In a November 9 New York Times article, Iowa waitress Anita Esterday criticized the media's response to her recent comment to National Public Radio that "nobody got left a tip" when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and her campaign staff ate at the restaurant where she works. According to the article, Esterday told a Times reporter: "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 Times article:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign on Thursday introduced a Web site dedicated exclusively to the instantaneous rebuttal of charges or news reports it deems offensive or wrong.
And the day offered a perfect opportunity for the campaign, with a potentially embarrassing mini-scandal: a waitress's report that Mrs. Clinton had failed to tip after eating at a Maid-Rite diner in central Iowa, an assertion that ricocheted around the Internet on Thursday.
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.
NPR later included Mr. Crawford's and the campaign's versions of events in an editor's note attached to the online version of its report.
But by then the story had been picked up and expanded upon on by, among others, the Drudge Report, which included a link to a report about a tip that Mrs. Clinton neglected to give in 2000. The Web sites of NBC News and ABC News also carried the story.
Reached at her home in Iowa, the waitress, Anita Esterday, said that neither she nor a colleague who helped serve Mrs. Clinton recalled seeing any tip.
She said a local staff member of Mrs. Clinton's campaign was in the restaurant on Thursday to tell them that the campaign had left a tip.
She said that when she and her colleague said they had not seen a tip, the staff member gave each of them $20.
Ms. Esterday said she did not understand what all the commotion was about.
"You people are really nuts," she told a reporter during a phone interview. "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."