LONDON -- I am in London preparing a couple of talks on politics that I am to give this week, and I have made a very unhappy discovery. A new book, written by a promising young American historian, reveals a secret about Bill Clinton and me that we have kept from the public for four decades. In "The Pact," a book that follows the strikingly similar careers of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, Steven M. Gillon reveals that Bill and I attended Georgetown University together as undergraduates. Drat, our secret is out!
This is how the historian puts it: "Emmett Tyrell (sic), a contemporary at Georgetown and later conservative pundit, referred to Clinton as 'a student government goody-goody.'" Well, who doubts that he was? I remember Bill well, tooling around campus in a late-model convertible (a Buick, if I recall), always ready with a smile and a hearty ho-ho -- especially for the girls. Incidentally, it is completely untrue that Bill's youth was impoverished, and in his autobiography, he admits as much, adding that the born-in-a-log-cabin myth is always a sure vote-getter.
Back at Georgetown, Bill had a quick mind but rarely got assignments done on time and probably used crib sheets or Cliffs Notes to finish his course work. He spread himself pretty thin on campus in those days. Even then, Bill was an inveterate Casanova, which is in part the reason for our covenant of silence. Whenever he tried to seduce one of my girlfriends, the girls and I had a good laugh. They called him Tubby; even then, he had weight problems. Also, he could not stop talking. Most college girls in those days inclined toward the tall, silent type. Bill was tall, taller than I am, but he was a gasbag. The girls and I used to joke about Bill's loquacity. Did he ever shut down even while attempting love? The girls doubted it and kept their distance.
My only regret through the years is that Georgetown never has acknowledged my presence on campus and the amicable relations I had with Bill. After all, I founded The American Spectator during my student days. Years later, in 1993, the Spectator published the first Troopergate story that set in motion the long and painful process leading to Bill's impeachment, and of course, the magazine published many other stories on Bill: his troubled real estate dealings, his chaotic and corrupt White House, his cheating on the golf course, and more. One would think someone would take notice of the irony that back at old Georgetown, we were fellow students and friendly rivals, though I never took a class with him and never saw him in the gym.