February 12th, 2014
08:26 AM ET
5 months ago

First on CNN–Confidant’s diary: Clinton wanted to keep records for ‘revenge'

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Fayetteville, Arkansas (CNN) - Shortly before Hillary Clinton’s effort to pass health care reform died in the summer of 1994, the first lady asked a close friend and confidant for advice on “how best to preserve her general memories of the administration and of health care in particular.”

When asked why, according to the friend’s June 20, 1994, diary entry, Clinton said, “Revenge.”


That exchange is among thousands of pages of notes, letters, and diary entries penned by Diane Blair, a political science professor and longtime Clinton friend whose papers were donated to the University of Arkansas after her death in 2000.

Blair worked on Bill Clinton’s two presidential campaigns and advised the president and first lady throughout their eight years in the White House. In particular, she was very close with Hillary Clinton, who called Blair her “closest friend” in her 2003 memoir “Living History.”

Blair’s notes from 1994 and 1995 shed light on Clinton as first lady, especially her persistent interest in recording her and her closest advisers’ accounts of their time at the White House in order to both tell her own story as well as document what she saw as the truth.

Blair Papers offer window into Hillary Clinton

In the same June 20 entry, Blair wrote that Clinton also wanted to record her staff’s insights “just to get it down while still fresh, so when everyone else is writing their books, she will have materials - dates, meetings, events, to write hers, and for at least that story to be told.”

Blair Papers 4

Bill Clinton in 1979 with Hillary Clinton (L) and Diane Blair (R). Courtesy: University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections

According to the documents, this desire was especially strong because Clinton seemed to harbor a deep distrust of the media.

Blair wrote in June 1994 that Clinton regretted speaking to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, whose book “The Agenda,” chronicling the early days of the Clinton White House, had just hit bookstores days earlier.

“She said twice or more that she now regrets having spoken to Woodward, said she felt she had to [because] he was writing it anyway; I guess that’s his schtick,” Blair wrote.

That sentiment continued later into Clinton’s time as first lady.

In January 1995, Blair writes that Clinton expressed “her total exasperation with all this obsession and attention, and how hard she’s finding to conceal her contempt for it all.”

Hillary Clinton as a kindergarten teacher?

On Thanksgiving Day 1996, Blair wrote that Clinton thought the press were “complete hypocrites.”

“Say they want the truth, want power to be transparent, but in fact they prefer the backstage manipulation of B. Bush, N. Reagan, B. Truman, R. Carter,” Blair wrote, listing several former first ladies. “On her death bed, wants to be able to say she was true to herself and is not going to do phoney makeovers to please others.”

The distrust of the media caused Clinton to have legacy concerns for both herself and her husband’s White House, according to the Blair documents.

Blair wrote in January 1995 that she had a “lengthy” conversation with Clinton about “how history can ever be written when those who do the contemporary stuff are so wrong.”

“She said there was hardly a news story that she couldn’t totally refute,” Blair wrote. “How does one arrive at the truth… So where (sic) will be her story.”

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

Despite these legacy fears, Blair wrote that Clinton was hardly eager to record her thoughts and memories of her time in the White House.

“She told me she does not keep a diary and thinks it best not to keep one,” Blair wrote about Clinton in June 1994.

Blair later wrote in January of 1995 that Clinton said “she dare not… keep records of inti9mate (sic) thoughts and conversations” for fear of “subpoenas.”

CNN has confirmed the documents are authentic and has reached out to a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, who has not responded. There is no way to independently confirm the accuracy of Blair's specific recollections and direct quotations of the Clintons.

The Blair documents made news earlier this week when the Washington Free Beacon reported that Clinton told Blair that Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who had an affair with Bill Clinton, was a “narcissistic loony toon.”


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (330 Responses)
  1. ireuel

    It is very obvious, the left thinks the right are all tea people and the right think the left are loonys. But you all are barking the same stuff over and over and not a thing is being done. Well it worked, they divided you all with talking points and yens all just keep repeating them. Sad, years from now you all will be still spewing that it is the other sides fault. When in fact it is both sides are wrong. Oh by the way, this is a comment section on a website that only trolls read, and some from the OFA group follow and drop and paste repeatable s, becuase we all know when it is seen more than once in these comment sections, it must be true. Oh and you peeps in the Fed offices please go back to work. Have a nice day, becuase it doesn't matter, we all go down together in the end.

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

    This is a book by a friend of Hillary's. She may or may not have said everything in it. Should this be taken as the gospel truth or do we take it with a grain of salt. Much has happened since the 1990'2 and most of us have changed as we have grown older. I would assume that Hillary has as well.

    February 12, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama: "But maybe I'm wrong....wink!"

    Rather obvious, aren't they?

    Winking back at you.

    February 12, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    Why yes it is Tone. Didn't you know???

    February 12, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    SilenceDoGood
    They are trying their best to make Benghazi the new birth cetificate aren't they?
    Unfortunately for them the FACTS, again, are against them.
    Pitiful, desperate souls this new brand of GOPers eh?
    They are so partisan that having a country that is rebounding is not good enough for them anymore.
    These folks personify Party BEFORE country.

    February 12, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. airjackie

    Wow at lease we now know lawmakers feel women have no place in politics. While studying politics in high school we learned Eisenhower had a list of those who did not support him and Nixon made his list when running for President. So many times Presidents spoke of those in their own party that did not support them. Well now it seems Hillary can't do what all the former Presidents have done because women should be in the home. Now we were told by the Media/Press that Bill/Hillary hated Obama because Hillary vs Obama for the nomination. Well that was a big lie as both campaigned for Obama and Obama begged Hillary to be Secretary of Defense. What a hit list and is it really. Most people tell their kids not to hang around the bad kids oops that is a list.

    February 12, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. collhi

    While I agree with Hillary that the media is pretty much worthless in the quest for truth...I'm trying to reconcile this idealistic woman from then with the woman today who participated in a boondoggle of deception with Bengazi.

    February 12, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. steve hammill

    Anyone who did not know these things about her by watching her is not very observant.

    February 12, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. West

    Find some real news that has occurred within the last 20 years, CNN. This is just embarrassing for you.

    February 12, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. MinnesotaDude

    All this woman seems to care about is power. Too bad she didn't care about the staff working in Benghazi. She is not to be trusted. Honestly, who would trust this woman?

    February 12, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Me wrote:

    You just proved my point, by stating what she did she is downplaying what Hillary did (even mocking the report as if it was a big joke to her), I think it is completely relevant since it happen while she was in the WH, it shows her character and what she is capable of doing if she is elected! The whole point is she shouldn't use cynical satire, this isn't a joke and many posters on here do this with everything that is negative about Dems!! Talk about missing MY point!
    -------------------------–
    What point? You mean that empty one? Revenge? What act of revenge was committed? Now before you have a conniption, don't go running on a hamster wheel like the others and forget that this is not Clinton's diary. It's heresay about conversations. For all we know, she may have been ROTFLHAO as wrote that. It's not revenge until an action is taken. Like shutting down a lanes on the busiest bridge in the world, for example.

    February 12, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. gent49

    Hillary Clinton is a thoroughly wicked woman.

    February 12, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Kings on the Back Row

    ..
    ...Well, I am READY FOR HILLARY !!
    ..

    February 12, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Me

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "The whole point is she shouldn't use cynical satire, this isn't a joke and many posters on here do this with everything that is negative about Dems!! Talk about missing MY point!"

    Quite frankly, this entire article is ... to me ... gossip. That was MY point. How I choose to relay my message on this opinion board is my prerogative, and ... unless you have become class monitor ... is up to ME how I choose to comment.
    _________________
    And I respect that so how about the same from you, you didn't have to comment how I know nothing because my opinion is different then yours, as I stated, I think it is relevent and I explained why, you, you just told me I know nothing!

    February 12, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. sly

    I respect her more for knowing how to deal with the political opposition. We've all seen Swift Boating.

    A wise politician like Hillary will make a good President.

    Anyone who becomes the next President has some big shoes to fill – few Presidents accomplish as much as President Obama has.

    February 12, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Rudy: "Now before you have a conniption, don't go running on a hamster wheel like the others and forget that this is not Clinton's diary."

    This is a point is lost on many ... but well worth repeating. And, yes. I like your analogy: running on a hamster wheel fits nicely.

    February 12, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. LouieD

    The ironic thing during the Clinton administration was that THIS was the time when Republicans REALLY started hammering on "the mainstream liberal media." Meanwhile, this supposedly "liberal" media was constantly lowering journalistic standards in order to smear the Clintons. The so-called "Clinton scandals" were only as strong as speculation, misinformation, and lots of "maybes", "might haves", and "it's possible thats." What frustrated me about President Clinton, and what now frustrates me about Hillary after reading this article, is that they never overtly followed through on any kind of much-deserved "revenge" against the Republican liars who decided to be the Clintons' political enemies.

    February 12, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    This diary was made public 14 years ago. Clearly it's being dredged for dirt on Hillary in an effort to undermine her candidacy. Snippets taken out of context are presented as legitimate news. Too bad we can't have a debate on issues rather than never-ending character assassinations.

    February 12, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Lynda wrote:

    This is a point is lost on many ... but well worth repeating. And, yes. I like your analogy: running on a hamster wheel fits nicely.
    ------------------------
    I like it, too. Especially when you consider that the hamster wheel is inside of a hamster cage constructed by right wing media.

    February 12, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. electrum

    This diary was made public 14 years ago. Clearly it's being dredged for dirt on Hillary in an effort to undermine her candidacy. Snippets taken out of context are presented as legitimate news. Too bad we can't have a debate on issues rather than never-ending character assassinations.

    February 12, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. loops808

    Is this really a surprise to anyone?

    February 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Frank S

    Revenge, if possible, is good. As long as you maintain deniability, like Christie. Rand Paul is on the attack, but the recycled story is unlikely to get traction for him, other than his base which loves it I'm sure.

    February 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Pat

    Hmmm. She sounds like a bully. A real toxic leader. Definitely not fit to be President.

    February 12, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. CryBabies

    @ DM4O....Benghazi....I watched the video and still have unanswered questions. Who do I go to?

    February 12, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rudy NYC

    Lynda wrote:

    This is a point is lost on many ... but well worth repeating. And, yes. I like your analogy: running on a hamster wheel fits nicely.
    --------
    I like it, too. Especially when you consider that the hamster wheel is inside of a hamster cage constructed by right wing media.
    ******************
    hey, I like hamsters.

    February 12, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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