New York - Richard Nixon thought Bill Clinton a "slippery" character who got away with adultery and behaved like a cowardly spoiled brat during the Vietnam War, according to a magazine article about a new book released yesterday.
But the book, Nixon Off The Record, adapted in an article entitled "Nixon Unplugged" in the New Yorker magazine, says Nixon came to admire Mr Clinton as President, partly because the Democrat treated him with respect, inviting himto the White House from which he was forced in disgrace in 1974.
The article about the book by Monica Crowley, Nixon's foreign-policy assistant, said Nixon detested First Lady Hillary Clinton, dismissing her as a potentially dangerous radical locked in a loveless marriage.
The one person who emerges with Nixon's unqualified praise is the Republican Party's prospective presidential candidate, Bob Dole, whom Nixon calls the only one in the country "who can lead. He is by far the smartest politician - and Republican - in the country today."
Ms Crowley went to work for Nixon in 1990 when she was 21 years old and stayed until he died in 1994. She accompanied him to Russia and Asia, sitting in on his talks with heads of state. Without Nixon's knowledge, she kept a diary of their conversations.
Nixon thought Mr Clinton was an adulterer, and told Ms Crowley: "You know, this is really something. This guy didn't just have a fling; he had a 12-year affair. He's a repeat offender, and as governor no less.
"That's arrogance of power! But I still don't think it will destroy him. He's too slippery to have anything like this stick. And, as far as Hillary is concerned ... She's a radical. If she gets in, whoa! Everybody will have to fasten their seat belts."
Nixon showed no sympathy over the Whitewater real estate venture, which has haunted the Clintons. "Here you have financial gain and abuse of power ... and nothing is done. And here was Hillary on [Nixon's] impeachment committee ... screaming about the 18-and- a-half minutes [gap on a crucial tape recording] and now she's in Little Rock shredding."
Nixon held Mrs Clinton in special contempt because she worked for the House committee that considered impeaching him. He was also harsh and unforgiving toward Mr Clinton for avoiding service during the Vietnam War.
"I cannot believe this guy is a serious contender for the presidency. I know why he did what he did to dodge the draft: he didn't want to get his ass shot off," Ms Crowley quoted Nixon as telling her in 1992, adding: "He is a coward and a fraud. He didn't serve his country when it needed him, so why should we have him serve it when he is ready? ... When he evaded the draft, he cheated the country and the people whose votes he is asking for ... He was no conscientious objector, he was a selfish, spoiled brat.
"He made my job harder and he sent God knows how many men to their deaths in his place. I'll tell you, if he is elected president, I will know this country inally gone to hell."
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