A former aide to President Bill Clinton, and current informal adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton, expressed outrage and shock on Friday after a videotape from 1992 surfaced allegedly showing him describing Indianans as "white n---rs."
Mickey Kantor, who served as campaign chairman during Clinton's 1992 run for the White House and says he has offered help and advice to Sen. Clinton, insisted that the tape was a fraud and that he was exploring legal steps against the individual who posted it online.
"I've never used that word in my entire life, ever, under any circumstance, ever," an angry Kantor told The Huffington Post, citing his and his parent's work fighting for civil rights. "I have listened to [the video] and so have you. You can't tell what it is I'm saying in that second sentence, you can't decipher that."
Indeed, a review of the original copy of the 1993 film The War Room, from which the excerpt was taken (around the 4:40 mark) is virtually inaudible. The sound suggests, if anything, that instead of saying "How would you like to be a worthless white n****r?" Kantor says, "How would you like to be in the White House right now?"
The director of the film, moreover, says that Kantor never uttered those words. "He does not say that. He does not say that," D.A. Pennebaker told Ben Smith.
The cropped video, which spread through the Internet like wildfire on Friday morning, shows Kantor with fellow former Bill Clinton staffers James Carville and George Stephanopoulos discussing results from the general election. In the footage, Kantor approaches the two aides and says, "Look at Indiana -- wait, wait, look at Indiana. 42-40. It doesn't matter if we win, those people are shit." That much seems true, though Pennebaker says Kantor was referring to the George H.W. Bush White House. The alleged "white n****r" line followed.
Kantor, on Friday, insisted that the latter part of his statement never took place and that it made no sense for him to use such language.
"Indiana was not even on our radar screen," he said, "And I was talking about the polling and not the people... If you look at The War Room, this is not the way Carville or George interpreted my statement. This is frankly libelous."
Kantor said he was in the process of contacting "the best" libel lawyers to approach YouTube.com about the process of removing the video from its site. He suggested that The Huffington Post, too, should not print even his defense, as it would be an advancement of a non-story.
"I don't need to be defended," he wrote. "When you write it, what you are doing is extended the libel."
While Kantor said he had no idea who was behind the video or what intent he or she might have, he offered that political motives were at play.
"Many people are subject to this kind of being used in a way to try and stir people up," he said. "I can't say it more clearly, but I had never used that word... My parents would come from the grave and kill me if I used that word."