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Clinton Describes Day She Learned of Affair

Former first lady's book recounts pain when her husband admitted lying about Lewinsky trysts.

June 04, 2003|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton, acknowledging tirades and tears over her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky, says former President Clinton lied to her about the relationship until the weekend before he admitted as much to a grand jury.

The New York senator vividly describes her pain over the betrayal in "Living History," her new memoir covering her eight years in the White House. A copy of the book, which goes on sale Monday, was obtained by Associated Press.

"The most difficult decisions I have made in my life were to stay married to Bill and to run for the Senate from New York," she writes.

She says she accepted her husband's story at first -- that he had befriended the White House intern when she asked for job-hunting help, "had talked to her a few times" -- and that the relationship had been horribly misconstrued.

"For me, the Lewinsky imbroglio seemed like just another vicious scandal manufactured by political opponents."

More than six months later, with the president preparing to testify before a grand jury, Hillary Clinton was still adamant that her husband had done nothing wrong and was the victim of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

Then, on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 15, 1998, he woke her up, paced at the bedside, and "told me for the first time that the situation was much more serious than he had previously acknowledged."

"He now realized he would have to testify that there had been an inappropriate intimacy. He told me that what happened between them had been brief and sporadic."

He was ashamed and knew she would be angry, she recounts.

"I could hardly breathe. Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him, 'What do you mean? What are you saying? Why did you lie to me?' I was furious and getting more so by the second. He just stood there saying over and over again, 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I was trying to protect you and Chelsea.' "

Hillary Clinton's 562-page book has been eagerly awaited. Simon & Schuster ordered an extraordinary first printing of 1 million copies.

The first lady-turned-senator was paid a $2.85-million advance toward the $8-million book deal. Foreign rights already have been sold in 16 countries.

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