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Excerpts of Mrs. Clinton Interview

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 27, 1998; 8:49 a.m. EST

Following are excerpts from Hillary Rodham Clinton's interview on NBC's ''Today'' show.

On accounts of her husband's relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky:

''We've talked at great length and I think as this matter unfolds the entire country will have more information. But we're right in the middle of a rather vigorous feeding frenzy right now, and people are saying all kinds of things, and putting out rumor and innuendo, and I have learned over the last many years, being involved in politics ... that the best thing to do in these cases is just to be patient, take a deep breath and the truth will come out.

''But there's nothing we can do to fight this firestorm of allegations that are out there. ... The important thing now is to stand as firmly as I can and say that the president has denied these allegations, on all counts, unequivocally, and we'll see how this plays out.

''Everybody says to me, 'How can you be so calm?' ... I guess I've just been through it so many times. Bill and I have been accused of almost everything, including murder, by some of the same people who are behind these allegations. ...

''It's not being numb, so much as just being very experienced in the unfortunate, mean-spirited give and take of American politics right now. ...

''Everybody ought to just stop a minute here and think about what we're doing. ... I'm very concerned about the tactics that are being used and the kind of intense political agenda at work here.

''My attitude is we've been there before, we've seen this before, and I'm just going to wait patiently until the truth comes out.''

On whether Clinton gave Ms. Lewinsky gifts:

''Anyone who knows my husband knows he is an extremely generous person, to people he knows, to strangers, to anybody who is around him. ... I've seen him take his tie off and hand it to somebody.''

On Independent Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation:

''This started out as an investigation of a failed land deal. I told everybody in 1992, we lost money. ... It was true. It's taken years, but it was true. We get a politically motivated prosecutor who is allied with the right-wing opponents of my husband who has literally spent four years looking at every telephone call we've made, every check we've ever written, scratching for dirt, intimidating witnesses, doing everything possible to try to make some accusation against my husband.

''It's just a very unfortunate turn of events that we are using the criminal justice system to try to achieve political ends in this country.''

On her relationship with her husband:

''The only people who count in any marriage are the two that are in it. We know everything there is to know about each other, and we understand and accept and love each other. And I just think that a lot of this is deliberately designed to sensationalize charges against my husband because everything else they've tried has failed. I also believe it is part of an effort, very frankly, to undo the results of two elections. ... I probably know him better than anybody alive in the world, so I hope that I'd be his best defender.''

''I do believe that this is a battle. I mean look at the very people who are involved in this. They have popped up in other settings.

''The great story here ... is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.

''I don't know what it is about my husband that generates such hostility, but I have seen it for 25 years.

Chelsea ''is all right, and I really want to thank people for just letting her continue to be a freshman.

''We talk a lot. Both Bill and I have talked to her a lot. ... I was telling Chelsea when she was a child that this is going to happen, and it's very unfortunate. ... She has seen many, many examples of it in her short life. So it's not a pleasant experience, but it's given her sort of the grounding to be able to see what this is and get through it.''

''This has been a grueling ordeal, and it has required every bit of religious faith and spiritual resources Bill and I have. It has been an incredible personal challenge ...

''I believe the country is better off because my husband has been president. I think the economy, the crime rate, a lot of the social problems, were finally addressed with a smart strategy, and we've seen the results. ...

''When I balance what he's accomplished, and the hope he's given to people, and the way the economy has created opportunities for people, against all of the challenges we've been through personally it is worth it.

''Now do I wish that we didn't live in a time where people were so malicious and evil-minded? Of course. But, you know, that's human nature, so you take the good with the bad, and the good has far, far outweighed any bad at all.''

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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