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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    While focus groups agreed she was smart, some voters found her "too strong" and "too outspoken," according to the memo. One voter said, "She knows what she wants and she'll do anything to get it." They appreciated, however, her "straightforward" nature, saying it wasn't "shifty."
    I can identify with Hillary.
    Barring a REAL scandal (and maybe even then depending on the nature of it), she's got my vote.

    February 12, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. PuzzledInPeoria

    Whose version of "history" is right? All history, we are finding, is slanted. When I was in high school, there were no mentions of African-Americans in our history textbooks, and it was never questioned that the government stole western lands from native Americans.

    It would seem here that Mrs. Clinton was interested mainly in a "history" which would show her and her husband in a favorable light.

    As a former newspaper reporter, I know the news is often not the full picture because of politicians' mania for secrecy.

    February 12, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. hkdakota

    This sounds like a nasty childish woman, can't imagine her as President.

    February 12, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  4. Jean Johnson

    LAY OFF Hilary. Just stop the trash talk! Stop resurrecting the scandals? Stop resurrecting Lewinskinsky! Just STOP! Or everybody's going to stop YOU!!!

    February 12, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. luckjoe

    Hillary, What goes around comes around and you will get yours.

    February 12, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. kurtinco

    Hillary Clinton, you are aces in my book.

    February 12, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "She said there was... " "She told me she does not ... "
    "Blair wrote in January 1995... " "Blair’s notes from 1994 and 1995... "

    None of this is any interest to me except to mention that once this "can of worms" is spread as "facts" the entire landscape of political underbelly fallout will be tremendous. So many skeletons, so many unanswered gossip sessions on both sides of the aisle of political intrigue to pursue.

    Next up: Chris Christie. Rand Paul. Rick Santorum. Ted Cruz. (and so on and so forth). Wives. Friends. High school dating. Middle school fights. Grade school records. A veritable treasure trove of "he said she said he said". Squabbles with family. Squabbles with spouses. Nothing will be overlooked or deemed too petty for a public that thirsts on the seediest level of gossip.

    Just ask Chris Christie and Rand Paul how low they are willing to go to "achieve their dreams" of a "better" America.

    February 12, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Ken

    OMG!!! A Democrat complaining about the press being hypocritical, now that's hilarious!

    February 12, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. Susan Jacobs

    Time to smear Hillary because she might run for president. Lots of fake news atories and manufactured scandals in the media but no real news. CNN is starting to read like Natinal Enquirer.

    February 12, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  10. Mark

    The media makes a major issue for a typical political spat for Chris Cristie

    The Clinton's make Christie look like Mr Rogers

    February 12, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Andy

    What a parasite

    February 12, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. Bill

    Horrifying. You did manage to mention Hillary again, though. Good job.

    February 12, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. Bill, Bloominton IL

    I regret talking about it now because I didnt want anybody to know I am out for revenge. Christie sounds better every day.

    February 12, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. John in WNY

    Ironic that this she wanted to record everything, but couldn't show how or where her and her group spent $100 million tax dollars.

    He wanting to record things for revenge takes on a whole new meaning when you remember that that administration was found to have gained illegal access to hundreds on FBI files.

    February 12, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  15. Oakspar77777

    No one is surprised. The Clinton machine has been the master of personality politics, particularly of character targeting of opponents for years.

    Remember the commercials about the inexperience of Barrack Hussein Obama and him not being the person you want answer the midnight phone call? Those came from Clinton, not the GOP.

    Of course, Benghazi proved that neither of them are who you want answering the phone call if you are the ambassador dialing the number.

    February 12, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. geno marcello

    Hillary Clinton has never understood the national norm. As a young law student and woman, she was a hippie and part of the anti-Vietnam war movement who suddenly found herself in the White House. She still represents the fringe rather than the general public. she has a distrust of the military, she doesn't like the conservative right and she believes her intelligence is superior to the average person. Those beliefs alone make her unqualified to be President.

    February 12, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. KBNJ

    "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.”"
    So, so, so true! And scary as hell.
    That said, as difficult as it must be to be a liberal and deal with the media (well, unless your name is Barrack), imagine being a Conservative.

    February 12, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  18. Giuseppe

    Blind supporters to play this down in 3…2…1...

    February 12, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. Sniffit

    "Clinton seemed to harbor a deep distrust of the media."

    And in their effort to exact revenge on her for feeling that way and even stating publicly on occasion, the MSM will prove her right.

    February 12, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. VoiceintheDesert

    So when Gov. Christie's administration closes a bridge and creates a traffic snarl, Democrats are outraged. Think they'll have anything to say about Hillary taking political revenge?

    February 12, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. Andy

    Pant Suit model Maybe, President absolutely not.

    February 12, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. cjb

    The world is more dangerous now since HC was SOS. She is and was completely worthless and a danger to our well being. the Clintons are just part of the Washington mafia. They are vengeful too.

    February 12, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. Randy, San Francisco

    All this is in the past and not relevant. Her recent recent service to our country is proof enough Hillary is ready to be president.

    February 12, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. oldleftcoastdude

    CNN has just proven that everything Hillary spoke about the media and Woodward is true. It's all about scandal and hypocritical self interest.

    February 12, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. wendel

    repos are running scared. Hillary is either to strong or not strong enough. Lets dig up old dirt. Go girl if you run you got my vote .

    February 12, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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