Hillary Clinton shrugged off her husband’s dalliances with Monica Lewinsky and other public embarrassments to protect her political ambitions, according to recently revealed documents kept by her closest friend.
The Washington Free Beacon published a lengthy article Sunday night based on personal papers kept by Diane Blair, the late University of Arkansas political scientist and longtime Clinton friend.
According to the papers, Clinton defended former President Bill Clinton’s admitted infidelity in a Sept. 9, 1998, phone call to Blair, saying her husband had made a mistake by becoming involved sexually with the “narcissistic loony toon” Lewinsky but blaming his political opponents, the loneliness of the presidency and her own failures as a wife.
Hillary Clinton told Blair the extramarital affair was devoid of sex “within any real meaning” and disputed suggestions that the president had abused his position of power, telling Blair the relationship with Lewinsky, then 25, had been consensual.
“They adopted [a] strategy, public strategy, of acting as tho it didn’t bother them; had to,” Blair wrote in her notes. “[Hillary] didn’t realize toll it was taking on him. She thinks she was not smart enough, not sensitive enough, not free enough of her own concerns and struggles to realize the price he was paying.”
Blair died in 2000 and her papers have been publicly available since 2010, but they had not been publicly examined until the Washington Free Beacon published them.
The right-wing website opened the report with an anecdote about a 1992 poll during Bill Clinton’s presidential race that showed voters admired the couple’s strength.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is considered a frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination, revived the Lewinsky scandal last month by accusing Bill Clinton of committing workplace “violence” against the former intern.
The article cites some of the Blair documents to show issues that Hillary Clinton made private comments that did not match her public statements, including the intervention in Bosnia, the appointment of Stephen Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the failed health care initiative.
Blair noted in her papers that Hillary Clinton argued at a Feb. 23, 1993, dinner that managed competition was a “crock” and that single-payer health coverage was “necessary,” suggesting that Medicare should be expanded.
But Hillary Clinton said in 2008, during her own unsuccessful primary campaign for the presidency, that she had never seriously considered a single-payer system.
At the time of Blair’s account, Hillary Clinton was advocating for the managed care model after her appointment to her husband’s health care task force.
The documents also offer a candid look into Hillary Clinton’s feelings about media scrutiny.
“I’m a proud woman,” Clinton told Blair, according to the papers. “I’m not stupid. I know I should do more to suck up to the press, I know it confuses people when I change my hairdos, I know I should pretend not to have any opinions – but I’m just not going to.”
She told Blair she had compromised by taking her husband’s name and wearing contact lenses, but she insisted she wouldn’t pretend to be someone else.
“I’m used to winning,” Hillary Clinton told Blair, “and I intend to win on my own terms.”