A rather interesting piece by Betsy Woodruff appeared in the Daily Beast on October 9. That morning, she recounted, one of her colleagues, Guy Benson, had been a passenger on the 6:55 A.M. Amtrak train from Washington, D.C., to New York. Sitting right across the aisle from Benson, as it happened, was Lanny Davis, the longtime Clinton spinmeister whose sleazy career we surveyed back in July.
Benson overheard a few juicy tidbits, which Woodruff passed on to Daily Beast readers. Davis, who was engaged in an unguarded conversation with a couple of unidentified companions, referred to Senator Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate from Vermont, as a “nut.” Said Davis: “There’s no way he can be nominated, ever.”
Davis also declared that he was sure Vice President Biden would enter the presidential race – but he added that Biden’s bid would go absolutely nowhere. Why? Because, he explained, Biden is viewed in political circles as a “buffoon.”
There was more. Davis told his travel companions that candidate Carly Fiorina is “nasty” when she makes public statements about Hillary Clinton.
The chitchat wasn’t entirely about politics. Davis went on to express interest in watching the Showtime series Ray Donovan, leading one of his companions to say: “Oh yeah, it’s about a fixer.” The other companion added: “It’s like us if we had guns and baseball bats.” Fun crew.
When the Daily Beast contacted Davis about his palaver on the 6:55, he walked his remarks back with his usual shamelessness – claiming, for example, to have “nothing but the highest respect for Bernie Sanders.”
In fact, Davis was remarkably lucky that the chitchat Benson overheard was as anodyne as it was. Imagine if he had been talking about other aspects of his career?
This is, after all, a guy who, in exchange for a million bucks a year, led the morally bankrupt – indeed, downright chilling – effort to whitewash the repulsive Equatoguinean dictator Teodoro Obiang in the international media. According to World Policy Review, Obiang has “killed or expelled more than one third” of his own people, as a result of which his country is widely known as the “Auschwitz of Africa.” Then there’s Obiang’s wastrel son (and presumptive successor) Teodorin, who “spent more on luxury goods during 2004-2007 than the [Equatoguinean] government’s 2005 budget for education.”
Yet Davis didn’t hesitate to pocket Obiang’s money (or, rather, his people’s money) for performing the disgusting job of covering all that up.
And let’s not forget another reprehensible African dictator and Davis client, Laurent Gbagbo of Cote D’Ivoire. After losing the 2010 presidential election, Gbagbo, instead of stepping down and allowing the winner to be inaugurated, did two things: he started murdering and “disappearing” his opponents – and hired Davis to go on CNN and other cable networks and tell the world that he was, in fact, a man of peace. Davis didn’t hesitate to front for this creep, either.
That Amtrak exchange, then, was small potatoes. Very small potatoes. Davis should count himself exceedingly fortunate that Guy Benson overheard such remarkably innocuous stuff, given the utterly loathsome, morally bankrupt nature of Davis’s “work.” And Benson – and Woodruff – should be kicking themselves for not having lucked into the far meatier, more damning material with which Davis might have inadvertently provided them – and which might have brought him down at last, removing at least one ball of slime from the Beltway swamps.