Skip to comments.Bill Clinton turns enemy into a friend
Posted on 01/02/2008 8:57:35 PM PST by bruinbirdman
Richard Mellon Scaife, the reclusive right-wing billionaire who financed a family values crusade that almost bought down President Bill Clinton, has offered surprising praise for the politician he once despised - and admitted they both share an interest in philandering.
The heir to the Mellon banking fortune was once scorned by Democrats as the shadowy figure behind what Hillary Clinton dubbed the vast right-wing conspiracy.
Mr Scaife backed the so-called Arkansas Project that produced a series of stories in the American Spectator magazine into Mr Clintons sex life, including the notorious Troopergate piece that spurred Paula Jones sexual harrassment suit against the president for allegedly exposing himself to her in a hotel room.
Mr Scaifes Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper also relentlessly pursued conspiracy theories surrounding the suicide of White House aide Vince Foster, which he once called Rosetta Stone of the Clinton Administration. Yet in his first interview since President Clinton left office, Mr Scaife told yesterdays edition of Vanity Fair magazine that he had recently had lunch with Mr Clinton. He declared: Ive never met such a charismatic man in my whole life. Now in the midst of a messy divorce from his second wife, Mr Scaife noted that both he and the former president had both strayed in their marriages. Philandering, he said, is something that Bill Clinton and I have in common. I dont want people throwing rocks at me in the street. But I believe in open marriage, he explained.
The two hour and fifteen-minute private lunch at the former presidents New York office last summer ended with Mr Clinton giving Mr Scaife an autographed copy of his autobiography, My Life. When the billionaire returned home to Pittsburgh, he wrote a $100,000 cheque for the former presidents charity, the Clinton Global Initiative.
Mr Scaife, 75, owes his $1.4 billion fortune to the fact that he is the great-nephew of Andrew Mellon, the banker and industrialist who served as Treasury secretary to three presidents. The family has diversified its holdings into coal, steel, property and the Gulf Oil Corporation.
Mr Scaife became involved in Republican politics during Barry Goldwaters landmark, but ultimately unsuccessful, 1964 presidential campaign. After backing President Richard Nixon, he became disillusioned with him during the Watergate scandal and concentrated his donations on right-wing groups such as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society.
Mr Scaife divorced Frances, the mother of his two children, in 1994 with a reported settlement of $35 million.
The very same week, he married his second wife, Ritchie, whom he had met at a dinner party a decade earlier while she was also still married. Their lavish wedding raised eyebrows among Pittsburghs society matrons when the new bride put on a firework display for her fireworks-loving husband that read: Ritchie Loves Dick. In an unconventional arrangement, the couple lived in separate houses a few blocks apart in a wealthy part of Pittsburgh. At one point, they checked in together to the Betty Ford Centre, the famous substance-abuse clinic. Mr Scaife, who has struggled with alcoholism, descibed Ritchie as a total pill popper. But she denies having a drug problem and says she was only there in the family programme to support her husband.
The marriage collapsed when Ritchie hired a private detective to tail her husband in 2005/. The private eye photographed the septuagenarian billionaire at a motel with a tall 43-year-old blonde named Tammy Vasco, who has two previous arrests for prostitution.
Mr Scaife barred Ritchie from entering his Georgian mansion and had her arrested when she crept inside to spy on him through the dining room window. Ritchie, 60, spent a night in jail before the charges were dropped.
Ritchie was arrested a second time in April 2006 when she allegedly scratched and kicked two of her estranged husbands housekeepers on the street. The charges were eventually dismissed.
Details of the couples divorce filings became public in September when they were mistakenly posted on a court web-site. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the liberal rival of Mr Scaifes Pittsburgh paper, reported that the billionaire was paying Ritchie court-ordered interim support of $725,000-a-month.
His estranged wife calls their marriage the torment of the damned. I have no bitterness. I just want to go forward. And I hope that he is happy. I dont wish anything bad to happen to him. And its just say for me that we couldnt end our marriage in a dignified way. On his lawyers advice, Mr Scaife refused to tell Vanity Fair how he met Ms Vasco. But he called her a very loving individual and said they were still dating.
He vowed, however, he would never get married again. Too many responsibilities, he said.
Is this article for real?
What is really sad; is the fact we have two alledged leaders who make decisions acting like teenage boys.
That is really, really sad.
"Ive never met such a charismatic man in my whole life" said Richard Mellon Scaife
Some speak lies with angel tongues..
Interesting story, right down to the name of the reporter.
There is one thing they probably don’t have in common. Scaife is probably not a serial sexual predator and sociopath.
Can you say “Alzheimer’s”? I knew you could.
Mr Scaifes Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper also relentlessly pursued conspiracy theories surrounding the suicide of White House aide Vince Foster, which he once called Rosetta Stone of the Clinton Administration.
Evidently I was under the mis-impression that Scaife was opposed to Clinton's way of life.
IF this is for real, then WHO has really been funding Judicial Watch? I thought it was Scaife all along. Somebody, please clue me in.
LOL, especially seeing the text of the "say it with fireworks" message :)
Me too. Especially that people like this have any say in how America or business is run.
So he wrote Slick Willie a huge check.....
Strange how some of the most conniving people are endowed with so much charm and can fool people.
Richard, its good to forgive, but lets not get carried away.
I can’t take it seriously...I mean the author’s name? James Bone?
Shaken or stirred?
Bill Clinton didn’t “cheat”. Hillary and Bill clearly have an open marriage. She would’ve dumped his a&& decades ago with all of the affairs he has had if she was upset. They are united for power.
Judicial Watch appears all along to have been running interference to block any REAL successful exposure of the Clintons. They never were very successful in their numerous cases but they sure got peoples’ hopes up.
Judicial Watch sucked in an enormous amount of money from donors. At one time, I really believed they were serious about holding the Clintons accountable.
The guy is one of The Times men in NYC. His byline is almost daily.
They did a good job of running interference.