Still more coming from the Taylor Branch book on Bill Clinton, this excerpting from Mother Jones about the famous meeting between Clinton and Al Gore after Gore won the 2000 election but lost the presidency.
During the discussion, Clinton told his vice president that he was disappointed that Gore had not used him in the last ten days of the 2000 campaign in strategically significant states--Arkansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Missouri. But Clinton said he could understand that. What was more upsetting for him, Clinton remarked to Gore, was that Gore had not crafted a more winning message during the campaign, that he had not campaigned on any grand themes. Clinton insisted to Gore that he hadn't cared about how Gore had referred to Clinton—and his personal scandal—during the campaign. Paraphasing this portion of the conversation, Branch writes that Clinton told Gore, "To gain votes, he would let Gore cut off his ear and mail it to reporter Michael Isikoff of Newsweek, the Monica Lewinsky expert."
At one point in the conversation, Gore told Clinton that he was still traumatized by having been caught up in the fundraising scandals of the 1996 Clinton reelection campaign, and he indicated that he blamed Clinton. Clinton could hardly believe this, and he told Branch that Gore was probably in shock from the election or unhinged, remarking, "I thought he was in Neverland."
In this same conversation, Gore pressed Clinton for an explanation of his affair with Lewinsky, noting that Gore had stood by him throughout the ordeal without Clinton ever confiding in him. There was little to say, Clinton replied. But Clinton did say that he was sorry. Gore responded that that this was the first time Clinton had apologized to him personally. This angered Clinton, who countered that he was only repeating what he had already said publicly. Moreover, Clinton noted, Hillary had more to resent that Gore did, and she had just campaigned successfully for Senate by unabashedly citing the Clinton-Gore record—not running away from it.
Throwdowns on Sally Quinn, Maureen Dowd and more.