NY Times Calls Clinton Selling Nights in the Lincoln Bedroom a Terry McAuliffe 'Innovation'

On the front page of Sunday's New York Times came the headline "In Virginia, I.O.U.'s Give The Democrat an Edge." Democrats nearly always get an "edge" in liberal newspapers.

In describing how Terry McAuliffe is cashing in all his favors for Bill and Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, reporters Trip Gabriel and Nicholas Confessore creatively employed the word "innovation" to describe McAuliffe's shady idea to sell nights in the Lincoln Bedroom to Clinton donors:

Mr. McAuliffe has gained front-runner status despite having to answer ethical questions arising from decades in politics and business — as old as his 1994 innovation of offering major campaign donors access to the president, which evolved into overnights in the Lincoln Bedroom, and as new as a federal investigation this year into whether he used political ties to benefit his troubled electric car company. Mr. Cuccinelli calls him “Tricky Terry” wherever he goes, but so far the label has not quite stuck.

The Times reporters explained that McAuliffe had a close relationship with the Clintons:

Mr. McAuliffe’s relationship with the Clintons is far more intimate than those typical of political moneymen. He shared cigars with Mr. Clinton on the Truman Balcony of the White House and played cards late at night with the president. Both families vacationed together. So it was no surprise that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton showed up as Mr. McAuliffe’s closers.

Mrs. Clinton made her first public return to the political stage since stepping down as secretary of state to endorse Mr. McAuliffe at a rally in the Northern Virginia suburbs. “Terry has always been there for me, and I am pleased to be here for him,” she told the crowd. She may well expect him to be there for her again as governor if she runs for president in 2016.

But they left out one September 1999 "innovation" designed to buy Hillary a house in New York so she could carpet-bag her way into the Senate. In their original home-financing plan, the Clintons would rely on a $1.35 million loan guarantee from McAuliffe. On the talk show "Inside Washington" at the time, longtime political reporter Jack Germond said "No other Senate candidate could do that and get away with it. If that were a Republican, we'd all be screaming in the press." After they gave up on the scheme, the Times editorialized against it.

Speaking of IOUs, the Clintons also signaled to potential McAuliffe challengers in this cycle they should butt out:

Several Virginia Democrats said friends of Mr. McAuliffe helped persuade [former congressman Tom] Perriello not to run in a primary against him. One longtime Democrat, who declined to be identified while talking about private discussions, said it was made clear to Mr. Perriello that Mr. McAuliffe would have the strong backing of the Clintons. Mr. Perriello considered running but passed.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis