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. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Even more scary are people like you who will brush off ANYTHING bad that a dem does, man I hope the rest of the liberal party is not as partisan and blind as you otherwise we are in BIG TROUBLE!!!"

    Hillary scares you enough for you to purposely misunderstand the content of my post, eh? Your problem, not mine. You want to play grade school, go for it; but don't expect me to follow your example.

    February 12, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Me



    OMG!!! A Democrat complaining about the press being hypocritical, now that's hilarious!
    Why? Most media today is owned by corporations and the Right- FOX is even owned by a notoriously "conservative" foreigner. There is no "left-wing" media bias- not for years and years.
    LMFAO, I about fell out of my chair laughing, MSNBC is MORE liberally bias then FOX is conservatively bias and that is a known FACT!!!!! Even CNN has a slight liberal bias but not nearly as bad as MSNBC. The ONLY media company that leans right is Fox, the rest tend to lean left but MSNBC brings it to a whole new level!

    February 12, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Sniffit

    " maybe more to the point, THE RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES, no?"

    Nope. That doesn't even make sense in the context of the where the song comes from, nor does it make sense in terms of how it's been used in movies like "Apocalypse Now." Perhaps you're thinking of your favorite movie "Birth of a Nation," which also used the song? The Patton reference just doesn't seem to make sense there either. Lay off the bath salts.

    February 12, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. sly

    Lots of stories these days about our next President Hillary Clinton.

    She doesn't really need any additional publicity, but the media is obviously in love with her.

    She appears to be the only qualified candidate, and it will be great to have her continue the progressive trend established by President Obama.

    These are good times for America – stock market all time high, deficit pct at 50 year low, no Bush Oil Wars, our nation free from foreign terrorist attacks. Thank you President Obama!

    February 12, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. CapeCod

    I know one thing...

    If a conservative called the women complaining about Bob Packwood "winney" like Hillary did the left would be going nuts. And if that conservative was running for president they wouldn't let it go...

    What hypocrites...!

    February 12, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    An enemies list for Hillary Nixon Clinton? Nah... can't be.

    February 12, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. SchedulerLewis

    I don't want Hillary as POTUS....but I fully agree with her keeping her records for 'revenge'. And to point out the hypocrisy of the media is absolutely fabulous. The media has done more to create fear, paranoia and schizophrenic outlooks on everything from coffee to peanuts. Enough already.

    February 12, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. Robert

    Diane Blair's diary is of questionable value, as she had ample reason to keep the truth on certain incidents secret.

    The only thing that can be confirmed is that Hillary Clinton is self centered and vengeful. Gee, no one has figured that out as yet! Her major accomplishments were 1) marrying Bill Clinton, 2) staying married to Bill Clinton, 3) being elected to the Senate for being married to Bill Clinton. On the other side of the ledger she lost the Democratic nomination for President to the, accurately described, empty suit, then made herself the patsy for the disaster that is the empty suit's foreign policy. Her stating the obvious about Monica Lewinsky, is somehow "news" to the media, and is just as revealing about the media.

    As to Hillary's book, I expect monumental gossip and snark, with no independently verifiable facts . . . a double soy nothing burger, with a Big-Gulp vinegar to wash it down.

    February 12, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. Keith

    I like her more now! It's gonna be nice seeing the Clinton's back in office. Bill will become The first ever First Man! Go Clinton!

    February 12, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. bobo

    Can you imagine 4 or 8 more years with Hillary as President???? omg..... 🙁

    February 12, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Hooper

    Regardless, she runs, she wins. Get used to the idea now, you'll be able to wrap your empty republican head around it later after the improvements have been accomplished.

    February 12, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Rudy NYC


    So Hilary's diary contains the "true" account about how Rose Law firm files ended up in the WH with her finger prints ont them? She reveals how Vince Foster shot himself ... ... .... ...
    Whoa. Whoa. Slow down their big fella. It's NOT Hillary Clinton's diary. A court of law would likely call most all of it heresay.

    February 12, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Pete/Ark

    Dianes' papers were always intended to be a scholarly archive ...her family ( also close Clinton friends) donated them to her favorite public university after her death ... this is no smoking gun , it is history .

    February 12, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. lauradet

    Boy, oh, boy they sure are trying to discredit Hillary before she even announces that she is going to run in 2016. It is so obvious and hilarious.

    February 12, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Barry G.

    We've all said things, at times, that we didn't truly mean. Let’s not be too hypocritical!

    Hillary Clinton may not be perfect, but she seems like a fine and decent person–and as politicians go, she's a saint!

    I believe that there’s a good chance that Hillary Clinton will be our next president, and I think she will make a fine president.

    And she may even enlist the aid of Bill Clinton. What an excellent team they will make!

    Best wishes, soon-to-be, Madam President! There are a lot of us, who are in support of you.

    February 12, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -Hector Slagg

    Sorry Paine. Either "Bloody Mary" or maybe more to the point, THE RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES, no? Humm, Patton was called Blood and Guts but he had a reason. The Clintons, Never. no?
    "Bloody Mary" was the name given to Queen Mary of England, the half-sister of Elizabeth I. I suggest you actually read some British history before making an ass of yourself, yet again, because you insist on playing fast and loose with pretty basic history.

    February 12, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. smith

    @Liberals-Thank you. your comments have proved me correct. You call Christie a bully, maybe Hil. Clinton is the real bully.

    February 12, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Jessica McGwin

    Stand down, she can handle everything on her own.

    February 12, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Harley

    They ALL have closets. I owuldn't trust any congress/ representative. You have to choose the lesser of two evils.

    February 12, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    In short: the GOP is no longer afraid of the possibility of Madame President, they are simply terrified into insanity. Fun to watch.

    February 12, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I would classify 4 dead Americans as a REAL scandal. Barnum was correct..." There's a sucker born every minute ".
    -------------------------------------------------I do not doubt that you view it as a scandal Kendall, but that doesn't make it one, much less a REAL one.
    Let's face facts: investigations, inquiries, all done and over with. Nothing to report. Nothing to see here.
    In regards to Barnum: you have plenty of those suckers to keep you company on this thread.

    February 12, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. tm1946

    Guess politicians should not put anything in writing they do not wish published at a later day. Oh, cannot talk on the cell phone. Especially driven pols like Hilary, want to be Pres. no trail and you can deny everything.

    Guess they will become like the old mustached Petes of the Mafia, just whisper in others ear so no one can verify what they say one way or the other.

    February 12, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. Me


    All of this is personal and really none of anyone's business!
    Wow none of anyone's business, she basically threatens her political "enemies" and you say it is none of our business. The apologist are out in full force today, scary!!!

    February 12, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Clint

    The U.S. can't afford to have the Hil anywhere near the WH ever again.

    February 12, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. Me


    A complex woman, perfect for a complex job such as the presidency. Someone who understands the designs of the universe and is sickened by it but probably has the strength to do something about it.
    LMFAO, if a repub did something like this you call them evil, greedy, vindictive, and everyother name in the book, if a dems does it they are "complex"....LMFAO, you are just a partisan hack who would vote for any dem even if they murdered in cold blood!!!

    February 12, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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