TODAY SHOW INTERVIEW, 1995
Today Show correspondent Jamie Gangel interviewed HST following the release of his latest book, "Better Than Sex". Some two years after a previous interview, during which Hunter grabbed her and flung the both of them into his hot tub, Gangel met Hunter across the street from the White House...
[Hunter has a high-ball glass full of iced whiskey]
JG: You were not planning to write this book?
HST: I wasn't planning to become involved with this campaign.
JG: At all?
HST: At all.
JG: You were writing...a different book...
HST: Polo is My Life.
JG: Polo is My Life.
HST: Yeah, it's my...novel...(chuckles)
JG: Why politics again? What brought you back in?
HST: I was tricked! (laughs) I see it all clearly now, you know, in, ah, retrospect...James Carville began to call, you know, and (laughs) it was horrible flattery, they began to ask me for..."Well, it's a little grim here, can you send us a little humor?" And there's some examples...
JG: The Clinton campaign was pandering to you, Hunter?
JG: And you fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.
HST: (biting down hard on his thumb) Yeah, I did, I did...
[Footage of BTS faxes, and Thompson and the RS crew meeting with the Candidate. Hunter squeezes a lime onto a slice of honeydew melon, and then slurps it down as Clinton looks on]
JB: So there's no question it's documented?
HST: Oh yeah.
JG: They were coming after you, they were wooing you...
HST: Well, they needed...
JG: ...Why, I'm not sure...(laughs)
HST: Well, I think it had to do with the Rolling Stone endorsement....
[Footage of the RS # cover, with a smiling Candidate Clinton]
JG: That great cover picture. But at the kernel of Bill Clinton, in the book, it says you discovered...what? What disappointed you? I'm testing you.
HST: Well, it was no sense of humor...
JG: No sense of humor.
HST: And ah, I don't demand that politicians like me, Richard Nixon didn't like me, but we could talk sports...
HST: Ah, it was kinda fun...But now Clinton...
JG: You had a better repore with Richard Nixon, on a personal level, than with Bill Clinton?
HST: (chuckles. He's been slurping his drink during her question)
JG: Hillary Clinton...
HST: (leans back, almost rolling his eyes) All right...(chuckles)...Hillary Clinton(chuckles again)...I, ah, actually liked Hillary, going into the campaign. I thought I would like her better, um, than I ended up doing...
HST: Hillary Clinton still hates me.
JG: She hates you?
HST: She claims I drove across her yard, twenty years ago, at a party.
JG: Did you?
HST: (smiling, biting his thumb again) I may have...But to hold a grudge like that, for twenty years like that, it made me wonder about her. I think she has less humor than, ah...
JG: Her husband?
HST: That would be hard to do.
JG: Despite the way you felt, the truth of the matter is, you gave him the endorsement, he got the cover of Rolling Stone.
HST: Yeah. [footage of candidate Clinton posing for the RS cover] Yeah, and he won. I thought(pauses)...that he would be a more...competent president.
JG: Will you vote for Bill Clinton again?
HST: (laughing) I'm sorry you asked that question...
JG: So who do you like in '96?
HST: Boy, that's tough...Because Clinton is, ah, clearly an incumbant.
HST: We're limited in our choices.
JG: Hunter, I think you're gonna vote for Bill Clinton again, I think the gentleman doth protest too much.
HST: (pausing) Well, I don't think so.
JG: No? Well, you didn't come off with any alternatives...
HST: Well...Should I?
JG: Would you ever vote Republican?
HST: (shaking his head) No...
JG: Would you ever vote for Ross Perot?
HST: No...I'd see if I could do something--
JG: (interrupting) I think they've gotten to you again, Hunter.
HST: (taken aback) What?
JG: Yeah, I do. I think this is a ruse. I think you're just looking for flattery early on.
HST: (leaning back in disbelief) Oh, God...
JG: You're gonna vote for Bill Clinton again, Hunter.
HST: I don't think so, I don't think so...
JG: I think so.
HST: It's possible, that in the dark side of my soul, that I might, but...I would not tell anyone else to do it.
JG: Okay, would you ever consider running yourself?
HST: (chuckles, clears his throat) I knew that was coming. There was a time when I did...
JG: Is '96 your year, Hunter?
HST: (pauses, laughing) I hope not...But I wouldn't--
JG: (interrupting) Absolutely not? Under no circumstances?
HST: Well, there is a...
[They both laugh for a moment, and he is seen going on, but the sound and shot fades into the BTS cover photo with JG narrating, mentioning HST's run for Sheriff, and saying that he "waffles like any political pro"]
JG: The bottom line, though, is should we tell Bill Clinton "There is a chance that Hunter Thompson may be running in '96"?
HST: Aaaaah...Yeah, we can tell him that. But--
JG: He's not assured of the rock and roll vote the next time around?
HST: There we go, that's what we're talking about!