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CURL: The rehabilitation of Hillary Clinton

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

While Hillary Rodham Clinton has all but vanished, hitting the speaker's circuit at $200,000 a pop and bouncing between her two palatial mansions in New York and Washington, the press corps is working overtime to rebuild her tarnished reputation.

First came The New York Times with a lengthy "investigative" piece of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terrorist attack. The 7,500-word tome ignored the former secretary of state's role in the deaths of four Americans. What's more, the Times never mentioned Mrs. Clinton — not once — and concluded that the attack "was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam," a White House lie disproved just weeks after the attack.

Then came the canard printed across the world that philanderer Bill Clinton had once had a torrid affair with model Elizabeth Hurley. (How does this help Hillary? Well, it wasn't the trailer park floozies Bubba usually frequented, and what middle-aged woman in flyover America wouldn't understand going head-to-head with a gorgeous woman half her age, and losing?)

The latest: Private journals from a longtime friend (now deceased) in which the former first lady declared that she "was not smart enough, not sensitive enough" to know just how hard everything was for her husband, after all, he's just a man of flesh and blood!

Of course, there's no coordinated effort to rehabilitate Hillary Rodham (that last piece came from the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon). But the steady flow of "news" stories rewriting history is no doubt easing her run for the White House in 2016. And it's 30+ months before Election Day.

In The New York Times piece, reporters conducted "months of investigation" and concluded that there was "no evidence that al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault" in Benghazi. In fact, the paper once again claimed that anger at an anti-Islam video — posted on YouTube months before the attack — "motivated the initial attack."

Oddly, Mrs. Clinton, in charge of the State Department, is never mentioned. Nor is her months-long refusal to testify before Congress (remember her odd "injury," when she fainted and then was found to have a blood clot?) Nor is there any mention of her furious appearance right before she left her post, when she spat: "What difference at this point does it make?"

The mainstream media long ago decided that there's no there there in the Benghazi story. Instead, they're content to take the official White House line without question (just as they did when they reported just what State said, that the secretary was "fine" after her mysterious fall).

While the "Hubby and Hurley" story was quickly discredited, one's got to wonder why the press would run such a story without, say, checking with the actress. Within hours, she denied the report, and the source, a fellow actor and admitted crackhead, recanted.

But not before some news outlets commiserated with the cuckolded wife, taking her side over her unfaithful funster. Several news agencies talked more about Hillary than Bill; how does this effect her, will it hurt her run for president? And America was, once again, buzzing about that awful Bubba and sympathizing with the forsaken wife. Hey, in politics, every little bit helps.

Most recently comes the papers of Diane Blair, who the Free Beacon says was a political science professor described as her "closest friend" before Mrs. Blair's death in 2000.

"When Clinton finally admitted to the relationship after repeated denials, Hillary Clinton defended her husband in a phone call with Blair," the paper wrote. "She said her husband had made a mistake by fooling around with the 'narcissistic loony toon' Lewinsky, but was driven to it in part by his political adversaries, the loneliness of the presidency, and her own failures as a wife ....

"They adopted strategy, public strategy, of acting as tho it didn't bother them; had to," Mrs. Blair wrote. "[Hillary] didn't realize toll it was taking on him. ... She thinks she was not smart enough, not sensitive enough, not free enough of her own concerns and struggles to realize the price he was paying."

So along comes Hillary the Good Wife, struggling to deal with a husband with a wandering eye (and hand), and, after his transgressions, blaming herself.

It's an interesting narrative, but not likely. One of recent history's most calculating and ruthless women suffering at the hands of a cheating man? Please.

It's all part of the rehabilitation of Hillary. At this pace, she'll be squeaky clean by Super Tuesday 2016.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now an editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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