Hillary Clinton and the L-word

Is there anything worse than being called a "liberal"? The right apparently thinks so.

By Tim Grieve

Published June 10, 2005 2:30PM (EDT)

The Gallup Poll shows that a majority of Americans still think her as "liberal," but that's not the L-word underlying the latest attack on Hillary Clinton. In his upcoming book, "The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President," Edward Klein will apparently stretch every inch of innuendo possible out of Clinton's friendships with -- gasp! -- lesbians.

Klein says that Clinton says she was heavily influenced by a "culture of lesbianism" when she was a student at Wellesley -- and that, at her 25th reunion, she even touched the buzz-cut hairdo of a woman who was "widely rumored" to be a lesbian! The New York Post today checks in with that woman, a classmate of Clinton's who is, in fact, gay. "Yes, I am a lesbian, but I wasn't at Wellesley or for 20 years afterward," Nancy Wanderer tells the Post's Page Six. "There was no lesbian culture there at the time. I couldn't have told you one person who was lesbian. If there was, it was underground." And yes, Wanderer says, Hillary might have touched her hair at a Wellesley reunion; just about everyone at her table did -- it was really short, and people thought it was interesting. (A hot tip for Klein: We can't be sure of this, but we think it's pretty likely that, sometime or other in the course of her 57 years on this planet, Sen. Clinton might have touched the belly of a pregnant woman. You should check it out.)

Now, someone told us once that Dick Cheney's daughter is gay, but we're pretty sure that doesn't make him a lesbian. By the right's standards, though, maybe it does. As Media Matters notes, Rush Limbaugh is all but breathless about Klein's book: "I've got some interesting, juicy details on this book on Hillary by Ed Klein, but I'm not going to be the first to mention them," Limbaugh told his listeners the other day. "It will come out eventually. It has to do with sexual orientation, and I'm not going to be the one."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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