February 12th, 2014
08:26 AM ET
8 years ago

First on CNN–Confidant’s diary: Clinton wanted to keep records for ‘revenge'


Fayetteville, Arkansas (CNN) - Shortly before Hillary Clinton’s effort to pass health care reform died in the summer of 1994, the first lady asked a close friend and confidant for advice on “how best to preserve her general memories of the administration and of health care in particular.”

When asked why, according to the friend’s June 20, 1994, diary entry, Clinton said, “Revenge.”

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That exchange is among thousands of pages of notes, letters, and diary entries penned by Diane Blair, a political science professor and longtime Clinton friend whose papers were donated to the University of Arkansas after her death in 2000.

Blair worked on Bill Clinton’s two presidential campaigns and advised the president and first lady throughout their eight years in the White House. In particular, she was very close with Hillary Clinton, who called Blair her “closest friend” in her 2003 memoir “Living History.”

Blair’s notes from 1994 and 1995 shed light on Clinton as first lady, especially her persistent interest in recording her and her closest advisers’ accounts of their time at the White House in order to both tell her own story as well as document what she saw as the truth.

Blair Papers offer window into Hillary Clinton

In the same June 20 entry, Blair wrote that Clinton also wanted to record her staff’s insights “just to get it down while still fresh, so when everyone else is writing their books, she will have materials - dates, meetings, events, to write hers, and for at least that story to be told.”

Blair Papers 4

Bill Clinton in 1979 with Hillary Clinton (L) and Diane Blair (R). Courtesy: University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections

According to the documents, this desire was especially strong because Clinton seemed to harbor a deep distrust of the media.

Blair wrote in June 1994 that Clinton regretted speaking to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, whose book “The Agenda,” chronicling the early days of the Clinton White House, had just hit bookstores days earlier.

“She said twice or more that she now regrets having spoken to Woodward, said she felt she had to [because] he was writing it anyway; I guess that’s his schtick,” Blair wrote.

That sentiment continued later into Clinton’s time as first lady.

In January 1995, Blair writes that Clinton expressed “her total exasperation with all this obsession and attention, and how hard she’s finding to conceal her contempt for it all.”

Hillary Clinton as a kindergarten teacher?

On Thanksgiving Day 1996, Blair wrote that Clinton thought the press were “complete hypocrites.”

“Say they want the truth, want power to be transparent, but in fact they prefer the backstage manipulation of B. Bush, N. Reagan, B. Truman, R. Carter,” Blair wrote, listing several former first ladies. “On her death bed, wants to be able to say she was true to herself and is not going to do phoney makeovers to please others.”

The distrust of the media caused Clinton to have legacy concerns for both herself and her husband’s White House, according to the Blair documents.

Blair wrote in January 1995 that she had a “lengthy” conversation with Clinton about “how history can ever be written when those who do the contemporary stuff are so wrong.”

“She said there was hardly a news story that she couldn’t totally refute,” Blair wrote. “How does one arrive at the truth… So where (sic) will be her story.”

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

Despite these legacy fears, Blair wrote that Clinton was hardly eager to record her thoughts and memories of her time in the White House.

“She told me she does not keep a diary and thinks it best not to keep one,” Blair wrote about Clinton in June 1994.

Blair later wrote in January of 1995 that Clinton said “she dare not… keep records of inti9mate (sic) thoughts and conversations” for fear of “subpoenas.”

CNN has confirmed the documents are authentic and has reached out to a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, who has not responded. There is no way to independently confirm the accuracy of Blair's specific recollections and direct quotations of the Clintons.

The Blair documents made news earlier this week when the Washington Free Beacon reported that Clinton told Blair that Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who had an affair with Bill Clinton, was a “narcissistic loony toon.”

Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (330 Responses)
  1. Sojourny

    The Republicans are really scared of the CLINTONS!!!!!

    February 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ ME: "And I respect that so how about the same from you, you didn't have to comment how I know nothing because my opinion is different then yours, as I stated, I think it is relevent and I explained why, you, you just told me I know nothing!"

    You questioned my voting record ... I responded accordingly. Now, we can continue this all day should you so wish, but frankly your melodrama is getting a bit silly for me to take seriously.

    February 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC


    This corrupt president should be spending all of his time in court trying to keep out of jail. Nixon turned me in to a democrat, this crook has pulled me so far right, I don't think I can ever go back.
    That's a first. I'm not aware of Nixon's problems causing anyone to switch parties before now. Most people usually switch parties over ideological differences or systemic problems, not over the alleged actions of a single individual.

    February 12, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. jane

    Really? Is this really a newsworthy item to even be discussing? It's hard to believe the knives have already come out and every big of supposed or imagined dirt is already being dug up. Pathetic

    February 12, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. IndyMike

    It was all about her political ambitions and letting nothing stand in the way. They even raised their daughter that way. Remember the picture of the family walking to Marine 1 with Chelsea holding hand with both of them? This was at the height of the Lewinsky scandal and they could barely be civil to each other but Chelsea knew that that image of a "loving" family could pay great political dividends later. They taught her well.

    February 12, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Sick of it

    Right wing media? They reported the story – they did not "live" it. Sheesh. CNN is about as right-winged as Jesse Jackson or Rev. Al.

    February 12, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. rino

    This is so 1995.

    February 12, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. James

    close friend and confidant ? WHY DISCLOSED IT?

    February 12, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. GTS58

    Just another reason why Hillary Clinton would be a disaster as POTUS! She is a ruthless throat-cutter!

    February 12, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. John in Brooklyn

    And, fortunately, she GOT her revenge....in the form of the ACA!!!! You go girl!

    February 12, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Ed

    What kind, 33 rpm or 45 rpm!

    February 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. BLE7481

    Can't wait to see the revenge she gets to inflict when she's ushered into the White House by the biased propagandists shrieking "War on Women!" at anyone who suggests that she might just not be a very good president.

    In fact, I can feel my name going on an NSA list right now for later delivery to Madame President.

    February 12, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Lucas

    I don't know who would be a worse President, Obama or Hillary.

    February 12, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. ed

    Run Hillary make the Republicans run for cover!.

    February 12, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. bobhamiltonchicago

    Who disagrees with any of what she said? It seems as if she has a healthy perspective on things.

    February 12, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. JackBriss

    Hillary is a disgrace to herself and country. A woman president would be fine with me, as long as it isn't this woman or Pelosi, It's bad enough having Obama screw the people and one can only imagine how bad Hillary would be.

    February 12, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Norm

    I have no animosity towards the Clinton's as they are the ultimate political animals and their way of doing business is their norm. What does amaze me about politicians and of course the Clinton's are the tremendous egos that drive them. They manipulate and fight in any way they can to get what they want. Personally I cannot understand why they worry about and try to manipulate their "Legacy" . Not only do they want to tell us how to live through their acquisition of power .They also want to manipulate how we will think about them when they are dead or retired from the constant seeking of office/power. Their just seems to be a segment of humanity that just cannot live and let live but is driven to control and manipulate those around them.

    February 12, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. DC Chevy Chase

    that is such irresponsible reporting by Dan Merrica and CNN, especially the headline. shameless grab for attention. this exemplifies what is wrong with american politics today - first and foremost, the media

    February 12, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Charlie

    we alll keep a list...her mistake she wrote it down or shared with the wrong people.

    February 12, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Joshua

    For revenge? Has Clinton ever SOUGHT that revenge? No, she hasn't. This is a non-story and a non-issue.

    February 12, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. freedom

    Revenge – narcissism – agenda – no conscience – this is the Hilary-Obama era.
    Like I said – truly the Hilary – Obama era. Democrats – own it.

    February 12, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. freedom

    Is this really the best woman the democrats can offer?? Pitiful.

    February 12, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. Steve

    Hillary reminds me of a song: Who let the Dogs out??

    February 12, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Jodo

    This is an evil woman with a black soul. obama's own advisor correctly called her a MONSTER during the campaign.

    Let's turn the country over to Lucifer in drag and see how well that works out.

    February 12, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Anonymouse

    'Publitards are grasping at straws. Anything to make Clinton look bad.
    Keep digging suckers. You won't find anything. Benwhatagain?

    February 12, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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