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. smith

    You know this hurts when all the liberals are calling this story a fake scandal, lies, distrust in the media and so on. Funny, they weren`t saying those same things about the Jersey bridge scandal.

    February 12, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "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?"

    Uh, He slept at that one hotel last night?

    February 12, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Hector Slagg

    Um,
    Sorry Paine. Either "Bloody Mary" or maybe more to the point, THE RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES, no? Humm, Patton was called Blood and Guts but he had a reason. The Clintons, Never. no?

    February 12, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Sam

    Unless something REALLY REALLY bad comes out about her, these things won't deter me from voting for her should she decide to run. Even on her worst day, she is better than most of the GOP cronies that are out there.

    February 12, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Sandy

    I don't understand why libs still think Hillary is a slam dunk for the next POTUS. Obama's disaster of a 2nd term, coupled with her shrill comment about Bhengazi and now this diary pretty much her a long shot.

    February 12, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. YoonYoungJo

    A complex woman, perfect for a complex job such as the presidency. Someone who understands the designs of the universe and is sickened by it but probably has the strength to do something about it.

    February 12, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. Mr. Anger

    ANGRY REACTION! Half-baked attack on subject of story/commenters rife with misspellings! Obvious political leanings blotting out any substantive facts. Reading comprehension low due to blinding anger in response to headline. In fact headline may be the only part of the article read. Exclamation points!!!

    February 12, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Diggs

    You'd have to be psychopathic to be Hillary and to think that the media were against you. Take, say, their collective yawn when anyone brings up Benghazi.

    February 12, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. John

    I don't think this is a fake scandal, but it is at least to me truly sad that communications with Ms. Blair's that were clearly intended to be confidential became public. I am sure Mrs. Clinton now wonders what the hell she was thinking when she confided in her friend. I realize politics is politics and this is today's reality, but it is still sad.

    February 12, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -smith

    You know this hurts when all the liberals are calling this story a fake scandal, lies, distrust in the media and so on. Funny, they weren`t saying those same things about the Jersey bridge scandal.
    ***************
    Probably there is actual evidence that at the very least shows how overrated and incompetant the Christie Adminstration is, as opposed to the fishing expeditions Issa has conducted and how the rivals of the Clintons were exposed as being opportunists. Interesting how easily you went for the bait and mouthed the words you were expected to mouth, Smitty.

    February 12, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Me

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "She said there was... " "She told me she does not ... "
    "Blair wrote in January 1995... " "Blair’s notes from 1994 and 1995... "

    None of this is any interest to me except to mention that once this "can of worms" is spread as "facts" the entire landscape of political underbelly fallout will be tremendous. So many skeletons, so many unanswered gossip sessions on both sides of the aisle of political intrigue to pursue.

    Next up: Chris Christie. Rand Paul. Rick Santorum. Ted Cruz. (and so on and so forth). Wives. Friends. High school dating. Middle school fights. Grade school records. A veritable treasure trove of "he said she said he said". Squabbles with family. Squabbles with spouses. Nothing will be overlooked or deemed too petty for a public that thirsts on the seediest level of gossip.
    ___________________________
    Did you really compare what Hillary did WHILE IN THE WHITE HOUSE to what repubs did when they are in grade school, middle school, etc?? This has to be the sorriest excuse yet and we have seen millions from you and the gang but this takes the cake. This happened WHILE SHE WAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, very very scary! Even more scary are people like you who will brush off ANYTHING bad that a dem does, man I hope the rest of the liberal party is not as partisan and blind as you otherwise we are in BIG TROUBLE!!!

    February 12, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. The REAL Truth...

    @Gary – It is a sad day when the media thinks the Clintons are the best America has to offer. Help us all !
    ------------------------------
    So get your team to find a viable, electable candidate. The crop from 2012 were a joke, with most voting for the lessor or 2 evils last Nov. The GOP is headed down the same path in 2016 – if they think Paul (either of them), Rubio, Cruz, Santorum, Perry and those of similar ilk are going to get the Hispanic, independent and moderate voters that voted for Obama.

    February 12, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    **************
    I do. Since my academic backgound is in History, and Scottish history is a passion of mine, I suggest that, unless you have peer-reviewed articles on the subject of Mary, Queen of Scots, stick to whatever it is you know best. Certainly making comparisons between long-dead queen and Hillary Clinton is not one of them.

    February 12, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "You know this hurts when all the liberals are calling this story a fake scandal, lies, distrust in the media and so on. Funny, they weren`t saying those same things about the Jersey bridge scandal."

    What lies? What lies are discussed here? And do you really think the general public at large trusts the MSM, let alone wants their elected leaders to do so? Where's the scandal? Please, do explain, in detail and citing the facts, why any of this is even remotely a "scandal."

    February 12, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Me

    Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Rick McDaniel
    The perfect description, of a vicious, and vindictive woman.
    This is what the Dems want in the WH. It is no wonder America is a disaster.

    Not as vicious and vindictive as Dick Cheney. If you think America is a "disaster", get the Hell out; you won't be missed!
    _____________
    No America is not a disaster, blind liberal AND Republican followers and partisan hacks like you are a disaster!!! Dick Cheney is a saint compared to Hillary and these docs just prove that point more and more every day!!

    February 12, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. The REAL Truth...

    @smith – You know this hurts when all the liberals are calling this story a fake scandal, lies, distrust in the media and so on. Funny, they weren`t saying those same things about the Jersey bridge scandal.
    ---------------------------
    Sorry, bud..pretty_lame attempt. The HUGE difference is that the Clinton stuff is 20 yrs old. Nobody cares about the bridge scandal.. it's the misuse of Federal funds that will bring Krispy down. And if he really didn't know what was going on in his own office (as the State level) how does the rabid right justify whining about the POTUS not knowing what is going at the GLOBAL level?? Outstanding hypocrisy....

    February 12, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. scarf

    smith

    You know this hurts when all the liberals are calling this story a fake scandal, lies, distrust in the media and so on. Funny, they weren`t saying those same things about the Jersey bridge scandal.

    ========================================================================================

    If Clinton used the power of elective office for revenge, as Christie did, you would have a point. If her idea of revenge is writing unflattering letters to the editor, you don't.

    February 12, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. volsocal

    She can't handle truth.

    February 12, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    smith

    You know this hurts when all the liberals are calling this story a fake scandal, lies, distrust in the media and so on. Funny, they weren`t saying those same things about the Jersey bridge scandal.
    ------------------------
    Most people agree with Bill Kristol. Just after Christie's two hour plea, Kristol appeared on Fox and called it a "legitimate scandal."

    February 12, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. CALIFORNIA

    Like we didn't already know democrats are revengeful and hate filled people.

    February 12, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. Jim McDonald

    I find some of this interesting. History and time can be like the mythical waters of Lethe and blur or distort events, so that often it is as if no one knows or can prove what really happened but there are only competing narratives. Even as regards contemporary events, the stuff of the daily media reportage looks different to an insider than it does to the reporter. There is very little agreed upon fact

    February 12, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    smith
    You know this hurts when all the liberals are calling this story a fake scandal, lies, distrust in the media and so on. Funny, they weren`t saying those same things about the Jersey bridge scandal.
    -------------------

    Hurts whom, smith? This is the ramblings of a women who is not Hillary Clinton. It is nothing more than gossip. The exact same type of gossip Christie tried to pull on Wildstein (the guy Christie didn't know before he knew him ... way back in high school) by bringing up Wildstein's high school years.

    Having opened the book on high school days as political fodder, I suspect Republicans are thrilled to dish the dirt. Me ... not so much. I actually find it childish to the extreme.

    February 12, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Ralph

    So Hilary's diary contains the "true" account about how Rose Law firm files ended up in the WH with her finger prints ont them? She reveals how Vince Foster shot himself in the head and then drove to the park to dump his body? She reveals why her White water pals preferred going to jail for perjury rather than tell the truth. She explains how she turned 10k into 100k on the futures market – all by her self. She explains just what she and Bill did to go from functional bankruptcy to $100 million in less than 8 years. Can't wait to buy this book!

    February 12, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  24. Denise

    Keep these stories front and center please......

    February 12, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    John

    I don't think this is a fake scandal, but it is at least to me truly sad that communications with Ms. Blair's that were clearly intended to be confidential became public. I am sure Mrs. Clinton now wonders what the hell she was thinking when she confided in her friend. I realize politics is politics and this is today's reality, but it is still sad.
    ---------------------------------
    You don't think this is a fake scandal. These notes were first released a few years ago. What exactly is scandalous about it? What's scandalous is calling a scorecard grading your political supporters a "hit list." Any politician who doesn't keep track of such facts is doomed to losing every race that they enter.

    As far as "revenge" goes, it's called playing political hardball. As long as you're not breaking the law, I would think that anything goes. Oh dear, Bill supported the opposing candidate in a primary. It's just scandalous, I tell you. Scandalous!

    February 12, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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