The Buzz

TheChat: Bill Clinton portrait artist admits he stuck Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress in his painting


Good morning.

▪ “If you look at the left-hand side of it, there’s a mantle in the Oval Office, and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.” — Nelson Shanks, the artist who painted a portrait of former President Bill Clinton, on his reference to Monica Lewinsky in the painting.

Shanks claims that the Clintons hated the portrait and wanted it removed from the National Portrait Gallery. The painter said completing the Clinton portrait was “hard,” adding, “The reality is he’s probably the most famous liar of all time.”

▪ “Today it seems that anything is done by any means to win an election at any cost. It should be totally unacceptable to all of us.” — Missouri state Sen. Mike Parson, a Bolivar Republican, on the floor of the Senate Monday in which he ripped the negative political culture that Parson said had been created by political consultants.

Parson, who became emotional during his speech, made his remarks in connection with last week’s death of state Auditor Tom Schweich. Stories about a whispering campaign aimed at Schweich’s Jewish heritage by one of those consultants and an anti-Schweich radio ad by another triggered his remarks. Missouri’s consultant community is going to be scrutinized in the wake of Schweich’s death.

▪ “Barbara has never met a barrier she couldn’t tear down.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill on the announcement Monday that Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski won’t seek re-election in 2016.

Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in congressional history, was first elected to the House in 1976 and to the Senate in 1987. McCaskill said Mikulski simply got stuff done. “The Senate and this country are better places for her service,” she said.

▪ “The reality is, I’ve been briefed all along on this matter.” — Attorney General Eric Holder at a recent news conference speaking about the need for change in the Ferguson Police Department.

Holder’s Justice Department is close to releasing its long-awaited report on Ferguson, and The New York Times has learned that it will criticize the city for disproportionally ticketing blacks and relying on fines to balance the city’s budget.

▪ “The moment is now for us to make these changes.” — President Barack Obama in the White House Monday during a meeting with members of a task force that looked at law enforcement in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police.

The task force released its findings, which included a call for independent investigations when police shoot and kill anybody. Obama said that recommendation will be controversial. “The importance of making sure that there's a sense of accountability when in fact law enforcement is involved in a deadly shooting is something that I think communities across the board are going to be considering,” Obama said.