Accuser says Hillary's no hater

The target of the first lady's alleged "Jew bastard" slur insists she's not a bigot.

By Alicia Montgomery
July 19, 2000 11:00PM (UTC)
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Hillary Rodham Clinton has been in hot water this week over charges that she called a former Clinton campaign aide a "fucking Jew bastard," according to the Associated Press. That man, Paul Fray, spoke out on ABC's "Good Morning America" to clarify his side of what happened between him and Clinton in 1974. Fray says that Clinton uttered the slur in a fit of temper, and that he didn't believe she was an anti-Semite. "It was a spur-of-the-moment thing," Fray said. "You've got to understand in the heat of the battle she may say a lot of things she'd be sorry for later." He also disputed questions about his integrity raised by the Clintons since the slur allegation surfaced. "The whole bottom line is that if I'm telling a lie, I'd be glad to take a lie detector test ... and if that doesn't satisfy the question, then let me take truth serum," Fray declared.

Rudy takes Hillary's side
When he was running against her, Rudy Giuliani didn't have a lot of nice things to say about the first lady. But he's discovered a gallant streak now that he's out of the Senate race, the New York Post reports. Giuliani said that he didn't believe that his former rival made the anti-Semitic remark in 1974, but that the whole incident was meaningless given the passage of time. "I'm willing to accept her at her word that she didn't and basically say it's irrelevant what she said and did 26 years ago," Giuliani said. The New York mayor didn't take so charitable a view of the president's insinuation that the first lady's opponent in the Senate race was responsible for the slur charges. "I don't think the president should be blaming Rick Lazio for it," Giuliani said. "Rick Lazio didn't put this out. It's in a book."

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Gore to skip Playboy party
The vice president has tried to loosen up his image. But hanging out with sex magazine mogul Hugh Hefner, it turns out, is just too loose. The Associated Press reports that Al Gore turned down the invite to a convention party thrown by Rep. Loretta Sanchez for the Hispanic Unity Caucus hosted at the Playboy Mansion. "We're not attending, participating, supporting, condoning or giving our imprimatur in any shape, way or form," said Gore spokesman Chris Lehane. Despite criticism from fellow Democrats and some Latinos, Sanchez has no plans to move the party, according to her spokeswoman Sarah Anderson. "We really wanted a high-profile venue to put this event on the map, and, obviously, that's happened," she said. "We're expecting this to be sold out." But those expecting a bunny bonanza, Playboy spokesman Bill Farley insists, will be disappointed. "This is a formal event," he said.

Raising a ruckus in Los Angeles
If Playboy officials can be taken at their word, Democrats will find the wildest convention party in the streets. CBS News reports that protesters planning to swarm outside the Democratic Convention have gotten lessons on how to do it right from the Ruckus Society. The group instructs protesters in effective nonviolent resistance, and many of those participating in last year's Seattle protests passed through its training camp. Last week, the Ruckus Society camp put protesters planning to disrupt the Democratic National Convention through their paces. "We're taking protests to the very edge," said Ruckus trainer John Quigley. In addition to a review of the philosophies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, those who attended the weeklong training camp learned how to scale tall buildings and outrun tear gas canisters.

Take that job and ...
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt tried to outrun rumors that he's still on Gore's short list for veep. Reuters reports that Gephardt expressed the hope that he was no longer under consideration, insisting that he has no desire to compete for the job. "What I've said is very clear. I've said I don't want to do that. And I've said I hope and believe they'll find someone to do that other than me," he said. Gephardt instead will concentrate on returning the Democrats to majority status in the upcoming election, which would all but guarantee him the speakership.

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Although he was said to be close to the top of Gore's veep list, Gephardt and the vice president haven't exactly been bosom buddies. The congressman has repeatedly challenged the Clinton administration on trade policy, and at one time reportedly considered running against Gore for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Bush toys with veep "choice"
The presumptive GOP nominee has muddied the waters over his running mate pick. The Associated Press reports that George W. Bush continues to refuse to subject his second in command to an abortion litmus test, and that a plurality of delegates to the Republican National Convention promises to back him up. Of the Republican delegates surveyed by AP, 49 percent promised to support Bush even if he nominated a pro-choicer like Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to round out his ticket; 22 percent vowed not to back such a veep and 15 percent were unsure. "Delegates who are practical realize that the No. 1 priority is to win, and if people do not support the GOP ticket, you cannot win," said pro-life GOP delegate Hamp Atkins. Some pro-life forces within the Republican Party warned Bush in the past that a pro-choice running mate would cost him their support.

Jack E. Robinson gets back on base
It looks like there will be a Massachusetts Senate race after all, according to the Associated Press. The highest court in the state ruled that businessman and reputed scoundrel Jack E. Robinson has earned the right to face veteran Sen. Edward Kennedy in November. This decision overturns a June finding by the State Ballot Law Commission that found Robinson had missed the required 10,000 signature mark by 14 names. The Republican had never secured the support of his own party, largely due to information Robinson revealed about himself, including his arrest on drunken-driving charges, and a restraining order taken out against him by a former girlfriend.

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Poll positions
Presidential race:

  • Bush 45 to Gore 41 (Zogby July 14-17).
  • Bush 48 to Gore 46 (USA Today/CNN/Gallup July 14-16).
  • Bush 43 to Gore 41 (CBS News July 13-16).
  • Bush 46 to Gore 40 (Fox News July 12-13).
  • Gore 46 to Bush 45 (Newsweek June 29-30).
  • Bush 40 to Gore 39 (Associated Press June 21-25).

    Third-party candidates:

  • Nader 6 to Buchanan 3 (Zogby July 14-17).
  • Nader 5 to Buchanan 3 (USA Today/CNN/Gallup July 14-16).
  • Nader 4 to Buchanan 4 (CBS News July 14-16).
  • Nader 8 to Buchanan 4 (Fox News July 12-13).
  • Nader 6 to Buchanan 2 (Newsweek June 29-30).

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  • Alicia Montgomery

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

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