Impeachment Is So Yesterday for Clinton, Rogan

Impeachment efforts aside, then-Rep. James E. Rogan (R-Calif.), far right above, still could make nice with President Bill Clinton in December 1999. But Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), shown at left, takes a dim view of Rogan's fitness as a federal judge.
Impeachment efforts aside, then-Rep. James E. Rogan (R-Calif.), far right above, still could make nice with President Bill Clinton in December 1999. But Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), shown at left, takes a dim view of Rogan's fitness as a federal judge. (The White House)
By Mary Ann Akers And Paul Kane
Thursday, November 29, 2007

Maybe there's hope for the Middle East, after all. If Bill Clinton and one of the men who helped impeach him can make peace, why not the Israelis and the Palestinians?

In one of the more startling cases of odd bedfellows, Clinton and former congressman James Rogan (R-Calif.), one of 13 House impeachment managers against Clinton in 1998, have been secret pen pals since 2001.

Though perhaps more pen than pal.

Rogan has sent the wannabe "First Husband" photos he personally took of Clinton, flowers, rare campaign buttons -- even impeachment memorabilia intended for the former president's library in Arkansas. Each time, sources familiar with the relationship say, the impeached president has sent Rogan a thank-you note.

It's almost as if Rogan has been slowly apologizing over the past decade for his role in the impeachment, a critical reason for his defeat in the 2000 elections. It also may well cost Rogan, now a California state judge, a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

More than thank-you notes, Rogan needs Clinton's blessing to move forward his nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Until then, standing between him and the federal bench is Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). She declines to say whether her distaste for the impeachment crusade against Clinton has anything to with her opposition to his nomination. (Home-state senators are granted privileges that allow them to block judicial appointments.)

Boxer's spokeswoman, Natalie Ravitz, tells On the Hill that it's all about Rogan's anti-liberal record on the environment, guns and labor, which she said is "completely out of sync" with California.

Rogan's relationship with Clinton began in January 2001, when Rogan snapped photos of him at George W. Bush's inauguration. Rogan sent the photos to Clinton with a note that, according to one source who saw it, made a self-deprecating reference to his abilities as a photographer being no better than his abilities as an impeacher of presidents. Clinton responded with a handwritten thank-you note.

Later, when Rogan was head of the U.S. Patent Office, he sent Clinton buttons from his political collection and eventually a package of impeachment memorabilia for use in the Clinton library. When Clinton underwent heart bypass surgery, Rogan sent flowers along with a copy of his book, "Rough Edges."

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to Clinton, tells us he helped facilitate the friendly correspondence. He recalls that in one of his rare telephone chats with Clinton, sometime in 2005, the former president said to him, "Your friend Jim Rogan reached out to me."

"The '90s are behind them," Davis said of the Clintons and impeachment, "and they don't want to retread the past."

Clinton, through a spokesman at his foundation, had no comment. Rogan declined to discuss his personal correspondence with Clinton but said: ""We're both retired political warriors. Boxers, when the fight is over, are often the first to embrace in the ring and congratulate each other."


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