This chapter will be somewhat different from the previous applications. Three different sets of discourse from three different surrogate defenders of Bill Clinton will be examined: (1) Hillary Clinton’s January 27, 1998, appearance on NBC’s Today show to defend her husband from allegations that he had an illicit affair with Monica Lewinsky; (2) White House Counsel Jack Quinn’s and Representative Tom Lantos’ June 19, 1996, appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live program to defend the president from allegations that he had improperly used FBI files for political gain; and (3) White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty’s July 2, 1993, press briefing defending Clinton against accusations of maligning White House Travel Office career employees in order to justify firing and replacing them with political allies.
These texts were chosen because of their unique, situational contexts for defending the president. Hillary Clinton acted as a very personal surrogate defending her husband from very personal charges. The Quinn/Lantos tandem provided an example of combining legalistic and political defense. Finally, as Chief of Staff, Mack McLarty was Clinton’s closest advisor with unlimited access to the president himself, and was also a good friend of Clinton’s since early childhood.
In each of three major sections in this chapter, the allegations against Clinton will be described, followed by an analysis of the image repair strategies employed. Then, an evaluation will be offered using internal and external data.