By: E&P Staff and The Associated Press
John Spencer, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in New York, today acknowledged talking to the reporter during a flight on Friday — but said he didn’t make the statements attributed to him in Monday’s New York Daily News, which are featured on the front page.
“It’s a fabrication. I would never call Hillary Clinton ugly,” Spencer told The Associated Press. “That’s outrageous. I didn’t do it.”
The reporter, Ben Smith, says Spencer made the comments as Spencer, his wife and Smith sat together on a plane. He said he didn’t tape-record the comments but did take notes.
Reached by E&P, he refused comment. But on a blog at the Daily News site today, Smith writes, “John Spencer has been calling into radio shows this morning to deny my story in today’s paper — he called it a ‘ridiculous fabrication’ on Curtis and Kuby — and I thought I should give a brief response here.
“First, I stand by the story, and it’s entirely accurate. I’m particularly surprised, though, if he’s denying he said what he’s quoted as saying, since his campaign manager, Rob Ryan, did not contest the quotes yesterday evening. In fact, Ryan asked me — as a favor — to leave out a different part of the story, Spencer’s comments on Al and Jeanine Pirro.” Jeanine Pirro is the GOP candidate for governor.
“You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew. I don’t know why Bill married her,” Smith had quoted Spencer as saying about Clinton. Spencer said Clinton looks different now, chalking it up to “millions of dollars” of “work,” according to the tabloid. “She looks good now,” he is quoted as saying.
Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said Clinton has had no plastic surgery or similar appearance-enhancing work. “Sadly, this is just the latest in a long line of insulting and offensive comments that John Spencer has made throughout his career, and it’s unfortunate that he has chosen to run a campaign based on personal attacks,” the Clinton aide said.
Polls have shown Clinton far ahead of Spencer in the Senate race.