February 10th, 2014
05:26 AM ET
10 months ago

Documents reveal Hillary Clinton’s private reaction to her husband's cheating scandal with Monica Lewinsky

Updated 4:10 p.m. ET, 2/10/2014

Washington (CNN) - Hillary Clinton told a close friend that Monica Lewinsky was a "narcissistic loony toon," and also discussed in detail why she decided to forgive her husband for having an affair with the White House intern, according to documents penned by Diane Blair, a close friend and longtime confidant to the former first lady.

The contents of the documents, which are part of Blair’s papers housed at the University of Arkansas, were first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website that posted the story late on Sunday night.

CNN has confirmed the documents are authentic and has reached out to a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, who has not responded.

Read the documents

Blair’s writings are made up of notes and diary entries based on communication the former political science professor who died in 2000 had with Mrs. Clinton.

“It was a lapse, but she says to his credit he tried to break it off, tried to pull away, tried to manage someone who was clearly a 'narcissistic loony toon'; but it was beyond control," Blair wrote about a conversation she had with Clinton on September 9, 1998, during the height of the Lewinsky scandal that led to her husband’s impeachment.

Blair went on to write that Hillary Clinton had suggested her husband had made the mistake with Lewinsky because of the personal toll the deaths of his mother, her father, and their friend Vince Foster had taken on him while "the ugly forces started making up hateful things about them, pounding on them."

The story comes as speculation heats up that the former New York senator and secretary of state is weighing a second run for the White House.

The Blair papers were not made public until 2010, well after Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 2008.

And the details come as Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a likely 2016 GOP White House contender, continues to call the Lewinsky scandal a liability for Democrats.

Some Democrats pushed back, saying the documents don't reveal anything more about Hillary Clinton's feelings about the controversy than what she wrote in her memoir, "Living History."

Clinton described herself as "dumbfounded, heartbroken and outraged" when her husband told her about his relations with Lewinsky.

"Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him," she wrote. "'What do you mean? What are you saying? Why did you lie to me?'"

Democrats argue the passages from her own book are more powerful because they come directly from her.

Where is Monica Lewinsky?

The Clinton-Lewisnky affair captivated the nation’s attention as the sordid details became international news. The relationship and grand jury investigation led the House to impeach Clinton on two charges in December 1998. In February 1999, the Senate acquitted him.

Just days after Clinton’s impeachment, Blair wrote that Hillary called her, and they had a lengthy conversation about impeachment.

“She sounded very up, almost jolly,” writes Blair. “Told me how she and Bill and Chelsea had been to church, to a Chinese restaurant, to a Shakespeare play, greeted everywhere with wild applause and cheers.”

She added, “This, she said, is what drives their adversaries totally nut(s), that they don't bend, do not appear to be suffering.”

According to Blair, Clinton said that “most people in this town have no pain threshold.”

Blair’s writings also show Hillary Clinton sought to downplay the relationship between her husband and Lewisnky.

“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 any real meaning… of the term,” Blair wrote.

In addition to Hillary Clinton's private thoughts on the Lewinsky matter, Blair's writing talks about Clinton's support for a single payer health care system, as well as her thoughts on foreign policy, among other subjects.

According to notes about a dinner Blair had with the first couple on February 23, 1993, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton talked “at length about the complexities of healthcare,” with the first lady saying stating “managed competition a crock, single payer necessary; maybe add to Medicare.”

Hillary Clinton was the face of the White House’s unsuccessful 1993 push on health care reform and healthcare comes up throughout the Blair notes.

Clinton’s admission that “single payer necessary” contrasts what she has sad in the past. In a 2008 interview with the New York Times, Clinton said, “You know, I have thought about this, as you might guess, for 15 years and I never seriously considered a single-payer system.”

Blair, a political science professor from Arkansas, joined Gov. Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign as a senior researcher and worked as a senior adviser on his successful 1996 reelection bid. She became a close friend to both Clintons, but particularly the first lady.

She died in 2000 at the age of 61. At the time, The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton eulogized Blair as “the best person that one could have as a friend.”

The documents portray Blair’s relationship with Clinton as both professional and personal. While they appeared to talk extensively about policy and politics, they also discussed books, travel and family.

The Blair documents were donated by her husband, James, in 2005. The documents were processed and completed by 2010 and contain 109 boxes of information that range from Blair’s professional materials to her correspondence with the Clintons.

If Clinton runs in 2016, what will Biden do?

James once helped Hillary Clinton make $100,000 in commodity futures trading, which drew scrutiny for its timing.

According to the Free Beacon, Hillary Clinton was a supporter of making the Blair records public in 2010.

“With this collection, [Diane Blair’s] contributions will grow and live on, enlarging our understanding of history, politics and culture,” Hillary Clinton reportedly said, according to the Free Beacon. "I hope also that some young scholar will come along and write the story of Diane.

The Washington Free Beacon reporter who first poured through the documents didn't think she'd find all that much to write about.

"I went down to Arkansas. I honestly didn't think that there would be much there, because I feel like so much of the Clintons, especially the 1990's related stuff, has been so picked over by reporters. But yeah, I went down and surprisingly there were some interesting things there," Alana Goodman told CNN's Brooke Baldwin in an interview on CNN Newsroom.

Moment of tension between Bill and Hillary Clinton


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (955 Responses)
  1. robjh1

    And what if Mrs. Clinton did call Lewinsky a "looney toon"? Lewinsky has been called worse.

    February 10, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Steve

    If, for some reason, Hillary did run AND win the Presidency, I'd renounce my citizenship & leave – that'd be the ending of the good ol' USA!!

    February 10, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Scott

    What a strong American Hillary is. She has endured a lot in her life, and never gave up on bettering herself or in serving the public. A true leader.

    February 10, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. ben

    Didn't care in 1998, don't care now.

    February 10, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. mannyv

    Wow, people think Christie is bad? She's operating at a whole nother level.

    February 10, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Vicki Lavetts

    Why is this an issue at all? Why is her close confident releasing private information Hillary told her? What is the matter with Blair? Do we have another Linda Tripp?

    Most of all none of this is relevant or anyone's business. Nor is it incriminating to Hillary..at least by my estimation.

    February 10, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. jason83

    Again, why is this front page news?! Post something important for example: What's going on overseas?

    February 10, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Drew

    '.....And it comes as Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a likely 2016 GOP White House contender'

    Since when CNN????!!!! Since their last great "hope" of the GOP (Chris Christi) seems to be falling flat on his ass or is it part of YOUR agenda??

    February 10, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. SMO

    Why is this considered news? The headline type-face is what you would expect to see on V-E Day.

    February 10, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Tech

    Shame on you CNN....this is "day before yesterdays" news and I am quite certain that Hilary had some other choice names for Monica L. If Looney Toon was the worst....she was quite kind. What Bill did has nothing to do with anything at this point. It's just politics as usual trying to muddy the waters and make Hilary pay for Bill's sins. She has paid enough. Move on and let it go.

    February 10, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Phil

    If any misogynist thought they could paint her as a frail woman given to overly-emotional insecurity, her statement, “most people in this town have no pain threshold.”, should dispel that attempt to profile her. At her age it may be a given that the demands of a presidency will take its toll, but may she come out of it more wizened than hag-like from what I've seen and read. It's also heartening to detect that she is apparently part of the longer-term plan to get single-payer into the ACA. Unlike her adversaries who are often revealed in their candid, conniving conversations as intending to sabotage their enemies, it turns out she gets her revenge by living well, being happy and through massive success. She sounds very healthy and well-grounded.

    February 10, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. Okiedokie

    While I was kind to the (many) other women in my case (who clearly had no idea they were dating a married man), I did call my spouse way worse - in print, even - than "narcissistic looney toon".

    I think a fair number of people wind up having to deal with a cheating spouse at some point (and kudos to all those who managed to avoid this particular pitfall in your marriages). I have been through it and would not care to cast judgment on anyone who divorces due to this, or tries to work it out and keep the marriage. It was horrendously painful.

    February 10, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Ken Maloney

    Come on CNN rise up from the gutter. Your managing the conversation in a way that keeps people from real news.

    February 10, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Tech

    .this is "day before yesterdays" news and I am quite certain that Hilary had some other choice names for Monica L. If Looney Toon was the worst....she was quite kind. What Bill did has nothing to do with anything at this point. It's just politics as usual trying to muddy the waters and make Hilary pay for Bill's sins. She has paid enough. Move on and let it go.

    February 10, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Mary Douglas

    Narcissistic loony toon? That's putting it mildly. He made a big mistake, Hillary forgave her husband, as many women in that position do. But it is clearly ancient history! Who cares?

    I love Hillary. I think she would make a fantastic president!

    February 10, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. S. French

    Who care???? We love Bill and Hillary. They are wonderful people.
    Bush is worse President! I never trust republican in my life.

    February 10, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. BE

    Is this FOX News or CNN?

    February 10, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Barry G.

    I'm a man, and I can understand how Hilary could be upset.

    I'd be furious, if my husband was unfaithful and committed adultery–and with someone twenty-five to thirty-five years younger than Bill.

    And as if this wasn't bad enough, to be a public figure, like this, and to subject Hillary to such disgrace!

    Yeah, I'd be angry, too.

    I feel the same way about the disgraceful antics of JFK, and I voted as a Democrat!

    February 10, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. t

    ... and you really think this is newsworthy now? geez ... go back to journalism school

    February 10, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    There are women who didn't think monica was a looney ton come on now people. I am no Hillary fan but really Monica is a looney toon.

    February 10, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Rob

    Are you the Cable "News" Network or the Cable NONSENSE Network! Hilary is surging in the polls at the same time she is trying to decide if she should run. At the same time the Republican Party continues to trip over their own.....trunks. And what do they do..cart out Monica! Please give me a break We already have a shill over at Fox...are there any news outlets left in our country that can simply report the news and leave this kind of ridiculous reporting to the supermarket tabloids!

    February 10, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. MikeinNM

    Pubs live in the past. Rand, is that your best shot? Get over it.

    February 10, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Lisa Segal

    And this is headline news, CNN?!?!? BIG DEAL!!!

    February 10, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Abbey

    This only going to get better folks! I want to see the whole opera for this run!

    February 10, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Who cares! Really?? How many years ago did this makes news? How much did that "friend" make from telling what she said NOW? Really?

    February 10, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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