As Bill Clinton draws "parallels between the antigovernment tone that preceded that devastating [Oklahoma City] attack and the political tumult of today," Byron York takes a trip down memory lane to remind us how Clinton exploited the attack for political gain:
Morris began polling about Oklahoma City almost immediately after the bombing. On April 23, four days after the attack, Clinton appeared to point the finger straight at his political opponents during a speech in Minneapolis. "We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other," he said. "They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable."
At a White House meeting four days later, on April 27, Morris presented Clinton with a comeback strategy based on his polling. Morris prepared an extensive agenda for the session, a copy of which he would include in the paperback version of his 1999 memoir, Behind the Oval Office. This is how the April 27 agenda began:
AFTERMATH OF OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING
A. Temporary gain: boost in ratings -- here today, gone tomorrow
B. More permanent gain: Improvements in character/personality attributes -- remedies weakness, incompetence, ineffectiveness found in recent poll
C. Permanent possible gain: sets up Extremist Issue vs. Republicans