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. martinbay10

    Another questionable CNN story, taking a page from tabloid entertainment journalism. The Clintons, who are not flawless, have been attached aggressively over the years. Most of the attacks were based on lies.

    Now CNN, famous for comparing the bungled Healthcare.gov rollout with Bush's Katrina mess, where people actually died due to inaction in advance of a killer hurricane, trots out a rag piece about Hillary having a 'Revenge list'.

    Almost all politicians separate friends from enemies. THIS STORY IS NOT NEWS! It's another shabby CNN effort to draw Fox News readers or viewers. Jeff Zucker should resign...

    February 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Jay

    I love how CNN can vilify Hillary Clinton with one headline for something she was "allegedly" "thinking" of doing. WoW! How's that's for politically motivated reporting. Ridiculous!

    February 12, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. martinbay10

    Ted Turner must be rolling his eyes at the state of CNN reporting.

    February 12, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    The press are hypocrites. If the person who penned this "news" could act anymore sancimonious it would miraculous. Media outlets circle like sharks when they taste blood and appear to take glee in destroying people. They do this for profit and it would appear shear enjoyment. It is obscene.

    February 12, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Rosslaw

    Hey guys, you missed the big story. Harry Truman said he was going to deck a musci critic who trashed his daughter's performance-in 1949. More breaking news to come!!!

    February 12, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. phil

    Whoa. Revenge eh? Yeah, I can see that. I'm just wondering out loud and I know this is a longshot. Still . . . those four dead Americans at Benghazi. . .were they enemies of Hillary? Nah, can't be true. Or. . .

    February 12, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. stupifyery

    Hillary and Bill are not interested in the USA, they are on a big ego trip and hope they can get back into the White House and increase their wealth. These two are terrible people and very bad for the USA. Please do not support Hillary please.

    February 12, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. Carl

    Of course everybody knows that Paula Blair was the wife of the commodities broker who handled Hillary's cattle futures trading – the one where she turned $1,000 into $100,000 in a short time, right?

    February 12, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. John

    Friend? LOL.

    February 12, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Know Your Subject

    CNN really loves Hillary, but is so conflicted by the undeniable need to publish trashy, gossipy stories about her.

    February 12, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. mia

    Hillary knew she was married to a serial womanizer way before Monica Lewinsky sauntered onto the scene. Give her some credit.

    February 12, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Logictox

    This appears a case of CNN just trying to get out in front of the story. We know they have a love affair with Hillary.

    February 12, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. T.Storm

    "Revenge" is exactly why Clinton does not need to be in the White House & why Obama is such a bad & mistrusted leader. Anyone who can not be objective enough to do their job, does not need to hold it. Keep your emotions to yourself & do the job you were elected to do.

    February 12, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. DocHollywood

    The only thing that's news worthy in this article is that republicans can titter and say 'Bill and Monica' in the same breath. The article only makes it more apparent that women candidates are treated different than men candidates.

    February 12, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. Andy

    In the first paragraph the article says "...close friend and confidant". YEAH .... RIIIIGHT!!!

    February 12, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. RichS

    All the Hillary lovers will hate this. There is truth to the story or there wouldn't be so much protest. Like they say "At this point, what difference does it make?"

    February 12, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Rich

    I used to listen to CNN because it was the most unbiased of the media outlets. It is now the new Fox News! I don't spend any time watching CNN on the tube anymore and spend very little time online, just enough to validate where this news organization has gone – in the toilet!

    February 12, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. candy

    Gee. And people want her as president?

    February 12, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. candy

    It's that ole blind eye that should scare people. "Revenge"
    This was written and published by her own friend. Yipes!

    February 12, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. I had a teacher that taught that kind of thing once.

    I had a teacher that actually advocated things like that. And how to deal with people that she couldn't pursuade. I never liked her. Got through the class and thought she was a power hungry nut.

    February 12, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  21. I AM

    Good job CNN. I thought you would slanted it even more toward Hillary. Amazing how quickly your loyal Lefties will turn on you if you dare print even the slightest negative truth about their savior Hitlary. Keep up the good work!

    February 12, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. Bill

    I will give Hillary credit. She did achieve her wish of staying true to herself, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself when you're in the political arena for as long as she's been.

    As for keeping tabs on who screwed you over? Big deal. Everyone does it, especially in politics.

    February 12, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. ryanwin

    So Hilary doesn't want what happened in the White House to get recorded in her journal for fear of it getting subpoenaed? Sounds fishy.

    February 12, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  24. Larry

    My favorite quote about Hillary comes from one of her former college roommates, who, when asked about Hillary's honesty, replied "I wouldn't turn my back on her if I was playing poker with her". That says volumes!

    February 12, 2014 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  25. Loki II

    So enjoyable having the Clinton "Unwrapped". Rotten.

    February 12, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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