Just when you think the right-wing hate machine could sink no lower, along comes the pack of lies just packaged by Penguin Books under the title “The Truth About Hillary,” by Edward Klein.

The truth about Hillary? No way. It’s nothing but a hatchet job, aimed at destroying Sen. Clinton’s reputation and political future. The jacket flap alone exposes Klein as nothing but a right-wing political assassin. Of Clinton, he writes: “She’s a wife, but she shows no wifely instincts. She’s a mother, but she isn’t maternal. She’s a feminist, but she rode to power on her husband’s coattails. She inspires fierce loyalty among her followers, but she frequently stabs them in the back.”

The heart of Klein’s hate book are three poisonous charges against Hillary Rodham Clinton: that she is a lesbian; that daughter Chelsea was only conceived because Bill Clinton raped his wife while on vacation in Bermuda; and that former New York Sen. Patrick Moynihan and his wife actually hated Hillary. Those allegations are not only disgusting, Klein offers zero proof to back them up.

In an e-mail to reporters, Maura Moynihan, the senator’s daughter, flatly denies any anti-Hillary bias on the part of her parents, including negative quotes in the book attributed to her mother. Impossible, she notes: “My mother hasn’t seen Mr. Klein in over 20 years.” She also recounts how often the Moynihan family visited the Clintons in the White House, and how strongly they stood with Hillary throughout her 2000 Senate campaign. Maura rebukes Klein with a quote from her late father: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.”

Klein provides even less evidence to back up his scurrilous rape charge. Asked for proof on Fox News, he offered the fact that, in her own book, Hillary talks about once vacationing in Bermuda. Even conservative Sean Hannity had to add that merely going to Bermuda is not the same as being raped in Bermuda. Klein also cited an unnamed “investment banker” from New York who claims he once attended a drunken party in Bermuda where Bill Clinton bragged he was “going back to my cottage to rape my wife.” And on that flimsy basis alone, Klein accuses Bill of criminal conduct, slams Hillary’s reputation, and smears their daughter. The man has no shame.

Klein’s claim that Hillary is a lesbian is the weakest one of all. On page 13, he writes: “She said she was passionately in love with her husband, but many of her closest friends and aides were lesbians.” That’s it! Hillary has lesbian friends, therefore she is one. By that standard, she’s hardly alone. I have lesbian friends, lesbian neighbors and a lesbian cousin, so I must be a lesbian, too. Wait till I tell my wife Carol.

Final proof of Klein’s evil intent: a photograph of former President Bill Clinton allegedly “mouth-kissing” a supporter, at some nighttime location, which Klein offers as proof of Clinton’s affair with a neighbor in her early 40s. Unfortunately for Klein, photographer Jay Clendenin has come forward to tell the truth.

An outraged Clendenin points out that the photo he took was actually one of a series of five quick shots of Clinton working the ropeline, that he was merely giving the unknown fan a kiss on the cheek, that it lasted no more than half a second and, most tellingly, that the momentary encounter took place at a Kerry campaign rally, surrounded by a huge crowd – in broad daylight! Klein had the photo doctored and darkened for dramatic effect.

In his personal attacks against Hillary Clinton, Klein stoops so low that he’s been abandoned by some of his fellow conservatives. Bill O’Reilly won’t book him on his Fox News show. Chief Clinton hater Dick Morris condemned the book. And New York Post columnist John Podhoretz called it a “smear for profit.”

For Podhoretz, slogging through the slime wasn’t easy: “Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn’t have to suffer through another word.”

Good for them. How refreshing to learn that, even for some Clinton haters, there are limits. But how depressing that must be for Edward Klein. When O’Reilly, Morris and Podhoretz disown you, you know you’re pond scum.

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