Bill Clinton has an unlikely admirer.
Kenneth Starr, who spent the 1990s leading the investigation that led to Clinton's impeachment, said at a panel discussion in Philadelphia last week that the former president is “the most gifted politician of the baby boomer generation.”
Starr — the independent counsel who doggedly pursued Clinton for his role in various controversies, including the Whitewater real estate venture, the death of aide Vince Foster, and allegations of sexual misconduct — expressed sadness that Clinton's presidency was marred by the scandals he helped surface, which he euphemistically referred to as "the unpleasantness."
"It was so tragic for the country," he said.
Starr went on to praise Clinton for his "remarkable gifts" and "genuine empathy for human beings."
“There are certain tragic dimensions which we all lament,” he remarked. “That having been said, the idea of this redemptive process afterwards, we have certainly seen that powerfully.”
As Donald Trump's attacks on Hillary Clinton draw renewed attention to the scandals that plagued the Clinton White House, Starr, without mentioning Trump by name, lamented the "utter decline and erosion of civility and discourse" in American politics. Starr did not offer his thoughts on whether the politically charged Clinton investigations played a role in hastening that decline.
Starr, now the president of Baylor University, can perhaps relate to Clinton in feeling besieged by scandal. Starr has come under fire for his handling of sexual assault charges against members of the school's football team, and, according to one report, will soon be fired by the university.