(New York Magazine) -- “Hillary Clinton took me through hell” is the sort of jarring quote you expect conservatives and political journalists salivate over — but not one you expect to come from a survivor of sexual assault. Last month, The Daily Beast published an interview with a rape survivor whose assailant was defended by Hillary Clinton, who was then a legal-aid lawyer in Arkansas. It was 1975, it was her first criminal defense case, and the details are sure to make core Clinton supporters squirm. In an affidavit, she wrote that the 12-year-old victim was “emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men.” To top it all off, in a taped interview from the early ‘80s, Clinton had admitted she personally thought the man was guilty and defended him anyway.
This week, Clinton came out and said she tried to get out of defending the accused, but could not. “But, at least in our system, you have an obligation,” she said, “and once I was appointed, I fulfilled that obligation.” A Clinton representative had said something similar when asked about the case in 2008. Her explanation is understandable, though disappointing given her record of supporting victims of sexual assault. This, after all, is a woman who helped create an Office on Violence Against Women with the Department of Justice.