Like Clinton, like Clinton. In a moment that more squarely defined his character than any other during his two terms as president, Bill Clinton famously proclaimed during his 1998 impeachment hearings, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
The it in his statement referred to his claim during his grand jury testimony that “there’s nothing going on between” himself and White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Here’s the entire statement from the Starr Report:
It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the — if he — if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not — that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.
Don’t berate yourself unduly if you can’t decipher this bit of double talk. No one can, probably including the speaker.
Having now found herself in a similar bind, his wife and presidential aspirant, Hillary Clinton, attempted yesterday on “Fox News Sunday” to spin her way out of her own web of lies, telling host Chris Wallace:
Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails. [Emphasis added]
But as Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler writes this morning:
While Comey did say there was no evidence she lied to the FBI, that is not the same as saying she told the truth to the American public – which was the point of Wallace’s question. Comey has repeatedly not taken a stand on her public statements.
And although Comey did say many emails were retroactively classified, he also said that there were some emails that were already classified that should not have been sent on an unclassified, private server. That’s the uncomfortable truth that Clinton has trouble admitting.
Earlier in his analysis, Kessler notes:
As we have seen repeatedly in Clinton’s explanations of the email controversy, she relies on excessively technical and legalistic answers to explain her actions.
In other words, she too is attempting to parse the meaning of is. The question that remains is whether she will be able to fool as many of the American people as Bubba did 18 years ago.
Oh, and for the record, Kessler awarded her performance yesterday Four Pinocchios.