Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published February 10, 2014 at 9:00 PM | Page modified February 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (42)
  • Print

1990s Clinton scandal resurfaces with notes, private memos

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, has unloaded a series of documents from President Clinton’s White House years from a close friend of Hillary Rodham Clinton, including diary entries based on conversations with the first lady.


The New York Times

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
Less is More brought up the all-important Benghazi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!... MORE
One word.......BEN GAZI!!!!!!! MORE
Monica MAY be a "narcissistic loony-tune" But Hillary IS...beyond any... MORE

advertising

It has been more than 16 years since the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The 22-year-old White House intern is now a low-profile 40-year-old. The once-embattled President Bill Clinton has assumed a post-presidential role as global philanthropist, and the scorned first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is now a former senator, a former secretary of state and a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

Now, in response to attacks on the Republican Party as waging a “war on women,” Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has repeatedly recalled Clinton’s White House indiscretions. Paul said on “Meet the Press” late last month that Clinton had taken advantage of a young intern. “That is predatory behavior,” he added.

On Monday, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, unloaded a trove of documents from Clinton’s White House years from a close friend of Hillary Clinton, Diane D. Blair, who died in 2000. The Blair papers include diary entries based on conversations with Hillary Clinton, private memos and letters that had been kept at the archives of the University of Arkansas, where Blair had taught political science.

The correspondence reveals new insights into how Hillary Clinton dealt with the setbacks in the White House, such as her struggles to pass a health-care overhaul and difficulties in dealing with journalists who she described as having “big egos and no brains.”

“I know I should do more to suck up to the press,” Clinton told Blair in 1996, according to the documents. “I know it confuses people when I change my hairdos, I know I should pretend not to have any opinions, but I’m just not going to,” she continued. Then, Clinton said: “I’m used to winning and I intend to win on my own terms.”

The papers also underscore the tensions contained in Clinton’s reaction to her husband’s infidelities. As first lady, she was viewed broadly as a champion of women’s equality, but, according to the Blair papers, she did not see her husband’s behavior toward Lewinsky as exploitation.

Clinton called Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony toon,” according to a 1998 conversation Blair recalled. “HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behavior but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within real meaning” of the word, Blair wrote.

Blair’s papers describe a White House that felt constantly under assault from the news media.

“She can’t figure out why these people out there are so anxious to destroy them,” wrote Blair, who first befriended the Clintons in Arkansas in the late 1970s and who worked on the 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns. “I told her I thought she was taking it too personally.”

The mentions of Bill Clinton’s personal life extend beyond Lewinsky. A Feb. 16, 1992, memo highlights “possible investigation leads,” including a strategy to stop stories about Clinton’s alleged affair with Gennifer Flowers.

Mostly, the papers paint a bleak picture of the Clintons’ time in the White House, filled with personal trials. The take away, perhaps, is not so much that the past could hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances if she runs for president in 2016. It is a questions of why, after all that heartache, would she want to?



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Put your marker on The Seattle Times interactive map and share your fan story.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

Bad email habits to break today


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►