February 12th, 2014
08:26 AM ET
6 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. The Real Tom Paine

    -Hector Slagg

    This is not anything new about Um, Mary Queen of Scotts, if I'm not mistaken no? It gives us a GOOD LOOK at Hillary, who must have took lessons from Lyndon Johnson. Johnsion was known for taking revenge on his "Enemies". The problem with hillary being President is she may zig when she is supposed to zag. Of course there is the problem of less and less jobs with Hillary.
    ****************
    I suggest you get a grasp of history and reality before attemping to engage in any historical analogies. What is the connection between Hillary and Mary, Queen of Scots?

    February 12, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. dewfen

    I don't get all the negative comments here for Mrs. Clinton. It seems to me that some people are only commenting on one piece of information provided – revenge – and not reading the whole story. It appears to me that one of they key topics here was the fact that Mrs. Clinton wanted to make sure her thoughts and opinions – and those of her staff – were documented for future reference. Her mistrust of the press was not unwarranted – as any politician will agree. And who out there has never fantasized on revenge when someone has done you wrong? Should some of those thoughts have been spoken out loud – probably not – but this doesn't make her "evil", only a bit more human. I want someone running this country that has feelings and opinions and isn't afraid to speak their mind. I want someone that has made mistakes and learned from them and has the passion to try and make this country whole again – because we sure aren't there now. We all have had something wrong done to us at one time or another – its the ones capably of forgiveness that become the stronger person. This country needs a strong leader and one that has faced adversary and come out stronger. So if Mrs. Clinton does decide to run for president, obviously she has my vote.

    February 12, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Sniffit

    "And still the Democrats tout themselves as the party of WOMEN. Hypocrites!"

    LOL. Nothing here will alienate women voters, so do yourself a favor and stop getting your hopes up. In fact, statements like this..."wants to be able to say she was true to herself and is not going to do phoney makeovers to please others"...will resonate pretty deeply and positively with women, who can identify with that sentiment and the feelings that society puts pressure on them to "do phoney makeovers to please others." I know you guy think that materials released 4 years ago and ignored entirely until now somehow provide you with a great opportunity to tear her down, particularly with women voters, and that you can somehow twist Bill's infidelity into a negative about her, particularly with women, but you're just doing damage to yourselves. Please proceed.

    February 12, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. Former GOP

    It's good that the GOP has a site like this to vent, or their heads would explode!

    February 12, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. sbul

    Great friend she had there. With friends like these who needs enemies?

    February 12, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. george cook

    Does this "surprise" anybody...thisis what THUG POLITICIANS do.....it is WIN at ALL COSTS no matter what the repercussions.

    February 12, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Victor

    "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.”

    I think many of our politicians feel the same way. We have criminal corrupt politicians running the show in Washington. I'm sure the off the record comments by these people and the deals they make are absolutely disgusting.

    February 12, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. quidestveritas

    someone on here actually said there is no left wing media bias, hasn't been for years and that the national media are all controlled by right wingers? I think I've heard it all.

    February 12, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Diogenes

    We aint got rid of this one yet folks. I think youre going to find it harder than you think. He has been lining up his ducks to keep his power after his term expires.

    February 12, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Sniffit

    "It's good that the GOP has a site like this to vent, or their heads would explode!"

    Seriously...Faux seems to have taken most of their commenting down due to the inconvenient presence of people correcting their misrepresentations and misinformation all the time.

    February 12, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. jan53

    WOW ...For revenge come on not Hillary Clinton not
    a democrat they would never seek revenge. ....lol

    February 12, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "I suggest you get a grasp of history and reality before attemping to engage in any historical analogies. What is the connection between Hillary and Mary, Queen of Scots?"

    He no doubt considers her to be in open rebellion against the rightful, white-full, male rulership of this country and wants her to be "ended" in the same manner for her "treason."

    February 12, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. jnpa

    All of this is personal and really none of anyone's business!

    February 12, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Logictox

    So this comes as a surprise to who? This is Hillary as she really is.

    February 12, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. jimmy rouse

    What difference at this point does it make? Hillary will get her two terms because the GOP is inept.

    February 12, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Gary

    HILLARY has one friend and that is POWER ! While Bill will be behind the scenes with whomever will stand still long enough ,Hillary will be out front with her Axe and this will only be good for the Clintons It is a sad day when the media thinks the Clintons are the best America has to offer. Help us all !

    February 12, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. cj

    These revelations just further proves to me that Hillary is on tough cookie. Not a bad attribute for a president. My only concern is that is she too old and her time has passed?

    February 12, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Mike in SA

    The only people scared of keeping a diary of their private thoughts for fear of subpoena, are those who are regular participants in underhanded dealings.

    February 12, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. hkirwin

    The Real Tom Paine

    -Hector Slagg

    This is not anything new about Um, Mary Queen of Scotts, if I'm not mistaken no? It gives us a GOOD LOOK at Hillary, who must have took lessons from Lyndon Johnson. Johnsion was known for taking revenge on his "Enemies". The problem with hillary being President is she may zig when she is supposed to zag. Of course there is the problem of less and less jobs with Hillary.
    ****************
    I suggest you get a grasp of history and reality before attemping to engage in any historical analogies. What is the connection between Hillary and Mary, Queen of Scots?
    =============================================

    LOL....I advise that you practice what you preach.

    February 12, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. lindaluttrell

    This could be a good thing: the diary is backed up with tangible evidence to right a wrong.
    This could be a bad thing: the diary gets into the wrong hands and is made public, but something happens to one or more of these "enemies."
    Rule of thumb: Never put anything in writing that could come back to bite you in the butt.

    February 12, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. hkirwin

    dewfen

    I don't get all the negative comments here for Mrs. Clinton. It seems to me that some people are only commenting on one piece of information provided – revenge – and not reading the whole story. It appears to me that one of they key topics here was the fact that Mrs. Clinton wanted to make sure her thoughts and opinions – and those of her staff – were documented for future reference. Her mistrust of the press was not unwarranted – as any politician will agree. And who out there has never fantasized on revenge when someone has done you wrong? Should some of those thoughts have been spoken out loud – probably not – but this doesn't make her "evil", only a bit more human. I want someone running this country that has feelings and opinions and isn't afraid to speak their mind. I want someone that has made mistakes and learned from them and has the passion to try and make this country whole again – because we sure aren't there now. We all have had something wrong done to us at one time or another – its the ones capably of forgiveness that become the stronger person. This country needs a strong leader and one that has faced adversary and come out stronger. So if Mrs. Clinton does decide to run for president, obviously she has my vote.
    ==========================

    and you probably voted for Obama twice so what does that really say about your vote...other than wasted.

    February 12, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. hkirwin

    Former GOP

    It's good that the GOP has a site like this to vent, or their heads would explode!
    =========================

    pot to kettle......Former Former

    February 12, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. greenaxe

    Taking revenge...sorta like what Christie did with the log jam in Ft.Lee?

    February 12, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. Steve

    Big deal. All politicians are concerned with how their legacies will appear in history.

    February 12, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -Sniffit

    "I suggest you get a grasp of history and reality before attemping to engage in any historical analogies. What is the connection between Hillary and Mary, Queen of Scots?"

    He no doubt considers her to be in open rebellion against the rightful, white-full, male rulership of this country and wants her to be "ended" in the same manner for her "treason."
    *****************
    No, its just another attempt at rewriting history by Ray E/Gunderson/Hector Slagg. He's spent over a year trying to convince people that liberal have been running this country form decades. Origianlly he thought his began in the 30's, until I convinced him its been since 1912. Revisionism as a mental disease, and this mook is trying to be the Typhoid Mary of alternate reality disease.

    February 12, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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