February 10th, 2014
05:26 AM ET
9 years ago

Documents reveal Hillary Clinton’s private reaction to her husband's cheating scandal with Monica Lewinsky

Updated 4:10 p.m. ET, 2/10/2014

Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton told a close friend that Monica Lewinsky was a "narcissistic loony toon," and also discussed in detail why she decided to forgive her husband for having an affair with the White House intern, according to documents penned by Diane Blair, a close friend and longtime confidant to the former first lady.

The contents of the documents, which are part of Blair’s papers housed at the University of Arkansas, were first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website that posted the story late on Sunday night.

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CNN has confirmed the documents are authentic and has reached out to a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, who has not responded.

Read the documents

Blair’s writings are made up of notes and diary entries based on communication the former political science professor who died in 2000 had with Mrs. Clinton.

“It was a lapse, but she says to his credit he tried to break it off, tried to pull away, tried to manage someone who was clearly a 'narcissistic loony toon'; but it was beyond control," Blair wrote about a conversation she had with Clinton on September 9, 1998, during the height of the Lewinsky scandal that led to her husband’s impeachment.

Blair went on to write that Hillary Clinton had suggested her husband had made the mistake with Lewinsky because of the personal toll the deaths of his mother, her father, and their friend Vince Foster had taken on him while "the ugly forces started making up hateful things about them, pounding on them."

The story comes as speculation heats up that the former New York senator and secretary of state is weighing a second run for the White House.

The Blair papers were not made public until 2010, well after Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 2008.

And the details come as Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a likely 2016 GOP White House contender, continues to call the Lewinsky scandal a liability for Democrats.

Some Democrats pushed back, saying the documents don't reveal anything more about Hillary Clinton's feelings about the controversy than what she wrote in her memoir, "Living History."

Clinton described herself as "dumbfounded, heartbroken and outraged" when her husband told her about his relations with Lewinsky.

"Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him," she wrote. "'What do you mean? What are you saying? Why did you lie to me?'"

Democrats argue the passages from her own book are more powerful because they come directly from her.

Where is Monica Lewinsky?

The Clinton-Lewisnky affair captivated the nation’s attention as the sordid details became international news. The relationship and grand jury investigation led the House to impeach Clinton on two charges in December 1998. In February 1999, the Senate acquitted him.

Just days after Clinton’s impeachment, Blair wrote that Hillary called her, and they had a lengthy conversation about impeachment.

“She sounded very up, almost jolly,” writes Blair. “Told me how she and Bill and Chelsea had been to church, to a Chinese restaurant, to a Shakespeare play, greeted everywhere with wild applause and cheers.”

She added, “This, she said, is what drives their adversaries totally nut(s), that they don't bend, do not appear to be suffering.”

According to Blair, Clinton said that “most people in this town have no pain threshold.”

Blair’s writings also show Hillary Clinton sought to downplay the relationship between her husband and Lewisnky.

“HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behavior but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within any real meaning… of the term,” Blair wrote.

In addition to Hillary Clinton's private thoughts on the Lewinsky matter, Blair's writing talks about Clinton's support for a single payer health care system, as well as her thoughts on foreign policy, among other subjects.

According to notes about a dinner Blair had with the first couple on February 23, 1993, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton talked “at length about the complexities of healthcare,” with the first lady saying stating “managed competition a crock, single payer necessary; maybe add to Medicare.”

Hillary Clinton was the face of the White House’s unsuccessful 1993 push on health care reform and healthcare comes up throughout the Blair notes.

Clinton’s admission that “single payer necessary” contrasts what she has sad in the past. In a 2008 interview with the New York Times, Clinton said, “You know, I have thought about this, as you might guess, for 15 years and I never seriously considered a single-payer system.”

Blair, a political science professor from Arkansas, joined Gov. Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign as a senior researcher and worked as a senior adviser on his successful 1996 reelection bid. She became a close friend to both Clintons, but particularly the first lady.

She died in 2000 at the age of 61. At the time, The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton eulogized Blair as “the best person that one could have as a friend.”

The documents portray Blair’s relationship with Clinton as both professional and personal. While they appeared to talk extensively about policy and politics, they also discussed books, travel and family.

The Blair documents were donated by her husband, James, in 2005. The documents were processed and completed by 2010 and contain 109 boxes of information that range from Blair’s professional materials to her correspondence with the Clintons.

If Clinton runs in 2016, what will Biden do?

James once helped Hillary Clinton make $100,000 in commodity futures trading, which drew scrutiny for its timing.

According to the Free Beacon, Hillary Clinton was a supporter of making the Blair records public in 2010.

“With this collection, [Diane Blair’s] contributions will grow and live on, enlarging our understanding of history, politics and culture,” Hillary Clinton reportedly said, according to the Free Beacon. "I hope also that some young scholar will come along and write the story of Diane.

The Washington Free Beacon reporter who first poured through the documents didn't think she'd find all that much to write about.

"I went down to Arkansas. I honestly didn't think that there would be much there, because I feel like so much of the Clintons, especially the 1990's related stuff, has been so picked over by reporters. But yeah, I went down and surprisingly there were some interesting things there," Alana Goodman told CNN's Brooke Baldwin in an interview on CNN Newsroom.

Moment of tension between Bill and Hillary Clinton

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (955 Responses)
  1. dave

    But why on all the other known affairs?

    February 10, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Nodack

    More tabloid politics 20 years after the fact isn't going to make people vote Republican. Making fake web sites of Democrat contenders isn't going to make people vote Republican. Bringing up a Benghazi a few more hundred times isn't going to make me vote Republican. Telling me over and over that nobody wants health care reform isn't going to make me vote a Republican. Shutting down the government isn't going to make me vote Republican.

    The only way a Republicans would have a chance getting my vote is if they got off their _sses and actually did something to help America instead of spending 100% of their time throwing rocks at a Democrats.

    After Bush lied and fabricated evidence to go to war and killed hundreds of thousand I was done with him. After Republicans found out it was all lies and fabrications they reelected him and I was done with them. Bush doubles the debt and not a single word from Republicans. Obama doubles the debt trying to hold back the second worst recession in US history handed to him by Bush and Republicans scream gloom and doom. The way Republicans have acted since Obama was elected disgusts me.

    Who am I kidding? Republicans have no chance of getting my vote.

    February 10, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. wendel

    she handled the affair with class at the time. I would have said more about the woman if it where my husband. Really republicans digging this up now? Christy shuts down a bridge that could have put someone's life in danger and you bring up a twenty year old affair. You all must be really scared of Hillary. And you should be . Women find her to be smart strong and professional. Unlike the trolls you guys keep backing. The only women you can come up with are all nut jobs and looney toons. too.

    February 10, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. I don't get it

    Here is what we can count on the next three years whenever Conservatives talk about Hillary... there will be a noun... a verb.. and Benghazi. Just as Gulliani used 9/11, they have a new word... Once again people will get tired of hearing it, tired of the far stretch and eventually hold it against any candidate they put at the top of their ticket.

    February 10, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    Why should Hillary be vilified for something Bill did?

    February 10, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. dave

    If only Bill would have decided NOT to LIE to CONGRESS under OATH, (which is a felony, by the way), then Monica would have never been an issue which had any traction or meaning. However, if one is willing to LIE directly to us AND under OATH on something so comparatively minor and so EASILY proven to be a LIE, The People do have to ask themselves what would he not LIE to our faces about? O you think Hillary is really any more truthful?

    February 10, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    @Ann C
    Rand Paul...this only helps to unite women with Hillary. If this is what you have to discredit Hillary Clinton you are in trouble. Again GOP/Tea Party versus women. You never learn will you.
    Hating on women, telling them who not to marry, what to do with their bodies, libido baby maker comments, loony slurs about Ms.Clinton. It is like they are trying to lose the female vote. Train wreck in slow motion.

    February 10, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. bluejayFL

    I am sure she thought about the options and made her decision accordingly.

    February 10, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Trent

    Who cares...?

    February 10, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. LL

    This is where the French, and European Union in general, is so much more adult than America (well, that and food and healthcare and...oooops, better stop). The fact that Paul is even mentioning Lewinsky is laughable. European officials openly have affairs and carry on with the business of governing. Is this ideal? No, but judge Clinton on the economic success and prosperity that took place during his term - not a transgression with a fawning airhead.

    February 10, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. truth is

    If all it takes is an affair for the president to make the economy and country as good as it was under Clinton, can we please hire some good looking interns and get these presidents some please.

    February 10, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. emskadittle

    At least she wasn't on her death bed when bill was cheating on her

    February 10, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |

    As with all democrats and politicians fro that matter, strictly for political reasons.

    February 10, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Natalia

    She needs to retire perion

    February 10, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Who gave the GOP the green light to slander ML's name all over again, and that 's where the problem lies, they must be using Rush's playbooks.

    February 10, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. G. Zapata

    I am as liberal as they come, and I don't think this is slandering at all. In fact, I believe this will help Mrs. Clinton on her way back to the White House. If Republicans try to capitalize on this, namely Rand Paul, she will be able to come out and say, "Another private matter involving women that Republicans can't seem to keep their noses out of", OR, "Instead of leaving this sore spot in the history books as a moment of poor judgment for my husband, I am forced as a woman, to relive this tough time in my life, to take blame for it." How is that for throwing it back in their faces? No Republican male will dare go down this road, of fear that they will lose the one base they so desperately need, women.

    February 10, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. LeRoy_Was_Here

    JRuss writes: timmy.......you are right, it matter little what Mr Clinton did with an 18 year old intern. It matters greatly that he was not honest enough to admit the truth.

    LeRoy: Fact-check time. Monica Lewinsky was a 23-year-old WOMAN at the time of her affair with Bill Clinton. She was NOT an 18-year-old GIRL. And she went to Washington, D.C. with the express goal of seducing the President. She had told all her friends of her intention even before moving to Washington.

    February 10, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Cinardo

    She stayed because she needed his help with her political career. No accomplishments as the Senator from New York and only the deaths of Americans from her stint as SOS.

    February 10, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. el rob o

    There was a huge amount of nasty stuff about Hillary in this and that's all CNN can address? Either CNN staffers are lap dogs or are pushing the liberal propaganda forward so thoughtless sheep will follow unaware of the truth.
    cnn will protect the Clintons out of fear of repercussions.

    February 10, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Steve, New York City

    What was Hillary's other supposed famous quote? It takes a village to keep an eye (on my husband).
    Bill Clinton is quite a character - I actually met him in 2003 (he's much bigger than he looks on tv).
    With the exception of not controlling some libidinous urges, he actually wasn't a bad president.

    February 10, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. emskadittle

    be very careful republicans, attack her on this issue at your peril

    February 10, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. truthbetold1226

    Ha, the right wingers are trying to sling some mud on Hillary to slow her down from winning the 2016 General Election.. Well, if Hillary doesn't win it, you can bet your bottom boots no right wing conservative (GOP) will win..

    February 10, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Sandra

    Sorry, Rand Paul... no one cares about the so-called "scandal". Keep trying, though! ;o)

    February 10, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. DustyOnes

    Hillary is creating a War on Women.

    February 10, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. nortman

    Interesting that Fox covered more of her comments about Bill's affair with Monica, and mentioned her statement that she said part of the blame was hers because of her failings as a wife. Yet CNN ignored that in their story on it. I'm willing to bet it's because the feminist groups would not be happy that Hillary said something like that. So, if CNN didn't mention it, they can claim they didn't know she said it.

    February 10, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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