Holman W. Jenkins Jr. on Tipgate

Holman W. Jenkins Jr. at OpinionJournal's Political Diary on "Tipgate Update"

National Public Radio continues to birddog allegations that Hillary Clinton failed to leave a tip after visiting the Toledo Maid-Rite diner in Iowa for breakfast last month. The Clinton campaign responded to yesterday's report by saying it did leave a tip -- $100 on a $157 tab. Also yesterday a Clinton staffer turned up at the diner and handed a $20 bill to Anita Esterday, the waitress who had waited on Mrs. Clinton and mentioned (in passing) to a radio interviewer that she hadn't received a tip.

The plot thickens. She tells NPR that yesterday's staffer said the tip had been included in the credit card payment. However, the credit card receipt, when examined, was apparently bereft of tip. So the staffer then opined the tip must have been left as cash with the expectation the diner crew would divvy it up. Where's the Zapruder film? Her aides were seated at tables around the diner, but Mrs. Clinton was sitting at the counter. Ms. Esterday doubts her colleagues stiffed her for her share of the tip. The restaurant's manager tells AP it may have happened.

As the truth recedes into the region of mist and shadows where many things Clinton reside, another question suggests itself: Wouldn't it have been better for the campaign simply to have said, "If we didn't leave a tip, it surely was an oversight, and we'll rectify it immediately?" What good can possibly come from quibbling with a waitress over such a trivial matter?

But the most cringe-inducing aspect was reporter David Greene, in a scripted dialogue with an NPR host this morning, bathing himself in recrimination for failing to check with the Clinton campaign before running the tip anecdote yesterday in a longer report about how campaigns impact the lives of local folks when they land in town.

Apparently, this is not the first time that Hillary has been accused of stiffing waitresses on tips.

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