VF and the “Comeback Id”

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

Over the weekend Vanity Fair posted Todd Purdum’s piece on Bill Clinton — perhaps fearing that its news value will be diminished after this week — and while it does flesh out the details of already reported stories about questionable investments and business partners, it doesn’t land hard proof of any indiscretions.

Much of the well-written piece centers of the former president’s relationship with two major Hollywood fund-raisers: Ron Burkle and Steve Bing.  Many of the stories are rehashes of what has already been printed — Burkle’s penchant for women many generations removed, Bing’s fathering of a child out of wedlock with Elizabeth Hurley — in what New York Times’ Maureen Dowd derisively refers to Clinton’s “Binging and Burkling.” Details of Clinton’s investments with Burkle and his consulting fees from Burkle’s firm also have appeared elsewhere. Also mentioned is Frank Giustra, the mining executive who landed a uranium deal with  Kazakhstan (yes, the home of Borat) after Clinton took him to visit with that country’s president, filling out details that have appeared in the New York Times. In fact, much of the piece is about the appearance of impropriety on Clinton’s part, the raising of questions of Clinton’s judgment, although even there much is left to speculation and even innuendo, like Clinton’s visits with Gina Gershon.

Clinton spokesman Jay Carson issued a blistering attack on the article, fighting back not only on the content but on Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter’s ethics. “Journalism of personal destruction at its worst,” he said in a statement, via The Politico.

Carson writes, “Several new outlets including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times reported in 2004 on Editor in Chief Graydon Carter’s capitalization on his position at Vanity Fair to explore consulting and investment deals. Specifically, they examined connections between Carter’s personal consulting deals with movie companies and Vanity Fair’s coverage. It was revealed that Carter had received a $100,000 consultant fee for suggesting to Hollywood producer Brian Grazer that Sylvia Nasar’s book, A Beautiful Mind (which had been excerpted in Vanity Fair), be adapted into a movie. [Columbia Journalism Review, Jan/Feb 2007]”

Drudge’s Favorite?: Has the Obama campaign won over Matt Drudge? From the Politico: “It’s clear to us that Barack Obama has won the Drudge Primary, and it’s one of the most important primaries in this process,” conceded a senior aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who also acknowledged that Drudge’s treatment of Obama could make the Illinois senator more electable in November. A case in point: On Sunday, you wouldn’t find any mention of a Clinton victory in Puerto Rico. Drudge only linked to “Results.”

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