The Washington Free Beacon’s story about Hillary Clinton’s successful defense of a man accused of raping a 12-year old could have more legs than Hillary defenders would like to think.
On Sunday night, the Free Beacon released a heretofore-unheard 1980s recording of Hillary discussing her role as a court-appointed attorney in the 1975 case. In an inappropriately light manner, Hillary brags in the recording about how she was able to plead her client’s charges down using a legal technicality, even though she seemed to think he was guilty of the crime. The Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman summarized the tape’s contents:
“It was a fascinating case, it was a very interesting case,” Clinton says in the recording. “This guy was accused of raping a 12-year-old. Course he claimed that he didn’t, and all this stuff.”
Describing the events almost a decade after they had occurred, Clinton’s struck a casual and complacent attitude toward her client and the trial for rape of a minor.
“I had him take a polygraph, which he passed – which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs,” she added with a laugh.
Clinton can also be heard laughing at several points when discussing the crime lab’s accidental destruction of DNA evidence that tied Taylor to the crime.
This is an interesting debate for a legal ethics class. But the politics of the tape should be a negative to Hillary’s potential 2016 presidential candidacy. Not only are most Americans not lawyers, many hate the profession. The average voter doesn’t care about the nuances of legal ethics. The persuadable voter will just be disgusted that Hillary helped an accused child rapist she thought was guilty beat the system.
How significant a negative will this tape be? It’s hard to say so far out before the 2016 presidential race even kicks off, but in the heat of a presidential campaign, it could certainly make for a killer campaign ad. One doubts the story — and Hillary’s guffawing retelling of it — will play well with soccer moms. But what the recording has the most potential to do is help mitigate the Democrats’ nonsense “War On Women” charge against Republicans.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, the Obama campaign loved to attack Mitt Romney for a 1983 family trip in which he tied his dog Seamus to the top of the family car for a 12-hour jaunt to Lake Huron. Since Americans are dog lovers, this story had the potential to do some serious damage to Romney’s image — that is, until the Obama campaign’s attack was dealt a fatal blow by Daily Caller blogger Jim Treacher.
In a post that went viral, Treacher pointed out a passage in President Obama’s first memoir in which he talks about eating dog meat when he was a child in Indonesia. This enabled the Romney campaign to go on offense, most memorably with this tweet by Romney political strategist Eric Fehrnstrom:
— Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) April 18, 2012
Some caveats are in order. With the Hillary tape, a much more serious issue is at stake than was at stake in the 2012 dog wars. It must also be noted that many Americans have already made up their minds about Hillary, pro-and-con, and it might be asking a lot to hope that a decades-old tape would change a huge portion of the electorate’s deeply felt perceptions of her.
But if played right, it isn’t inconceivable that the 2016 GOP presidential nominee could use the tape to undermine the “War on Women” charge that will almost certainly be leveled against Republicans if Hillary is the Democratic nominee. Just imagine: Every time the Democrats trot out the “War on Women” accusation, Republican surrogates could point out that the Republican nominee, whomever it turns out to be, at least never fought tooth and nail to defend an accused child rapist who he or she believed was guilty.