Iraq's three Republican Guard divisions had just reached the 36th parallel when Clinton was told that the architect of his 'family values' election campaign, Richard Morris, was about to be exposed in the press as the assiduous client of a call-girl, with whom he had shared White House secrets. It was the worst possible kind of scandal for Clinton, given the past stories of his own extra-marital affairs, now more relevant than ever because of his decidedly puritanical electoral stance. And the scandal came at the very worst time for Clinton: on that Thursday, 29 August, he was preparing to make the big acceptance speech that would close the Chicago Convention, before thousands of Democratic Party delegates, and the tens of millions who would watch it in their homes. Clinton's media experts were offering 'pre-speech' briefings to set the right tone, but all day long TV and radio news throughout the United States was preoccupied with stories about Morris, his call-girl, and Clinton's unique dependence on his fallen adviser, with whom, apparently, he communicated more often than anyone else, including Hillary. White House claims that Morris was only one of many 'temporary, part-time, consultants' were ignored by the media, or simply ridiculed.
LRB 19 September 1996 | PDF Download