Bill Clinton is the most investigated president since Richard Nixon—facing inquiries into Whitewater, campaign fundraising abuses, and sexual misconduct—and yet he improbably began 1998 with approval ratings as high as those of Ronald Reagan. But the new year has brought a barrage of new allegations, and the president and his advisers face once again the challenge of spinning the news to their advantage, a challenge they have mastered many times before.
In Spin Cycle, award-winning Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz reveals the inside workings of Clinton's well-oiled propaganda machine—arguably the most successful team of White House spin doctors in history. He takes the reader into closed-door meetings where Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Mike McCurry, Lanny Davis, and other top officials plot strategy to beat back the scandals and neutralize a hostile press corps through stonewalling, stage managing, and outright intimidation. He depicts a White House obsessed with spin and pulls back the curtain on events and tactics that the administration would prefer to keep hidden, including:
The secret report that Hillary Clinton ordered on a reporter investigating the Whitewater affair as part of a plan to discredit her.
A tense, almost paranoid White House atmosphere in which the spinmeisters do not question the President about the various scandals because they don't want to learn information they might have to reveal to prosecutors or the press.
The secret meeting between a Clinton operative and the editor of The New York Times that led to a presidential interview in which Clinton knew the questions in advance.
Bill Clinton's success in reaping favorable publicity by secretly courting selected reporters and columnists in off-the-record White House meetings.
Al Gore's feelings of betrayal as the scandal-hungry press turned on him and jeopardized his presidential candidacy in 2000.
Spin Cycle is an all-too-human drama in which political operatives wrestle with their consciences as they struggle to protect the boss. As the scandal drums beat louder and louder, Kurtz shows what it takes for the president and his people to survive, and what happens to the truth along the way.