Hillary denies “Jew bastard” slur

"I have never said anything like that, ever," the first lady says.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton has been called a lot of names, but “bigot” has not been one of them. Now that’s changed. CNN reports that the first lady has denied an allegation that she once called one of her husband’s political aides a “fucking Jew bastard,” a charge raised in the forthcoming book “State of a Union: Inside the Complex Marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton.” Author Jerry Oppenheimer, a former reporter for the National Enquirer, claims that Hillary Clinton slurred Paul Fray, an advisor during Clinton’s unsuccessful 1974 congressional run.

Both Clintons reacted angrily to the allegation, calling it another dirty trick by their political enemies. “I have never said anything like that, ever,” Hillary Clinton said during a news conference outside her New York home. “I have in the past certainly, you know maybe, called somebody a name. But I have never used an ethnic, racial, anti-Semitic, bigoted, discriminatory, prejudiced, accusation against anybody.” The president leapt to his wife’s defense in an interview with the New York Daily News. “In 29 years, my wife has never, ever uttered an ethnic or racial slur against anybody, ever,” Bill Clinton said. “She’s so straight on this, she squeaks.”

Presidential channel surfing
Both major and two minor presidential candidates spoke their piece on news talk shows over the weekend. The Washington Post reports that Al Gore and George W. Bush talked about the economy, the death penalty, the healthcare system and each other during televised interviews on competing networks. For his part, the vice president tried to paint Bush as a tool for moneyed interests, while portraying himself as a defender of the little guy. “I’m for the people,” Gore intoned. “My opponent is for the powerful.” Bush countered that Gore’s style of campaigning, which he called “attack-dog politics,” had fallen out of favor with the American people.

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Outsiders strike back
Meanwhile, third-party candidates Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader teamed up to bash both the Democrat and the Republican for alienating voters on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Buchanan lashed out against charges that he and the Green Party candidate were stealing votes from Bush and Gore. “The votes of the American people belong to them. If they vote for Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan, that’s who their votes belong to,” he said. Nader also dismissed the idea that either third-party effort will spoil the election for the major party hopefuls. “I wouldn’t be running if I were worried about taking votes away from Al Gore or George W. Bush,” he said. “Nobody is entitled to votes.”

Poll positions
Presidential race:

  • Gore 46 to Bush 45 (Newsweek June 29-30).
  • Bush 52 to Gore 39 (CNN/Gallup/USA Today June 23-25).
  • Bush 40 to Gore 39 (the Associated Press June 21-25).
  • Bush 49 to Gore 41 (NBC/Wall Street Journal June 14-18).
  • Bush 52 to Gore 40 (Voter.com June 11-13).
  • Bush 50 to Gore 40 (Los Angeles Times June 8-13).
  • Bush 47 to Gore 39 (Zogby June 9-12).
  • Bush 49 to Gore 45 (ABC News/Washington Post June 8-11).

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  • Alicia Montgomery is an associate editor in Salon's Washington bureau.

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