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. thenitenurse

    You know as a wife, Hillary is either an extremely understanding enabler wife or just huge denier of bad behavior.

    February 10, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    RT Colorado

    Hillary Clinton's account contains some truth, Monica probably was (is) a narcissistic loony tune. Having conceded that point, the rest of it doesn't pass the "smell test". Anyone of believes for a minute that President Clinton did not have the ability to have a twenty year old intern transferred to another department lacks an understanding of the power of the Executive.
    I have been in that uncomfortable position of having a member of the opposite sex come on to you. There's nothing worse than the wrath of a woman scorned. It's frequently damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I've turned down advances, but only to be rewarded by unproven accusations of sexual harassment. Love affairs and work environments do not mix very well. I've always made it point to avoid it, but sometimes you cannot control the actions of others no matter what you do.

    Had Clinton simply tranferred the intern, then that would have brought attention to her and the inevitable questions of why was this done because her work performance was exemplory. Sometimes you just simply cannot win, no matter what you do.

    February 10, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. sailor12

    Why do people keep bring up something thats over 15 years old and has nothing to do with todays situations. Republicans must have run out of things to say about Obama for awhile. Oh, I forgot the debt silling and Farm bill are due and the pork that they need to put in the bill for their own states. So they will have to wait another week.

    February 10, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. sailor12

    Who cares except republicans who know their time is almost up.

    February 10, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Jimmy Joe Bob

    I find it amazing that Republicans are trying to revive this tired story.

    I shows their desperation.

    February 10, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. cmml

    Hilary didn't care if Bill was with Monica, Gennifer, or any of the other bimbos – as long as Reno and Shalala were in the White House, she was just fine!

    February 10, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Qwen

    Lewinsky is a chapter that has already passed. I think it is time to move on.

    February 10, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Jme

    How about Monica and Bill for 2016?

    February 10, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. PM Ohio

    It was over-blown 15 years ago and is a non-story now. Rand Paul shows his arse every time he opens his dangerous mouth. Many, many powerful men make the same mistake as Bill Clinton did and it goes accross both Party's...it is human frailty and hte fact that humans aren't really supposed to stay with the same partner for life. In Nature it rarely happens and is only a societal norm, mostly because of religion. He made a mistake and only has to answer to Hillary, not some buffoon politician. Funny that for the past 15 years the GOP still has not had a good idea to move this country forward, only smoke screens in the form of social issues to deflect the people's attention away from the fact that the GOP policies have caused the greatest separation of wealth our country has ever seen, rapidly destroying the middle class and voting NO to every Bill that has been introduced to help the American people. The poor in this country deserve better than the NRA and Religious Right making politics about social issues, while not providing proper education, water, jobs and injecting religion into politics.

    February 10, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. John

    I think it's pathetic how women still hold other women at fault when their husbands cheat, and then makes excuses for the guy. If anything it's the husbands who should be held responsible for the most fault.

    February 10, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. FrankinSD

    Not sure why, but I can't seem to get interested in double hearsay that is nearly twenty years old. Oh yeah, it's just more right wing hate mongering. That must be why.

    February 10, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. Dean

    Hillary is so damaged there is no way she can run. Christie was crushing Hillary before the liberials took him down. Demcrats would elect Hilter if he could win.

    February 10, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Dennis Knicely

    If Rand Paul spent more time supporting and creating a platform good for non partisan support of viable legislation we would all be better off. By continuously bringing up old sores, we simply open up bad blood politics instead of healing wounds. Is Rand actually any different than the "drill baby drill" approach after the Bush/Cheney "kill baby kill" happening as a result of Iraq massacres that Cheney called "collateral damage"? What has happened to a peaceful dialogue approach bridging differences to simply make the compromises friendly, instead of polarizing forces leading to polar arctic vortex from burning oil?

    Where do you really stand, Rand? What do you really support that will help us sustain life for future generations?

    February 10, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Catherine

    Sorry Hill, you were the "looney toon" and also a fool for sticking with the democratic party after they dissed you for a man of "color" (even though he is only half), because they chose that over a woman – who is at war with women, look in the mirror

    February 10, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Rich

    If the worst thing we can bash Hillary for is having a husband who likes hummers, I think the GOP is in for some trouble.

    February 10, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. PaulCat

    ooooh pleaseeeee, give me a break.
    This is old news.
    Come on Paul, what esle you got?????
    Maybe something your daddy said!
    """"""Hillary – 2016"""""""""

    February 10, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Rich

    GOP going for that rare "women who have never and would never forgive a man for cheating" demographic.

    February 10, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

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

    You must be one of those krishtuns who yammers on about forgiveness but doesn't have a clue what it actually is.

    February 10, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. dsangiovanni

    The Lewinsky scandal a liability for the Democrats?.... I think that will be a liability for whoever try to use it against Hillary..

    February 10, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Ever wonder what Michele Bachmann would call the person who her husband would cheat with?

    February 10, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. sly

    "Monica Lewinsky"?
    "Where is his Birth Certificate"?
    "Jimmy Carter lusted in his heart"
    "There WERE weapons of mass destruction"

    This is the best the TeaKlan can come up with? Wow – the complete collapse of an entire political party.

    February 10, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Bessy

    Why do so many people want to get involved in something that was strictly between husband and wife. We would be much better off if people would just mind their own business. This is a non issue and way past it's prime as a news maker.

    February 10, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Craig

    Who cares? This is the equivalent of calling someone a "booger face". Glad you report the good stuff.

    February 10, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. AlbaMN

    Rand Paul is indeed desperate. None of our business why Hillary forgave Bill. It is a private matter.

    February 10, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    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
    Oh..free plug for the Randster.
    How's the weather in Minnesota babe?

    February 10, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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