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The Hunting of the President presented an argument by Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry that from 1990 to 2000 a group of people were committed to destroying the reputation of William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton. Through elaborate testimonials, the claim is that this group of well-funded individuals as well as media attempted to gain from Clinton’s alleged misfortunes.
The film begins with a narration that took place approximately ten days before the 1992 presidential election, Andrew Cooper, a reporter from New Zealand, is approached by a man named Everett Hamm. According to Cooper, who explains his story to the camera, Hamm explained that he was a part of a group called the Alliance for the Rebirth for an Independent America (ARIA). The right-wing, well-funded organization, Cooper claimed, was dedicated to discrediting the Clinton family by any means possible. The filmmakers show a tall, bald-headed, burly man with a lot of shadow over his face to portray Hamm has a monstrous individual. Hamm and his well-known co-partner, lawyer Cliff Jackson, planned to do everything they could to hurt Clinton’s reputation.
The filmmakers state that in 1988, the state of Arkansas hired an ex-jingle producer as a marketing representative by the name of Larry Nichols. The film makes it known that after it was discovered that Nichols was using his state office and resources to help fund the contras in Nicaragua, Governor Clinton fired Nichols. Four years later, in 1992, Star Magazine paid Nichols $50,000 for his story that Clinton had sex with a group of women while Governor in the state of Arkansas. The camera immediately shows the front cover of Star Magazine and Nichol’s story about Clinton. All the women denied the affair happened, except one woman by the name of Gennifer Flowers. Flowers publicly claimed that she and Clinton had a 12-year relationship. The film presents Flowers standing at a podium where she told the press about her alleged affair with Clinton. However, the woman who happened to be a former recording artist at Nichol’s old recording studio eventually changed her story.
The filmmakers also state that in August 1993, two Arkansas troopers alleged that Clinton asked them to cover up numerous extramarital liaisons while he was Governor. They were represented by a former Oxford classmate of Clinton, Cliff Jackson. It is believed that the troopers had two motives for their allegations. Jackson told the troopers that he would “cut them in” on everything from magazine features to movie deals.
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Later that year, another Arkansas trooper contended that Clinton asked him to bring a woman, Paula Jones, up to a hotel room where Clinton “exposed himself and propositioned her.” The camera scene shows an empty hotel hallway insinuating the private encounter. The trooper did not see or hear anything, but assumed something consensual occurred because after Jones left Clinton’s room, she said she wanted to be his “regular girlfriend.” Clinton’s staff thought of Jones as a mere groupie who wanted attention from the Governor, as his Chief of Staff claims in an interview. Jones’ filed a sexual harassment suit in 1994. Jones’ legal advisor, Susan Carpenter McMillan, turned down a negotiated $700,000 settlement once agreed upon by both parties demanding for an apology. According to the filmmakers, Jones had other private legal advisors who called themselves the Elves. The movie displays a movie clip from an old movie where a couple Santa Claus elves are making toys. Then, the scene goes white and puts the definition of elves in the middle of the screen capitalizing on the negative parts of the definition such as the words “magical powers” and “trickery.” Clinton appealed to the Supreme Court that he being a defendant in a sexual harassment suit had nothing to do with his presidency. However, unanimously, they voted the appeal down 9 to 0. Their argument was that it would not take that much time and to go through it, which did turn out to be a lengthy process. To make the Supreme Court look incompetent, the film shows the judges smiling while taking a picture, as if they could never be proven wrong. With her lawyers unable to prove that Jones suffered any emotional, professional, or financial damage. Jones finally settles out of court in 1998 for $850,000 with Clinton admitting nothing.
The film declares that around mid-1990, a couple writers and journalists learned of a secret project known as the Arkansas Project which was funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. This project was a full smear campaign to dig up dirt on both Bill and Hillary Clinton as so the filmmakers want to make known to its audience. Parker Dozheir, who was paranoid that since he was anti-Clinton he would be killed, bragged about this campaign to David Brock, a premier reporter for The American Spectator. Brock is faced directly towards the camera explaining that he also bragged about his meetings with David Hale, a wealthy lawyer and a former judge who was the principal accuser in the Whitewater land allegations. The film shows Hale walking down the steps of a courthouse in a very nice, expensive suit to portray him as well-educated man. Also, Hale who just so happened to be a major player in the Arkansas Project the film states. Hale claimed Clinton pressured him into giving Susan McDougal a $300,000 loan, a partner with the Clinton’s in the Whitewater property deal. The Small Business Administration found out about Hale’s corrupt financial misgivings and he was found guilty on a federal fraud charge for embezzlement by trying to tie his legal predicaments to Clinton. The shot in the film immediately changes and you see Hale with shackles around his hands and feet.
Kenneth Starr, a well-known outspoken republican was appointed to the Office of the Independent Counsel to investigate the Whitewater property agreement. According to Susan McDougal as she expresses in front of the camera, Starr would visit their house regularly to meet with her husband Jim. Jim was also a partner in the Whitewater agreement. She was told that she would most likely go to prison because she received an illegal loan from Hale, but Starr extended her a proffer. This was to give them any dirt she possibly could on the Clintons, even if it was false, she just had to agree. Starr said if she told him agreed to testifying to anything they made up for her, she would not have to go to jail and would only receive probation. McDougal refused and served a two year prison sentence and Starr took a job offer to be the dean of Pepperdine School of Law, currently funded by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife.
The film claims that journalists saw the Whitewater allegations as another Watergate from the 60’s. They thought that if they were able to break open this case, they would be forever remembered like the journalists during the Nixon administration. Most journalists during this time sought to do anything they could to get information no one else had, according to an interview with Max Brantley, the Editor in Chief for the Arkansas Times.
In 1997, Clinton was accused by Monica Lewinsky, a Pentagon intern, that they had an affair in the oval office on numerous occasions. Monica Lewinsky is shown on in the movie walking down the street without conviction, as if she had done nothing wrong. President Clinton admitted to these allegations a couple years later. Clinton lied under oath that he did not have sex with Lewinsky, turning the case into a federal matter. The film shows Clinton sweating on the stand in a courtroom where he looks stressed and tired.
The film claims that over $80 million was spent investigating the Whitewater property agreement, where it was later found that no criminal wrong-doing was found on the Clintons part. The film also claims that most of this money was spent on finding out about President Clinton’s personal sex life. The Senate acquitted President Clinton on both impeachment charges in 1999 where you Senator standing on the floor of the Senate, ruling that Clinton was cleared.
The Hunting of the President. Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry. DVD. Regent Entertainment, 2004