When In Doubt, Blame Clinton

When the Bush White House was confronted with questions about an unprecedented purge of eight U.S. Attorneys, one of the key responses was, “Clinton did it, too.” It was false, Bush aides knew it was false, but they used it anyway.

Now the same officials are confronted with questions about an unprecedented initiative from Karl Rove’s office to give blatantly partisan campaign briefings to 15 federal agencies, on government property, shortly before the 2006 elections, despite a federal law prohibiting these kinds of activities. What’s the new excuse? Take a wild guess.

When one reporter asked Perino whether the briefings were a “White House idea, initially, or was it the agencies,” Perino dodged the question and replied that “the Clinton administration had similar briefings.”

Perino’s “Clinton did it too” is wrong. Bush White House officials went to federal agencies on at least 20 occasions and conducted private briefings for large groups of political appointees. They gave presentations focusing on “Republican electoral prospects in the last midterm election.” The Hatch Act explicitly prohibits the use of federal property for partisan political purposes.

ThinkProgress contacted Doug Sosnik, Clinton’s Director of Political Affairs, directly. Sosnik explained, “We never went to agencies and briefed political appointees.” In fact, no one in the Clinton administration — from Sosnik’s office or anywhere else — ever conducted similar briefings for federal employees.

It appears that, for the second time in as many weeks, Perino simply made it up, fabricating a story to get herself out of a jam. It's called "lying" -- and Perino has been doing it quite often lately.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.