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. roofinreality

    Seems odd use of the term – loony toon. But then again, Monica Lewinsky was quite young, so maybe it was a play on the term.
    In the end, Hillary did what Pat Robertson (the evangelical that he wants to be) suggests. That is, forgive and move forward.
    So, for my friends on the right, stop being hypocritical. You preach forgiveness and then she does that and you look at her cynically. For you on the left, don't think that people portray this as "business as usual," Interestingly, though, it's normally the "liberal ones" who end up getting divorced.

    As for why Dems trot Bubba out, well, please ask Mitt Romney. After all, even Mitt saw the power Bill Clinton STILL sways with the public. As such, his approval ratings remain quite high.

    February 10, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Rand(om) Control

    Ask Rand Paul, he's the only person in the world who cares

    February 10, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Cookie girl

    Hillary Clinton knows which side her bread is buttered. She rode her sorry excuse for a husband's coattails to fame and fortune. And as usual, the adoring American people have "swallowed" the excuses of a liberal, hook, line and sinker.

    February 10, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Ah my friend, what some wouldn't do to have those types of "woes"!
    Gotta play the cards you're dealt to the best of your abilities I guess.
    Don't hate the player...hate the game!
    Go get 'em Rudy!!!
    You'd hate the games, too. I feel like the celebrity who wants to go out in public, but doesn't because of unwanted attention. I've had my fill of the insecure delusionals defending what is theirs.

    For example, I've walked into a restroom in a club and suddenly find myself confronted by some little Napoleon demanding to know why "his woman" keeps staring and looking at me. I'll have no idea of who or what little Napoleon is talking about, which only makes the matter worse.
    You really ARE in love with yourself, aren't you? Explains a lot.

    February 10, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. zjmullen2013

    To quote the meme: "WHAT YEAR IS IT?"

    February 10, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. BE

    If your spouse cheated on you with someone else, what would YOU call that person?

    February 10, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. jerrylax

    We have too many voters who have no memory of the clinton white house. It was 8 years of scandal mismanagement that left our in tell community and military in a mess. It was like having a bunch of Jr High kids running the country. It was this leadership that created the opportunity for 9/11 (the first bombing of the trade center was on clinton's watch as well). Bush inherited a mess, the bundling of mortgages and out of control excess of Freddie and Fannie Mae were well underway. Bush inherited a stock market that had three years of back to back losses 1999, 2000, and 2001. No we don't need this bunch back in power…what we saw of clinton during the benghazi hearings is all we need to know the clintons are BUSINESS AS USUAL…scandal and corruption in spades. Lets drain that swamp and move on to a better America!

    February 10, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. nutti

    I 'm sure she had a few other choice words too.

    This was 16 years ago. Who cares what she said?

    February 10, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. craig

    What is really ridiculous is the fact that the people of this nation feel that they have any right to judge anyone else based upon that person's personal life, or that they are somehow warranted to pry into their privacy. A president does not need to be completely infallible with respect to his own private personal life in order to do his job, just the same as a doctor does not need to be perfectly healthy.

    February 10, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Jeff6187

    CNN Don't you have anything better to do?? Seriously we're all sick of your TMZ imitation. If anything, Hillary showed amazing restraint over the whole thing. If anything it was almost two decades ago.

    Maybe somebody should explain to you and your news staff that ...Keeping your nose out of people personal business is a liberal value too!

    February 10, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Carrie

    It was only one that we knew of and I am sure their were many more...who knows maybe Hillary tapped a couple herself! ;0)

    February 10, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Jason

    Everyone...come quick. You gotta read SLY's comment. I think she actually believes what she wrote. WoW

    February 10, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Reddog9500

    George Stephanopoulos had Monica's number. He told his staff to keep her away from him. Poor Bill got blindsided. All I can say is to quote the bible and "Let them that are without sin cast the first stone." (That should have kept Newt Gingrich quiet....but it didn't, did it.)

    February 10, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Ken

    Hillary would be well within her rights to call Monica Lewinsky anything she wanted to!!

    February 10, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. roofinreality

    Well, let's see here.
    The conservative Newt Gingrich would suggests divorce or forgiveness?

    I hope someone asks him that question on Cross Fire and get his take.
    That should be interesting to see considering he's had two divorces for his own cheating.

    February 10, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    What DIFFERENCE doe it make 🙂

    February 10, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. floyd from illinois

    CNN, it's been fifteen years – get over it, already.

    Everyone else has, including, and perhaps especially, the Clintons.

    February 10, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. chelseallyn

    Seriously? This is news? I didn't think it was Throwback Thursday, or Here's More News You Don't Care About In Lieu of Actual News-Worthy Current Events Monday.

    February 10, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. robjh1

    And if Mrs. Clinton called Lewinsky a "looney toon" so what? Ms. Lewkinsy has been called worse.

    February 10, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. tony

    Funny the GOP don't want you to remember 6 years ago but want you to remember almost 20 years ago

    February 10, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Galumbits

    The nature of their relationship really isn't anyone's business and it certainly has nothing to do with anybody's ability to lead, govern, read a book, sign their name, etc.

    February 10, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. w w

    Can we please educate American voters on the importance of Researching and electing to public office, people who are intelligent, respectful, accountable, have relevant (rapport, managerial, financial) job experience, military service, and able to make it through the day without blaming others?
    Out of control egos and self pity queens vying for media attention (narcissistic) need not apply.

    February 10, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. KittyKatz

    I cannot believe we are still talking/hearing about this. Get over it. It's past history.

    February 10, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. JFCanton

    I can buy the explanation about Monica, but not the looking the other way on the Paula Jones situation and all the others. And I suspect the world would have been better if she tossed his clothes out on the lawn and he resigned like a honorable man and made Gore president, probably sparing us at least one unnecessary war...

    February 10, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. ireuel

    I is a distraction, Clintons, lets talk about Bill cheating. Barry lets talk about a birth certificate. It is the distraction they want, becuase they don't want to answer the tough questions. It is politics 101. Can we please elect someone that is boring. PS Both sides are wrong.

    February 10, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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