Simon: If you prick me, do I not bleed?

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Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta (shown on board the candidate’s plane last month) used a salty word to describe columnist Roger Simon in a WikiLeaked email. | Associated Press

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Of the 20,000 pages of emails hacked from the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, only one really interests me.

It’s the email he forwarded to his top aides on Nov. 19, 2015, in which he called me a prick.

Fact check! I’d like a fact check here, please!

Urban Dictionary, a compendium of all things vulgar, has many definitions of that word, one being this: “Someone who is completely worthless. An ankle-biting, washed-up rat bastard.”

OPINION Follow @politicoroger

So let’s skip the fact check, I guess, and explore how, because I am now part of the official record, I may have to be deposed by the FBI, testify before Congress and spend two weeks in London talking to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to clear my name.

Just to be on the safe side, let’s make that a month in London. Assange may have a very busy schedule.

As many know, Podesta kept thousands of sensitive emails in his Gmail account. That is like leaving your wallet on the sidewalk each night with a note on it saying, “Going to bed now. Please take what you want.”

Ironically, in a 1998 profile on Podesta, I wrote: “From Travelgate to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s commodities trading to Whitewater to campaign fund raising to the Monica Lewinsky affair, Podesta was asked to head up the damage-control effort.

“He was far more comfortable working on foreign policy and technology issues — encryption policy is the kind of thing that makes Podesta’s heart race.”

Yes! Podesta is an expert on encryption!

Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.

Unlike Podesta with me, I have no desire to call him a vulgar name. Anybody can be hacked, especially if the Russian government is behind it — or if your password is “password.”

The ticktock for the hack involving me went like this:

On Nov. 19, 2015, Podesta’s chief of staff, Sara Latham, emailed him a tweet I had written during Clinton’s speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. It was a big-deal speech on her strategy “for defeating ISIS and combating radical jihadism around the world.”

I don’t remember writing it, but I’m guessing I was live-tweeting the speech, which means I gave each tweet between three and five seconds of thought and then took a few minutes at the end to come to a general conclusion. (Needless to say, writing actual columns takes longer — though not necessarily with better results.)

In this case, I tweeted: “Hillary gives one of her best speeches ever on world terror. So presidential, they practically played ‘Hail to the Chief.'”

After Latham emailed this to him, Podesta forwarded it to Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser to Clinton; Dan Schwerin, her director of speechwriting; and Jennifer Palmieri, her communications director.

Podesta added his comment: “He’s generally been a prick too.”

You could read that as a compliment — a guy who has been unreasonably tough on us is now praising us, which means we are doing a really swell job — except that I had not been unreasonably tough on Clinton.

I have been far tougher on Donald Trump, for the simple reason that if elected president, he would probably dismantle our democracy, plunge us into global economic chaos and bring the world closer to a widespread shooting war.

The right wing also commented on my tweet. In great numbers. And with great umbrage.

“When we start putting the country back together and prosecuting the #marxist insiders who tore it apart, @politicoroger will be on the list.”

“You gotta feel a little sorry for someone that stupid.”

“Terminally partisan hacks think she gave a good speech. Smart people know she’s lying.”

“You are to #Hillary as to what Grima Wormtongue was to King Theoden. (These are characters, Google informs me, from “The Lord of the Rings.”)

“You sound so pathetic I bet other reporters are embarrassed for you!”

An interesting bet. Only one reporter identified himself by name and made a joking reference to my mention of “Hail to the Chief.”

“I am in the room,” Jeff Zeleny wrote. “I can confirm no music — yet.”

That was a joke, right, Jeff? Jeff?

More typical was a comment by a tweeter named Sheryl, who sent one word: “Idiot.”

Fair comment.

And as I approach five decades in journalism, I take comfort in the fact that I am disliked by both the far right and the far left.

It keeps me humble.


Roger Simon’s new e-book, “Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America,” can be found on, and iTunes.

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