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Joe Henderson: Stormy Daniels interview fell a little flat

I may need therapy to get the image of Donald Trump allegedly asking for a spanking from porn star Stormy Daniels out of my head.

Beyond that, though, I honestly thought the ballyhooed “60 Minutes” interview she gave Sunday night in which she described an affair with Trump in 2006 was pretty much a nothing burger.

This story was over-sold.

There had been so many leaks and teases from the Daniels’ camp leading up to the actual interview that the whole thing kind of fell flat.

To her credit, Daniels – whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – didn’t claim she was coerced into the affair.

“This is not a ‘Me Too.’ I was not a victim. I’ve never said I was a victim,” she said.

We already knew this alleged encounter, which the president, as usual, denies, took place shortly after Trump’s wife Melania gave birth to their son, Barron. And we know about the $130,000 in hush money Daniels was paid by Trump’s attorney in the days leading up to his election in 2016 as president.

So, Trump takes his place alongside Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein and many others in the Creep Hall of Shame. Then again, he has had a standing reservation for a long time.

Daniels talked about the threats of violence she said were directed at her if she talked, but that news came out last week.

This whole sordid affair has been a headline writer’s dream. After all, how many times to you get to use “President” and “Porn Star” in the same sentence?

I’ll admit to some mild curiosity about how Melania is dealing with this, but after the “Access Hollywood” tape and all the other allegations against her husband she is probably numb to it by now.

Obviously, stories like this won’t help Trump’s standing with women, but he had that problem in 2016 and still won the election.

It’s also worth noting that Clinton survived an impeachment trial after lying about his encounter in the Oval Office with Monica Lewinsky and held a 61 percent approval rating until he finished his second term.

These problems don’t seem to stick to candidates once voters head into the booth to mark their ballots.

Rather than have my already low opinion of the president sink further, I came away the interview feeling a little sad for Daniels.

I don’t imagine anyone grows up wanting to be introduced as “porn star” and dreaming of sharing intimate details of an illicit affair with a married man on national television.

But she did.

And I watched because, well, it was there.

I kind of wish I hadn’t.

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I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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