Bill Clinton Used Confederate Buttons in 1992 Presidential Campaign-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Bill Clinton and Al Gore used Confederate flag buttons during the 1992 presidential campaign.
Bill Clinton and Al Gore do appear on Confederate flag buttons from the 1992 presidential campaign, but the campaign denies that it approved or printed them.
Photos of two Confederate flag-themed buttons went viral after Dylann Roof, a self-described white supremacist, murdered nine black people who had gathered for bible study at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. That led to calls for South Carolina and other states to remove the Confederate flag from capitol grounds — and the so-called Bill Clinton Confederate flag campaign button surfaced during the debate.
There’s no doubt that the buttons are real, but a former Clinton staffer says the campaign didn’t make them.
On one button, Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s faces have been pasted onto the bodies of Confederate soldiers, and the phrase, “Sons of the New South,” is printed over the Confederate flag. On another button, “Clinton-Gore” is printed across the Confederate flag, and “1992” appears at the bottom.
Arguements that Bill Clinton’s staff didn’t make the buttons center on union stamps that appear on most official campaign merchandise from 1992. Most Clinton buttons are stamped with a small logo (or bug) that says it was made in a union shop, but the stamp doesn’t appear on the Confederate flag buttons.
Craig Smith, a former Clinton staffer, made that argument in a statement to CBS News. Smith, who oversaw state operations in the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, said he had never seen or approved the buttons:
“If it didn’t have a union bug, we weren’t making them,” he said, “and we definitely weren’t handing them out.”
The button in question, and others featuring similar designs for sale or sold on eBay, does not show any indication of being union-made.
Smith added that individual states were given their own, small budget for “discretionary items” like state-specific merchandise. But those items had to include the state’s name and follow the same production guidelines as items made for national distribution.
“It would have been in violation of multiple campaign policies,” he said of a state producing a button like the ones sold online. “I just don’t think they did it.”
Smith said he thought the buttons were likely made by someone unaffiliated with the campaign looking to make a buck. He said if it had been pitched to him, it wouldn’t have gotten past his desk.
“Not appropriate then,” he said, “and not appropriate now.”
Also, unauthorized presidential buttons are fairly common. For example, one button from Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign reads, “Deadheads Support Hillary in 2008.” It’s highly unlikely that Hillary Clinton’s staff printed or approved that button.
Because the Confederate flag buttons don’t have the union bugs, and because it’s easy to print unofficial merchandise, we’re reporting this one as fiction.