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.”

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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. Jay

    And Chris Christie is the bully...hmmph.

    February 12, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  2. Chris-E...al

    Im loveing it .CNN will get them bills payed with tha help of a few repubs now. Happy Valinetin day dims.

    February 12, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  3. TK

    i guess you can't trust people is all i get from reading this besides being boring

    February 12, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  4. rl

    Ok. What is wrong with that? Why do most people keep records of almost anything. To prove a point, to let others know what is going on, or to be used against someone. When I was getting divorced and even afterwards I kept records of every time my ex-wife talked to me (she didn't keep records). These included written entries and audio tapes. She tried numerous times to take me back to court to get custody of our daughter who was in my custody from day one and these were used against her every time. I don't feel a bit guilty about it. This also was over 30 years ago. The daughter now has five children of her own and is almost 38 years old, and has been married herself for 17 plus years. I would say these were used for revenge. I probably should write a book, but I would rather read them than write them.

    February 12, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  5. rl

    Also I don't really care. There is no one at all on the right wing nut side that I would vote for and so far she is the only one that has even hinted from the left that she would run. No, I am not going to sit it out and allow the right wing nuts install another destroyer.

    February 12, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  6. JARED

    hiliary is a lier and a purely evil person. she does not care for this country or anything else unless it directly benefits her. god help this country and its future if the idiot moonbats out there elect her president. #truthaboutbenghazi

    February 12, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  7. bob

    Does anyone know if the university is going to put this information out as a book?

    February 12, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. Peggy

    Hillary's comments have been taken out of context. She was kidding, people! She is an amazing and intelligent leader and would make a great President!!

    February 12, 2014 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  9. tonedeaf

    So Hillaryzilla shared this with her best friend, and yet not one word from the she monster to even clarrify for the masses. The silence is deafening.......

    February 12, 2014 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. Vince Foster

    All I can figure is that CNN must want Biden as the next president. It just doesn't make sense otherwise that they would trash one of their own.

    February 12, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  11. Hotdawg

    Wow, heads will probably roll at CNN for reporting this. And Fox hasn't even reported on it yet. Could it be the power of the purse?

    February 12, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  12. Bruce Miller

    I had an acquaintance in high school who carried a pad around labeled "My HATE List", and he wrote in it frequently. To this day I watch the headlines for his name.

    February 12, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  13. Deb

    No way, no how, so stop coughing up crap. Hillary will win good chance by a landslide! The Dems will celebrate and prosper.

    February 12, 2014 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. gstlab3

    I think she is co dependent on Bill and she knows he is quality faker who lie his way out of anything and with political ambition there is no limit to these two and there schemes.

    February 12, 2014 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. Kitty

    This story is ridiculous. A new low for CNN.

    February 12, 2014 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  16. mike7

    Hillary scares me politically and personally. She is certainly not a Ronald Reagan, the best president the USA has had since 1945. America deserves better than Hillary. I don't care for Bill Clinton, but would vote for him over Hillary in a moment.

    February 12, 2014 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  17. No Cigar Here

    True measures of desperation are being exhibited by those on the other side of Democrats who would like to derail Hillary's run for the presidency. They are grasping at straws as if some crime had been committed which of course has not been. In the end, we see Hillary being able to overcome well this desperate attempt to give her a black eye. This can only show they are deathly afraid of Hillary in 2016. It is shameful how those who oppose her would stoop to such lows such as to think they can use this to embarrass her. Won't work in the end.

    February 12, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  18. Krenwinkle

    Hillary keeping a list of who's naughty and nice for future perks or punishment? (fanning myself like a Southern Belle) My stars, I cannot believe it... not Our Girl! She's so gentle, so sweet... think of her 2008 campaign against Obama. Okay, bad example.

    February 13, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  19. Richard

    Anyone who has followed Clinton politics since their time in the Southern backwaters shouldn't be surprised by this.

    February 13, 2014 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  20. ToneDeaf

    So none of this is being refuted,or clarified by Hillary. The silence is deafening.....

    February 13, 2014 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  21. Stan

    I wouldn't advise anybody to keep a diary, that stuff can become legal poison if you ever have charges brought against you.

    February 13, 2014 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  22. domesticdreams

    New Hillary fan here

    February 13, 2014 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  23. Jeff6187

    I like and respect Hillary. And yes 20 years ago, we all knew she was keeping track of people she might get back at. Mental notes here and there... etc. Like most politicians. Like most people. It's not news. News would be if she DIDN'T do that!

    February 13, 2014 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  24. Unaffiliated

    Reading the comments here only reveals more undeniable proof that Americans would rather choose one side of the two party system that is destroying us and defend that side tooth and nail regardless of the truth. Politics have been reduced to a spectator sport type of mentality where the constant din of 'hooray for our side' drowns out the harsh reality that the ENTIRE GOVERNMENT is an institution full to the brim with lies and corruption.

    February 13, 2014 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  25. BO

    We don't need another Nazi in the Whitehouse. Obama was quite enough.

    February 13, 2014 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
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