In July 1993, White House official Vincent Foster wrote an anguished lament: "in Washington ... ruining people is considered a sport."
Nine days later, Foster was dead. Shock at the apparent suicide of one of President Clinton's top aides turned to mystery, then suspicion, as the White House became engulfed in an ever-widening net of unanswered questions. Among the confidential matters Foster was working on when he died was the Clintons' ill-fated investment in Whitewater, an Arkansas land development. Soon conspiracy theories were circulating, alleging that Foster was murdered because he knew too much. And the Whitewater affair, a minor footnote to the 1992 presidential campaign, was suddenly resurrected in the national media. To a degree that left them stunned and at times depressed, the president and first lady have been buffeted by a succession of scandals, from the first lady's profitable commodities trading to the sexual harassment allegations of Paula Jones. Like its predecessors, the Clinton presidency soon found itself engulfed in allegations of scandal, conspiracy, and cover-up.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews, many with people speaking publicly for the first time, James B. Stewart sheds startling new light on these and other mysteries of the Clinton White House. In a fast paced narrative that ranges from a backwater town in the Ozarks to the Oval Office, from newsrooms in New York and Los Angeles to offices of conservative think tanks and special prosecutors, the result is an unprecedented portrait of political combat as it is waged in America today.
Going beyond the news headlines, Blood Sport also tells the fascinating stories of key figures at the heart of the action, such as Jim McDougal, once Clinton's political and financial mentor, and his glamorous but naive wife, Susan, who swept the Clintons into their real estate empire, then faced financial ruin. It is the story of top national reporters and editors such as Jeff Gerth of The New York Times, who broke the Whitewater story only to find himself the object of controversy. It is the story of David Bossie, the tireless conservative operative who became a one-man army against the Clintons and even penetrated a network news operation. It is the story of Paula Jones, a small-town girl with dreams of Hollywood, and of the Arkansas state troopers who broke their code of silence to add fuel to the Clinton scandals.
It is the story of prosecutors Kenneth Starr and Robert Fiske, the secretive, powerful independent counsels whose wide-ranging investigations could vindicate - or destroy - a president.