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The voyeur general's report to Congress
Secret lives of the Republicans, Part One
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A call for moral renewal
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C O M M E N T A R Y
-------------------The other woman
Of all the women swirling around President Clinton, perhaps only one was a true victim.
Correction: Former Spy editor Kurt Andersen did not know of Sidney Blumenthal's alleged involvement in the Bush affair story, as was erroneously stated in the version of this article originally posted by Salon News. The inaccuracy was introduced by Salon editors, who apologize to Mr. Andersen and the reporter for the error. The text has been corrected.
BY MURRAY WAAS
The entire affair should now become a private matter between him, his family and God, he argued: "Even presidents have private lives ... It's time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life."
A longtime Arkansas state employee named Charlotte Perry might be excused for believing otherwise. An African-American woman with three young children at home, Perry is the type of person who comes to mind when, as he is wont to do, the president talks about those who work hard and play by the rules. It was such folks whom Clinton said he wanted to serve when he asked us to elect him as president in the first place.
In February 1990, Charlotte Perry hoped that her hard work, integrity and many years of service to the state government were finally going to pay off. She applied for a better paying job as an administrative assistant at a state agency called the Arkansas Board of Review. The position paid slightly more than $17,500 a year.
But Perry didn't receive the promotion she clearly deserved. Instead, it went to another woman with less experience and fewer qualifications -- Gennifer Flowers, whom everyone around Little Rock knew to be the governor's girlfriend. An investigation of the matter by a state agency later determined that the hiring procedure that led to Flowers being hired over Perry was "improper" and the result of favoritism.
Flowers, seeking work, had approached Clinton about finding her a position with the state. There were, after all, surely perks to be had for being the governor's mistress, Flowers reasoned. Clinton turned over the dirty work of finding the appropriate position for Flowers to an assistant named Judy Gaddy. Gaddy tried hard to find something for Flowers, even landing her an interview with the Arkansas Historical Preservation Program as a multimedia specialist. But Flowers was found to be unqualified for that job.
On Feb. 23, 1990, even more desperate for work than before, Flowers wrote Clinton: "Bill, I've tried to explain my situation to you and how badly I need a job ... Unfortunately it looks like I have to pursue the lawsuit to hopefully get some money to live on, until I get employment."
The lawsuit Flowers was referring to had been filed by a former Arkansas state employee named Larry Nichols. He alleged that Clinton had had sexual relationships with five women, including Flowers. Nichols had sued the governor after Clinton had fired him for stealing state funds. When a local radio station named Flowers based on papers filed in the lawsuit, Flowers told Clinton she would have to sue the radio station for slander so that she would have some money to live on.
In fact, Flowers was only bringing up Nichols' charges as a means to try to intimidate Clinton to find her a job. No one in Little Rock believed much of anything Nichols had to say, because he was known as the local loony. The four other women he named in the lawsuit simply laughed off his charges. And except for the one radio station, no reputable news organization in the state of Arkansas gave credence to Nichols' charges. Nevertheless, Flowers' ploy to intimidate Clinton had the intended effect.
N E X T+P A G E+| A sudden change
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