The actress Gina Gershon has denied that she is having or has had an affair with ex-President Bill Clinton. The denial came in a statement released by her publicist in response to a mention of the actress in a controversial profile of the former President in the June issue of Vanity Fair magazine. The article, which was written by former New York Times correspondent Todd S. Purdum, speculates that Bill Clinton possibly experienced a personality change after having heart-bypass surgery and surgery to remove scar tissue from a lung in 2004. The speculation is based not on Bill Clinton’s recklessness as he always was reckless, but on Clinton’s lack of political savoir faire.
The article was denounced by Bill Clinton in scathing language while he was out on the hustings for his wife, Hillary. Clinton denounced Purdum, the husband of his former press secretary Dee Dee Meyers, as a ‘scumbag.” He also said he was “slimy” and “dishonest.” The former President later apologized for using such harsh language.
The Vanity Fair profile elucidated questionable business dealings of Clinton with entrepreneurs who have provided millions of dollars to his Presidential library and his private charity in exchange for his lobbying prowess. As an ex-President, Clinton can open doors that other lobbyists cannot. These relationships have compromised the Presidential campaign of his wife, who was not accused of any wrongdoing in the article.
Bill Clinton also was characterized as engaging in a lifestyle evocative of his days in the White House, when he was engaged in the serial sex harassment of female interns in the White House and widely reputed to be engaged in adulterous affairs. During his White House days, Clinton’s conquests reportedly included the actresses Meg Ryan, singer-actress Barbra Streisand and singer Aretha Franklin. After his Presidency was over, Clinton reportedly carried on a long-term affair with Canadian Member of Parliament Belinda Stronach, who is an heiress akin to John McCain’s wife Cindy, albeit of a 10-figure fortune, not the $100 million enjoyed by Cindy McCain. Bubba also reportedly was bedding actress Demi Moore, who is married.
These rumors floated freely in the press during the run-up to Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid, and were uncommented upon. Respectable newspapers reported that Hillary had extracted a pledge from Bill that there would be no extracurricular hanky-panky during her campaign. (That this might be the root of Bubba’s irritability, that he was being faithful to his wife for once, was never broached in the Vanity Fair article.) Clinton’s public relationship with Stronach was the highlight of the coverage, for there were rumors that Clinton was ready to divorce Hillary to marry the Canadian billionaire, and enjoy the sweet life he had grown accustomed to by hobnobbing with his billionaire friends.
In the Vanity Fair article, Bill Clinton was said to have visited California to meet with Gina Gershon. While Purdum does not say that Clinton and the actress were having an affair, the context of the article intimates that Bubba was on the make again, playing the Big Bad Wolf of the bedroom, thus endangering Hillary’s chances of a separate and successful career as a national politician.
Gershon’s public relations representative, Mara Buxbaum, said that, “Todd Purdum’s insinuation is a lie and is irresponsible journalism. We are
demanding a retraction.”
Bill Clinton had called Vanity Fair Magazine a forum for libel. It would be nearly impossible for public figures like Clinton and Gershon to successfully sue for libel, slander and defamation in the United States, the legal bar is so high.
Gina Gershon currently is treading the boards on Broadway in the revival of the musical Boeing Boeing. She is best known for playing the lesbian headliner of a Las Vegas chorus line in the kitsch classic Showgirls. The actress made her reputation playing a lesbian sexpot in the movie Bound.
Hillary Clinton has had her own sex scandal brewing in the wings since November 2007, when The Times of London “outed” her alleged lesbian relationship with her so-called “body servant,” her personal aide, Huma Abedin. Abedin, a Muslim of Pakistani lineage whose mother is a professor at a Saudi Arabian university, managed to buy herself an apartment worth three-quarters of a million dollars on a salary that likely doesn’t exceed $60,000 a year. She also dresses in designer gowns that would cost a small fortune. She and Hillary Clinton are inseparable, as she is the personal assistant that schedules Hillary’s day and sees that she sticks to it. In that, she is similar to Douglas Band, whose remunerative relationship with Clinton was detailed in the Vanity Fair article.
Both Abedin and Band started out as White House interns.
The Huma Abedin story was a “Swift Boat” incident ready to be exploited by the Republican allies in the right-wing 527 establishment, should Hilary clinch the nomination. So alive with possibilities is the story, that the New York Daily News printed a story on Mary 28th that U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, a New York Congressman who is traveling with the Clinton campaign, is “dating” Abedin. Many comments on the Daily News Web site called the story a planted item to deflect speculation that the relationship between Hillary and her beautiful, 32-year old “body woman,” as the News descried her, is more intimate than professional. Weiner, who has aspirations to succeed Michale Bloomberg as mayor of New York City, was denounced as a “beard” for Abedin.
It may still be an exploitable issue, should Barack Obama name her as his running mate. The truth of the allegations is irrelevant, as the Swiftboating of John Kerry showed. During the 2004 campaign, Kerry — the winner of two Silver Stars for courage under fire and three Purple Hearts while serving in Vietnam, a far more impressive record than alleged “war hero” John McCain– was characterized as a coward and a liar. That his chief accuser had earlier appeared as a supporter during one of Kerry’s Senatorial campaigns and hailed him as a hero was mentioned by the press, but ignored. As psychologists have known for a over a century, most people basically are irrational.
These stories take on a life of their own as the U.S. Presidential system, shorn of true party affiliation as in a more democratic parliamentary system, are essentially personality contests in which the voter, via the mechanism of ego-inflation, identifies with one candidate or another. Most voters just simply stay home on Election Day as they do not suffer from the ego-inflation implicit in the American political system. The Presidency was based on the Royal Governors of the English colonies, who enjoyed greater power than did King George III, as they were unchecked by legislatures whereas George III had to answer to Parliament. Thus, one can consider, correctly, the U.S. President an “elected king,” and a king is a magnet for the psychological projection of his subjects.
Unlike in a parliamentary system, American voters have a visceral relationship with their candidates that borders on the irrational. The sex life of a prime minister or even a French president, rooted as France’s system is in a parliamentary system, is really of no consequence to non-American voters. It’s the party and its policies that matter. In the United States, where a President or candidate like Bill and Hillary Clinton say one thing and are expected to do another, policy being essentially meaningless to the mass other than a few emotional talking points, the voters’ identification with their candidate is personal, familial.
If Bill Clinton smoked a joint or Barack Obama performed oral sex while at university would be irrelevant in most of the planet. In the United States, this is your brother, father, uncle — or, in Hillary’s case — sister you’re talking about. Their “shame” is your shame.
It is ridiculous but one can expect the discredited story of Barack Obama having a gay affair with a toothless limousine driver to resurface soon. There are many anti-Obama Democrats who can’t admit that they are against him because he is African American, but if they can pin their disgust to another issue, such as sleazy sex, they can justify casting a vote for John McCain.
Since 1960, when movie-star handsome John F. Kennedy rode the airwaves of television to the Presidency over the lugubrious non-telegenic Richard Nixon, American politics has become a branch of showbusiness. How else to explain the movie and TV actor Ronald Reagan making such a great success in the national arena? Distinctly second-rate in the big leagues that were motion pictures, Reagan — like some has-been thespian making a success on the dinner-theater circuit — thrived in Washington, D.C. (Marlon Brando claimed that all politicians essentially were actors. What he couldn’t understand was why they were so bad at it.) The fact that Reagan’s near-assassination at the beginning of his first term so traumatized his septunagarian body and brain that he essentially was senile dyring most of his Presidency was ignored by the press and public. When Reagan gave a press conference, and — asked a question about relations with the U.S.S.R. or arms control or some such subject — went off on an incomprehensible riff that turned out to be based on the dialogue for one of his old “Brass Bancroft: T-Man” serials from the 1930s, the press and public let it pass. The Presidency was now akin to a figurehead, like modern royalty. The show must go on! And it did. And it will. And the “Swiftboating” of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the sexual front will be part of the show. ‘Cause as the hucksters who have made fortunes from showbusiness know, nothing sells like sex.
AOL News: “Gershon Denies Romantic Ties to Clinton”
E! Online “Gershon’s Rep: VF Bubba-Love Brouhaha Bogus”
New York Daily News, “Yes, I’m hot for Hillary Clinton’s ‘body woman,’ Congressman Weiner admits”
The Times (London), “Snarls, smears and innuendo for Hillary Clinton as attack dogs get ready for the fray “
Vanity Fair, “The Comeback Id”