Reporter: Governor Clinton, what damage do you think has been done to your campaign by your wife’s comment the other day about how “Hitler was really a great guy”?
Clinton: (Mixture of sadness and anger, but articulate as always.) Hillary and myself are shocked, outraged, and deeply saddened by this terrible misunderstanding. The media hype is way out of proportion. You guys should know us by now–we would never say anything like that. And though she did say a few things about Germany she certainly didn’t mean anything offensive by her remarks, which I might add have been willfully and shamefully taken out of context and distorted. There is nothing in my life, or Hillary’s life, which can be construed as derogatory toward the German people. We honor them. Some of our best friends are Germans. My own grandmother was one-quarter German. And it certainly isn’t true that Germans are excluded from our country club. In my eleven years as Governor of Arkansas I was responsible for hiring more German-Americans than my three predecessors combined. We have some pie charts which we’ll pass around for all you boys so you have the whole story. Once the American people know all the facts they’ll understand just how ridiculous this is.
Part of this just naturally comes from being the frontrunner, although I never thought of myself that way or wanted to be called that. You boys just keep taking your best shots. The American people have seen the worst of me and they aren’t turned off by what we stand for. But this latest outrage is just too much. You boys ought to be ashamed. Sleaze for soundbites, trash for cash, that’s what this is. We have good reason to believe the audio tapes were doctored. We’re not even sure if that’s Hillary’s voice. You guys ought to have checked this out better before launching a major attack on my wife. The whole story was phony to begin with. In fact, our sources suggest that this is is just the latest manifestation of the vicious smear campaign orchestrated by the white house, who have declared many times that they will do whatever it takes to win this election. And that’s part of the reason that we’re so outraged about this–the very gall of the whole thing. The only Nazis you find in America these days are people like David Duke, who of course is a Republican, not a Democrat. But I certainly don’t mean to imply that George Bush has any Nazi skeletons in his closet. As I told Hillary just this morning, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
It also comes as no surprise that Governor Brown has jumped on the bandwagon and has repeated these ridiculous charges every chance he gets. It is clearly in Governor Brown’s interest to do whatever he can to turn the discussion away from his “flat tax” proposal which would spell disaster for the people of this nation. And former Senator Tsongas, although he tried to claim he was above such things, has also chimed in with a few comments of his own and he maintains he isn’t even running any more. Unlike Senator Tsongas and Governor Brown, I’ve always tried to focus on issues, and God knows we’ve tried to avoid misleading or negative campaigning of any kind. (Turning up the heat, getting more dramatic.)
The millions of citizens of this great country who are out of work or scared of losing their jobs or their health insurance know what I stand for. People are genuinely disillusioned with the way things are in Washington, and this kind of sideshow just reinforces their disgust. People have been let down, they’ve been shafted by Washington. They want to know whether they have a vehicle for their resentment. I have always run my campaigns as a change agent. I’m as much of an outsider as anybody. I ran the first ad against the congressional pay raise!
Certainly this is a sad commentary on the manipulation of the media, and the people, by evil forces who oppose our candidacy. Here we are trying to bring everyone together in this country so that we can work for the future, and once again vicious lies are spread about us and guerrilla tactics are used against us. Besides, I thought you guys were supposed to be on my side. It is just plain cowardice to keep bringing this up and attacking my wife instead of raising honest issues like the need for more submarines, my support for a middle class tax cut, the way Senator Tsongas wants to break the backs of poor honest retired folks by slashing their social security payments, how opposed I am to raising the gas tax, or the way Jerry’s flat tax would cripple the nation. Maybe Hillary should have just stayed home in Arkansas and baked some cookies.