Massachusetts Dem:  Bill Clinton Shouldn’t Be Campaigning With Us

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2018/06/20/massachusetts-dem-bill-clinton-shouldnt-be-campaigning-with-us/

Former President Bill Clinton shouldn’t be welcomed on the campaign trail by Democrats running for office because of the way he treated women when he was in power and his failure to apologize appropriately for it, a prominent Massachusetts Democrat said.

U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-Melrose), who co-chairs a national effort to flip Republican-held districts in Congress to Democrat, clarified her position on Clinton during a radio interview, solidifying doubts she expressed earlier in the month.

Margery Eagan, co-host of Boston Public Radio, a local National Public Radio talk show, asked Clark yesterday whether Clinton should campaign for Democrats.

Clark responded:  “You know, I think that would be up to an individual candidate. But I think this is a time when we need to be saying we demand apologies that are meaningful from people who have really, really hurt women, and that this is not the time to have people who have had such, you know, public scandals like Bill Clinton, on the campaign trail with us.”

Boston Public Radio co-host Jim Braude asked Clark what she would do if Clinton asked to help her campaign for re-election to the seat she holds now, the Massachusetts Fifth Congressional District, which stretches from Winthrop to Ashland north and west of Boston.

“I would politely decline,” Clark said during the interview Tuesday. “And it’s not because I don’t think he didn’t do some good things in his presidency, and continues to, but I think that this issue, and this time, we need to hear more of an apology.”

Clark co-chairs Red To Blue, an effort by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to elect Democrats in congressional districts currently held by Republicans.

The radio discussion did not get into the details of Clinton’s scandals involving women, which most famously include sexual activity in the Oval Office with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, between late 1995 and early 1997.

Clinton has also been accused by several women of sexually harassing them. Another woman, Juanita Broaddrick, has said Clinton raped her when he was attorney general of Arkansas in 1978. He served as president of the United States from 1993 to 2001.

Clinton made news on June 4 during a sometimes-combative interview with Craig Melvin on NBC’s Today. Melvin asked Clinton if in light of the MeToo movement now whether he should have handled the Lewinsky scandal differently back in the 1990s. He also asked Clinton if he had ever made a personal apology to Lewinski. Clinton said he has never talked to Lewinsky since their relationship became public.

“Do you feel like you owe her an apology?” Melvin asked, meaning a personal apology.

“No. I do not – I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry,” Clinton responded.

The former president took the offensive during the interview, noting that a solid majority of voters opposed the Republicans’ attempt to remove him from office because he lied under oath about the affair during a deposition in an unrelated sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, but the U.S. Senate declined to hold a trial that could have resulted in his removal.

“And nobody believes that I got out of that for free. I left the White House 16 million dollars in debt,” Clinton said.

That same evening, Braude interviewed Clark on his WGBH Channel 2 television show, Greater Boston, and seemed to surprise her with a question about Clinton.

Here’s the back and forth from Braude’s television interview of Clark on June 4:

Braude:  “If Bill Clinton offered to help you in your race, and ‘I want to come to your district and campaign with you,’ would you say yes or no?”

Clark:  “You know, President Clinton did many good things as president. And, you know, I have been at events with him in the past, not for my campaign, where he has lent his support.”

Braude:  “So you’d say ‘come on down’?”

Clark:  “But I think we all have to think about where we are, and what his responsibility and what our responsibility is in advocating and partnering with him.”

Braude:  “So would you want him?”

Clark:  “You know, I, I would have to think about it.”

Clark was more decisive when Eagan asked her about Clinton during the radio interview yesterday.

Here below is the back-and-forth. (The exchange on NBR’s web site goes from 10:10 to 12:16.)

Eagan:  “Bill Clinton has campaigned regularly for people, because he’s a very good talker, and he had been a very popular – or probably still is, I don’t know what the poll numbers are about him now. But he asked you if in light of the MeToo movement he should be campaigning for Democrats. What do you think? You said you had to think about it. Have you thought about it?”

Clark:  [laugh]  Here’s what I — I have thought about it. And I think that the MeToo movement is long overdue. I think that it is long time that men like Bill Clinton come to a better understanding of the implications of their action. You know, Bill Clinton did many good things in his presidency. But now, in light of the MeToo movement, I think we all have to look back, and, and hold him accountable as well. You know, I think he’s been slow to apologize. And like so many men of considerable power, just really doesn’t understand the ramifications of his actions.”

Eagan:  “So Democrats shouldn’t have him campaign for them.”

Clark:  “You know, I think that would be up to an individual candidate. But I think this is a time when we need to be saying we demand apologies that are meaningful from people who have really, really hurt women, and that this is not the time to have people who have had such, you know, public scandals like Bill Clinton, on the campaign trail with us.”

Braude:  “… Would you, if he said ‘I’ll help you out in your district, the Fifth,’ what would you say to him?”

Clark:  “I would politely decline. And it’s not because I don’t think he didn’t do some good things in his presidency, and continues to, but I think that this issue, and this time, we need to hear more of an apology.”

Clinton during the Today interview two weeks ago also expressed support for the worldwide movement in which women call out men in positions of power for behaving badly toward them, with some reservations:

“I like the MeToo movement. It’s way overdue. It doesn’t mean I agree with everything. I still have some questions about some of the decisions which have been made.”

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