Klein Backs off Clinton Rape Smear in Hannity Interview

Edward Klein has backed down from his allegation that Bill Clinton raped Hillary, leading to the conception of Chelsea.

Klein backs off rape smear in Hannity interview (Media Matters for America)

Asked by interviewer Sean Hannity “about whether or not Bill [Clinton] raped her [Hillary Clinton] and conceived Chelsea that way,” author Edward Klein backed off the claim in two June 21 interviews — and told two conflicting stories about his own sourcing for it in the process.

In an afternoon interview on Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show to promote his new attack book on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), The Truth About Hillary (Sentinel, June 2005), Klein said, “My source never said Bill raped Hillary.” He added that the supposed “source” thought that Bill Clinton had made the comment, “I’m going to go back to my cottage and rape my wife,” as a “joke” and in “jest.” But in a later TV interview with Hannity on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Klein backed off the story entirely, saying, “Nor do I suggest for a second that he [sic] was raped.”

Within the course of a few minutes in the radio interview, Klein flip-flopped on how many sources he had for the story. In his book, Klein sources the story only to “an anonymous source who was with the Clintons in Bermuda.” Klein’s book cites no other sources to support the story.

When initially pressed by Hannity, Klein said he had only one source:

HANNITY: It’s only one source.

KLEIN: It’s one source who I checked out very carefully.

A few minutes later, however, Klein changed his mind, telling Hannity that he had more than one source on the story:

HANNITY: Is one anonymous source enough, then, to go to print with something like that?

KLEIN: Well, you know, I’ve been at this for 40-some-odd years, Sean. And I’ve dealt with anonymous sources all my life.

HANNITY: But one source? Were you able to corroborate the source?

KLEIN: Of course. I wouldn’t go to print —

HANNITY: So, you had two sources?

KLEIN: I had — sometimes I had several sources.

HANNITY: But in the case of this rape story —

KLEIN: Of course I did, yes.

But in the Hannity & Colmes interview, Klein returned to his original claim that he had only one source:

HANNITY: In the case of the story of how Chelsea was conceived, you had one source in the book.

KLEIN: Yes.

Unbelievable.

via Peter Daou

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Update: For those visiting from Michelle Malkin‘s site or another direct link who are not regular readers, I should note that I am in no way a fan of Bill or Hillary Clinton. While I admire both of their political skills, I find little to like about them as people. But there’s plenty for which to criticize the Clintons without libeling them.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. McGehee says:

    Klein said, “My source never said Bill raped Hillary.” He added that the supposed “source” thought that Bill Clinton had made the comment, “I’m going to go back to my cottage and rape my wife,” as a “joke” and in “jest.” But in a later TV interview with Hannity on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Klein backed off the story entirely, saying, “Nor do I suggest for a second that he [sic] was raped.”

    The Media Matters drone who wrote this makes Klein’s comments out to be contradictory, but I’m having a hard time seeing how.

    The first statement is that the source (which the MM writer couldn’t pass up a chance to imply doesn’t even exist) never actually said Bill ever raped Hillary. The second statement is that the source thought Bill said what he’s alleged to have said as a joke. The third statement is that, like his source, Klein doesn’t believe there was an actual rape.

    The MM writer seems to be equating the claim that Bill said something about rape to the claim that a rape actually occurred. Now, maybe if I were to read the book (please, God, no) I might find that it does claim that a rape occurred. But there’s no quote from the book here to compare with Klein’s answers — only an apparent assumption that the book actually accuses Bill of raping Hillary.

    I’m getting the idea this “rape smear” is every bit as much hype to denigrate the book as anything that was said/written earlier to promote it. All any of it is going to accomplish is to sell more copies.

    Is that what Media Matters wants?

  2. This game of “let’s trip up Ed Klein” sure looks like “gotcha” journalism at its worst. He’s reporting a rumor which he heard from a single source. He has reasons to consider that source to be reliable. What’s so conceptually difficult about that, really?

    Should Kelin have put it in a book? That’s a judgment call. Should I read the book? Not on your nelly! That’s a judgment call too.