Fox's Baier reported book's claim of a Clinton "pact," but not key figure's rebuttal of claim


On the May 25 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, guest host and Fox News chief White House correspondent Bret Baier reported the allegation in the forthcoming book Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Little, Brown), by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., that Clinton and her husband, in Baier's words, "made a pact in 1992 that Mrs. Clinton would run for the presidency after her husband left office." Although Baier cited a May 25 Washington Post article that reported the book's claim, he did not mention that historian Taylor Branch, a key figure in the book's description of the Clintons' purported "secret pact of ambition," was quoted in the Post article, calling the story "preposterous," as Media Matters for America noted.

From the May 25 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

BAIER: And now, some fresh pickings from the "Political Grapevine." Two new books about Hillary Clinton will hit the stores next month, both written by long-established writers and marketed by major publishers.

The Washington Post reports Carl Bernstein's 640-page book asserts that Mrs. Clinton was convinced that she would be indicted for perjury or obstruction of justice in the Whitewater investigation. He also says Mrs. Clinton considered a run for the Arkansas governor's seat in 1989 out of what Bernstein calls, quote, "anger and hurt" over Bill Clinton's infidelity. And, he writes, Mrs. Clinton told a friend that Bill Clinton's winning the presidency, quote, "would be good for the marriage because her husband's sexual compulsions would be tempered by the White House and the ever-present press corps."

The other book, written by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., says the Clintons made a pact in 1992 that Mrs. Clinton would run for the presidency after her husband left office. It states that Senator Clinton did not read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq before voting to authorize the war. The Clinton camp acknowledges several of the points raised in the second book and says both efforts mainly rehash old news.

From the May 25 Washington Post article:

According to Gerth and Van Natta, even before the Clintons were married they formulated a "secret pact of ambition" aimed at reinventing the Democratic Party and getting to the White House. The authors cite a former Bill Clinton girlfriend, Marla Crider, who said she saw a letter on his desk written by Hillary Clinton, outlining the couple's long-term ambitions, which they called their "twenty-year project."

Crider was first quoted about the letter in a book by a former National Enquirer reporter in 2000, at the time describing it as more about Bill Clinton's infidelities and the "little girls" he had. Gerth and Van Natta, however, report that they re-interviewed Crider and that she said the earlier book's account was "not totally accurate." In this telling, Crider described the note as being more about the couple's political plans, with little discussion of their personal relationship.

The authors report that the Clintons updated their plan after the 1992 election, determining that Hillary would run when Bill left office. They cite two people, Ann Crittenden and John Henry, who said Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and close Clinton friend, told them that the Clintons "still planned two terms in the White House for Bill and, later, two for Hillary." Contacted last night, Branch said that "the story is preposterous" and that "I never heard either Clinton talk about a 'plan' for them both to become president."

Fox News Channel
Bret Baier
Special Report with Brit Hume
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.