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. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Aana Smither
    Why there is not simple description – sexual harassment at work. How low are morals and ethics standards of Mr. Clinton ? Calling a young women names is very low of Mrs.Clinton. Well that is expected of Mrs Clinton – the same low standards as her husband's..

    From what I read, Mrs. Clinton called Monica a Looney Tune in a private correspondence. She could have called her a lot worse, when you consider that Ms. Lewinski was probably a Republican plant trying to bring down the president. Remember Linda Tripp?

    February 10, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Rusty Krus

    Why does this little creep get so much face time on CNN?

    February 10, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. AFvet

    It's been over 15 years, please come up with something more present.

    Sure – as soon as Democrats stop going back 25+ years to dig up stuff on Republicans. Remember the "Mitt was a bully in school' story? Which turned out to be false?

    February 10, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Ovawendon

    The over the top reaction by Republicans caused me to change parties. Since this issue, many prominent Republicans have also been caught with their pants down. Rand Paul needs to find things to talk about that would make America good and strong again, not rehash sex in the White House. Rand needs to stop telling people how to live and look around at the poor in HIS state who need help. The guy also probably has tons of secrets in his closet too. Time to dig them out!

    February 10, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. smith

    @Beverlync- So basically you want a liberal dictatorship. How nice.

    February 10, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Russell

    Why is this news? Most women wouldn't say much of anything nice about the "other woman" in a situation like this. Can we get some real news on here CNN? I expect better of you.

    February 10, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. ktown8

    Hilary is the real "loony" one for staying with her husband through all of his cheating. Then again, she is a lesbian and just with him to fulfill her ultimate goal of being President. Such trash. Fine example you set for American children, Hilary.

    February 10, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Larke Marie

    It the pot calling the kettle black...........this lady is dangerous!

    February 10, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. Dallas

    Oh please! This is ancient history. This matter is between Bill and Hillary and no one else. Let it go and move on! These Republicans have nothing to offer but dredging up the past but guess what, Rand and all your cronies, it's not going to work. America is too smart to fall for your bigotry and intolerance. Go away!

    February 10, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Bill Marvel

    I think Hillary comes off pretty good in this account.
    Her assessment of Monica is, if anything, overly generous. And her decision to forgive her husband, even if it doesn't meet the exacting standards of some wagging tongues here, is her business.
    It takes a lot of arrogance to judge somebody else's marriage, even if they are a potential political candidate and from the other party. .

    February 10, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. J

    I don't like Hillary, but I'm not going to judge her for calling Monica a loony toon. If I found out my wife was cheating with her intern, I'm sure I would have a few choice words to say too.

    February 10, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. Davo

    Spouses cheat all the time but usually not becoming the fabric of a generation – comedians, TV, movies. How Hillary seemed to compartmentalize to "just" a cheating spouse is fairly amazing to me.

    February 10, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Tampa Tim

    I wonder if Fox media and Newsmax will be able to cut, splice, and edit any of this to create some genuine bagger hate.

    Since those 'news' outlets are not bound by facts they just need to find a creative way to blame it on Obama. The reasons don't matter then. The genuine bagger hate flows like water.

    February 10, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. MikeinMT

    I don't want to hear anything about why any Clinton said anything about anyone. I'm sick of the Clintons and especially HC. How anyone can't see that she ran like a little girl from Benghazi by leaving her cabinet position, not just lying but sacrificing Susan Rice's reputation for personal gain is beyond me. And the DNC wants this person to represent the party in 2016?

    February 10, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. Anonymous

    @865115, It's not just CNN, It's all of them.

    February 10, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. Silence DoGood

    @Jeff Brown in Jersey
    @Aana Smither
    Why there is not simple description – sexual harassment at work. How low are morals and ethics standards of Mr. Clinton ? Calling a young women names is very low of Mrs.Clinton. Well that is expected of Mrs Clinton – the same low standards as her husband's..

    From what I read, Mrs. Clinton called Monica a Looney Tune in a private correspondence. She could have called her a lot worse, when you consider that Ms. Lewinski was probably a Republican plant trying to bring down the president. Remember Linda Tripp?
    Yes, we should all remember Linda Tripp, the conservative operative that deceived ML, was last person to see Vince Foster alive, etc. Yeah let's all go back and dig real deep around there. I think conservatives don't want too much detail to surface from Ken Starr Inquisition. How about we just all let it go.

    February 10, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. DaveYoung

    Actually no Hillary – it is your husband who was/ is the "narcissistic looney tune" WE can all see that, why can`t you ?

    February 10, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. ConfucianScholar

    Monica Lewinsky is a more realistic candidate for 2016 than Hillary Clinton.

    February 10, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    I guess her reaction is no longer "private".
    Why is there a picture of Rand Paul with this story, yet I see no mention of him in the article?

    Rand Paul is the one who has been running around the media with his Lewinsky talking points in hand. Apparently, CNN is happy to oblige him in his fantasies.

    February 10, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. Ken

    Jeff Brown – Really? A Republican plant? The first clue that she was not a Republican plant is that she was a thick and homely looking girl, clearly a Democrat. I think we all know that us Republicans have far better taste than that!

    February 10, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. docdeb27

    When did CNN become FOX News?

    February 10, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. Coven

    This is a personal family matter. This is why I don't like politics. All the mudslinging.

    February 10, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. JimTheBoy

    Isn't it a little strange that the person who reveal this, is now dead. And it is also strange and also down right scary that a lawmaker such as Rand Paul cannot get his mind off of an affair that happened some 15 years ago. Does he get his "jollies" off thinking about event such as this?????

    February 10, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. NealR2000

    I love all the outraged comments here. Yes, come on CNN, how dare you drag up anti-Hillary stories. Get back to doing what you do best and find something new, no matter how irelevant, about, say, Chris Christie. Is the regular Editor on vacation? Didn't anyone tell the new guy that this is the Hillary campaign website?

    February 10, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. Anna

    She's only pissed he got busted. That woman is so power hungry she will eat her young.

    February 10, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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