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. Paul

    Why else would you keep records?

    You either prove someone else wrong with them or prove yourself right.

    February 12, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. sherman

    wowszer!!! CNN are you being independent or is there another unknown in the wings for us in 1,000 days? or are we Rand Pauling it or what????? -

    February 12, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Jme

    This country just might have reached a low enough point morally to elect Hillary.

    February 12, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. KJF

    Anyone find this "reporting" inappropriate. Sure, if the diary revealed that Clinton did, planned, or has future plans to do something illegal, unethical, or immoral that would be news. But reporting on private conversations between friends seems like too much of an invasion of a candidate's privacy. What's next? Lurid tales from Rand Paul's ex girlfriends about how he eats cheetos in his boxers while ranting about how much he hates the Vols?

    February 12, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. barbara

    So who's the "narcissistic looney tune," now?

    February 12, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. iceload

    If your looking for a party taking the high road, it doesn't exist.

    February 12, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Wil

    Revenge.

    Hmmm. Isn't that why lil Bushie attacked Iraq?

    February 12, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Larry L

    I read the article twice to try and understand comments referring to negative aspects of Hillary Clinton's character or personality. I saw nothing but normal human emotions and concerns. Interesting how the neo-cons have so much fear of Hillary. They're trying to recycle conspiracies that failed the sniff test twenty years ago. Hate is powerful but the motive remains unclear to me.

    February 12, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Wichita

    Her motive doesn't sound like "revenge" so much as "accuracy." She knew the future tell-alls would all spin the facts. She wanted to be ready for them.

    February 12, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. hitman

    The most dangerous woman in America!

    February 12, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. RichrdTR

    Hilary and Bill are under investigation for whitewater,
    Hilary goes and gets Monica to bring her to Bill, then she tells Monica exactly how to do it especially the part about dripping on her dress, told her to put it in plastic before she left Bill's office and then told her she'd call when the dress was needed.
    The rest is history reinvestigate WhiteWater watch Hillary squirm.

    February 12, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Ol' Yeller

    @barbara

    So who's the "narcissistic looney tune," now?

    We give up.
    Who?

    February 12, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. Rod C. Venger

    By their nature, anyone wanting to be president is narcissistic.

    February 12, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. comeblowyourhorn

    Retribution is the name of Hillary's game....

    February 12, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. 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.

    February 12, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. Denise

    Just wait until the elections, blah blah blah, Romney will win, blah blah blah, the ACA will be repealed, blah blah blah, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, IRS, IRS, IRS, blah blah blah.........ditto ditto ditto, what the last same hundred callers have said for the last 6 years.......like the yappin dog next door at nite, nobody's listening......

    February 12, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Denise

    Let's throw another 40 million dollars @ Whitewater nad make one reference to it in the final report........lol

    February 12, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. ireuel

    I just say NO on Hillary. Please do not nominate this person. If you want a first women President, there are many more honest and better qualified. She has to many axes to grind and to may on her list to really bring this country together. We need a honest, zero ego, bipartisan person that understands the private sector, to get this country back to producing things instead of 4 trillion dollar a year spending government that borrows from our future. Face it that debt will never be paid back EVER. I for one will vote either party based on the person, not the political talking points. Time to vote term limits and clean up the people just like Hillary that have way to many people on their revenge list. They spend more time spinning and spending, for what? Paybacks. Both sides are guilty and have split us like no other time in history. Vote out all of them.

    February 12, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. mickinmd

    "...so when everyone else is writing their books, she will have materials – dates, meetings, events, to write hers..."

    It's not so much "revenge" as it is rebuttal. But it's also revenge against those who would lie about her. Anything wrong with that? Good for Hilary!

    February 12, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Wake up People!

    This story has made me respect Hillary even more. She's a normal woman with normal human emotions. And she's vengeful just like me........

    Go Hillary!!

    February 12, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. JeanneLH

    Very well said Wichita. I'm one of those people who CAN keep a confidence and can't believe this woman released her papers when Hillary was obviously confiding in her or venting to her. Maybe after the death of both women...but not before.

    February 12, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. carlin123

    Could Hillary Clinton Have What It Takes To Defeat The Democrats In 2016?

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

    Lynda Minnesota
    I see that the bad weather is reaching your area. Be safe, my friend. Indeed ... be safe one and all.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Thanks babe.
    We're actually so burned out here at work that we're praying for a good 10 – 12 inches of the white stuff so that we may all go sledding!
    Meanwhile....I see you're handling your own with your new troll attachment.
    Gosh he sounds an awful lot like our friend tom l...the same intensity, the same uncanny ability to misunderstand, the same chutzpah to tell others how they should feel and express themselves.
    These partisan rwnjs are really, really intimidated and scared of Hilary Rodham Clinton. We're nowhere near 2016 and they've pretty much given up hope and lost their marbles.
    Resorting to ragging on someone else's "she-said, he-said" diary, one that even the story says can only be validated by Hillary herself, is frankly pathetic.
    But maybe I'm wrong....wink!

    February 12, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. smith

    This is just the begining. Clinton will go through more mud slinging and so will Christie or whoever is the GOP canidate.

    February 12, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. TONE

    This is a non issue all politicians have list of enemies, or people who should have supported them and did not. Is Cnn another wing of fox news?

    February 12, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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