Loose Lips

Vince Gray: The New Bill Clinton?

Is Vince Gray borrowing Bill Clinton's political strategy?

Gray's attorney, Robert Bennett, was one of Clinton's lawyers during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Alleged shadow campaigns and acknowledged Oval Office blow jobs are, of course, two very distinct balls of wax, but it's interesting to peruse through some old Clinton-era clips and find similarities to Gray's current situation.

At the peak of Clinton's troubles, for instance, there were tensions between the president's lawyers and his political advisers on how to handle the crisis. Per a 1998 article in the New York Times:

... Mr. Clinton's legal and political advisers have clashed throughout the week over his defense. His political aides have pressed for Mr. Clinton to answer lingering questions in either a news conference or a group interview. They wanted Mr. Clinton to move quickly to try to calm the controversy so it will not completely overshadow the President's State of the Union address Tuesday. But after sometimes pointed internal debates, Mr. Clinton's lawyers today prevailed ...

Gray noted recently that Bennett has kept him mostly muzzled in responding to the allegations made by federal prosecutors that Gray's 2010 campaign was a hive of corruption.

“My makeup, my propensity really is to talk, and talk as extensively as I can about issues, so this is not really consistent with who I am," Gray said.

Gray also appears to be borrowing from the Clinton playbook, which includes trying to keep as busy as possible in the middle of a crisis (though LL is not sure whether Gray will be able to launch missile attacks on faraway places). Hizonner has been keeping a very active public schedule in an (so far unsuccessful) effort to change the story.

Clinton's old adviser Paul Begala says that during the darkest days of the Lewinsky affair, the White House tried to hold close to as normal schedule as possible. He told PBS:

This gets back to the fundamental lesson of political survival that Bill Clinton taught me, which is if you make it about the American people's lives instead of your life, you're going to be okay. ... I wanted to make sure that the people had the sense that Clinton was not focused on this Lewinsky scandal entirely. [It] obviously was a major preoccupation and an enormous distraction, but the business of the government goes on.

So, yeah, it's probably a good thing that Gray doesn't have access to any missiles.

Photo illustration by Brooke Hatfield

  • DCGovcorruption

    Mayor Gray is no Bill Clinton in style or intelligence.
    President Clinton didnot kick his campaign team to the curb after getting his job through politics.

  • Drez

    Clinton's "sins" were private. They dealt with consensual sex between adults. They were not related to campaigns or policy.
    Grays alleged sins are entirely public realm.
    There is no comparison or equivalence.

  • did I say that?

    #'s 1 & 2: All I can think about is Vince Foster and Ron Brown. Clinton's 'sins' actually occurred in the very private but public domain Oval Office while both were being paid by our tax dollars. No comparison or equivalence from whose perspective?

  • Anonymous, Three

    Drez@#2, Bill Clintonn's 'sins' were perpetrated in the Oval Office of The White House by a sitting President and his paid employee, (and whose wife was probably in the building). Is that not entirely public realm.?

    Far be it from me to knock Dude. Ain't no tellin' what would happen if I was in his shoes. Course THAT will never happen even if I was a young man again.

    Did I miss something? Has Vince been charged with a crime? Did I fall asleep in my recliner when the FEDS got off the pot? I may be old, but I'm not demented. Not yet, anyway. Leave that young man alone and let him do the job DC citizens elected him to do. I voted for Fenty because of my wife and daughter, but I wouldn't do it again and as quiet as it's kept around this house, neither will they. I hear them taking when they think I'm asleep. (heh!heh!heh! They forget: Every shut eye ain't sleep).

  • “Bring That Ball, Meat!”

    It is only a matter of time until Gray leaves office--and it will be sooner and not later. There is no way he can talk himself out of this, no matter how loquatious he aspires to be (despite his lawyers' advice).

  • page

    Lame. Keeping a schedule doesn't mean he's trying to "change the story." The dude is mayor of a major city. He had a busy public schedule before all this shit started percolating. He's a lot of things, but the man's not stupid. He's been in politics long enough to know that groundbreakings won't wash off the stink of scandal.

  • Frank Lee Mahdear

    Man, there is no excuse for those shorts. Or those pasty white thighs. And who the hell tucks his t-shirt into a pair of short-short running shorts? Duh, Al Gore, that's who. No wonder Tipper dumped him.

  • Typical DC BS

    @Frank Lee Mahdear: Different times back then my friend. Take a look at some NBA pics - short shorts with the jerseys tucked in until the Fab Five at Michigan showed off some new hoops fashion.

  • seDCdude

    @ Anonymous 3

    you have to forgive Drez, for he IS demented and delusional, just as all the other pastey WHITES runN round City Paper Blogs with their pompous, ENTITLED, retarded, biased and perturbed rhetoric that wishes to demonize BLACK pols while HOC spit shinin' that golden coat hanger shaped as a HALO......just reference Joe Pa, he can 'splain it!

    It's a white thang', they don't think WE undastand'!

  • Anonymous, Three

    AMEN seDCdude: That was one of the mistakes the proverbial 'they' made while our ancestors waited on them hand and foot, suckled their babes, and served them in their private clubs. I know quite a few AfAm families who are very comfortable today because their kin folk in service were astute enough to capitalize on the stock market tips they overheard.

    Like my Mama used to say: 'Every shut eye ain't sleep and every good by ain't gone. He who's being cheated and knows he's being cheated, ain't being cheated at all'.

    We Shall Overcome!!! It will take time as time has proven, but as long as Vince Gray has supporters like us who DO UNDASTAN, he'll be able to rise above the shallow attempts to make him desert the citizens of Washington, DC
    who elected him to office.

    From what I am hearing now, (through the old codgers network), he's fighting the good fight and will triumph over this skirmish stronger and more empowered than any of our former CAPABLE Mayors.

    You youngins' just keep the pot boiling. We old folk will keep puttin' "them" in to stew in their own juices.

  • capitol hill

    Gray quit already you crook. This city isnt for you anymore

  • umis habit hummm

    capitol hill if I'm not mistaken, Vincent Gray lived in what is now called capitol hill until he was a college grad and moved away from the family home. How long have you been in DC much less on capitol hill?

    If you are a native of DC, what makes you feel entitled to say who or who not the city is for?

  • Ain’t From Here

    In any other city in this nation, black electeds know they have to watch their backs b/c they are under extra scrutiny; not the brothas inDeCent. They just let their scandalous dirty laundry wave in the wind until wheneva their sight and stench is making everyone puke.

    So much for the slogan that being "a DeeCee resident" means you care about any of the residents of the city more than anyone else.