February 12th, 2014
08:26 AM ET
2 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. Sniffit

    ""Even more scary are people like you who will brush off ANYTHING bad that a dem does,"

    What did Hillary do that was bad here? What? Please explain in detail citing the facts.

    February 12, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. larkwoodgirl

    since there is " no way to confirm the accuracy of any of this", we should all accept it as the truth, right? I don't blame her for not trusting the media. Anyone would be a fool to do so.

    February 12, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Conscience of a Conservative

    The Clinton's need for revenge was mentioned as one reason some Democrats came out in favor of Barack Obama back in 2008. The Clinton's are very powerful, and that has rubbed some in the party the wrong way.

    February 12, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. freedom

    Revenge – narcissism – agenda – no conscience – this is the Hilary-Obama era.

    February 12, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Me wrote:

    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,
    --------------------–
    Still experiencing problems identifying cynical satire, huh?

    Factoid #1: GOP Gov. Chris Christie's staff recently reached back into high school to criticize someone.
    Factoid #2: As you have so noted, most of the events took place twenty years ago.
    Factoid #3: She cynically suggested that we go back another twenty years to high school.
    Factoid #4: I am certain there is at least one someone who will not understand any of this.

    February 12, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "This woman....[blah blah blah start off with s-xist reference to her genitalia something something move on to every baseless, unsupportable RWNJ talking point that they're trying to sell on Faux News]....AMAZING!"

    It's faces like yours that I want to watch while you try to pronounce "Madame President" and "President Clinton" for 8 whole years.

    February 12, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. xray vision

    If your opinion of her changes from these, your a sucker. You would never voted for her. You rwnj continue to post inaccurate statements in an attempt to con people into voting gop, ever ask yourself why, why you fish for the least intelligent, most uninformed segment of the populous?

    February 12, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. xray vision

    Let me answer that, because that's what it takes to vote for Republicans.

    February 12, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Sivick

    fight all you want against the inevitable GOP, it's gonna happen. You have no way of stopping it. You pretty much sealed her victory by choosing to ignore immigration reform. it's like your party has no ability for long term planning.

    February 12, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Jay

    I don't see the problem. Nothing wrong with a little political revenge, happens daily!

    February 12, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. MoveForward

    "Revenge – narcissism – agenda – no conscience" – sounds like the conservative mind set.

    February 12, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. xray vision

    Sniffit, I can't think of anything I would enjoy more than watching their reaction to the election results, and again on inauguration day, too funny!

    February 12, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    "It's faces like yours that I want to watch while you try to pronounce "Madame President" and "President Clinton" for 8 whole years."
    --------
    To borrow a quote, "President Romney approves this message".

    February 12, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    She is going to make a great President for the next 8 years after the current Pres leaves. Run with Elizabeth Warren, and the Demos could highly likely run that office for the next 16 years at least.

    February 12, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. ironman666

    the time is now to put these clintons under there rock where they belong enough with these two no more

    February 12, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Scott

    This broad (hillary) has the same level of "morals" as ol' Richard Nixon. Just like Nixon, the old hag keeps an enemies list.

    Scott

    February 12, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Drake

    She's still far more qualified to be President than any Republican stooge.

    February 12, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Me

    Sniffit

    ""Even more scary are people like you who will brush off ANYTHING bad that a dem does,"

    What did Hillary do that was bad here? What? Please explain in detail citing the facts.
    ____________
    hmmmm, maybe REVENGE.....that is not good no matter what party you belong to, the details came from a pretty reliable source so I trust them more than if it was the GOP saying it! You know I wasn't only referring to this, obamacare comes to mind, no matter had bad things went you and the gang still sang praise for Obama non stop (it is just a web site, blah blah blah), I could list more but it doesn't matter you will never say or think anything bad about your party!

    February 12, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. dinkydow

    As millions tune out of CNN and ratings plunge to the bottom. CNN revisits the truth in attempt to become relevant again.

    Maybe, just maybe the truth can set them free?

    February 12, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Note to CNN: Clinton is ahead of Chrstie by 21 points now. Your false equivalency attempt and digging through her friend's diaries 4 years after they were made public and totally ignored really isn't working.

    February 12, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -freedom

    Revenge – narcissism – agenda – no conscience – this is the Hilary-Obama era.

    *****************
    Also could describe any number of conservatives as well: does a certain Northeastern Governor come to mind, or can't you be honest enough with yourself?

    February 12, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Me

    Rudy NYC

    Me wrote:

    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,
    ------––
    Still experiencing problems identifying cynical satire, huh?

    Factoid #1: GOP Gov. Chris Christie's staff recently reached back into high school to criticize someone.
    Factoid #2: As you have so noted, most of the events took place twenty years ago.
    Factoid #3: She cynically suggested that we go back another twenty years to high school.
    Factoid #4: I am certain there is at least one someone who will not understand any of this.
    ___________________
    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!

    February 12, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. IMeanReally

    Hey...to 'Wake Up People'....CNN didn't report it...they RELAYED it. Now if CNN had first reported the story then your comment would have merit. Usually when it comes to 'bad press' for the left CNN ignores it. Sometimes that's almost impossible to do so in those cases they jump on board.

    February 12, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. conoclast

    It's very Washington to keep potential-ammunition files on your political enemies. Everybody, even the lowest bureaucrat, does it; it's a cult. The Clintons are hardly immune. Besides, where would any capitol be without its internecine intrigues?

    February 12, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. Furball

    Just as a note of reference, all of these diaries are hearsay. There is no proof that any of it is true, any proof that it's a lie, any proof that it's embellished, any proof that it was taken out of context, etc.
    Basically – even if what is written is 100% from the woman, there is no guarantee it's accurate.
    Given that, while it's in public domain, I don't think someone's personal diaries should make any difference about someone else. Now if it was HIllary's diary that is a different story

    February 12, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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