90 Miles From Tyranny : Joe Biden On Anita Hill In 1998: ‘She Was Lying’

Monday, April 29, 2019

Joe Biden On Anita Hill In 1998: ‘She Was Lying’

It's true that Joe Biden did his best to help Anita Hill, including concealing witnesses who would have been a disaster under examination. But even he admitted to his colleague that Hill was lying.

Former vice president Joe Biden repeatedly said on The View on Friday that he believed Anita Hill from the moment he heard her tale of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas. But he previously told Sen. Arlen Specter that it was clear her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee included lies.

“Not only didn’t I vote for Clarence Thomas, I believed her from the beginning. I was against Clarence Thomas, I did everything in my power to defeat Clarence Thomas and he won by the smallest margin anyone ever won going on the Supreme Court,” Biden told “The View’s” Joy Behar.

But in 1998, Biden admitted to Specter that “It was clear to me from the way she was answering the questions, [Hill] was lying” about a key part of her testimony. The exchange was published in Specter’s 2000 memoir, “Passion for Truth: From Finding JFK’s Single Bullet to Questioning Anita Hill to Impeaching Clinton.”

The issue is important, as the media and other partisans rewrite the historical record about Hill and her accusations. The widely watched hearings revealed inaccuracies in Hill’s various versions of events and ended with 58 percent of Americans believing Thomas and only 24 percent believing Hill. There was no gap between the sexes in the results. In the intervening years, activists have relentlessly attempted to change the narrative, writing fan fiction about Hill, bestowing honors on her, and asserting that her disputed allegations were credible.

On “The View,” Biden claimed, “If you go back and look at what I said and didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly. I took on her opposition. What I couldn’t figure out how to do — and we still haven’t figured it out – how do you stop people from asking inflammatory questions?”

Prominent media partisans attacked Specter for asking tough questions of Hill. Or really, just for asking simple questions she struggled to answer. He began by noting that many people had reported Hill had praised Thomas and his nomination to the Supreme Court. These included a former colleague at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where both Hill and Thomas had worked years prior. Another person corroborated the colleague’s claim.

Hill disputed their claims. She also disputed the former dean of her law school, who said she had praised Thomas as a “fine man and an excellent legal scholar.” Then she claimed she didn’t know a woman named Phyllis Barry, who had told The New York Times that Hill’s allegations “were the result of Ms. Hill’s disappointment and frustration that Mr. Thomas did not show any sexual interest in her.”

Under questioning from Specter, in which he mentioned that two colleagues had provided statements attesting that she knew Barry, Hill was forced to concede that she knew her and had worked with her at the EEOC.

Specter then asked about the major contradictions between her testimony to the Senate and her interviews with the FBI. Her testimony with the Senate was much more colorful and descriptive even though it took place just days after her FBI interviews.

Finally he asked Hill about a USA Today article that claimed, “Anita Hill was told by Senate staffers her signed affidavit alleging sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas would be the instrument that ‘quietly and behind the scenes’ would force him to...

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