New book on Bill Clinton's post-presidency panned by NYT

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[Carol Felsenthal's] “Clinton in Exile” represents a largely missed opportunity to evaluate these years in light of its subject’s overall stature. “People who know Clinton say he’s still the smartest guy in the room,” Ms. Felsenthal acknowledges, referring to the diminished state of less fortunate bypass-surgery patients.

But even at its most mean-spirited, the book makes a few stingingly substantial claims. “It is surprising how many people who know and like Bill Clinton come to the same sad conclusion,” Ms. Felsenthal writes: “Monica Lewinsky and impeachment are an implacable part of Clinton’s White House legacy, and all the wondrous works in the years ahead may enhance his reputation as an ex-president but not as a president.” In the words of Don Hewitt, the former “60 Minutes” producer and an outspoken source here, Ms. Lewinsky “did more to change the world than Cleopatra.” And had President Clinton not jeopardized his own position and his party’s chances in the 2000 presidential election so recklessly, “there’s not one kid who has died in Iraq who wouldn’t be alive today.”

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