A Classic Clinton Lie?

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Remember that tip story? It seemed funny to me at first. The story was on NPR, that obvious tool of the VRWC, and detailed how Clinton did not tip any of the waitresses at a diner she visited to highlight the plight of working women. Drudge ran with the story and the blogosphere understandably gobbled it up. Immediately, the Clinton campaign played hardball and called around news organizations to confirm that, in fact, a $100 tip had indeed been left:

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer wrote to NPR in an e-mail: "The campaign spent $157 and left a $100 tip at the Maid-Rite Restaurant. Wish you had checked in with us beforehand."

End of story, one supposes. The Clinton rapid-response site, The Fact Hub, gloated. The manager, Brad Crawford, initially backed the Clintons up:

The manager of the of the restaurant tells First Read the Clinton campaign did, in fact, tip. "They paid their bill, and they left a tip," said Brad Crawford, manager of the Maid Rite restaurant in Toledo, Iowa. "Everybody was satisfied. No question about it."

But guess what? The waitress is sticking by her story that she got no tip. Yep - back to NPR:

"Why would I lie about not getting a tip?" she told NPR. She also maintained that her co-workers at the restaurant had not received tips.

Crawford, meanwhile, has clarified his story:

"Where Hillary was sitting, there was no tip left," Crawford said.

Then this:

A Clinton campaign staffer called on Esterday at the restaurant Thursday after the story aired. The staff member apologized to her and gave her a $20 bill, according to Esterday. The Clinton campaign confirmed that visit. The campaign also produced photocopies of receipts showing $157.46 was paid to Maid-Rite on a VISA card on Oct. 8 for meals consumed by the candidate's entourage. The tip was supposed to have been paid in cash, and the campaign insisted such a payment was made but has declined to make available a staff member who was present at Maid-Rite and left tip money.

Why not? And what's with this weird $20 pay-off to Esterday? If they'd left $100, and knew it had been shared by the wait-staff, why would they need to add $20? Esterday says it was completely improbable that her fellow servers would have received a $100 tip and not shared it with her. I don't know what to believe. I hope someone interviews the fellow servers and gets to the real bottom of this. Yes: it matters. We need to get the name of the staffer who allegedly left the $100 in cash. We need a name of the person who accepted that $100. It wasn't Crawford, because surely he would have immediately told reporters that he had gotten $100 in cash for the wait-staff. It's not something you forget. So who gave it and who received it? Let's find out, shall we?

Why? It's an absolutely trivial story - but its triviality is what's telling.

It is simply unsurprising that a story like this pops up with the Clinton machine - especially that quintessential Clinton touch of the ready $20 pressed into Esterday's hand the day after the story. A classic bribe to keep quiet perhaps? The kind of petty, cheesy sleaze that Clinton engaged in for decades, as he wove his way through every skirt in Arkansas and beyond.

I covered the Clintons for eight years. The one thing I learned about them is that they lie. It's reflexive to them; after decades of the lying that tends to infect the households of addicts, they don't have a normal person's understanding of truth and falsehood. They have an average sociopath's understanding of truth and falsehood. They lie about big things; they lie about small things; and they lie about things that are so trivial you can't believe anyone would bother lying about them. But the Clintons do. They did for eight years. They put the entire country through a trauma because they have no sense of what's true and false any more. Living in a relationship where lying has been integrated into its very essence will do that. They can't help it. Lying is their entropic state of being - big lies, small lies, and everything in between.

You can't trust a word from them. If that's what you want in a war leader, go ahead and vote for her.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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