A Conservative Defends Bill's Buddy Burkle

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Jun 03, 2008 10:50 PM


One of the interesting revelations included in the controversial new Vanity Fair profile of Bill Clinton is the disclosure of his close financial and personal relationship with California supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle.

The article alleges a variety of questionable doings, and implicates Burkle as quite the actor in the broader Clinton drama. Obviously, the Clintonites are disputing that portrayal in a most vigorous fashion.

Interestingly, I caught up with a conservative who is also disputing the Vanity Fair portrayal.  Christian Josi --a Washington based PR executive and former Executive Director of the American Conservative Union -- came to know Burkle as a teenager growing up in a political family in Southern California, and describes him as an "absolute prince and someone who has had a pretty huge impact on my life".

Josi, who is also an internationally known jazz singer, adds:  "He's thanked in the liner notes of my first album from 1993. He encouraged me and even provided some financial support at a critical point in my career when I was totally poor, had a new wife and baby, and it was make or break.  So...suffice to say there is a hell of a lot more to this guy than you would imagine by reading the increasingly frequent press reports."

Josi adds: "I haven't spoken to him in about 15 years. Certainly not since I started bashing the Clintons for a living. He may not even want my vote of confidence but I am sufficiently pissed off by how he has been portrayed to feel the need to share my thoughts with you. So there you are."