Following Drudge example, AP headline only says Clinton campaign rebutted tip-stiffing story, and not restaurant

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

A November 8 Associated Press article bore the headline: "Clinton campaign says it left tip at Iowa restaurant and didn't skimp." But, as Media Matters for America noted when Internet gossip Matt Drudge featured a similar headline on his website, it wasn't just the Clinton campaign that reportedly rebutted the allegation that Hillary Clinton and campaign staff left the restaurant without tipping; indeed, the very article to which the headline was attached quoted the restaurant's manager, Brad Crawford, saying, "They all paid their bill and they left a tip. They paid it all that same day when they left and everything was good."

The AP article carrying the headline appeared on the websites of numerous news outlets, including Newsday, the Boston Herald, The San Diego Union-Tribune, MSNBC, and CBS News.

The article also quoted Crawford offering an explanation why at least one waitress, Anita Esterday, apparently did not receive a tip. Crawford was quoted as saying: "If she got left out it wasn't because they meant to leave her out," and "If something happened with the disbursement, it's probably my fault." The New York Times reported on November 9 that: "After NPR broadcast the report, Mrs. Clinton's campaign responded by saying the candidate and her aides had in fact left a tip: $100 on a $157 check at the diner. The restaurant manager, Brad Crawford, confirmed in interviews, including with The New York Times, that Mrs. Clinton, of New York, and her retinue had indeed left a tip, though he did not say how much."

The November 9 Times article also reported that "Esterday said she did not understand what all the commotion was about." The article said that she told a reporter during a phone interview: "You people are really nuts. ... There's kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now -- there's better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn't get a tip."

From the November 8 Associated Press article:

In the NPR interview, Esterday said that while she had enjoyed meeting Clinton, she hadn't gotten much out of her 15 minutes of fame.

"I mean, nobody got left a tip that day," Esterday said, adding "I don't think she understood at all what I was saying."

Esterday's comments were potentially harmful, undermining Clinton's appeal to working class voters, especially women. Rival campaigns quickly e-mailed the story to reporters, as did the Republican National Committee.

But Brad Crawford, manager of the Toledo Maid-Rite, said Clinton's campaign aides paid the bill for lunch and left a tip to be divided among the servers.

"They all paid their bill and they left a tip. They paid it all that same day when they left and everything was good," he said.

Crawford said he didn't know why Esterday may not have received any of the money.

"If she got left out it wasn't because they meant to leave her out," Crawford said of Esterday. "If something happened with the disbursement, it's probably my fault."

Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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