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Saturday
May182013

The LBT INTERVIEW:  HILLARY CLINTON

A candid conversation about the Benghazi maelstrom, the Lewinsky scandal, looking ahead to 2016, and rumors concerning her sexuality.

[Editor's note: Since this interview published,Former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell has claimed that there was an after hours operation set up in the basement of the State Department building to go through all the documentation to be handed over to the Accountability Review Board and remove documents that may reflect badly on Ms. Clinton and her staff. The LBT will be monitoring this story. In the meantime, this interview now is of special interest.]

A brilliant, retentive intellect, a gift for flourishing notwithstanding sharp-elbowed politics, and a dynamic partner that twice won the White House.  The truth is, these forces actually did not take Hillary Rodham Clinton from a medium-sized Midwestern law firm to the White House, the U.S. Senate and, finally, the Secretary of State’s office. Sheer grit and old-fashioned determination did. Clinton sat down with Peter Hartwig to discuss her legacy, the latest scandals enveloping Washington, and her view of 2016. Clinton was in high spirits and displayed an openness only now available to her as a private citizen.


LBT:

Let’s start with the question on everyone’s mind.  Will Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016?

CLINTON:

[Laughs.]  Somehow I knew I would be asked that again today.  Look, I’m just now starting to enjoy life out of public office.  I need some time to myself before deciding anything, but if I do run I'll make sure you're the first to know.

LBT:

Do you have any hobbies you want to pursue now that you have a moment for some fresh air?

CLINTON:

I’m going to get started on my memoirs.  When I wrote “It Takes A Village” I was more focused on policy and community in good government.  Now I’m ready to share my story.

LBT:

Could this be a prelude to another run?

CLINTON:

We’ll just have to see.  Right now I would rather relax and keep a low profile.  The GOP’s obsession with Benghazi needs to pass.  When it does I can assess how things look.

LBT:

Let’s get into Benghazi a little.  If you really didn’t know about the requests for more security at Benghazi, why didn’t you know about them?

CLINTON:

You know, they say that “knowledge is power.”  When you’re in government and people are always looking over your shoulder and looking for a weak spot, more often than not the opposite is true.  Ignorance – not knowledge – is power.  Ignorance is power.  I’m better off not knowing all the details about what is going on in these dangerous places because I can then be attacked for failing to do “X,” “Y” or “Z.”

LBT:

So instead a bureaucrat takes the fall?

CLINTON:

Yes, so you have a Charlene Lamb to step in and take the fall for the State Department. And I think she did a wonderful job taking the hit during her day in Congress.  She was a good foot soldier.  That’s part of her job, after all.

LBT:

She did really take the blunt force of the blow.

CLINTON:

She did, and I will thank her in the appropriate way once the dust settles.  Bill’s organization has plenty of room for someone like her.  I did comment to him how funny these names are in Bill’s and my little kerfuffles.  It’s like they’re out of a novel.  “Lamb” for the State Department’s sacrificial “lamb.”  Bill had his Linda Tripp who “tripped” up his whole deal with his Jewish intern and then his whole second term got derailed.
“Since they didn’t do it I guess that means I ain’t sending anybody after them.”

LBT:

You mentioned that Lewinsky was Jewish.  What significance does that have?

CLINTON:

I just thought it was ironic that Bill gets an intern to give him blowjobs and she’s Jewish.  They are not known for that.

LBT:

Did the Lewinsky matter distance you from your husband?

CLINTON:

No, in fact it was a great benefit to me.  He needed me again in order to regain public support.  It was a great leverage point for me in the administration.

LBT:

What about personally?  Did you and your husband need time to heal the wound to your marriage?

CLINTON:

I’m not really sure what you mean.

LBT:

Let me ask more about Benghazi.  The GOP has criticized Obama for allegedly going to sleep while the embassy was under attack.  You were there.  Where was Obama?

CLINTON:

I want to defend the president, because he was in the midst of a grueling presidential campaign.  I’m not saying that I would have done the same had I been elected president, but he did go to bed at around 9:30 p.m. while the embassy and annex remained unsecure.

LBT:

Did he give any orders before he left or did he delegate authority to order a rescue mission?

CLINTON:

The president has a dry sense of humor and can get this Oprah-effect to his voice like when Oprah is really cutting to the chase and summons her African-American-ness.  He said, “Well, they were trying to get back the stingers [stinger missiles] we handed out.  Since they didn’t do it I guess that means I ain’t sending anybody after them.”  I might have a few words off, but that is what he said in paraphrase.  His order was nobody was to go in, because he couldn’t afford a “Blackhawk down” scenario.  He also didn’t want anyone to get a good look at the scene of the crime because we had a real P.R. hornet’s nest to contend with no matter how things played out.

LBT:

Did you agree with the president?

CLINTON:

I understood where he was coming from.  If a U.S. helicopter or C-130 got shot down by U.S. stinger missiles that we distributed, Barack would have lost reelection.  He couldn’t take that gamble.  Not even close.

LBT:

But lives were in the balance. Next Page