Tonya Harding upset that Obama name dropped her on campaign trail

Former US figure skater Tonya Harding put out a book last spring in which she claimed that she had no part in the 1994 clubbing attack of her rival, Nancy Kerrigan. 38 year-old Harding said that the incident was a plot planned by her ex husband, Jeff Gillooly, and his conspirators. When she found out that they were behind the knee beating she said she planned to go to the FBI with the information but that Gillooly and two men she did not know raped her at gunpoint to keep her silent. It took her 14 years to go public with this information because she was scared, she claimed. Many people doubted her account of the long-over attack, but I watched her tell her story on the Today Show and found her very believable.

In a recent interview with HBO Real Sports Tonya was asked about the fact that President Obama brought up her name during his 2007 campaign, saying he wasn’t going to “knee cap” his then-opponent Hillary Clinton and “do a Tonya Harding.” Harding got visibly upset when she was asked about it, and seemed incredibly pissed off that Obama used her name, which has become synonymous with dirty tricks. (This story is a little old and you may have heard it already, but it’s news to me. )

In a recent interview for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” Oregonian and infamous figure skater Tonya Harding lashed out about President Obama’s use of her name in a past speech.

Back when he was still on the campaign trail in 2007, Barack Obama talked about how the pundits said he should “knee cap her” or “do a Tonya Harding on the front runner,” referring to his main contender at the time, then U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton.

“He has this country to think about, he has the candidacy to think about, he has the war to think about, and he has to bring me up? What the hell is important in this world today?” she responded.

“But guess what, I get jobs because he used my name on national television, because people forgive who Tonya Harding is. All publicity is good publicity.”

Harding went on to say that she doesn’t care what other people think. But visibly, she did seem to care what the President thought, as she grew more agitated over the questioning.The interview clip quickly made its rounds on YouTube as yet another entertaining example of Harding not being afraid to say exactly what was on her mind.

“It sounds really harsh, it sounds like I’m being a backwoods hicks girl, but you know what, that is who I am,” she said. “If you like me, great. If you don’t like me, that’s okay, that’s your opinion. But I betcha, you’ll still pay money to come and see me.”

[From KGW Portland via Gossip Rocks]

Tonya still has the 90s bangs and she still has the defiant attitude. She’s had a rough life and she obviously resents it when people bring up her past, even though she keeps emphasizing that she doesn’t care. Some of her attitude might be attributed to a bad rapport with the interviewer, Bernie Goldberg, who called her a “piece of work” and probably had some few choice words for her before she gave this sound bite. If the 1994 attack did happen without her knowledge and she was raped at gunpoint to keep quiet about it you can understand why she gets so upset when people still bring it up and use her name as if she’s solely responsible.

Harding has been touring the US and Canada in extreme boxing exhibitions.

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24 Responses to “Tonya Harding upset that Obama name dropped her on campaign trail”

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  1. Aspen says:

    I felt bad for her when that happened. I never thought she had a hand in it. If she did…then she deserves what she’s gotten. If she didn’t…wow. What a waste such a falsehood has made of her life.

    She was an unbelievable skater…exceptional talent like that doesn’t happen every day. She could have been something amazing. Look at what has happened to her.

    It’s very sad regardless of the truth, and if she’s innocent? What a horrible thing.

  2. Eileen Yover says:

    If that had happened today she’d have her own reality show, liquer, and sell Tanya Harding “Clubbers”. Wrong place at the wrong time!

  3. Baholicious says:

    I can’t my eyes off her bangs…

  4. ash says:

    If she didn’t do it, she sure seems proud in that interview.

  5. boomchakaboom says:

    I always liked ol’ Tonya Harding. To me, she seemed to have gotten worse than a ‘knee-capping’ out of that whole incident. I never thought she had any part in that attack mainly because she is such a competitor and seems the type to have preferred to battle it out on the ice. She was actually a superior skater to Kerrigan, which made the whole attack thing exceedingly unnecessary. Tonya Harding is actually more likeable than Kerrigan, in my opinion, even with her redneck personality.

  6. Wow says:

    Sit down, Tonya.

    She (Tonya) was a good technical skater, but Kerrigan rocks at life.

  7. Tia says:

    wtf is up w/ her bangs???????????? HILARIOUS !! STFU white trash !!

  8. Trillion says:

    People pay money to see her?

  9. nanster says:

    Eileen – you’re exactly right! Tonya was about 15 years too early!

    I don’t think she had an actual hand in what happened to Nancy Kerrigan, but I do think she knew about it ahead of time. What her involvement was, we’ll never know.

    Baholicious – HAHAHA! Me, either – those bands are atrocious!

  10. Phat girl says:

    Hey, good for her. I always thought an extremely hypocritical society villianized her without enough proof. But than again I never could stand Nancy Kerrigan. Tanya was just a small fish in a giant pond who got eaten and spit back out and left with nothing more than a notorious name and the worst. hair. cut. ever. Poor thing.

  11. Annie says:

    I dunno…jealousy makes people condone and do very interesting things…..

    I believe she had a hand. Besides, evil triumphs when good people do nothing.

    In other words, in knowing this and allowing it, her hands are just as dirty.

  12. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    Uh, so she’s upset that Obama mentioned her in that way, but then she says YAY, him mentioning her gets her jobs? She makes no sense. I can’t believe anyone pays to see her wrestle. Y’all should see the video, she’s slightly slurring throughout and the interviewer can barely hide his feelings about her.

  13. meredith says:

    i thought that was an old pic until i read the story! and wtf .. extreme boxing? hasn’t her poor brain suffered enough?!

  14. rhoniluv says:


    i am too offended by her bangs to even read this post.

    triple ugh!!!

  15. MaiGirl says:

    Actually, Kerrigan has had many instances of diva behavior (ie, the Walt Disney parade incident in which she badmouthed the event the whole time and was caught on tape), and was a homewrecker with the guy she married. I wouldn’t call that being a winner at life.

  16. irl says:

    So – she was going to tell the FBI but was raped to keep her quiet.
    IF that is true it’s awful – but I don’t see how being raped would keep her from telling the FBI.
    Had it been me – I still would have gone to the FBI but also with the evidence of being raped. Would have been more evidence to help prove her story and innocence.

    I tend to think she was in on the attack only b/c of one question I’ve never heard a good answer to. . .
    Q) what was the motive for Gillooly and his conspirators to do this all on their own?

    Didn’t seem like there was money in it for them to do this – without Tanya paying them once she got rich from endorsements. If the 3 men raped her at gun point – they didn’t like her – so they weren’t just doing her a favor to be nice.

    TH was a much better skater then NK. NK fell alllll the time. TH would have won easy without this incident. This is how karma played out for her. She’s only proving herself to be 100% trash at this point.

  17. Zoe says:

    I can’t even read the article because her bang roll is too distracting… I think I’m getting attention deficit disorder..

  18. orion70 says:

    I remember seeing Nancy Kerrigan’s face crying “why me” so much all over the place that I think i’d rather stare at Tonya Harding’s bangs for an hour or two.

  19. Cletus says:

    Kerrigan is a winner at life? She’s an asshole, i wouldn’t piss on her if she were on fire. I’d totally pee on Tonya though, and then I’d buy her a beer.

  20. CB Rawks says:

    It’s not Obama’s fault that she has become part of the lexicon like that. He knew everyone would know what he meant because it’s common knowledge,
    just like if you said you were going to go Lorena Bobbit on someone they would clamp their knees together and run like hell.
    So she can be pissed off to be part of the lexicon, but she should blame Gilloollooolleeieey. (That’s if you buy her story and assume she is innocent.)

  21. khalib says:

    Cletus, Tonya would enjoy that, she’s Oregon’s most famous trailer trash.

  22. tigerlille says:

    Tonya was what they call a very athletic skater, meaning that she lacked grace and artistry. Even so, she was easily a much better skater than Nancy Kerrigan. I will never forget what a boorish loser Nancy Kerrigan was when Oksana Baiul blew her out of the water at the, was it the 1994 Olympics? Oksana had every thing, technique, artistry, passion. But after winning the gold medal, she grew 6 inches in one year (probably in part due to improved nutrition), and never regained her ability to do jumps.

    Tonya has been dealt a pretty crummy hand. The audio is out on my computer, but the anger and suffering in her eyes speaks volumes. She reminds me very much of the character that Minnie Driver played in the movie Sally Fields directed, about a beauty pageant contestant.

  23. Mimi says:

    OMG she comes across as a horrible, miserable human being in that clip. Hateful and vitriolic. I read the post first, then watched the clip, and I must say I don’t have any sympathy for her now. “I betcha, you’ll still pay money to see me.”

    I will?

    Embarassing. She’s pathetic and I don’t see contrition in her eyes, either.

  24. Mimi says:

    OMG she comes across as a horrible, miserable human being in that clip. Hateful and vitriolic. I read the post first, thought perhaps she’d been framed, then watched the clip, and I must say I don’t have any sympathy for her now. “I betcha, you’ll still pay money to see me.”

    I will?

    Embarassing. She’s pathetic and I don’t see contrition in her eyes, either.