Did Ron Burkle and Hillary Clinton Fall Out Over Those Plane Rides With Bill?

Burkle tells Los Angeles Times why he’s keeping Clinton at arm’s length

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Ron Burkle, who has raised millions for the Clintons over the years, has not only stayed away from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but is holding a fundraiser for one of her potential Republican opponents at his trendy West Hollywood Soho House.

Burkle rattled a fault line between Hollywood and Washington by telling The Los Angeles Times that Clinton’s campaign has “never asked me for a penny.” (The candidate is beginning a fundraising spree in Los Angeles.) Burkle also said he has decided to host a fundraiser for GOP presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich next month — while telling the Times he may still back Clinton in the end.

So why hasn’t the Clinton campaign asked him for money? The answer may lie partly in Hillary Clinton’s efforts to minimize stories about her husband’s past.

The Times story notes that “Bill Clinton’s bromance with Burkle invited scandal.” Specifically, it describes how “unverified reports of the two men jetting around in a Burkle 757 filled with attractive young women leached from the tabloids to the mainstream media.”

Hillary Clinton, who has lately found herself barraged by a fresh round of questions about her husband’s sex life, has good reason to minimize reminders of it, rather than provide ammunition for her rivals.

Burkle told the Times that nothing untoward happened between Clinton and the women on the plane. He noted that his adolescent son was sometimes on board.

“No woman could get within 100 miles of [Bill Clinton] while I was on watch,” Burkle told the Times.

He also volunteered that he’s “very shy with girls. It takes me about a year to tell a girl I like her.”

Burkle had close ties with Bill Clinton after he left office. Clinton used to proclaim he’d only stay at “Ronnie’s” sprawling Beverly Hills estate, Greenacres, once owned by silent film star Harold Lloyd.

According to the paper, the former president made about $15 million from his participation in the former super market magnate’s Yucaipa Partners investment group but left the partnership with millions still owed to him.

But Burkle told the Times that Clinton just never got interested in helping drum up business for his investment firm.

“It wasn’t his thing,” Burkle said. “Whenever we went anywhere, he didn’t want to talk business.”

Burkle doesn’t seem as enchanted with Hillary Clinton as he was with Bill, lumping the former secretary of state with Democratic presidential nominees who failed to secure the White House, like Al Gore and John Kerry.

“As much as I like Gore, Kerry and [Hillary] Clinton, nobody can ever remember what they stand for,” he said, adding, “They overcomplicate it. … They don’t win on vision — they make it too complicated. They don’t win on likability.”

Burkle also said President Obama was a bitter disappointment, failing to deliver on his promise to work with Republicans.