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. Hector Slagg

    Um Sorry Paine,
    Funny how those simularities come back when you hope they are long forgotten. While I won't tell you who. I am a big/small part of English History. But we are talking the return of "Bloody Mary" , no? The expose of Hillary's past and "Track" record gives another example of her demeanor You don't like it. Too bad. It was a close confident that it came from. Now don't be an ass Paine and dump on Diane Blair.

    February 12, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Debo1

    What woman doesn't keep records for revenge?? HEY-YOOOO!!

    February 12, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama
    I would classify 4 dead Americans as a REAL scandal. Barnum was correct..." There's a sucker born every minute ".
    -----------------I do not doubt that you view it as a scandal Kendall, but that doesn't make it one, much less a REAL one.
    Let's face facts: investigations, inquiries, all done and over with. Nothing to report. Nothing to see here.
    In regards to Barnum: you have plenty of those suckers to keep you company on this thread.
    --------------
    Benghazi cover up is the classic conspiracy theory. There is nothing to see so they assume there is some horrible being covered up. Not logical. I can claim there is a huge pink whale in White House basement. Since there is no evidence to prove or disprove it, it must be there and there must be a cover up.

    Benghazi is the new birth certificate.

    February 12, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Vince

    I'll take the surplus the Clinton's left us...before W started 2 wars and cut taxes at the same time.

    February 12, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. fthomascain

    The same recycled hacks that have never so much as ran a profitable food cart in line to be president. We see how having someone with no experience in anything is going for us – but there are more government dependent voters and those who vote based upon celebrity or emotion than upon qualifications!

    February 12, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Dano

    If Hillary Clinton is elected President I will have my passport ready – Now accepting member ship into the Departure Club.

    February 12, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    -smith

    @Liberals-Thank you. your comments have proved me correct. You call Christie a bully, maybe Hil. Clinton is the real bully.
    **************************
    Did Hillary ever make an entire community pay for not going along with her? Is there anything in her record that shows anything remotely like that? You are really grasping.

    February 12, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. daviddavid

    Going back to her previous presidential campaign, much was made of her ability (or lack thereof) to properly deal with an international crisis when the phone rang in the middle of the night.
    Benghazi clearly demonstrates that she is not up to the bar in such circumstances.
    Hillary did not answer the bell at 2 AM and 4 Americans in Bengahzi died.
    “What difference does it make?”
    Unless we know why we were so woefully unprepared on the anniversary of 9/11 on one of our installations and how we can ensure it doesn't happen again..

    February 12, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Funny that in the context of what's provided here, her "revenge" was clearly to have kept and collected accurate contemporary records that she could later use to disprove the MSM's misinformation narratives. That's hardly the kind of "revenge" CNN and the GOP/Teatrolls desperately want you to believe she was talking about.

    February 12, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. CC333

    Well I would think President Obama would be on the top of the list and then next the Democratic Party who snubbed her five years ago. You would think she would of left the party for how they treated her. Unfortunately, she has become no better then the rest. She will now not get my vote as in the past.

    February 12, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. dave

    Does anyone truly think these writing are not real and accurate? If these are a "scandal" or not is purely up to the reader, and probably straight down the line on which party affiliation one belong to, and neither are better than the other. If there are any which TRULY are independent, maybe, just maybe their opinion on the matter would be worth seeing.

    February 12, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "So Hilary's diary "

    Thanks for illustrating just how uninformed the tinfoil hatted GOP/Teatroll crowd truly is. Guess whose diary this isn't. Guess.

    February 12, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Josh

    Nice. This is the kind of petty vindictiveness we need in the whitehouse. Umm...not.

    February 12, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Me

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "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!!!"

    Hillary scares you enough for you to purposely misunderstand the content of my post, eh? Your problem, not mine. You want to play grade school, go for it; but don't expect me to follow your example.
    ______________________
    Please enlighten me, how did I misunderstand your post? Hillary does not scare me, I actually would have voted for her over Obama but now that her true colors are starting to show I am not so sure (used to like her). I don't like any of the potential GOP candidates either but unlike you and the blind followers, I will not simply vote for someone because of the letter after their name, I will either vote third party or in the case of the last election, I did not vote for any candidate, I wrote in my dog's name! There should never be a lesser of two evils, if either candidate is really bad, vote third party, but I bet you have never voted for ANYONE that does not have a D after their name....

    February 12, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. AAA Anonymous

    News is rehashed gossip.

    February 12, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Thanks for illustrating just how uninformed the tinfoil hatted GOP/Teatroll crowd truly is. Guess whose diary this isn't. Guess."

    LOL.

    @ Dominican mama

    I see that the bad weather is reaching your area. Be safe, my friend. Indeed ... be safe one and all.

    February 12, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Hector Slagg

    Um Sorry Paine,
    Funny how those simularities come back when you hope they are long forgotten. While I won't tell you who. I am a big/small part of English History. But we are talking the return of "Bloody Mary" , no? The expose of Hillary's past and "Track" record gives another example of her demeanor You don't like it. Too bad. It was a close confident that it came from. Now don't be an ass Paine and dump on Diane Blair.
    **************************
    the only thing I am dumping on is your habitual ignorance of history, and the fact that you are the one reading far more into this than is actually there. Considering the fact you always have your conclusions drawn even before the evidence is out, you are the least qualified person to to be judging anyone else's opinion. Until you actually read the papers, all either of us have is opinion. The facts regarding your half-baked analogy, however, are beyond dispute, rather like your ignorance of American history as well. Go run off and read an actual book before you post another bit of revisionist nonsense.

    February 12, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. xray vision

    Me, you mean like the 4500 that George did exactly that to, your a rube, can't see the forest for the trees?

    February 12, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Me

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "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!!!"

    Hillary scares you enough for you to purposely misunderstand the content of my post, eh? Your problem, not mine. You want to play grade school, go for it; but don't expect me to follow your example.
    _________________
    I would like to add that I understand that your post was hypothetical but you still made a comparison to what Clinton did in the White House to something the GOP did in grade school, middle school, etc even if it was hypothetical. By doing this you down play what she did as though it doesn't matter and even though it was 20 years ago, it happen while she was in the White House which makes it extremely relevant since she is trying to get back in the WH (potentially)! If it was something that happened outside of the political arena, then it might not matter as much but it still does give you a picture of her character.

    February 12, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I will either vote third party or in the case of the last election, I did not vote for any candidate, I wrote in my dog's name! There should never be a lesser of two evils, if either candidate is really bad, vote third party, but I bet you have never voted for ANYONE that does not have a D after their name...."

    Oh, for the love of God ... don't overestimate your ability to understand which you know nothing of.

    February 12, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. liberal disease

    everytime I look at her is revenge enough

    February 12, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. sifto

    Not sure I trust the motives of this story–its not like CNN to trash democrats–could it be a plant to get all this over before 2016? "What difference will it make" in 2016?

    February 12, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "@Liberals-Thank you. your comments have proved me correct. You call Christie a bully, maybe Hil. Clinton is the real bully."

    Riiiight....Teatroll bubble analysis:

    Dude whose closest staff and appointees are proven to have engaged in politically-motivated revenge: No biggy and it's a horrible persecutory witchhunt to call him a bully.

    Woman who mentions "revenge" in the context of keeping accurate records of what's really happening and not trusting the MSM to report things accurately, but no evidence exists of any "revenge" behavior whatsoever: Clearly worse.

    Keep on dreamin'...President Romney says dreams are important.

    February 12, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. fthomascain

    This woman is running one one qualification the other nominee will probably not have, unless it is Boehner or McConnell – a vagina. She has not 1 bill, piece of legislation or budget with her name on it from the senate. Not 1 peace treaty, accord or foreign policy success as SOS. But the entire middle east collapsed under her watch, Arab Spring, which she and Obama handled very badly, allowing many to become radicalized due to no strong stance by the USA, which allowed AL Qaeda to flourish all throughout the middle east and north Africa – which led to attacks on 9/11/2012 on not just Benghazi, but Cairo and many other state department assets throughout the region. These attacks happened and 4 Americans died, including an Ambassador, the first in 40 years, after repeated prior attack and 4 requests for more security forces and additional security measures installed at our embassies – all denied. Anybody who is fair minded, knows that if this had happened under a GOP administration there would have been non stop calls for resignations and investigations and a special prosecutor assigned to investigate. The person who was SOS would be dead politically – yet Hillary says
    What does it matter" and is given the usual pass given Democrats and is now poised to be our next president – AMAZING!

    February 12, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Wake up People!

    I guess now you Foxbots can stop calling this the Clinton News Network. It also doesn't seem too liberally biased either.......

    Foxlite maybe.

    February 12, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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