Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Time for President Hillary; Has Clinton's Promiscuity Actually Boosted His Wife's Career?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Time for President Hillary; Has Clinton's Promiscuity Actually Boosted His Wife's Career?

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER MCKAY

BILL CLINTON: An American Journey by Nigel Hamilton (Century, [pounds sterling]25)

AT 57, William Jefferson Clinton's journey is far from over. The most extraordinary part of it may be just over the horizon.

Could he - a serial womaniser who faced impeachment proceedings as America's commander- in- chief after canoodling with starstruck, 21-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky - return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as a Denis Thatcher-like consort, walking a few steps behind America's first woman President?

Having promised to defend her New York Senate seat in 2006, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton says she doesn't plan to run for the presidency in 2004. That's considered cautious, as well as good manners. Until recently, few considered swaggering President George W Bush to be beatable.

But now, Dubya's approval ratings are falling. His cocky speeches before military audiences aren't playing as well as they did. If his wounds are fatal, political sharks such as Bill and Hillary will smell his blood and know precisely how and when to strike.

So Nigel Hamilton's 480-page tome on Clinton is timely as well as exhaustive. From Arkansas Beginnings to At the Gates of Rome - winning the

presidency - he tries to explain how a half-orphan from the backwoods who couldn't keep his trousers zipped mounted the American electorate.

Even-handedly, he records Clinton's magnetism, charm and ability as well as his deviousness, self-pity and tendency to blame anyone other than himself. Old Bill, he says, "simply could not tell the truth, especially about sex". Hillary knew this from their early married days in Arkansas, but how much did she really care?

In her recent volume of memoirs, Mrs Clinton casts herself rather skillfully as the betrayed wife whose love for Bill is bruised but not extinguished; this exposes her to the jeers of the worldly, and feminists who would rather she kicked him out and made her own way in the world, but surely it does her no harm among the generous-spirited majority of voters. …

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