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Lewinsky Tells of Her Hapless Affair

Lewinsky and Walters ABC is scheduled to air Barbara Walters's interview with Monica S. Lewinsky on Wednesday. (AFP)

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  • Lewinsky Apologizes to Nation for Ordeal (Washington Post, Feb. 25)

  • By Howard Kurtz
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, March 3, 1999; Page C1

    NEW YORK, March 2—Monica Lewinsky apologized to Hillary Rodham Clinton during her interview with ABC, saying she thought about the first lady "a lot" during her affair with President Clinton but "I never thought she would find out."

    "I wouldn't dream of asking Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton to forgive me, but I would ask them to know that I am very sorry for what happened and for what they've been through," Lewinsky, now 25, told Barbara Walters in the "20/20" interview that airs Wednesday night.

    These and other excerpts were reported today by the New York Daily News, which obtained an unedited audiotape of the first hour of the three-hour session with Walters. "Our editorial process has been compromised by the illegal and irresponsible actions of some unknown person," ABC spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said, prom ising to pursue "all appropriate legal avenues" to find out who committed the "theft."

    In a separate excerpt released by ABC, Lewinsky said of Linda Tripp, the onetime friend who secretly taped her: "I pity her. I would hate to be her."

    And in another leaked account, this one in Newsweek, Lewinsky is reported to have said that her mother, Marcia Lewis, tried hard to get her to break off the relationship with Clinton but that she stubbornly refused.

    Some of the exchanges that were made public today, such as the fact that Lewinsky also apologized to the nation, were reported last week by The Washington Post. But the Daily News tape contained some intriguing new material.

    Lewinsky said she was still angry at "the meanies" who transferred her from the White House to the Pentagon because of concerns that she was frequently hanging around Clinton. "I don't think that my relationship hurt the job he was doing. . . . It was between us," she said. "I don't think it was their business, actually."

    For those dying to know, Lewinsky called Clinton "a good kisser" and a "very sensual man" who "struggles with his sensuality" because of his religious upbringing. She said that "from the beginning there was a very intense sexual attraction" between them.

    Asked by Walters how she got "the nerve" to flash her thong underwear at the president, which led that day to their first sexual encounter, Lewinsky dismissed it as "a small, subtle, flirtatious gesture."

    The former White House intern said she told Clinton she was in love with him -- "That means a lot to me," she quoted him as saying -- but that he never expressed love for her. When she complained of feeling like a sex object, "you'd probably find it hard to believe, he started to tear up and he told me that he never wanted me to feel bad and that that's not what this relationship was about."

    Lewinsky said she stayed on in the relationship in part because "I don't have the feelings of self-worth that a woman should have . . . and that's been the center of a lot of my mistakes and a lot of my pain."

    She said she showed up at a rope line the day after the 1996 election -- footage of the beret-clad Lewinsky hugging Clinton was replayed endlessly on television -- in hopes that he would resume calling her. He didn't.

    "This unexplainable behavior in my mind meant: It's over. He didn't really care about you. He was stringing you along during the election." Lewinsky says the president promised to bring her back to a White House job once he was safely reelected.

    "It was devastating, devastating for me. . . . I felt that he wasn't who I thought he was. This was the closest to really having my world shattered. Even, in some ways, even more so than my parents' divorce."

    Lewinsky was so upset over the dying relationship, she said, that she began confiding in Tripp.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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