once upon a time in arkansas
interview: jim mcdougal
McDougal's long-time friendship and business association with the Clintonshas placed him at the epicenter of the Whitewater controversy.  Convicted onmultiple counts of financial fraud relating to the Castle Grande land deal,McDougal is now cooperating with the Independent Counsel. He has alleged thatthe President and First Lady have committed perjury when questioned about theirrole in events surrounding Castle Grande.

M: ......Well Bradford, where I come from, the people were Scotch Irish but I'd say more the Scottish influence. Very straight laced types, morals, people very religious, not fanatic, just very religious and looking down on all the vices such as drinking, gambling etc. For example, when I was only a few years old, our town voted itself dry and you could no longer buy beer or whisky. so it's absolute polar opposites with Hot Springs.

Q: So a small town, dry county, mostly Southern Baptist?

M: Yes, in my class in high school there were two denominations, Southern Baptist and Church of Christ. And of course we spent all of our time arguing religion and very little studying, but....

Q: You became intensely political from a very young age, politically oriented?

M: Right, it was an outside influence, that was a negative influence. The town Republican , you might remember you know that this is a town of 600, 650--in towns of that size you would have a town drunk, the village idiot and the town Republican. And the town Republican owned the hamburger stand, his name was Mudd Goad, wonderful fellow, looked a lot like George Kennedy the actor. And for some reason he would kid me about being a Democrat and I don't know why because my family wasn't that active but he kept goading me and in the `52 election or the national convention period in the summer he and I were both intensely interested and so we would leave the radio on in the store and he and I would listen to the Republican and then the Democratic convention and go over to eat lunch at the hamburger place. And we'd listen to the convention and argue and talk and that sort of thing so actually, I think it was just that he aroused this fighting spirit in me somehow and I think it was just some dormant thing...

Q: There is of course a great story, you were a very precocious child you were the only child were you not,

M: Yes

Q: Born relatively late in your parents marriage...

M: Right my father was about 33, mother around 28

Q: Bright young man who has this political interest and there is the tale that in fact you, as a lad, were able to quote from FDR's speeches -- is that so? -- His fireside chats.

M: Yes.

Q: You rmember any of that....

M: I thought one of my favorites was when he said, "To some generations much is given, to other generations much is expected, this generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny...."

Q: How did you see yourself in your mind's eye, your ambitions politically, did you have any?

M: I don't think so. I have known fellows like Jim Guy Tucker or Bill Clinton who I think when they were 16 they were planning to be president. I never had any such ideas, it just, I guess they were strategists and I was more tactician. I just did whatever came along.

Q: So you knew politics, enjoyed politics , and had a talent for politics, but didn't necessarily see yourself as the guy up front?

M: No.

Q: Okay. Very early on in your late teen years you got a chance to sort of demonstrate your talent at a very young age you were swimming with the big fish. Met McClellan, you worked for Fullbright, helped to run JFK's campaign. Help me to understand what that is like for a young man at that age to be around those kind of folks, powerful people, and actually then to have a, some say with them?

M: Well you know they say no man's a hero to his valet. And I think that's how I felt about many of the powerful people that I saw. Now John McClellan who I worked for also on the Senate Rackets Committee, right after Bobby Kennedy left in the early 60's, was certainly an imposing figure. We used to laugh and say the country needed a theocracy with John McClellan heading it up. And he was what he appeared to be. Many people who appear to be such Olympian figures are really just very interesting and down to earth once you get to know them, like Senator Fullbright.

Q: And so does that, the effect of that on a young man at that age is what? Cynicism or....

M: Oh, I don't think so. I was just grateful that they treated me very well and they had given me an opportunity and that they seemed to take seriously what I had to say. But I just saw it as another job. I didn't see it as romantic.

Q: They had to see something remarkable in this young man. Fullbright had a great quote about you, "He could write a great speech and buy 3 watermelons at a good price." How would you characterize the attribute you brought to the enterprise? To be a young man and to be Fullbright's fellow back home, for example, is a hugely important position...

M: Well, I think in those days they looked for simple old-fashioned things. That if you were very polite and you seemed to meet people well--and remember, I had been meeting people in the store since I was 4 years old and I had been trained that if a person came in and spent a nickel we acted as if that was the most wonderful thing that every happened in our life. I understood gratitude and making my manners as we say down south. And I was very careful about how I dressed. My family had always been careful about that. Not when we were at home because we were often doing manual labor in the store. But anytime we went anywhere my parents were extremely careful about how we dressed. We didn't want to appear to be country or to be hicks.

And I think that that holds true today. If you watch your appearance and say "yes sir, no sir" and are eager and willing you can go a long way just on that. I can't think of what I had to offer except that I had some tendency to remember parliamentary things and some historical things better than most people.

Q: Yes sir, I'd say that's so judging by our FDR example of a moment ago. This might not be the moment to ask you this but I'm struck by a story that I've heard that in this time you're going full bore, throwing yourself into politics, you're meeting people, involved in Senator Fullbright's campaign, running the campaign eventually in Arkansas -- and you were drinking. That was when you were fully, also, under the drinking life, the recovery of which I gather is one of your prouder achievements...

M: Well actually I had joined AA and obtained sobriety before I went to work for Senator Fullbright. I went to AA in `67 in October, so come this October, I will have been, if I make it till then, continuously, everyday sober, for 30 years and I had not been so I would have never gone to work for Senator Fullbright. Lee Williams, who got me the job, his chief aide, he knew me drunk and he didn't want a drunk Jim McDougal working for him I can assure you. But I will be forever grateful that they gave me an opportunity when I had a reputation as an alcoholic to go to work in such a public, to go to work in a position that was dangerous and risky for them to let me do it. And I mean, I'm grateful to the Lord that it was successful.

Q: Had there been, at the period that you went into recovery, before you dried up, where you dried out--had you reached a trough, was it...

M: Oh yes. I had tried everything. And those days there weren't any public service ads about getting sober. Nothing was known. I had never met anybody in AA. That told me they were in AA. The first thing I mean I tried everything, but one day when I was in Bradford in business and this minister came in, this preacher he said something and I said I hope you'll pray for me because I'm an alcoholic. And he said, "Well I am too." And what he was doing was he was preaching and taking care of 10 or 12 orphan kids and just doing those things and staying sober. I tried those things but it wasn't successful. So the time I came to AA I had tried religion, I had tried everything medical science had to offer and it had all failed and I really was as low as you could possibly get. Been hospitalized five times I would say this about AA--if it works for me for the last 30 years, it will work for anybody.

Q: Yes sir! So you knew it , you knew the depth of your...

M: Oh, yeah, no doubt.

Q: There was a story that there was a Christmas, a low Christmas where you were still drunk where Jim Guy Tucker took you and led you away and let you spend Christmas day with him.

M: Well they're probably confusing that some. That was the Christmas immediately after I sobered up in AA. But again I had no job, I had no money, I was living in an old house that AA owned. I had been in the program, I had just completed it so I had just had absolutely nothing. Nothing whatsoever and no prospects. And I knew Jim Guy and his mother and I went over there and then we went with some girls to a very nice party at the country club and everything and that cheered me up considerably, you know, they weren't embarrassed to do that .

Q: I want to move in time to 1968 I believe you were working for Fullbright, Lee Williams in Washington on Fullbright's staff sends you a young man - a young Bill Clinton - your way says he's going to be working for the Senator in Arkansas. Tell me if you will your memory of the first, bring me back to that moment when you first saw Bill Clinton..

M: First of all, let me say first of all I think there's a slight error in one of the books. Lee was the campaign, he was the boss. I wasn't running the campaign. He brought Bill Clinton in, he just said, "Jim this is Bill Clinton he'll be working with us." And here was this big, amiable fellow, smiling broadly, just seemed likable to me so I was glad to have him there.

Q: Seemed amiable like a fella that might have been sent over by the party boss in the next county or seemed amiable like smart, ambitious...

M: No, kinda guy that if you'd have know in him high school, if he'd been in high school in Bradford I would have like for him to been a buddy.

Q: Yes. Did he yet have that quality of someone who had experienced the world outside of Arkansas?

M: I didn't notice it.

Q: What did you, when you took measure of young Bill Clinton what did you see?

M: I just saw a nice guy.

Q: Wasn't the sort of lightening bolt sort of a deal, this guy's going to be president some day and ....

M: No. No. I wasn't electrified by his charisma. He was just a nice fella.

Q: We have spent some time, as you know, with Mrs. Riley and I want to talk for a minute or two about Bob Riley and the Rileys. He was something of a political guru, down in Ouchitawa. He would send you all the young people and so on. Give me a little portrait of Bob Riley as you came to know him.

M: Well Bob Riley was a, certainly an outstanding, a very unique man, a very brave man. He had gone off to the Second World War, I think when he was about 17, the day after Pearl Harbor. Was blown to pieces, blinded, made it back home, stayed in the hospital a year. Was elected to the legislature when his face was still covered with powder burns, pits and he did not have a high school education. Finished his high school education while blind and on through his doctorate. And of course that's why we all admire Claudia Riley so much his wife, because she was seeing him through this, reading him every word.

Q: So it was real charisma?

M: Tremendous, yes. Tremendous feeling of warmth, goodness.

Q: And yet, there was a brief little transition period of ten or eleven days where he got to be governor and you helped him to run the state. How was that?

M: Way it all came about was Fullbright quit early, this allowed Bumpers to go claim his seniority early by being sworn in. This permitted Bob Riley, who was Bumper's Lt. Governor to become Governor and as I was out of a job, I went out for the two weeks that Bob was governor and was his only aide and we set there I suppose meting out unequal laws to--

Q: (LAUGHTER) That must have been pretty cool though during that period...

M: (Laughing) It was, it was....

Q: And so you all, Bob goes back to Arkadelphia back to Ouchita and he suggests that you come along and you do sort of go back there and lick your wounds and prepared for the future and he does. And you become literally Professor McDougal. And there is, what I gather was the sort of center of that universe was the Riley place.

M: Yes that's right.

Q: Something almost like a political salon. Tell me about that. What was the atmosphere, what was the conversation.

M: Well I was living, actually, on the grounds of their property in the little, I call it a house trailer , that offends Claudia, the little guest house your people have photographed. So I was right there, I had a key to the house, I came and went as I wished. And of course everybody would come by. First of all many of Bob's students had become prosecutors or judges or held office, and certainly anytime a Senator or anybody noteworthy came to town, they came to see Bob. So it was that. And we played word games to see if we could memorize all the words in the dictionary. If we didn't have anything else to do we'd memorize 50 words.

Q: And it was, and it was what you would remember has being happy time.

M: Oh yes, students just simply come and go as they wish. They had simply built the house where they could accommodate 30-40 students easily in the living area and so in the warm times the swimming pool looked like a commercial enterprise. Very happy warm, wonderful place.

Q: A rare and magical man he must have been. It's interesting to me that a professor down at Ouchita Baptist University, College as it was then would hold such a prominent place in the intellectual commerce of the state.

M: Bob of course, there's a joke that everybody in Arkansas had been to the University with Bob, because it's pretty slow going when you're blind, so he was there a long time by the time he got his doctorate. So he was widely acquainted and like I said he's the type of fellow....if you were having a hard, bad day he made you feel good, he didn't have to say anything, you look at him with those thousands of pieces of shrapnel in his body, hundreds of pieces of shrapnel in his eyes, and that he was able to laugh and to be congenial and to smile was a tremendous inspiration.

Q: And it was a good time for you personally. You are no longer drunk, you are in recovery, you have this new life as a professor, you're there, in this life for a year and you meet young Susan, Susan Henley.

M: Right. Right.

Q: Physically, very attractive gal. What was it, what did you see there? Smart?

M: Well, I thought she was smart and I thought she was very pretty and an interesting person and it's always so difficult what draws you to someone if you're trying to qualify and quantify. But I just like her and she was a hard worker, working at two jobs, and I was raised to respect people who do that

Q: The Henleys, how do you remember them?

M: Well, there's a lot of them and I can't think of anything particularly noteworthy about them. Mr. Henley, the father, was always very, very kind to me.

...I felt welcomed. I had no trouble with Mr. Henley, he was exactly the type, black Irish fellow that I had grown up with at home. He'd a fitted in right at Bradford. You know, a big snuff dipper, big congenial fella, good hearted, been through real hard times and I liked him, sure I felt comfortable.

Q: Hard working, honorable fellow. Had you been married before?

M: Yes, I had been married for about five years, 1969-1974, there's no need to drag her into this notoriety. We were simply divorced on very good terms and she moved away and I have never seen her again.

Q: Okay, it was just out of curiosity. Pardon me for that. I was talking about Susan taking up the life of a professor's wife, meanwhile your friend young Bill Clinton had his run for Congress in `74 and has brought into his life this young woman from the North who he had met at law school. Made it plain that this is the one that he is settling down with. Couple of things about that : they marry and he wins. 1980 he loses. She played a role, plainly in the picture that young Bill Clinton presented as governor. Not necessarily a positive one. Help me to understand that. What was the perception? What was the, what was the, give me both the asset and the liability that both Hillary Rodham presented to young Bill Clinton

M: I first saw Hillary Rodham in 1974 at the state Democratic convention. And she looked about like any girl of the period coming out of eastern schools, university would look. She was from an entirely totally different background to we Arkansans. She had that unpleasant resonance in her voice with which Yankees from Chicago are afflicted. There was just a lot to overcome. You know Margaret Mead anthropologist said, "We are frightened of a stranger." And I think that's true. I don't think we particularly hate people when they are different . I mean I had, I got along with her very well from the first time, she was very courteous and kind to me but it's hard to warm up to people if their voices are different, if their demeanor's different, if their dress is different and she might as well have been from another planet.

Q: Yes there was a discomfort.

M: Yeah right. And I think not just for the Arkansans. There was something that put people off. I know Mrs. Fullbright said--sniffed-- Mrs. Fullbright was a Philadelphia mainline, high society--she said, "hum, I've never seen anybody spell it that way," talking about Hillary.

Q: (LAUGHTER) I'd not heard that story. She was smart. That impress you, her brains?

M: There was no occasion for her to make any demonstration of her intellectual capacity. I mean we were just sitting in a bar at the Democratic convention, everyone coming and going. So, I never really had any opportunity to observe the dazzling display of brilliance on the part of Mrs. Clinton.

Q: I was going to ask for a Hillary-Susan comparison. I will. Susan, Susan McDougal was much more of what we would come to expect the profile of what a political wife in Arkansas at that time to have been.

M: Well I would say comparing the two women and I could probably make a fairly objective comparison since Susan is not saying anything nice about me these days, but I'd say that Susan was pretty, Hillary was plain. I would say Susan had a lot more native intelligence, with probably a lot more street smarts. And far more people-oriented than Hillary. But again, I want to remind you that we weren't trying to make our way in politics. Even at the very outset Susan and I were in business together, that's what we were doing.

Q: You knew you were going to be a businessman.

M: Right. My family had from time out of mind been business people, they had been in business in Arkansas since the territorial days and before that one the east coast since the 1700's in business. So I had first of all-- offices then paid nothing. When I grew up the governor paid $10,000 and it was almost like being a member of the House of Commons was in England, you simply had to have something else to make a living. Politics was seen as an avocation, something you did to pass the time.

Q: And that's how you saw it?

M: Yeah, that's how I saw it as something, for example I've never understood grown men going out and chasing a ball all day in golf. But I could understand going out and trying to carry the county for a candidate. You see it just depends on what sort of entertainment you like. I'm sure an avid golfer would never understand why I spend thousands of dollars just to see if I could get a guy elected.

Q: A golfer wouldn't necessarily see that golf was important would you say that politics is important, did you see...

M: Oh, I think so, I had a, and still do I think almost a religious faith in what I believe as to its importance.


Q: You begin to have business success, you begin to invest in real estate with Senator Fullbright and others and you find some success, ultimately bringing in young Bill Clinton ultimately in a deal, he did , a land deal that was profitable. Why do that? Why do business with a Fullbright, why do business with a young Bill Clinton?

M: Well those are two very different answers. Uh, with Fullbirhgt, in any business venture you have to have capital. And I had no inherited capital. I had bought a piece or two of land and had done very well on them myself and Senator Fullbright knew that but I wanted to do bigger things and I asked him to join me because he had a tremendous net worth. He should have had, he hoarded every penny he ever made. And all we had to do to get money was for me to go to the bank and pick up the note. And so it made the capital available plus I had an enormous feeling of gratitude toward him, it made me feel good to make things work. As to Bill, how would you say it, well, he was attorney general when he bought the piece of land from us, we made a profit on it. You got to remember that, Fullbright and I - we never gave anybody anything. Because he was from an even stronger capitalistic background than I was. And much more successful and richer than my folks were and so on, but you do that like you say, again to use the golf analogy, "hey come on play a round of golf with me," you say to Bill, "you want to make some money, we got a deal that will make some money, come on!" But you got to remember we made something out of it up front then it just happened that what we were doing was successful, very successful and the momentum carried along and he probably invested $500 and made $2500 or whatever.

Q: Whitewater, same thing?

M: Same thing exactly I think that was spur of the moment. I think Susan and I ran into the Clinton's as we were in the process of buying it and said, "hey you wanna do this deal with us." And they said, "What do we gotta do," well by then my credit was so good that all they had to do was sign the note with us.

I had always been interested in banking, I had always thought that we were poor because of the way the financial institutions were operated in Arkansas, when I went to work for Clinton one of my responsibilities was the Bank Commission. So it all flows together and this tiny little bank came up for sale, it just appealed to me that here's a chance to do what I've always said I wanted to do...


My politics was dictating my business practice then and causing me, really, through my idealism to do some really dumb things because I was wandering into a field I did not understand.

Q: Such as, help me to understand that?

M: Banking, well I didn't really understand the intricacies of banking. And I was doing very well at what I had already mastered so it was a Quixotic thing to be doing the banking.

Q: But motivated again, not because of it would so obviously enhance or help this other side of your business undertakings but because partly you had, partly for emotional reasons.

M: I was going into the banking business with Steve Smith who had been my superior in Clinton's office. Again, one of the most brilliant, biggest hearted men I have ever known and a true populist. And we really thought we were going to have this laboratory where we would take the poorest, second poorest county in the state, Madison county, where the bank was, Steve's home county which had sent him to the legislature, been there for generations, We thought that we could demonstrate that if we took the worse county, if we took a county where there were only two banks, the other bank the national bank had the lowest loan to deposit ratio in the state, we thought if we took this and experimented we could prove that proper banking practices would lead to the prosperity of the people.

.....Well the, not to belabor it but again, Mr. Steve Smith's a scholar, great admirer of the James Madison and author of the Constitution. And really that's why we called it Madison and we had a logo, our logo was the outline of Madison's bust or his head, and it was really funny because the fella who actually ran the bank and whose family had started the bank was a local fella named Gary Bunch and he was bald headed and so when we put this logo of Madison on everything people were saying, "That's really nice of you all to put old Gary on those checks and everything you know." (Laughter)

Q: Susan in your business. She was a smart gal, and was fully participant, or would just show up and pick up a paycheck? What was the nature as you're building the bank...

M: No, from the very outset Susan was active on the ground I mean if we're going to buy a piece of property we were out in the woods walking over the property. She was not a stay at home or society wife. She had no friends except my friends which was something that worried me really, but she fully participated and worked very very hard at everything we did. The bank, actually at the savings and loan she went down and ran it for the first several months we owned it.

Q: Is that so? So it wasn't uh, huh,

M: I always said Susan was smarter than me. Now, I have no reason to withdraw that statement...


M: What we were doing at Castle Grande was that we had taken a defunct piece of industrial property, about a thousand acres, but it did have a water and sewer system and it was close to the city of Little Rock and we were simply giving low to moderate income people a half acre, with government financing, FHA, at that time, on the half acre and a double wide modular home which we set upon to government specifications. They could get in for as little as 3 percent down or they could do a certain amount of work themselves, which counted as sweat equity, like landscaping or fencing etcetera and get in with nothing down. So this had a tremendous appeal to me because it , and we had always been able to put people on land for nothing down, almost, because we were carrying the paper, but this was a way to get people expressly into housing.


M: I was, I thought it was impossible to be acquitted because that was the time, if you recall that they were hanging Savings and Loan owners from the yardarm in public, and actually 144 owners were tried and I was the only one acquitted out of the 144. So I think that places and you can check the New York Times, I'm using their figures, I mean the Wall Street Journal, I'm using their figures and not mine, s so that definitely moved into the miracle category. The fact is I had no confidence, I was so depressed, physically and mentally , so ashamed to be accused of a crime, so worried about the effect it was having on my aged mother that I was absolutely unable to render any assistance whatsoever to my attorney Sam Huer.

Sam thought he would have to PLEAD diminished capacity because I couldn't help him, but some miracle, and I have to believe in miracles because there have been too many in my life. Some miracle occurred when I got on the stand, the prosecution had written out 280 questions to ask me but I was able to send them into a complete rout after about 20 minutes and was allowed to step down and I'm still absolutely astonished when they read the verdict "not guilty" I was the most surprised man in the state of Arkansas....


M: Bill called mother up two or three months after this had happened and said--they were friends, mother certainly had supported him-- mother wasn't just as an uninteresting--she was a person who was a good businesswoman and he called her up and he said, "well I think I've got something for Jim to do." And they talked and she said, "okay." And so therefore everyday for the next year or so, mother would say "have you heard from Bill? Has Bill called you about the job?" And of course Bill hadn't called me. Bill was trying to make mother feel good. He said something that caused a lot more trouble than he could have anticipated.

Q: Bill Clinton calls you and asks for $3000.

M: I almost laughed. You know most people thought that would make a grinding resentment but I thought hell, that is so typical of a politician, that you know you've just gotten your head out from under the guillotine, you're in horrible physical shape, you've got no money and they're worried about, about themselves.

Q: Was it something particular that he wanted it for. Was it a Whitewater related thing?

M: I think the reason that I knew it was Hillary, he said Hillary said we had to pay some bookkeeping or something.


M: I don't know that he said that exactly . I was down there very early in the morning and Bill came by and I had a new chair there, it was sort of art deco but it was posturepedic - my back was bothering me. and Bill had been jogging and it was warm weather and he was perspiring and he sat down in the chair and after he had been there 30 minutes and got up and left the outline of Bill Clinton was in salt on the new chair. And I think I said to another person present there, "I don't mind having to support him I just wish he hadn't ruined my chair."

Q: (mild laughter) Was it at that meeting that you decided to, uh...

M: Yes, I said "yeah sure, we'll give Hillary some of this legal work" and it was probably 6:30 in the morning and within a couple of hours she came by and we talked a little bit and agreed to put her on retainer at $2000 a month.

Q: And she did some, she did some work, she did the Castle Grande work,

M: Yes. Right.

Q: She was the lawyer of record on Castle Grande

M: Yes.

Q: The famous meeting that did or did not take place between you and Mr. Hale and then governor Clinton out at your office at Castle Grande. As you know David Hale said there was such a meeting. He had three meetings with Governor Clinton. Do you believe him? You're a party to one of them.

Hale and I had a meeting to discuss a shopping center he was proposing to build on property at Castle Grande and then governor Clinton arrived after we had concluded the meeting and had gotten out in the yard and I was getting ready to turn and go to my car and Mr. Hale was going to go to his car. So it was a very brief conversation involving the Governor but he was not at a meeting.

Q: And he asked about the $300,000 loan to Susan?

M: Yes. Well he asked about Susan's loan. And, now again I don't want to hold out that I can reconstruct a conversation that took place however many years ago that was, 13-14 whatever. Because I can't.

Q: Yessir.

M: But the thrust of it was--he inquired if we had discussed Susan's loan. And I was absolutely astounded. First of all astounded, well not really astounded that he showed up because he was always dropping in somewhere or other over the years, you; know, you're a southerner you know you drop in on people, but I was surprised. I hadn't asked him to come by. Mr. Hale certainly hadn't. Uh, he was just there, asking about something that I had no idea how he would have any knowledge of.

Q: And you have no doubt that he knew that there was such a thing as the Susan loan?

M: Well he inquired directly about it. Yes I believe he knew.

Q: Who do you suppose told him about that?

M: I'll let you draw your own conclusion.

Q: Yessir.

M: I think we just need to understand that there are certain things that I'm not going to say and one thing I'm not going to say is anything that will reflect badly on Susan McDougal, no matter what she has to say about me I wish her well, I'm very fond of her.

Q: You and David Hale had had a business meeting, the thing had concluded and behold the governor shows up, there is some conversation, presumably greetings and salutations and he asks about the Susan loan. Wasn't there at least one other person in a position to say whether the Governor had been out there that day?

M: Uh, yes.

Q: And it's our information that that person is known to the independent Counsel.

M: Yes.

Q: And wouldn't that in your view suggest that the president was lying in his videotaped testimony in your trial.

M: For that you'll want to read my book which I will, where I will divulge the name of this person and cover that episode in detail.

Q: If in1990 yours and Bill Clinton's positions had been reversed, which isn't entirely inconceivable, would you have made that call?

M: If our positions had been reversed and if Chuck Banks had indicted him--Chuck having been appointed by John Paul Hammerschmidt, the Congressman we had both run against-- I would have stumped the state to try to free Bill, I would have considered it a political indictment.

Q: --that doesn't say something about friendship?

M: Doesn't say anything about friendship. It says something about character. Says something about bravery, about intrepidity.

Q: What have you learned over these years about--

M: (Interrupting) These people like Clinton and Tucker are smart enough to abandon the field of battle when it's no longer to their advantage to persevere. I've always been too stubborn and stupid to do that...


M: Well I think that that's an umbrella, Whitewater is an umbrella term that's been applied to most of the presidential actions of Bill Clinton that are subject to criticism and investigation. The peripheral things like Webb Hubbell. Webb Hubbell had nothing to do with Whitewater, doesn't know where it is , never touched it, never articulated the word, I'm sure, until the IC started in on him. Yet, because of what we call Whitewater he's gone to prison , and he may go again. Uh, can I tell you what Whitewater is. That would be like trying to tell you, explain to you the collective philosophies of the Western World, in two hours, no I can't do it.

I'm sorry but it has grown like toopsy, it is at the point that it is beyond any one person description and all we can do is nibble off a little corner and all you can do is present the players and say here are the lines these players have to speak. And the public will have to employ their little gray cells to decide what it's about. Or if it's about nothing. It could be about nothing .

Q: It could?

M: The ultimate verdict of history could be to conclude that its not really that important . Is it as important as Mao's Long March? I don't know.

Q: Is it as important as third-rate burglary at the Watergate?

M: I don't know. I'll say this and this is the last thing I'm going to say cause we are through - If they had been forthcoming, if they had told the absolute truth from the outset this story would have died a long, long long time ago. It's the lying about it. It is following the Watergate scenario to a T. Right down to the fellow being elected by an overwhelming majority and then it getting worse and worse and worse. That's it.

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