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Excerpts: Lewinsky Tells Her Story

Thursday, March 4, 1999; Page A12

Excerpts from "Monica's Story," by Andrew Morton:

  • What it felt like to find herself in the January 1998 sting at Pentagon City Mall. She says that FBI agents and deputies to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr told her she could face 27 years in jail if she failed to cooperate with the investigation into Clinton:

      "It was as if my stomach had been cut open and someone had poured acid onto my wound.... I couldn't bear to go to jail. I would come out an old lady and ... would never have the joy of getting married and starting a family. My life would be over. So I thought there is no way out other than killing myself. If I killed myself, then there would be no information, and I wouldn't have to deal with the hurt and trouble I had caused the President."

  • Her opinion of her former lawyer, William H. Ginsburg. Morton writes that Ginsburg saw himself as her surrogate father.

  • Yet he never understood the depth of her feelings for the president, or the way in which his own inappropriate and often sexual comments added to her private pain and public humiliation.

      "I felt like an exhibit in a traveling freak show. It was so unnecessary and all because Bill loved the limelight."

  • Her opinion of the Starr report:

      "As a result of the report, I felt very violated. I really felt raped and physically ill with myself, as if anybody who looked at me would only think about me performing oral sex. I just felt that the world looked at me as a whore."

  • Her feelings toward Linda Tripp, once she realized that her friend had secretly been tape-recording their conversations:

      "I wanted to hurt her. I felt like an animal wanting to claw at her skin."

  • What she thought of Clinton while she was working in the White House but had not yet met him:

      "I had only ever seen him on TV and I never thought of him as attractive ... With his big red nose and coarse, wiry-looking gray hair, he's an old guy. There were tons and tons of women in the White House with crushes on him and I thought, 'These people are just crazy. They have really bad taste in men.' I mean, girls my own age were saying that this old guy was cute, that he was sexy. I thought, 'Gee, this place is so weird. What's wrong with Washington?' "

  • What she thought after seeing him in person for the first time:

      "He had a glow about him that was magnetic. He exudes a sexual energy. I thought to myself: 'Now I see what all the girls are talking about.' "
  • And after he noticed her at a White House ceremony:

      "[He] gave me the full Bill Clinton ... It was this look, it's the way he flirts with women. When it was time to shake my hand, the smile disappeared, the rest of the crowd disappeared and we shared an intense but brief sexual exchange. He undressed me with his eyes."

  • Her longing for a real relationship with Clinton:

      "I'm probably the only person in the whole world who wishes you weren't President."

  • On Clinton's responsibility for their affair:

      "I feel that he should have shown more restraint and left it as a flirtation and as an unacted-upon fantasy.... It was too much of an emotional burden for someone my age."

  • Her ambivalent feelings about Clinton today:

      "I cannot believe that my relationship with the President is over. The soft touches and strong hugs are gone forever. I still miss the adoring look in his eye and that broad grin that always greeted me.... While there are some days when I miss his presence, there are others when I never want to see him again, times when I have to turn off the TV because I feel sick looking at him."

    Excerpts from the Interview, during last night's "20/20 Wednesday" broadcast:

    On her affair with a married high school teacher and other unavailable men: "What I've come to see is that that happened because I didn't have enough feelings of self-worth, so that I didn't feel that I was worthy of being No. 1 to a man."

    Regarding the blue dress that was stained with Clinton's DNA: Lewinsky said that she didn't keep it as a souvenir. When her mother, Marcia Lewis, heard about the dress and asked whether it existed, Lewinsky told her she had left it in Lewis's New York apartment: "We were both so paralyzed with fear. And I didn't have immunity yet. And I was ... terrified of the way I was being watched ... and I thought, okay, I could wash this, I could destroy this. I knew at that point ... that was obstruction of justice, and I was in enough trouble already."

    Lewinsky said she felt like "a piece of trash" when Clinton admitted an affair with her and apologized to the nation but not to her. "I felt dirty and I felt used and I felt disappointed," she said.

    Lewinsky also questioned the apology's sincerity, saying she believes Clinton was "sorry he got caught."

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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