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he said, she said...and she said

HOW IT BEGAN

BILL

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During the government shutdown in late 1995, when very few people were allowed to come to work in the White House ... I'd had an inappropriate encounter with Monica Lewinsky and would do so again on other occasions between November [1995] and April [1996].

HILLARY

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Bill told me that [Monica Lewinsky] was an intern he had befriended two years earlier when she was volunteering in the West Wing during the government shutdown. He had talked to her a few times, and she had asked him for some job-hunting help. This was completely in character for Bill.

MONICA

He asked if he could kiss me and when he did, it was soft, deep, romantic. It was wonderful.

AS THE AFFAIR UNFOLDED

BILL

I was disgusted with myself for doing it ...

HILLARY

He told me what happened between them had been brief and sporadic.

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MONICA

I would sit by my phone every weekend, waiting, because I didn't know when he was going to call.

UH-OH, KEN STARR FINDS OUT

BILL

Starr's lawyers were trying to capitalize on the setup by getting me on videotape discussing things in graphic detail that no one should ever have to talk about publicly.

HILLARY

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In a better world, this sort of conversation between a husband and wife would be no one's business but our own.

MONICA

I felt like Hitler's whore. I felt what Starr was doing was so wrong. They were trying to hurt people I loved.

WHO'S SORRY NOW?

BILL

With the grand jury testimony looming and after a miserable, sleepless night, I woke up Hillary and told her the truth about what had happened between me and Monica Lewinsky. She looked at me as if I had punched her in the gut, almost as angry at me for lying to her in January as for what I had done. All I could do was tell her that I was sorry ...

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HILLARY

I was furious and getting more so by the second. He just stood there saying over again, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I was trying to protect you and Chelsea. I couldn't believe what I was hearing ... As a wife, I wanted to wring Bill's neck.

MONICA

I wondered how I could have ever cared about this man. He was so self-righteous and self-centered. I was hoping that he would give me some kind of stamp of approval, tell the world that I was a good, intelligent person, and stop everyone from being so mean to me. ... I felt like a piece of trash.

FEELING THE PAIN:

BILL

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I spent the first couple of days [of a Martha's Vineyard vacation] alternating between begging for forgiveness and planning the strikes on al Qaeda.

HILLARY

I felt unbearably lonely, and I could tell Bill did too. He kept trying to explain and apologize. But I wasn't ready to be in the same room with him, let alone forgive him.

MONICA

Yes, I probably am the most humiliated woman in the world, but I just can't deal with that thought. I have to block it out because it is too much to handle.

AND SO ...

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BILL

There was no excuse for what I did, but trying to come to grips with why I did it gave me at least a chance to finally unify my parallel lives.

HILLARY

Why he felt he had to deceive me and others is his own story, and he needs to tell it in his own way.

MONICA

When will all this be over?

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- Compiled by Jonathan Pitts from My Life by Bill Clinton, Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Monica's Story by Andrew Morton.


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