The Real Reason Richard Mellon Scaife Has Embraced Bill Clinton?

| Wed Nov. 14, 2007 3:52 PM EST

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As Jonathan notes below, the Clintons seem to have won over Richard Mellon Scaife. That's right, Scaife, he of the "vast right-wing conspiracy," the man who funded the American Spectator and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, among other publications and entites, to go after Bill and Hill with a zeal not seen since the Comstock days, is now saying Clinton is "very laudable" and, through his latest media mouthpiece Newsmax.com, is moreover "a political and cultural powerhouse" who is "part Merlin and part Midas—a politician with a magical touch." In reporting on this strange turn of events, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff (who broke the Monicagate story) can only throw his hands up and say "cue the apocalypse."

Well, I don't really have any idea either, but it's perhaps worth noting that Scaife is going through a particularly tawdry divorce, one that was hilariously detailed by the Washington Post's David Segal back in October. It is more than worth reading in full—this accompanying illustration gives you a sense of Segal's itinerary of a divorce/travelogue device, but just to get you to follow the link...

[Scaife] is best known for funding efforts to smear then-President Bill Clinton, but more quietly he's given in excess of $300 million to right-leaning activists, watchdogs and think tanks. Atop his list of favorite donees: the family-values-focused Heritage Foundation, which has published papers with titles such as "Restoring a Culture of Marriage."
The culture of his own marriage is apparently past restoring. With the legal fight still in the weigh-in phase, the story of Scaife v. Scaife already includes a dog-snatching, an assault, a night in jail and that divorce court perennial, allegations of adultery.
Oh, and there's the money. Three words, people.
No. Pre. Nup.
Unfathomable but true, when Scaife (rhymes with safe) married his second wife, Margaret "Ritchie" Scaife, in 1991, he neglected to wall off a fortune that Forbes recently valued at $1.3 billion. This, to understate matters, is likely going to cost him, big time. As part of a temporary settlement, 60-year-old Ritchie Scaife is currently cashing an alimony check that at first glance will look like a typo: $725,000 a month. Or about $24,000 a day, seven days a week. As Richard Scaife's exasperated lawyers put it in a filing, "The temporary order produces an amount so large that just the income from it, invested at 5 percent, is greater each year than the salary of the President of the United States."

But wait, there's more:

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