Published January 13, 2015
Hillary Clinton's campaign may not know in which staffer's hands landed the tab at an Iowa restaurant on Oct. 8, but all sides agree the Democratic presidential frontrunner is no slouch when it comes to leaving a tip.
National Public Radio was forced to correct a story it issued Thursday that had suggested Clinton left waitress Anita Esterday high and dry after Esterday served the candidate and her entourage when they stopped in to the Maid-Rite diner near Boone, Iowa.
Turns out, however, that the campaign paid $157 for the meals and left a $100 tip. Campaign spokesman Phil Singer said he doesn't know what happened to the money, but Maid-Rite manager Brad Crawford confirmed to FOX News that the bill and tip were paid. He wouldn't say the check's amount.
NPR later issued a lengthy statement saying Esterday was sticking by her story, but that NPR should have checked with the Clinton campaign before airing the piece.
"We regret that this was not done," the statement said, adding that Esterday later told NPR a Clinton campaign staffer stopped by the restaurant Thursday to give her a $20 bill.
Crawford told NPR he wasn't sure if all servers, including Esterday, received a part of the tip, even though it was paid.
Crawford's wife told FOX News she thought all servers received their tips, and that the members of the Clinton camp even helped out the workers while they were there.
"I think things got misconstrued. ... Everybody who came in was polite," Mrs. Crawford said.
Crawford said he is not surprised by the confusion.
"When these people go into a place, they are not carrying money, but somebody else took care of it," he said, adding that all the attention the restaurant and Esterday have been getting as a result of the false report has become "a little tiring."
NPR on Thursday reported that Clinton did not leave a tip for the waitress and then later weaved the woman's personal story of being a working, single mother into her stump speeches on the campaign trail. The radio station also claimed in its reporting that the meal had been on the house.
The claim about the tip came after Clinton made a flurry of campaign stops in Iowa, where she talked extensively about rebuilding the middle class and creating new jobs through pursuing alternative forms of energy.
Esterday allegedly told NPR that she was taken aback when Clinton made reference to her in her campaign speech, saying she wished she had been asked first whether her life story could be used. But she added she wasn't faulting Clinton for being stiffed and may even vote for her, or possibly Barack Obama.
FOX News' Major Garrett and Anita Siegfriedt contributed to this report.