On January 26, 1998, President Bill Clinton held a press conference in which he famously and vehemently claimed: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky!”
The following morning, on January 27, 1998, First Lady Hillary Clinton appeared on The Today Show and uttered what soon became another famous quotation.
He politely but persistently asked her tough questions about Bill’s “alleged” affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and about the so-called “Whitewater” investigation into the Clintons’ past financial affairs, which was being conducted by independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Hillary gamely defended her husband, just as she did six years earlier, during the Clintons’ game-changing January 26, 1992 interview on 60 Minutes, when she famously huffed: “I’m not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette.”)
In the Today Show interview, when Lauer asked her about Lewinsky, Clinton said (apparently unaware of the multiple ironies): “I think the important thing now is to stand as firmly as I can and say that, you know, the president has denied these allegations on all counts, unequivocally.”
She went on to say she was “very concerned about the tactics being used and the kind of intense political agenda” of people who were criticizing and investigating the Clintons.
“It is,” she told Matt, “this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”
Hillary Clinton didn’t coin the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy.” It had been used years before in some news stories unrelated to the Clintons.
But her use made it a common term — and it became one of her most famous quotes.
Political pundits have since debated whether there really was or is “a vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Most of the harshest critics of the Clintons obviously do fit the term “right-wing.” Rush is still pretty vast, even after losing weight. And, I suppose it could be called a conspiracy when like-minded people work together against their political enemies. So, maybe…
Of course, I suspect the Democrats would love to have a vast left-wing conspiracy — if they could ever figure out how to work together.