by Dale Connelly, 12/17/99
DC: We're visiting with Constance Nile, a political consultant
who works in a growing area of specialization - advising politicians who have
scandal problems. Thanks for agreeing to come in, Ms. Nile.
Nile: Agreement? I don't recall signing an agreement.
DC: It was more of an arrangement than an agreement.
Nile: I would have to see that paper and have my lawyers review it before I could
DC: That's not necessary. I don't even think it's on paper.
Nile: I don't see how I can be held accountable for that.
DC: And nobody wants to hold you accountable, as long as you're here anyway. So
Nile: You're welcome.
DC: You work exclusively with politicians dogged by scandal?
Nile: Yes I do.
DC: And what advice do you typically give them?
Nile: You'll have to be more specific. Advice about what?
DC: Ok, for instance ... I understand you're working now with a member of congress
accused of marital infidelity. What specific advice ...
Nile: That's confidential. I can't discuss my private consultations between myself
and my clients, especially concerning topics still in litigation.
DC: In general then ... what do you ...?
Nile: I can't speak in generalities. Generalities are generally not true. You'll
have to be more specific.
DC: O.K. Specifically, are you telling this person to be available to the press
and answer all questions, or are there areas where ...?
Nile: I couldn't possibly answer that. It's privileged information. Too specific.
DC: But when I get more general ... you say that's meaningless and you won't answer.
Nile: That's painting it rather broadly, don't you think? I'm sure that doesn't
happen EVERY time.
DC: But you TOLD me to be more specific.
Nile: I said that?
DC: And then when I get specific, you say it's TOO specific.
Nile: I don't have any recollection of saying that.
DC: You just said it!
Nile: Do you have it written down somewhere? Is it recorded?
DC: Not really.
Nile: It's possible I may have, but I don't remember the exact incident you refer
to. I'm in dozens of meetings every day. I can't be held accountable for every
single word I utter.
DC: It was seconds ago!
Nile: Am I supposed to take your word for this? I'm a very busy person.
DC: I know, but you just said it! Just now!
Nile: We could sit here and quibble about details, or we could get on with the
business the American people want us to do. I don't know about you, but I've got
a job and I mean to do it.
DC: Oh, I see what you're doing here! Rather than telling me about your techniques,
you're showing me what you do.
Nile: I'm simply trying to answer your questions as best I can.
DC: Very clever. Shrewd.
Nile: (pause) Am I supposed to respond to that?
DC: No. You make me think of the Kathy Bates character in "Primary Colors."
Not as raw, but savvy and a bit ruthless. Have you seen it? Or read the book?
Nile: I don't have any memory of seeing a movie by that name, or reading the book.
DC: Are you saying you haven't seen it?
Nile: I'm saying I have no recollection. There are a lot of movies out there.
I may have seen it. I don't know.
DC: Well if you haven't seen it, you should. You'd like it.
Nile: Whether I should or shouldn't have seen it ... really, I can't comment further.
DC: Political consultant Constance Nile, specializing in advice to politicians
who are in scandal trouble ... and I imagine you confer with them especially when
they're about to offer testimony to a grand jury or some such thing.
Nile: I'm always talking to my clients, mostly about things they don't know and
can't remember. So I can't say much about what we say or don't say, although sometimes
we don't say anything at all.
DC: Thank you for coming in.
Dale Connelly Reporting Home