Newser's book: Ford saw Clinton as a sex 'addict'
BY TRACY CONNOR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, October 28th 2007, 4:00 AM
Exclusive: Gerald Ford was disturbed by Bill Clinton's skirt-chasing ways - and thought he should check into a sex addiction clinic."
Gerald Ford was disturbed by Bill Clinton's skirt-chasing ways - and thought he should check into a sex addiction clinic.
A new book on the late 38th President reveals he had strong views about the Clintons: He thought Hillary wore the pants and that Bill couldn't keep his zipped.
"He's sick - he's got an addiction. He needs treatment," Ford told Daily News Washington Bureau Chief Thomas M. DeFrank, author of "Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford."
Ford's wife, Betty, who founded a pioneering treatment center after her battle with alcoholism and drugs, agreed.
"You know, there's treatment for that kind of addiction," she told DeFrank during the same conversation in 1999. "A lot of men have gone through the treatment with a lot of success. But he won't do it, because he's in denial."
The Fords first got to know the Clintons in the summer of 1993, when they invited the new First Family to their home in Colorado.
Gerald Ford's impressions of the Oval Office's latest tenant were mixed. He believed Clinton was charismatic, articulate, a "helluva salesman" and the best politician he'd ever seen - even better than John F. Kennedy.
But he considered Clinton a foreign-policy wimp, and sensed that he hadn't learned from mistakes in his personal life - allegations of womanizing that dogged him during the campaign for the White House.
That opinion was based on behavior Ford witnessed the weekend he hosted the Clintons in Colorado.
"I'll tell you one thing: He didn't miss one good-looking skirt at any of the social occasions," Ford said later.
"He's got a wandering eye, I'll tell you that. Betty had the same impression; he isn't very subtle about his interest."
Nevertheless, when the Monica Lewinsky sex-and-perjury scandal erupted and barreled toward impeachment, Ford was willing to help Clinton - to a point.
After the House voted to impeach Clinton but before the Senate's decision on whether to convict him, the sitting President phoned the ex-President.
"He said he needed my help and wanted to know if I could help," Ford recalled not long after.
Ford had written two Op-Ed pieces in which he called for Clinton to admit he had lied to federal investigators in exchange for censure over impeachment.
He told Clinton that he would help him, if he agreed to such a deal.
"Bill I think you have to admit that you lied. If you do that, I think that will help - and I'll help you. If you'll admit to perjury, I'll do more," he said.
"I won't do that," Clinton told him. "I can't do that."
Ford was stunned by Clinton's lack of contrition. "It's a character flaw," he concluded.
Still, he seemed to feel for Clinton on a personal level.
"I'm convinced that Clinton has a sexual addiction. He needs to get help - for his sake. He's already damaged his presidency beyond repair," he told DeFrank.
In Ford's eyes, Clinton's weaknesses were in sharp contrast to his wife's iron will.
"She's stronger and tougher than he is," he said. "When she takes a point you're gonna have to be damn sure you're well informed because she won't compromise as quickly or as easily as he.
"She's very bright. She's strong, and I think he defers to her. When she gets her dander up, she ain't gonna roll over."
And he had no doubts about her ambitions. "Hillary is gonna be on the ticket in '04 or '08, one or the other, you can write that down," he said in 2002.
Yet he didn't think she would win - "I don't think the country is ready for a lady President," he said - and he didn't live long enough to find out if he was right.
The Clintons, through spokesman Howard Wolfson, declined to comment about the book.