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'Bill Clinton was stupid about Monica'

Cherie Blair, wife of former British PM Tony Blair, reveals in her book, Speaking for Myself, that her heart bled for Hillary when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in January 1998, reports Vijay Dutt.
Hindustan Times | By Vijay Dutt, London
UPDATED ON MAY 15, 2008 12:02 AM IST

Bill (Clinton) was just bloody stupid, Cherie Blair felt on hearing his exploits with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval office.

Writing in Speaking for Myself, Cherie says: “In January 1998 the Monica Lewinsky scandal finally broke and my heart bled for Hillary, coming on top, as it did, of the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit.

“Inevitably I thought back to all those young interns, and our guided tour of the West Wing by the President himself, of the Oval Office and the little room off it with the photocopier. My reaction was basically, Oh Bill, how could you?”

Hillary was furious and hurt but stood by Bill, reveals Cherie in the book, extracts from which are being published in the Times.

Just a few weeks after the scandal broke out, the Blairs due in Washington for Tony Blair’s first formal visit as head of government.

“If I had been impressed by Hillary before, I was doubly impressed by her now.”

Dignity is not the word, Cherie writes about her impression after meeting the US First Lady.

“I could see how angry she was with him…. And I could see how desperate she was to win (her) back…”. She also notes that it was the daughter Chelsea who kept the Clintons together through the scandal.

“I think that the fact that she was supportive of her mum and understood how her mum was feeling, yet at the same time was able to forgive her dad, was a very important part of why they stayed together.”

On what she would have done if Tony Blair did something like Clinton she writes: “ People have wondered whether Tony or I felt ourselves placed in a difficult situation, given our Christian beliefs. The same thing had been asked a few months earlier when Robin Cook, Tony’s foreign secretary, was outed by the press as being involved in an extramarital affair. The answer in both cases is no. Obviously we both believe in marriage. Once that ring is on your finger and the promises are made before God, then fidelity should be a given.”

Cherie Blair shows her emotive side when she says the idea that Queen Elizabeth would not be at the Olympics in 2012 is quite upsetting. She recalls when at a G8 Summit dinner hosted by the Queen news broke out that London had won the Olympic bid, both the queen and Prince Philip said to her how marvellous the news was. But the prince also added that he being “so old” he would not be there. The Queen said: “It will be for Cherie and the boys, not for us”.

Cherie notes: “How terrible, I suddenly thought. How can we have Olympics without the Queen?”

She sure wishes they are there in 2012.

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