A longtime columnist for the Kansas City Star, Mary Sanchez is old enough to remember and recount certain details of the Clinton presidency.
In a recent column, Sanchez scolded Donald Trump for his “vulgarity and brutishness.” Wrote Sanchez, “His modus operandi is to bully.” How dare he call out Bill Clinton for being “unfaithful to his wife,” she asked, especially given Clinton’s “stellar” record on women’s issues.
Like so many liberal women, Sanchez has been unwilling to acknowledge Clinton’s history as a sexual bully, one whose particular modus operandi has been to bite the lips of women in order to subdue them.
The story of Juanita Broaddrick is well-established. Less well-known is the saga of Elizabeth Ward Gracen’s 1983 run-in with Clinton. That will follow.
In April 1978, Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton was running for governor. A Clinton supporter, Broaddrick had come to Little Rock for a convention. At the time, she was married and the owner of a nursing home.
She agreed to meet Clinton in the coffee shop of the Little Rock hotel where she was staying, but he called back and asked to meet in her hotel room because of the reporters in the coffee shop. She presumed their meeting to be professional, nothing else.
Clinton had other plans and made them obvious immediately. “Then he tries to kiss me again,” Broaddrick would tell Lisa Myers on NBC’s “Dateline” in February 1999. “And the second time he tries to kiss me he starts biting my lip.”
“It was a real panicky, panicky situation,” Broaddrick continued. “I was even to the point where I was getting very noisy, you know, yelling to ‘Please stop.’ And that’s when he pressed down on my right shoulder and he would bite my lip.”
On the way out of the room, after raping Broaddrick, Clinton saw her swollen lip and said for the record, “You better get some ice on that.”
Gracen’s account is murkier but in some ways even more troubling. As former Newsweek reporter Michael Iskoff reported in his book, “Uncovering Clinton,” Gracen had a one-off with Clinton in 1983 when Clinton was governor and she was serving as Miss America.
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In 1992, when Bill was running for president, the Clintons feared that if Gracen went public with her story of that encounter it would jeopardize Clinton’s campaign for president.
As a former Miss America, wrote Isikoff, Gracen would be “a bit harder to smear than Gennifer Flowers,” a Clinton paramour of 12-years standing who had been slimed relentlessly by the Clintons.
Speaking for his bosses, adviser James Carville memorably summed up the Clintons’ take on women like Flowers and Paula Jones: “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”
To assure Gracen’s silence, Clinton campaign manager Mickey Kantor got together with Clinton’s friend and Hollywood producer Harry Thomason, and they arranged for her to take a part in a mini-series then filming in Croatia.
Before leaving the country, Gracen issued a press release denying she had ever had sex with Clinton. Wrote Isikoff of her denial, “It wasn’t true.”
In April 1998, Gracen came to the embattled Clinton’s aid once again, this time, bizarrely, by recanting her earlier lie that she had never had sex with Clinton.
In a television interview, Gracen said of the 1983 encounter with Clinton, “What I did was wrong, and I feel very bad about it now.” Gracen denied that the sex was coerced and said almost laughably of Hillary, “I’ll apologize to her now. It was wrong.”
The fact that Gracen recanted her 1992 account did not trouble the Clintons. For them, lying was business as usual. They were relived that Gracen denied the persistent rumors that she had been sexually assaulted.
There was a reason for those rumors. Like Broaddrick, Gracen was married when Clinton offered her a ride in his limousine after a 1983 event in Hot Springs.
“It was rough sex,” Isikoff wrote, “Clinton got so carried away that he bit her lip, Gracen later told friends. But it was consensual.”
Writing in 1999 before Broaddrick’s prime-time confession, Isikoff missed the lip-biting connection. He also failed to acknowledge that at least one of Gracen’s friends, Judy Stokes, had told the Paula Jones legal team that the sex was not consensual at all.
“Do you believe Clinton raped her?” investigator Rick Lambert asked her. “Absolutely,” Stokes replied. “He forced her to have sex. What do you call that?”
After her 1998 TV interview, fearing a subpoena from prosecutor Ken Starr, Gracen flew to the Caribbean where she went island hopping for several months.
“She had no interest being drawn into the case,” wrote Isikoff. “She had already lied for Clinton once.”
Then as now the media had zero interest in discovering who arranged for Gracen’s bogus apology or paid for her flight from justice – what with Bill’s “stellar” record on women’s issues and all.
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