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Because He Could

Author: Dick Morris
Publisher: HarperCollins • 2009 • 320 pages

Americans are so hungry to understand the real Bill Clinton that his autobiography sold more than a million copies in its first weeks. But for all its 957 pages, “My Life” is little more than an exercise in deception, distortion, and spin. Now, in “Because He Could,” former Clinton adviser and confidant Dick Morris reexamines, rebuts, and corrects every highlight of the former President’s massive, exhausting, self-indulgent autobiography — filling in the parts of the story that Clinton left unmentioned. Just as he did with Hillary Clinton in this year’s bestselling Rewriting History, Morris shows why, four years out of office, Bill Clinton still can’t be trusted. Some topics:

A “catalogue of blame”: how My Life chalks up virtually every mistake of Clinton’s eight years in office to other people

Why September 11, 2001 was “the worst day of the Clinton presidency” — even though it was 233 days after he left office

How on the four main terror threats that faced the U.S. during the 1990s — al Qaeda, Iran, Iraq and North Korea — Clinton ignored the problems for too long, or fell victim to elaborate ploys that fooled him to believing he had solved the problem

The Clinton marriage: “a professional association in disguise.” Why Hillary and Bill both see the other as crucial to eight more years as “co-presidents”

Why “My Life” makes virtually no mention of Hillary’s key role in the design, formulation and implementation of public policy

Key tests of Clinton’s use of power in his first term — and why he failed each one

Osama bin Laden: how Clinton had at least four serious opportunities to capture or kill him — but lost every one

The reasons for Clinton’s inability to focus on terror early in his term, while obsessing over issues like gays in the military

How Clinton missed a key opportunity to learn about bin Laden and al Quaeda after the 1996 attack on American troops living in Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia

Iraq: How Clinton constantly backpedaled, allowing Saddam Hussein to pump his petroleum under the so-called Oil for Food program

How Clinton’s sensitivity to charges of draft-dodging was the biggest cause of the hesitancy, irresolution and weakness that characterized his ineffective response to terror

How Clinton’s failure to win a majority of the popular vote haunted him with a feeling that his presidency was illegitimate

“Anger Without Management”: how, behind Clinton’s sunny and optimistic demeanor, lurked a raw and seething temper that would explode violently and unexpectedly

Why Clinton was “congenitally uncomfortable with the use of force” — to the detriment of his presidency and the nation

How, when he was vexed by political opposition, Clinton would lash out in self-protective rages and slashing attempts to blame others

Why Clinton, despite his “everyman” act, had no real experience with which to understand the strugges of average Americans

Clinton’s astonishing lack of conceptual ability, to make coherent sense of events and his own role in them

How Clinton’s capacity for empathy often led him to overestimate difficulties, encouraging his passivity

Clinton’s compulsion to place blame: How he always had a person on hand to scapegoat if things went wrong

Janet Reno: why Clinton was afraid to fire her, though he desperately wanted to

Deconstructing My Life’s dishonest and self-contradictory treatment of Clinton’s draft-dodging (a “textbook illustration” of his ability to turn clear negatives into apparent positives)

The Politician and the Boy Scout: How Clinton conceals his cold Machiavellianism behind a veneer of being “above politics”

How both the Jones-Lewinsky and Whitewater scandals had their roots in Hillary’s fear of humiliation — and Bill’s terror of crossing the First Lady

“Errata”: a full chapter correcting the outright falsehoods in My Life, on everything from Gennifer Flowers to the Clinton’s last-minute presidential pardons

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