Tuesday 6 December 2016

Clinton's former colleagues tell of hurt over his lies

Vanessa Thorpe

Published 12/02/2012 | 05:00

A close-knit band of friends and colleagues around Bill Clinton at the time of the Monica Lewinsky affair will this month speak publicly for the first time of their disbelief and sense of betrayal in a four-hour documentary about the former US president.

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The two-part biography, which premieres in Britain and America on February 20, chronicles Mr Clinton's struggle with his unruly libido from the beginning of his political career. His loyal adviser, the pollster Dick Morris, will tell of the moment Mr Clinton rang him just before evidence of his affair with Ms Lewinsky was about to be made public.

"Bill said to me: 'Ever since I got to the White House I have had to shut down my body'," said Mr Morris, adding that Mr Clinton told him he had been weak in the case of the 23-year-old intern and had done enough with her to be in serious trouble.

Mr Clinton then asked Mr Morris to conduct political polls on how he should handle the crisis.

Ken Gormley, a legal expert working in the White House, also recalled the sexual tension between Mr Clinton and Ms Lewinsky.

"There were almost these sparks flying between them from the first moment when they saw each other," he said.

Those who worked with Mr Clinton on his initial bid for governorship in his home state of Arkansas, campaigning alongside his wife Hillary, refer to his involvement with a long queue of women.

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One campaign chief remembered dealing with "25 women a day" who came into the office looking for Mr Clinton, while Betsey Wright, the politician's trusted political aide, recounted how she eventually presented him with a list of girlfriends he had to deal with before he could stand as governor. "It became clear it was not the time to do it," she says.

As a result, Mr Clinton pulled out at the last minute.

Marla Crider, who worked with Mr Clinton in Arkansas and had an affair with him, described women as being "literally mesmerised with him".

The decision to abort that early gubernatorial campaign was the first in a series of reversals and recoveries that have marked Mr Clinton's career. Mr Clinton apparently deployed a charisma of rock-star proportions, but with this came a sexual appetite that finally threatened his presidency when he faced impeachment for perjury over the Lewinsky affair in 1998.

Ms Wright told the programme-makers she felt betrayed because Mr Clinton had lied to her and "lied to a lot of people".

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