Ed Klein is back. The long-time journalistic nemesis of the Clintons has a new book, detailing the alleged and titular “Blood Feud” between Hillary and Bill and the Obamas, and a theoretically blockbuster report on Sunday in the New York Post that the 44th President would prefer Sen. Elizabeth Warren — not Hillary — be the 45th.
A grain of salt might be warranted. BuzzFeed has published a handy list of the more implausible moments in Klein’s book — which at least one TPM reporter has admittedly not yet read. The Post report relied on the premise that the top advisers from Obama’s 2012 campaign are lining up for a Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign, while their former boss is making moves for another candidate.
But set all that aside. Klein’s old reporting on the Clintons might provide the astute reader with enough perspective to evaluate the new ones. Here is TPM’s refresher on the man who seems hellbent (again) on stopping Hillary.
Klein’s History Of Questionable Claims
In 2005, Klein published his first Clinton opus: “The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President.” It included what some might characterize as questionable claims. Slate picked out a few of the best when the book was released.
Klein wrote extensively in the book about the Clintons’ sex life, with sources alleging the couple didn’t have much of a sexual relationship and Bill had a low sperm count. At one point, Bill was quoted in the book as saying: “I’m going back to my cottage to rape my wife.” Klein also quoted another source saying it was “accepted as a fact” that Hillary Clinton had been sleeping with Vince Foster, a White House lawyer and attorney for the family who eventually committed suicide.
Hillary’s allegedly cutthroat approach to politics was also on display in the book. An anonymous source quoted by Klein alleged that Hillary gave up on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign to aid her own 2008 prospects. “She said she’d campaign ‘until the last dog dies.’ Well, the dogs were still alive and barking when she stopped campaigning for John Kerry,” the person is quoted as saying.
Conservative Critics Trashed His Hillary Book
The content of “The Truth About Hillary” was so outlandish that numerous high-profile conservatives ripped it critically upon its release. Here is John Podhoretz, editor-in-chief at Commentary magazine, in the New York Post:
This is one of the most sordid volumes I’ve ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn’t have to suffer through another word.
“Everything in this book that matters has been written before, and better,” Podhoretz wrote. “Everything else in it shouldn’t have been published.”
During a Q&A with the National Review Online, the questioner asked at one point: “Why on earth would you put such a terrible story in your book? That looks to be flimsily sourced at that. But even if it wasn’t — why tell it?” regarding Bill’s “rape” quote and its timing with Chelsea’s conception as reported in the book.
A number of Klein’s quotes from the NRO interview appear to betray his feelings about the subject he’s now revisiting:
The impeachment saga was manipulated by Hillary to turn herself into a sympathetic victim, and led directly to her Senate victory. In that sense, the impeachment saga was actually a plus for Hillary.
He added this at another point in the interview:
Hillary has been a woman of the ultra-Left ever since she entered Wellesley College 40 years ago this year. She’s been consistently anti-military (despite her recent votes), pro-nationalized health care, and pro-abortion without parental consent.
And one more:
Hillary’s 2006 campaign for reelection to the Senate is a dry run for her 2008 campaign for the White House, and the time has come for her opponents to size her up and devise a strategy to stop her.
He Reportedly Lost A Major Publishing Contract Over Accuracy Concerns
Questions about Klein’s reporting, though, haven’t stopped him from continuing to publish non-fiction narratives. But they might be starting to catch up.
According to BuzzFeed, Klein had signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins following the success of his 2012 book about Obama, “The Amateur.” But that contract was axed before “Blood Feud” was released. Citing two publishing industry sources, BuzzFeed reported that the reliability of Klein’s reporting was the reason for the split.
“Blood Feud” is instead being published by Regnery Publishing, a self-described “leading publisher of conservative books,” which also published “The Amateur.”