New book says Hillary Clinton blamed husband's infidelity on abuse as a child
August 1st, 2014
09:51 AM ET
2 months ago

New book says Hillary Clinton blamed husband's infidelity on abuse as a child

Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton told an interviewer in 1999 – the year after the Monica Lewinsky scandal rocked Bill Clinton's presidency – that the President's infidelity issues stemmed from his abusive mother and led to a sex addiction for the former president.

The comments come from an upcoming book by Lucinda Franks, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, whose book – "Timeless: Love, Morgenthau and Me" – is set to hit bookshelves in late August. Clinton's comments come from an interview she granted Franks, at the time a writer for the short lived Talk magazine.

"He was abused," Clinton told Franks. "When a mother does what she does, it affects you forever."

Clinton continued: "I am not going into it, but I'll say that when this happens in children, it scars you. You keep looking in all the wrong places for the parent who abused you."

Franks does not specify the nature of the abuse in the the book passage and writes that the then-first lady "declined to give me details."

Franks does, however, write the Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Bill Clinton had a sex addiction because of the abuse.

"I asked her when she thought Bill's sexual addiction began," Franks writes. "Did she know about it when they married?"

"She shook her head no," writes Franks, "and then became more animated as she started to talk about his mother."

Hillary Clinton told Franks that Bill Clinton's mother "was a doozy," according to the book, which was first reported on by the New York Daily News.

The interview, however, never was run in full and Franks left out much of the stuff Hillary Clinton said about Bill Clinton and abuse. Instead, Franks ran this quote attributed to Hillary Clinton:

"He [Bill Clinton] was so young, barely 4, when he was scarred by abuse. … There was terrible conflict between his mother and his grandmother. A psychologist once told me that for a boy being in the middle of a conflict between two women is the worst possible situation. There's always a desire to please each one."

Tina Brown, the publisher of Talk Magazine, said that the New York Daily News story was the "first I heard that the story was watered down and there were all these quotes."

"Obviously wish I had known," she said in an email to CNN. "The story made enormous news at the time with the 'it was a sin of weakness' quote but it seems there was a lot more not revealed by Lucinda then for some reason."

In the book passage, Franks reflects on why she never published part of the story.

"Abuse is a non-specific concept that can refer to any number of behaviors, some more severe than others," Franks wrote. "In any event, it was not Bill's memory, it was Hillary's – and she wasn't even there."

Franks continues: "So, for the article, I wrote up one part of the interview that she had given me on the plane and described the abusive atmosphere in the President's childhood home and the constant conflict between his mother and his grandmother over him."

Later in the book, Franks writes that she "did not regret the judgment call we had made."

It has long been known that Bill Clinton was raised in a complicated and abusive household.

Bill Clinton never knew his biological father Bill Blythe, who died in a car accident months before his son was born in 1946.

While the death left Virginia Kelley to raise young Bill, for the first few years of his life, Kelley had little to no role in Clinton's upbringing. When Bill was one-year old, Kelley decided to move to Louisiana and get a degree in anesthesiology, leaving her young child in the care of her parents.

When Kelley returned to Arkansas three years later, she quickly married Roger Clinton, Sr., a man her parents disapproved of, and someone who turned out to be an abusive alcoholic.

"Bill protected me and took responsibility at such an early age," Kelley once said of her son. "There is no way I can describe to you what he has meant to me."

After a quick divorce when Bill Clinton was 15, Kelley and Clinton got back together in 1962. Bill Clinton was strongly against the remarriage and according to a 1994 Washington Post profile, he told Kelley she was "making a big mistake, mother."

Once remarried, however, Bill Clinton – at that time known as Bill Blythe – took the Clinton last name as a way to support his mother.

Hillary Clinton has also long blamed her husband's infidelity on issues with his upbringing.

In a conversation with Diane Blair in 1998, Blair claims Hillary Clinton mentioned that she and Bill Clinton spoke with a psychologist who dealt with family therapy and sexual infidelity problems.

"Most men with fidelity problems raised by two women and felt conflicts between them," Blair wrote in a diary about her conversation with Clinton. The psychologist had "read about Bill's bio; grandmother despised Virginia, tried to get custody of Bill; Bill adored by his mother; but she left him, etc. etc."

Blair's writing on personal conversations with Hillary Clinton were part of recently discovered archives at the University of Arkansas. Blair, who was a longtime friend and confidant of Hillary Clinton's, kept detailed notes of her interactions with the first family at the hopes of one day publishing a book about them.

CNN requested a comment on the book from Hillary Clinton's spokesman, but never received one.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. old age voter

    Gurgyl said
    -paid 375 billion debt, surplus to 450 billion when left, longest economic expansion, four percent per year, 22million jobs,high home ownership, low unemployment in 30 years, raise education standards, 95 percent schools to internet, low crime, 100,000 police hired, gun-safety laws, family medical leave, small welfare rolls, high incomes–golden era of Bill Clinton. Enough? List is long....
    --------------–

    These were not accomplishments in Bill Clintons first 2 years (1993 1994) of his administration; the first 2 years were utter failures.

    Only after the Republican Revolution of 1994 where the Democrats lost the House and Senate; with the leader Newt Gingrich turned things around to make those accomplishments.

    August 1, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Rajesh

    Wow! Talk about blaming everyone but yourself!!

    So, his upbringing didn't contribute to him being one of the most successful Presidents but did contribute to his flaws. And Hilary spent decades with this man just before his infidelity.

    Isn't it more likely that Hilary drove him to infidelity? Mind you, I am saying "more likely" compared his upbringing?

    August 1, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. CG40912

    The Jedi mind trick is mastered by the Democrats. "I did not have sexual relations with that women",

    "These arent the droids your looking for".

    "Its not Bills fault it is his mothers"

    It's not Bill fault is was Monica the stalker.

    The party for women sure are blaming the women a lot.

    August 1, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Al

    What a joke she is.

    August 1, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Lizzie

    Gurgyl
    And you said all that with a straight face, LOL

    August 1, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. salty dog

    OAV, double fisting them today huh?

    August 1, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Interesting of how we keep hearing the same mantra from the conservative posters on here about how this is proof positive that liberals can't assume responsibility for anything: when I see the conservatives acknowledge the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, or how they mishandled the economy and how deficits did not matter when they were in charge, then they might have something to stand on. In the meantime, its just more of the same old tired garbage we have been hearing ever since the Conservatives discovered that being a war hero with a failing economy is not a recipe for re-election.

    August 1, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. The Truth Hurts

    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, folks.

    August 1, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. casual observation

    I wonder who paid to have her book published?

    August 1, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Gig 'em

    It is apparent that the Hilldebeast makes a pretty good living just fabricating one lie after another.

    August 1, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Democrat Junk

    A Lizzie.....Gurgyl and his typical left wing Alice in Wonderland talking points.....just an ongoing fact of life on this site

    August 1, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. buckeyepilot

    I thought everything was Bush's fault. Man these Dem's just never stop. It's every bodies fault but mine!

    August 1, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. scott

    you are the only one responsible for your actions..

    August 1, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. CC333

    It probably was a factor, but you first must blame yourself and correct your behavior. Also, Hillary needs to blame herself for playing apart and not living in denial.

    August 1, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Har har

    No, Bill was just a pig. Any cheater is a pig, and Hillary just told another lie. What else is new?

    August 1, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Doug

    If my spouse told these kind of things, I'd seek relationships outside the marriage as well.. Hillary is out of line here !

    August 1, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Gurgyl

    Some of these idiots that watch Fox trash, are scared of Hillary, yes., Hillar16. First woman president.

    August 1, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. darrinwalkupy

    wow, finally a reason to consider voting for her. If only everyone was smart enough to understand the importance that upbringing plays into every human life. The pigeons will argue that psychology is irrelevant when trying to figure out why someone has done something wrong because they believe free-will trumps everything. In a way, they're kinda right, however, what they fail to realize is that not everyone enjoys the luxury of self actualization. Also, changing habits is never easy and can take many years for people to "grow up". Our society gives little room for error. In any case, rather than argue whether or not to forgive and adult or not... why not focus on what we have learned from basic psychology to provide a safe and enriching world for all children born from this day on? We already know that kids born into poverty have a tougher time succeeding compared to wealthy kids. In the grand scheme of things, why are we blaming them when they fail? Why not just agree to focus all efforts on the next generation of kids? The cycle won't end until this is understood and agreed on.

    August 1, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. James V.

    Liberals, TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY, and BLAME everyone else, for their mistakes. How can anyone elect one?

    August 1, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. darwin anderson

    wow, finally a reason to consider voting for her. If only everyone was smart enough to understand the importance that upbringing plays into every human life. The pigeons will argue that psychology is irrelevant when trying to figure out why someone has done something wrong because they believe free-will trumps everything. In a way, they're kinda right, however, what they fail to realize is that not everyone enjoys the luxury of self actualization. Also, changing habits is never easy and can take many years for people to "grow up". Our society gives little room for error. In any case, rather than argue whether or not to forgive and adult or not... why not focus on what we have learned from basic psychology to provide a safe and enriching world for all children born from this day on? We already know that kids born into poverty have a tougher time succeeding compared to wealthy kids. In the grand scheme of things, why are we blaming them when they fail? Why not just agree to focus all efforts on the next generation of kids? The cycle won't end until this is understood and agreed on.

    August 1, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Karen

    Oh this is so politically timed it's not funny. If (or should I say when) HIllary decides she's running for president one of the questions will be, "why did you stay with Bill when he cheated on you and created a big scandal. Have you no self respect?" And the answer will point to this book about how he was abused and it wasn't his fault and how could she abandon the poor abused fellow...snff sniff. Every thing these people say and do is politically motivated.

    August 1, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. afvet

    This isn't news – this was in the European papers a couple weeks ago.

    The Clintons just refuse to accept any responsibility for what they do.

    August 1, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Truth

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh The Ultimate Demoncrat BLAME , who will she blame when she takes office? Obama or Bush?

    August 1, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Did I miss something? Did Bill just recently get blown by someone else? I'm trying to see the relevance in this article. Hillary is not the first wife in denial and she won't be the last. This article is a waste of space and just a place for people to rage against Hillary. Red meat for the Hillary haters that were yelling about how much better she was than President Obama, just a year ago.

    August 1, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Steve R

    All they had to do was shut up, sit back and watch the the GOP candidates destroy each other and themselves. Instead, the Clinton's just cannot stop talking themselves into one corner after an other. Someone in their camp needs to tie them up and muzzle them before it's too late.

    August 1, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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