Magazine | November 28, 2011, Issue

NSA Surveillance Transcript

Document Extract: 11.08.11

GMT 08.93

Begin Extract


UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE #2:   Who is this, please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE:   Herman? Herman Cain? This is Bill Clinton.

HERMAN CAIN:   Bill Clinton? The Bill Clinton?

BILL CLINTON:  You got it!

HERMAN CAIN:   What can I do for you, Mr. President?

BILL CLINTON:   I thought I was returning your call.

HERMAN CAIN:   No, sir. I didn’t call you.

BILL CLINTON:   Are you sure?

HERMAN CAIN:   I think I’d remember that.

BILL CLINTON:   Heck, I know. I just wanted to reach out to you. I’ve been reading the papers and whatnot about your current . . . issues. Just wanted to say hey, how’s it going, maybe ask a couple of questions.

HERMAN CAIN:   I think I know what this is all about, Mr. Clinton, and I’ll tell you what I’ve told the media and everyone else who has asked. I did not do any of those things I’ve been accused of –

[Chuckling on the line.]

BILL CLINTON:   Yeah, yeah. Could sing a few bars of that myself. But seriously, I just want to say that I’m here for you, in your corner. You know, folks don’t understand guys like us. We’re guys, I mean, right? Got stress stuff to deal with, work stuff, all sorts of stuff. And every now and then we gotta relax.

HERMAN CAIN:   As I’ve said, sir, I categorically deny any and all allegations of that nature.

BILL CLINTON:   Right, right. Right. Of course.

HERMAN CAIN:   Is there anything else I can help you with?

BILL CLINTON:   It’s just that I read here on Drudge that some gal was in a car with you? And you slipped a hand up her skirt? And maybe kind of indicated what you had in mind?

HERMAN CAIN:   I’ll say it again. These are all categorical untruths.

BILL CLINTON:   Okay, fine, we’ll play it that way. But, then, hypothetically, does that work? Because in my experience, if you actually push the gal against the car seat and –

HERMAN CAIN:   Sir, I have a very busy day ahead of me. Is there anything else we need to talk about?

BILL CLINTON:   Well, I mean, I don’t want to get into hypotheticals, okay? Let’s just stipulate that this is just two dudes talking, just two brothers smokin’ and jokin’, but I was wondering about that gal who is in the news this morning, the gal from Chicago with the blonde hair and the figure? You know who I mean? She’s a big gal — not too big, but she’s got something to hold on to, know what I’m saying?

HERMAN CAIN:   What’s your question, Mr. President?

BILL CLINTON:   You wouldn’t happen to have her number, would you?

HERMAN CAIN:   Again: I’ve never met that woman. I’ve said it hundreds of times.

BILL CLINTON:   No, no. No, of course, you’ve never met her. I get that. And I think you’re handling this totally right. Don’t get me wrong. I just mean, you know, if maybe there was some way for someone on the Cain Team to get a message to that gal that a certain former president is sitting at home clicking on Drudge and feeling his heart go pitter-pat, I’d be awfully grateful.

HERMAN CAIN:   Mr. President, there’s nothing more to say. I don’t know the woman, I deny the charges, and, sir, I really have to hang up now.

BILL CLINTON:   Okay, okay. I get it. Don’t get all huffy. Look, whatever happens this year, at some point, Herman — can I call you Herman? — at some point you’re going to be a guy who something big happened to and then who suddenly found himself hanging around the house during the day, watching hot moms walk around the neighborhood and clearing the history on the Web browser. And at that point, sir, I want you to remember this call.

HERMAN CAIN:   I don’t mean any disrespect, Mr. President, but I don’t think I’m that kind of guy.

BILL CLINTON:   Oh, hell, Herman. We’re all that kind of guy.

HERMAN CAIN:   I have to run, sir.

BILL CLINTON:   Fine. Fine. Okay. Go run your big campaign. But I’m serious. I’m here for you, man. You ever just want to hang out, maybe grab a few beers, then grab a few waitresses, let me know. You, sir, would be a legendary wingman.

HERMAN CAIN:   Thank you, sir.

BILL CLINTON:  Sure you can’t help me out with that gal’s number?

HERMAN CAIN: Goodbye, Mr. President.

End Extract

Rob Long — Rob Long, Hollywood writer and producer, started his career as a screenwriter for the TV show Cheers. He is a regular writer for National Review, Newsweek International, and the Los ...

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Cristina’s Whirl

If you want to understand why Argentina’s Cristina Fernández de Kirchner triumphed quite so conclusively (with 54 percent of the vote against 17 percent for her nearest challenger) in October’s ...
Politics & Policy

A Hero of Us All

Last month, there were reports that Chen Guangcheng was dead. That they had at last killed him. “They”? China’s ruling Communists, who have tormented Chen for years. Other reports said, ...


Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Mid-Century Mind

Dwight Macdonald (1906–82) was a clamorous figure in 20th-century New York intellectual circles. Simply living here, one absorbed anecdotes about him, by osmosis: that an annoyed Trotsky said he favored ...
Politics & Policy

Religious Rights

This book is indispensable for anyone seeking to understand the degree to which the freedoms of religion and expression are being violated in Muslim-majority countries, and why this development has ...
Politics & Policy

The Fall

Prosperity has a thousand fathers; economic ruin is an orphan. Few liberals want to acknowledge that our Great Recession was made, in part, in Washington, D.C., by the well-meaning politicians ...


Politics & Policy


GHOST AND GUEST Collapsing on a sleeping friend Upon the couch, I fell Sincerely sorry to offend This guest in my “hotel.” Our customary schedules changed, He lay as if in pitch, No boundaries, his form estranged From ...
Happy Warrior


Whenever I write in these pages about the corrosive effect of Big Government upon the citizenry in Britain, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere and note that this republic is fairly well ...
Politics & Policy


The Friedman-Durbin Amendment? In The Week (October 31), the Editors write that the Durbin amendment’s cap on the fees that merchants pay for debit-card transactions prompted banks to “transfer the fee ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐  The headline above an Associated Press story on the 2012 election read, “Obama’s team banks on his ‘regular guy’ appeal.” We’re not in the habit of giving advice to ...
The Long View

NSA Surveillance Transcript

Document Extract: 11.08.11 GMT 08.93 Begin Extract UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE:   Hello? UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE #2:   Who is this, please? UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE:   Herman? Herman Cain? This is Bill Clinton. HERMAN CAIN:   Bill Clinton? The Bill Clinton? BILL ...

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his editor, I’m going to have to keep this short. I’ve spent most of every day this week in a studio recording the audiobook version of my dead-tree/pixel ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More