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'Vast right-wing conspiracy' leader's paper backs Clinton

Monday, April 21, 2008

PHILADELPHIA -- Could it be the "vast right wing conspiracy" is having second thoughts?

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton was endorsed Sunday by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, whose owner and publisher, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, personally funded many of the investigations that led to President Clinton's impeachment in 1998.

It was one of a handful of endorsements the New York senator has received from Pennsylvania newspapers before the state's primary Tuesday.

In the endorsement, editors said Sen. Barack Obama is too inexperienced and that his recent comments about bitter voters living in small towns showed a lack of respect for middle-class values.

"In sharp contrast, Clinton is far more experienced in government -- as an engaged first lady to a governor and a president, as a second-term senator in her own right," the paper said. "She has a real voting record on key issues. Agree with her or not, you at least know where she stands instead of being forced to wonder."

Clinton met with the Tribune-Review's editorial board, including Scaife, last month. Afterward, Scaife wrote an editorial titled "Hillary, Reassessed," declaring how impressed he had been by the former first lady.

"Her meeting and her remarks during it changed my mind about her," Scaife wrote.

In the 1990s, Scaife helped support conservative groups and publications investigating Bill Clinton's financial dealings and sex life.

Scaife spent $2.3 million to fund a series of articles by The American Spectator magazine that dug into Bill Clinton's behavior as governor of Arkansas.

The magazine reported that Clinton had asked state troopers to help procure women for him and that he had sexually harassed a state worker named Paula Jones. Jones's legal case against Clinton helped launch an independent counsel investigation that eventually exposed his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Hillary Clinton famously defended her husband at the time, saying the allegations were part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" heavily funded by Scaife.


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