May 19, 2016

"Did Clinton laugh about a rapist’s light sentence and attack sexual harassment victims?"

The WaPo fact checker, Glenn Kessler addresses 2 statements in a recent National Republican Senatorial Committee ad:

1. Hillary Clinton "[d]efended an accused child rapist, then laughed about his lenient sentence."

The laughter in question comes from an audio recording — which you can listen to, as I did, here — so the fact-checking is easy to do. Clinton indeed laughs 4 times during her recounting of the story of defending an accused child rapist, and none of the 4 instances comes at the point when she refers to the light sentence. But the NRSC says it relied on an ABC News report that said: "Clinton is heard laughing as she describes how she succeeded at getting her client a lighter sentence, despite suggesting she knew he was guilty."

Kessler says: "The laughter on the tape is open to interpretation; certainly some might find it disturbingly lighthearted. But it’s a stretch to say she laughed about the sentence." That's a fair and sober conclusion in my view.

2. "She politically attacked sexual harassment victims."

The NRSC says it based that on the interview Hillary gave in 1998 about the Paula Jones case. By chance, I just quoted Paula Jones's deposition in the previous post, so I'm a bit taken aback to read Kesslers statement that Bill Clinton merely "propositioned her and exposed himself." (By Jones's report, Clinton "pulled" her over to him, ran his hands up her cullottes to her "middle pelvic area," kissed her on the neck, tried to kiss her on the lips as she protested, and then "pulled his pants down" and asked "Would you kiss it for me?")

In the interview, Hillary blamed a "vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband." That's not attacking the alleged victims. You have to look for other material about Hillary, and Kessler doesn't look very far before awarding 3 Pinocchios. (He only looks to Hillary's own memoir!) The NRSC should have presented better information here. They made it easy for Kessler to dismiss them, but I'm not impressed by Kessler's awarding the Pinocchios based on the NRSC's failure to hand him better information. The NRSC needs to respond immediately.


Hagar said...

Off topic (or maybe not).
It has never happened before, but could happen this time as well as at any other time.

What happens if a party's nominee for President dies or is otherwise removed from contention before the election?

For that matter, if a President-elect is removed before actually being sworn into office?

Are there any rules in place, or is it just Johnny on the Spot, grab the ball and run with it before the other guys wake up?

rhhardin said...

You don't want to convict somebody unless it's against the best possible defense.

So that would be a plus for Hillary.

traditionalguy said...

Hillary is totally screwed up. She absolutely lives for the glee of using her skill to keep as much information on her as secret as possible.She seems to us to have very strange motivations, until you factor in her overriding need to keep everything a secret.

But then the lazy old Boomer with little intelligence and no real life skills forgets to do the basics that will secure her Computer Server.

tim in vermont said...

Critical thinking is like a train, once you get to your stop, you get off. At least if you work for the connected media.

Amadeus 48 said...

Cackles from Cankles.
They can happen anytime, anywhere for any reason and for no reason. Woe unto him (or her) who says the cackles signify anything.

Roy Jacobsen said...

The WAPO's "fact-checker" is in the tank for Hillary. Insty had it right when he said we should think of "journalists" as Democrat operatives with by-lines.

tim in vermont said...

Remember that Hillary kept her server in a bathroom that this guy used, which explains why she talked about wiping it with a cloth.

MaxedOutMama said...

According to Jones' statement, what occurred was sexual assault. Physical contact.

Whether one believes it or not is up to the individual.

By attributing these reports and allegations to a vast conspiracy, Clinton was attacking those who made the allegations. She was.

rehajm said...

There's a special place in hell for women who don't support each other

Gusty Winds said...

Let's not pretend that Hillary is not fully aware of Bill Clintons habits with other women. She engaged in damage control. She knew the truth of his behavior even as she spewed the vast right wing conspiracy. It's part of the deal.

She has to be fully aware of "The Energizer" that arrives at the Clinton house minutes after she departs. "You can do whatever you want. I just don't want to see it."

She seems rather asexual. As if her view of his behavior is, "well...if that's what you have to do". And let's not pretend for a minute that Hillary respects women who view or use their sexuality differently that she does.

Although a self-proclaimed champion of everyone's rights, she comes across as unsympathetic toward Bill's women. Whether is Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, or the other passengers on the Lolita Express, she doesn't care. They are speed bumps on her ambitious road.

That's the hypocrisy.

tim in vermont said...

The first defense is a cross between Straw Man,take the weakest version of the attack, and hair splitting. The hope is that only the headline ever gets read.

Todd said...

Is it any wonder that the WaPo would "split hairs" with the taped conversation? Imagine if you will that oh Scalia or Thomas were to have had that exact conversation instead of Hillary, do you think anyone would read it differently?

It is one thing to do your job and quite another to seem to take such joy in this particular situation. Just think of it as training for her later defense of her husband and her attacks on his victims.

Phil 3:14 said...

If Hillary Clinton had divorced Bill after 2000 would she have been able to rise to Presidential contender?

tim in vermont said...

Where is garage to defend Hillary from the accusations of this slut? Good times. I remember being admonished by Althouse that the line of attack was never going to convince anybody and was becoming tedious.

No, it disqualifies her and should have in 2008

tim in vermont said...

So is announcing your client was guilty any kind of ethical problem?

chickelit said...

But how does any of this disqualify her as the first woman president?

Birkel said...

Let's blame the other side for making it too easy on Jeff Bezo's newspaper to lie.

Let's imagine ways to stop others from lying.

tim in vermont said...

If she is over 35 and a natural born citizen, it doesn't, though what she did with the email carries a penalty that does. Your question is basically "It depends on what is is." On that basis, it doesn't.

David Begley said...


I've wondered the same thing. I imagine that after the nomination that if Hillary has to withdraw due to indictment then the party's central committee will pick a nominee. And that nominee will be Biden. Count on that.

buwaya puti said...

Respond to Kessler? Why?
To get pulled into the weeds, on matters of detail and nuance that only some obsessives care about?
Better to pressure Bezos. Fix that and you fix a hundred Kesslers.
Better to let Trump design the ads also.

Pookie Number 2 said...

In the interview, Hillary blamed a "vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband." That's not attacking the alleged victims.

It certainly seems to be saying that the victims were lying. Otherwise what's her point?

MadisonMan said...

And that nominee will be Biden.

Biden is even older than Trump! Do the Democrats really want a septuagenarian running? What a great way to attract the Youth Vote! Run the old grandfather type!

I agree it's a possibility that Clinton is indicted or that "health issues" force her out, but I suspect the replacement would be an entertainingly-chosen choice (very bloggable!!) that isn't someone so very creakily old.

David Begley said...


It will be Biden because he is a cipher and Obama's third term. Warren would be a wild card. Those are the only two choices for the Dems unless the Dems want Venezuela.

MadisonMan said...

Imagine if Hillary cites Health Reasons as the reason for bowing out. The optics of the Democrats then putting someone up who's even older are terrible.

I admit I've always complained that Democratic Operatives are completely blind to optics, however (Witness Dukakis in a tank and Kerry windsurfing).

AllenS said...

You can indict Hillary, then put her in jail, and she will never, never drop out of this race.

Todd said...

MadisonMan said...

Run the creepy old grandfather type!

5/19/16, 9:40 AM

mikee said...

Please let Hillary be elected president, then, and only then, be jailed for her crimes. Maybe the damn Congress could actually see their way to impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors if they have an actual conviction by a court to start from.

Hagar said...

What started me thinking about it is that Obama has conducted his foreign policies with some goal in mind - I am not sure what, but everything he has done has been consistent.
But any of that will be gone with the wind should any of the three candidates left standing now be elected.
So, what would he do about it?

David Begley said...

Is Hillary's own AG going to try a felony criminal case against her?

She is running for her life her. Literally.

Quaestor said...

That's not attacking the alleged victims.

If Paula Jones's account is not truthful and accurate, isn't she, and the other untruthful victims, part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy"?

MikeR said...

Fascinating to compare the comments here with the comments on Kessler's article. There is no one there who knows anything beyond what they saw in the article - including those who hate Clinton (who say things like, Fine but what about Benghazi?) I went down a way and didn't find one comment that said, "Hold on, Hillary said this and this about the alleged victims! Paula Jones was actually physically assaulted, not just propositioned! It's not my fault that Kessler didn't bother to look up the stories himself!"
Etc. It's amazing how dependent most of us are on the sources of information we trust.

buwaya said...

"It's amazing how dependent most of us are on the sources of information we trust."

That's why we need to read everything. There is often more information in untrustworthy sources.

Steve said...

This is the sort of hair splitting that democrats get from so called "fact finders."

Sure, she was talking about rape and laughed several times. Sure she mentioned getting her client off with a light sentence. Sure she laughed before and after that sentence.

Official ruling: "The laughter on the tape is open to interpretation; certainly some might find it disturbingly lighthearted. But it’s a stretch to say she laughed about the sentence." This will never be quoted instead the headline is: Washington Post finds claims Hillary laughed at light rape sentence false.

If Trump had exactly the same circumstances: TRUMP FINDS RAPE FUNNY.

If anything Hillary's general lightheartedness about rape is worse than a professional laughing at an unexpected result.

buwaya said...

Steve is right.
There is no use in arguing with those people.
The whole point is the headline. This is a propaganda machine, no matter how its disguised.
The only proper responses are to shut it down (Bezos) or create a bigger propaganda machine.

mikeski said...

"and none of the 4 instances [of laughter] comes at the point when she refers to the light sentence."

You would think a "fact checker" would provide, um... whataretheycalled... "facts".

Like, "what were the four instances of laughter actually about, if they were not about the sentence?"

I think if someone were telling knock-knock jokes in the middle of the interview, he may have told us that.

That he isn't telling us what she's laughing at tells us "she's laughing at something damaging to her presidential campaign."

Static Ping said...

Fact checking is useful for lots of things. Politics is not one of them, unless you manage to find a truly impartial, honest, dedicated, and knowledgeable person. These things do not exist. Fact checking operations using this arrangement are useless. Someone who is really good may get it more right than wrong, but you can never be sure when the person is giving a straight answer or is giving in to his or her own biases. Of course, you could fact check the fact checker, but that brings into question why the fact checker exists in the first place.

The next best thing is to find two people who are politically biased in opposite directions but are as honest and impartial as you can find, so they balance each other's biases. It's not perfect, but it limits errors. Or you could have a larger group with a wider range of political views.

Frankly, good fact checking is a lot like the Supreme Court if it actually worked like intended. Given our current Supreme Court, that is not much of an endorsement.

amielalune said...

WaPo fact checking. An oxymoron if ever I heard one.

n.n said...

Something similar happened with the social justice-inspired humanitarian disaster (a.k.a. "Arab Spring"), that was not limited to the native women in each country subjected to the turmoils of peace.

Matthew Sablan said...

It wouldn't have mattered what they handed him. He's unreliable, biased and routinely wrong.

tim in vermont said...

The fact checkers said that Trump's claim that there was in increase in violence towards women and crime in Europe due to the Syrian migrants was false.

Yet after a thousand migrants went on a grope, rape, and rob spree on New Years' Eve in Cologne, the Germans thought it a big enough problem to issue "how to respect women, gays and transgenders" pamphlets to them.

Studiously ignoring these facts, the claim was rated as "False"

Yesterday Trump tweets that it "Looks like" those were his words "Looks like" the plane crash was terrorism. All day long the news is that Trump says it was terrorism without evidence. I can't think of any way you could say that his claim that it "looked like" terrorism can be said to have no basis in facts and evidence.

Jonathan Graehl said...

It is open to interpretation. My interpretation is that when you can't believe how much you're getting away with, that you know you *should* feel shame, you might laugh in that way when relating a surprising triumph. Over a raped girl.