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The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton Hardcover – February, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 197 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Unhappy reading for Republicans or political naïfs, The Hunting of the President is the story of a sustained and well-funded effort to discredit and defeat Bill Clinton, dating from his gubernatorial days in Arkansas and eventually leading to his impeachment trial. Award-winning journalists Joe Conason and Gene Lyons have crafted a tale as compulsively readable as a political thriller--paced, and at times worded, like a summer bestseller. Although they provide ample evidence of backstabbing, revenge, deceit, conniving, and "dirty tricks" in the struggle to oust Clinton, arguing that "the better the president and the country did, the more his adversaries appeared willing to endorse almost anything short of assassination to do him in," they also acknowledge that Clinton's reckless behavior, along with the "panicky, defensive, and occasionally less-than-perfectly-honest" responses of the White House press office, didn't hurt his opponents. Investigative journalism at its juiciest, The Hunting of the President is a surprising valediction to a far-from-angelic public leader who often outmaneuvered his enemies with otherworldly skill. --Regina Marler

From Publishers Weekly

Conason and Lyons (Fools for Scandal), veteran journalists respectively for the New York Observer and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, argue that if the opposition to the Clintons didn't quite constitute a "vast right-wing conspiracy," as the First Lady famously alleged, it was at the very least a "loose cabal" of "Clinton adversaries,... an angry gallery of defeated politicians,... right-wing pamphleteers, wealthy eccentrics, zany private detectives, religious fanatics and die-hard segregationists." They reveal how notable right-wingers like Richard Mellon Scaife (heir to the Carnegie Mellon fortune) and Jerry Falwell bankrolled the muckraking that led to scandals like Whitewater and Troopergate, neither of which, the authors claim, ever produced evidence of Clinton misconduct. Conason and Lyons also point out the ultraconservative credentials of Paula Jones's supporters, including Kenneth Starr, who privately abetted the harassment suit before he was appointed as a supposedly independent counsel. But what disturbs Conason and Lyons even more than the zeal of these conservative critics is the conduct of the national press. They make a case that their colleagues at the New York Times, Washington Post and elsewhere colluded with the most unsavory elements of the fringe right to bring unverified and frequently libelous allegations into the center of the mainstream media. The story of the Clinton scandals is a tortuous, labyrinthine puzzle, and Conason and Lyons do their best to simplify it. But their cast of characters is enormous, and their research overwhelming. Readers may not ultimately agree with the authors that the tactics of the Clinton enemies were worse than any mistake made by the president, but they will nevertheless gain a considerably more balanced and complex picture of the road to impeachment. 16 pages b&w photos. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (February 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312245475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312245474
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT documents a sickness at the very center of this nation's soul. A few people, convinced of their exclusive ownership of the truth, proved willing to tell any lie, despoil our nation's institutions and traditions, and break laws in order to displace from power a man they hated. The assault on the president is a challenge as serious as Watergate to our nation's ability to self-government, but in this case, the cancer is on the judicial system, metastasized to the press and the Congress.
THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT shows that the anti-democratic activity originated at very high levels, probably including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, members of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and other officers of the court. These sworn guardians of justice perverted the principles of equity to turn the court system into their instrumentality to grasp political power. For example, the book exposes serious lies in Paula Jones' case, lies at which Judge Susan Wright winked as she judged the president solely guilty of contempt. Also, in the process of using the courts for political purposes, very basic rights guaranteed in our Constitution, including the protections of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, have been damaged. Grand jury secrecy has been turned into a mockery, and reporters turned into informants for the prosecution. The power of money may have been used to buy testimony. The press itself is used not to report news but to influence opinion. These developments are frighteningly similar to what occurred in the Soviet Union as it slid into dictatorship.
THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT shows that elected officials are not exempt from blame, either.
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Format: Hardcover
Beginning in late 1993, I began to read news reports in my local newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, which contained serious but unsubstantiated allegations about an Arkansas land deal known as Whitewater and the possible criminality of the President and his wife. There seemed to be quite a few of these "news articles" and I began to wonder if all of that smoke did not have a substantial fire at its center. Four years later, I start "pulling" the articles on Whitewater and by now, the numerous "Gates" being investigated and reported on in the daily newspapers, from the archives of the Mercury News and about twenty other Knight-Ridder newspapers across the country. One of the things I learned that a large proportion of these stories were by four reporters -- Jeff Gerth and Stephen Labaton of the New York Times, Michael Isikoff and Susan Schmidt of the Washington Post.
This was an interesting experience, and can be duplicated by anyone reading these words. This is what I discovered: In the San Jose Mercury News alone from October 31 1993 to March 31, 1994, there were a total of 163 stories. Of these, 158 had been published in a 106-day span of time from December 16, 1993 to the end of March, about 1.5 stories a day or two stories every three days. It became even more interesting when I "pulled" the "Whitewater" and "Madison Guaranty" stories from twenty Knight-Ridder newspapers in the 62 days from October 31,1993 to December 31, 1993. There were no less than 83 unique items, about 1.3 items a day, and of course many of the newspapers were publishing identical stories during this time. When you look at the coverage in this way, it looks more like indoctrination rather than reporting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of all the Clinton Impeachment books, this the one which has the most credibility because neither of the authors is particularly interested in achieving "Pundithood." At once a crisp rendering of Southern Gothic politics, as well as "Big City Gullibility" Lyons and Conason create an entertaining and sobering vision of Republican Dirty Tricks as high art, as well as an accurate rendering of how big media was fooled over and over again in a game of find the "Clinton Scandals."
Some chapters are laugh out loud funny, as rich and as colorful as anything ever written by Twain or Stephen Leacock.
Other chapters are monumentally depressing, in that we get a terrifying picture of how far unemployeed Republicans would go to get their cushy Govmnt jobs back.
And in the midst of this madness, there are scores of reporters playing the fool for various conmen, scoundrels, and thieves.
This book gives an unblinking look at the enemies of Bill Clinton, and one can be assured that the mainstream press and the Clinton haters will not like what they see one bit. (if they can actually bring themselves to read this wonderful book.)
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By A Customer on May 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As an Englishman, I have precious little invested in the matter of Clinton and his pursuers, either for or against.
Certainly, we had in England, just as in much of the rest of the world, been bombarded with these matters from the day they broke into the national American consciousness, and discerning fact from fiction became an increasingly difficult job.
As a Thatcherite Conservative myself, I had a pre-disposition to believe and hope that my political soulmates across the Atlantic were right, and that they would manage to despatch this President, apparently so odious. And yet......
And yet, it began to bother me that for all the accusations slung so energetically at President Clinton, there never appeared to be any concrete evidence of wrongdoing, and that no convictions on any serious charges of any of those indicted seemed forthcoming.
Furthermore, for a President so voluminously accused by so many, and condemned so widely in the press for so many misdeeds, the total lack of indictments against Clinton began to bother me greatly. An enthusiastic, partisan investigator, backed by a partisan Congress in both Houses, with unlimited access to funds and surrounded by a large, ideologically committed staff had, after some five to six years, found.........absolutely nothing! How could this be?
When Hillary Clinton spoke of a "...vast right-wing, conspiracy...", I shuddered silently. I did not wish to believe her, but something did not add up, and when the President was impeached and survived, I wondered if Starr and his team were simply monumentally incompetent, or if maybe - just maybe - Mrs Clinton was right?
And then this marvellous book.
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