A former aide to Bill Clinton who, according to a family friend, Hillary Clinton would refer to as the "fat phantom," says he's still supporting her in 2016.
Steve Smith served as an executive assistant to then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.
According to Jim Blair, a friend of the Clinton's along with his now-deceased wife Diane Blair, Hillary Clinton started to call Smith the "fat phantom" due to, as Blair says, his tendency to disappear in moments of crisis.
Blair told the anecdote in a lengthy oral history to the University of Arkansas.
"I get to go to the 1980 convention in New York with Bill and Hillary, and Diane and I stay with 'em at the—in the New York convention," Blair told The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in 2008.
"And I remember they had among their aides a guy who's now a university professor named Steve Smith. And Steve had a talent for disappearing right before a crisis. If there was a crisis, Steve was not to be found. And so Hillary starts callin' him the 'fat phantom.' And she would be demanding that somebody go in search of the fat phantom. I think he was—his function at that time was a—maybe speechwriting."
In a phone interview with BuzzFeed News, Smith said he was unaware of his nickname, but did say that, "if Jim Blair said it it must be true," adding that he was unsure of the context.
When asked if he would still support Clinton after learning of his nickname, he said, "Who do you think I will be supporting? Ted Cruz?"
Here's the audio of Jim Blair's anecdote courtesy of the University of Arkansas' Pryor Center:
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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