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. hkirwin

    Its Monica's fault! Now who would of guessed that they would blame a teenage girl for Bill's smoking habits..

    February 10, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  2. abmri60

    What difference does it make now ??

    February 10, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. Pat

    Hillary's the loony tune for sticking with that serial philanderer.

    February 10, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. Jim

    Who cares? That happened 16 years ago.

    February 10, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. RandyIA

    An the women's libbers have no negative comments about this because Hillary is on the left in 3...2...1...

    February 10, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  6. Pete/Ark

    Two thoughts here ...I knew Diane Blair for decades ( long before Hillary met her) , she was a great political scholar and her papers provide accurate insights . If "narcissistic looney tune" was the worst thing Hillary called her , I am both shocked and disappointed because I well know that she has a much more "colorful" vocabulary.

    February 10, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  7. jpmichigan

    Once again the media is encouraged to write about the private lives of individuals, that to talk about the NOW Presidents lack of taking seriously the oath of office. Mistakes that this administration calls , four Americans dies and Senator Schumer still calls on the IRS to keep tabs on the Tea Party.

    February 10, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. Name

    This story is almost 20 years old ..really ?? we care about what's she's gonna do now !!!!

    February 10, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    I cannot believe that this entire episode is being rerun in the medai. Pres. Clinton was called to testify at congressional hearings into whether or not he had cheated on his wife. Bill's testimony was seemingly inaccurate. Republicans used that flimsy rationale as an excuse to charge Pres. Clinton with obstruction of justice, or some other excuse. The Republicans were hopping mad because Clinton had thumbed his nose at them, by effectively and politely telling them that it was really none of their business.

    At the time, I had applauded Bill lying to them, and I still do. First of all, Bill marital affairs are business of the Congress. The last time that I checked, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits cheating on your wife. Repubilcans had tried to humiliate Pres. Clinton, and by extension Hillary, by forcing him to publicly admit to some sort of infidelity. Bill probably lied to them, either in part, or in whole. I think any decent man would have done the same thing, if he truly loved his wife, despite any promiscuous transgressions. It was none of Congress' business, anyway.

    February 10, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  10. Johnnydoe

    If she called Monica a narcissistic looney toon, then makes you wonder what she called(s) Bill.
    I mean it takes two to tango!

    February 10, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  11. Nathan

    That looney tune is hot in the sack; compared to that cold fish hillary....

    February 10, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  12. Michael

    Keep on smiling through the attacks, Hillary. In 2016 you'll be elected our first woman President, and the empty heads of RWNJs everywhere will explode.

    February 10, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. 1Joyce

    Wow. Bill is a lucky man to have a wife who is willing to make so many excuses for his bad behavior. If she every becomes president we'll just have a repeat of Obama, which we do not need. She'll blame everyone but herself for her wrong-doings or choices.

    February 10, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. Oakspar77777

    What about the other affairs? Lewinsky was only one of several.

    February 10, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. ironman666

    that because no one eles wants this old crow in there life

    February 10, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. Simply put...

    Simply put – calling her a loony toon is putting it rather nicely, I would say. Imagine what other words she could have called Monica....We all can think of a few! I also love how these recorded statements which were meant to be "private" are now being aired. Timing is everything and we can see through the hate. Nice try folks 🙂

    February 10, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. Winning

    My uncles's 2nd wife's best friend once told me blah blah blah.

    CNN doesn't have the journals or whatever they are, and they are from a 3rd party source. Why is this even news? What, is CNN a tabloid now?

    February 10, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. kate gallagher

    So what, I am sure she said worse about her husband.

    February 10, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. TiredofSilly1

    Not a Hilary fan, but on this one she was right. Monica WAS a loonytoon, a tramp, and a nasty piece of work. She saved that dress with the intent of blackmailing Clinton. NO ONE saves a goo-streaked dress in their closet unless they're planning to go public at some point.

    February 10, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Richard Miller

    C'mon CNN, is this your new form of new worthy items? You are beginning to look more and more like the so called newspapers by the checkout stands at the super market!

    February 10, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. rs

    Really? This is what Republicans are reducing themselves to?

    Mr. Clinton's only "crime" was having an affair at the same time Mr. Gingrich did- except worse perhaps is that like Clinton, Gingrich also lied about it- and he was positioned to be Mr. Clinton's grand inquisitor in the failed attempt to impeach Clinton.

    Typical Republican overreach and hypocracy.

    The GOP has nothing, the GOP IS nothing.

    February 10, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. Dorothy

    So? I would probably have called her much worse, and nothing that you could print. Sounds to me like she was being nice.

    February 10, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. BluntNRude

    Her assessment is correct however the elementary school adage of "it takes one to know one" comes to mind here.

    February 10, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. WCSallyAnn

    I think he should talk about different things. He is part of the problem, and doesn't realize it. We need jobs, our infrastructure needs fixing, but he is trying to demean Hilary so if she does decide to run for POTUS, he thinks (not very good at thinking) he will hurt her with those comments.
    He needs to realize that people will not vote for him, he's just like his dad.

    February 10, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. JJ

    That's ok, she says the same thing about Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin, and the entire country agrees. Move on, nothing to see here.

    February 10, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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