Friday, Jan. 09, 2009

Sidney Blumenthal

Then: When Clinton appointed Blumenthal — a former journalist who has written for publications such as The New Yorker and the Washington Post — as a senior adviser in his White House administration, he also brought on a loyal associate who would stick by his side through the scandal and beyond — not only as a defender of the President's claims against adultery, but also as a defender of his politics. Before he was called to testify at the impeachment hearings, Blumenthal confronted the President and First Lady much in the same way a lawyer might, to ask them both to truthfully and confidentially share their side. Clinton explained that his relationship with Monica Lewinsky was not sexual and that he did not understand why she would say otherwise. As the only presidential aide to ever testify in an impeachment hearing, Blumenthal said at the hearings that he believed Clinton had told him the truth and had no reason to think that he was hiding information.

Now: In his 2003 book The Clinton Wars Blumenthal recounted his experiences as a senior adviser during Clinton's second term. He noted that the media battle over the Lewinsky scandal in large part defined President Clinton's legacy — unfairly, Blumenthal believed — overshadowing the importance of his role in mediating international struggles from the Middle East to the Balkans. After leaving the Administration in 2001, Blumenthal returned to journalism, working for a variety of publications. He has been a vocal critic of the current Bush administration and in 2006 jumped back into politics as an adviser to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.