
MOYNIHAN: In Washington, D.C., in our family apartment, besides Senator and Mrs. Moynihan and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, were myself and the Tibetan cook. And I think I know my parents a lot better than Mr. Klein. And a lot of the words and language do not sound like it could have come from Senator or Mrs. Moynihan.
GOLDIN: And you've said the Tibetan cook's English is not reliable?
MOYNIHAN: Neither is her Tibetan, so I can safely say she would hardly have been a source.
GOLDIN: Have you talked to the cook about this? Have you checked with her? Maybe she had a tape recorder going? Is it possible that there is some other way this got out?
MOYNIHAN: No, no. Absolutely not. And so, I think it's all utterly and completely false. There's something very important I'd like to say, David. You know Senator Moynihan, you were an intern for Senator Moynihan, you've interviewed him. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people worked with Senator Moynihan over his 50-year career in public life, as a public servant, as a diplomat, as a teacher, certainly as a senator, and every one of those people will tell you that he never took the low road. If he had some criticism for you, if he didn't like something you did, he always said it to your face.
GOLDIN: And he did criticize President Clinton for moving forward with health care reform before tackling welfare reform.
MOYNIHAN: Yes, indeed.
GOLDIN: So there's an example of that. But the question involving your mom and the Delaware County sheriff in upstate New York, in Pinder's Corner where your family has a farm, was quoted as saying back in 1999 that he'd spoken with your mother and she'd indicated that she did not like Hillary Clinton. So before we get to the exact quotes that Ed Klein writes about, and I ask you about those, can we just establish what exactly was your mom's -- why didn't she like Hillary Clinton? What was the concern there?
MOYNIHAN: Whatever went on between Senator Clinton and my mom is between the two of them. And my mother also is a very private person who does not speak to reporters, so I truly doubt Mr. Klein's claim that she went on the record with all this stuff.
GOLDIN: But we're lucky that you do talk to reporters. Your mom clearly did have some issues with the Clintons and Mrs. Clinton in particular. What were they?
MOYNIHAN: You know, David, I really would tell you if I knew exactly, but again, everyone is entitled to their opinion but not their own facts. That's a quote from Senator Moynihan. And when it really was important to support Senator Clinton, Mom and Dad were always there. We opened our farm to her, we opened our apartment to her. Dad endorsed her, he did campaign with her more than Mr. Klein alleges. I was with the first lady and President Clinton on election night in November 2000 with Dad. Just the four of us went on that stage first. And I assure you that my father and my mother had such high respect for the office of the president and the first lady, that they wouldn't go around saying those kinds of things, be that first lady, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush, Jackie Kennedy, or Hillary Rodham Clinton.
GOLDIN: Let me read to you some quotes from Ed Klein's book, in which he says he's quoting your mom. One of them is, quoting Liz Moynihan: "I believe that she believes," referring to Hillary Clinton, "that God approves of her and that she can't do anything wrong. I suppose it's a Midwestern Methodist view, the equivalent of Nixon and Quakerism." You were in the house. No chance she said that?
MOYNIHAN: Absolutely no chance. And who would she have said it to right after this meeting took place? She didn't say it to me or to our Tibetan cook. And the detail he has about how my father had to go in the other room and wait for Hillary to leave is utter nonsense.
GOLDIN: There was a claim in the book that your father didn't like what she was saying and pretended he had to back to the Senate --
MOYNIHAN: That's utter nonsense.
GOLDIN: -- hid in the other room waiting for her to depart.
MOYNIHAN: Yeah, that's highly unlikely under any circumstance. If dad didn't like you, he said so to your face.
GOLDIN: Another quote from the book attributed to your mother is, speaking to Hillary in this meeting: "The reason you're not doing well in New York is because Jews don't like you. ... New York has lots of Jewish doctors, and those doctors have lots and lots of wives and relatives and patients, and they don't like what you want to do."
MOYNIHAN: That's just utterly and completely false. My mother would never say anything like that.
GOLDIN: But it is true that there are lots of Jewish doctors, and a lot of them did not like what Hillary Clinton wanted to do with health care. So it's not inconceivable that your mother might have mentioned that.
MOYNIHAN: But that's not to say all the Jews don't like you. I mean, what kind of a slur is that?
GOLDIN: But was your mom aware of the fact that many doctors in New York, Jewish doctors included, did not like Hillary Clinton's health care plan?
MOYNIHAN: Well a lot of doctors in New York are also Christian, Hindus, and Buddhists too. All New York doctors are not Jewish.
GOLDIN: I don't write the quotes, Maura, I just read them and get your reaction. Finally, one more quote from the book, about your mom speaking about Hillary Clinton, saying: "She would say or do anything that would forward her ambitions. She can look you straight in the eye and lie." Did your mom feel that way about her?
MOYNIHAN: No, she didn't. I mean, whatever issues the two women had, they have become friends. And they've known each other for a long, long time, and they have kept up a correspondence. Senator Clinton has been extraordinarily gracious to myself and my mother in the two years since my father died. She's been right there for me on Moynihan Station from day one. She and I correspond with each other. She's always gracious to my mother. Hillary and mom stood side by side at the dedication of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs in Syracuse last month.
GOLDIN: The reason why I read to you those quotes, several of them, is because you were in the room when they were allegedly stated --
MOYNIHAN: That's right.
GOLDIN: -- and Ed Klein has stated he stands by them, and it was important for us to hear from the lone witness who can talk about it, whether or not this actually happened. So what I'm curious about is -- Ed Klein says this happened, we know your mom did have some issues with senator, then-first lady, Hillary Clinton. Is it possible the truth lies somewhere in the middle?
MOYNIHAN: This is a man, Mr. Klein, who's written ambulance-chasing books before. His book about John Kennedy Jr. and his deceased wife was, I found, very hurtful to me as a New Yorker, and certainly insulting to the family. And it was also putting words in the mouth of people who are dead and not able to defend themselves. Senator Moynihan could hardly have given Mr. Klein an interview for this book because he's dead. My mother is retired from public life. This seems just like an attempt to smear Senator Clinton and not let her do her work, the book so clearly has a bias. And you know we're at this point now in American life, with so many important issues, with the war in Iraq, with a soaring deficit, with crumbling infrastructure, and we're just talking about this? Why not let the woman do her job?
GOLDIN: So this is an author, in your view, just trying to make some money by invoking Hillary Clinton's name on the cover of a book, and, in your view, making up some quotes that he knows will get people talking about the book, as we are.
MOYNIHAN: Well, Mr. Klein has done this before. It wouldn't be the first time.