HILLARY CLINTON: Hello, this is Hillary Clinton. I want to thank you for letting me speak with you about an issue that is central to our children's future and critical in our fight to restore this nation's economy, solving our nation's healthcare crisis.
There is no prescription or role model or cookbook for being first lady.
The future is created every day. The future is not something that is out there waiting to happen to us. The future is something that we make.
Well, I have said and I believe that there's a good possibility that sometime in the next 20 years, we will have a woman president.
SUSAN SWAIN: Hillary Clinton logged many firsts in her role as first lady. Political partners since law school, the Clintons survived scandals and even the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. And as she considers another bid for the White House herself, Hillary Clinton's story is still being written.
Good evening and welcome to C-SPAN's year long series First Ladies, Influence and Image. Tonight we'll tell you the story of the spouse of our 42nd president, Hillary Clinton. And here to tell us of the story for the next 90 minutes are two journalists who know the Clintons well by covering them for many years. Gail Sheehy from her base at Vanity affair, she is a biographer of Hillary Clinton. Her book in 2000 was called Hillary's Choice. And David Maraniss whose home base is the Washington Post, he is the author of many books and two of them are about the Clintons including his 1995 biography of Bill Clinton First in His Class. Welcome to both of you.
GAIL SHEEHY: Thank you.
DAVID MARANISS: Thank you.
SWAIN: Well, as we start here, I want to play a bit of clip of video from 1992. It's one of those and there's probably five or six Hillary Clinton clips that become emblematic of her. And this is one of them. This is during the campaign when she talked about how she might approach the role of first lady and how involved she was going to be. Let's listen.
HILLARY CLINTON: Now, those of us who have tried to have a career, tried to have an independent life and tried to make a difference and certainly someday like myself who has combined that with very fully and active public involvement and behalf for my, primarily, children but other issues. You know, I've done the best I can to lead my life and I suppose that's still be subject to that kind of attack. It's not true and I don't know what else to say other than, you know, that's say at to me.
You know, I suppose I could've stayed home and baked cookies and have teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.
SWAIN: So as they campaigned in 1992, they really were promoting this idea of two-for-one, the fact that she would be a very involved first lady. As the administration unfolded, how did that work out for? Gail?
SHEEHY: Well, they made a lot of mistakes in the beginning. The public was not prepared for a two-for-one presidency. I don't know if they ever will be. But I think it was stunning to suddenly see this really intelligent, outspoken, totally confident woman who had been given the role of co-president. If we had a co-presidency that might be a really cool thing because partners in power I think are more and more happening. But at that time, Hillary was, you know, she'd gone from the '50s to the '70s in her four years at Wellesley. You know, she was suddenly plunged into a new women's movement period.
She - actually, it took a Hillary to raise a president. She did have to keep him in the channel because he was brilliant but all over the place and reckless. So, to swallow all of that was really quite an overkill for the American public. And it took her, I think, almost six years to really figure out how to do it. I had an occasion to meet her at Renaissance Weekend once in the ladies room and she kind of let down her hair and said, this is '94, she said, "I just don't know what to do anymore, nothing I do works."
She said, "I understand that I'm really threatening to men that the velocity of change between men and women and the way the country is going and for one generation to the boomers is overwhelming especially to men. I'm threatening to them and I don't know what to do about it."
SWAIN: So David Maraniss in the end (inaudible) we're looking at first ladies in a global sense, was she a transitional figure or one of a kind?
MARANISS: I would say she was almost one of a kind. I mean the role model that she modeled herself after was Eleanor Roosevelt but there was a great difference between the two which was that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton from the very beginning saw that they could get places together that they couldn't apart and so, whereas Eleanor was very active as a first lady, she was really on her own tracks separate from President Roosevelt whereas Bill Clinton relied on Hillary for much of this policy from the very beginning going all the way back to Arkansas. So that two-for-one comment which she made, it wasn't the press saying that, was a realty to them. And throughout his presidency it helped in her at various times.
SWAIN: Well, we said at the outset that Hillary Clinton was a first lady with quite a few firsts. Let's show some of those to you. She is the first First Lady to have a graduate degree, hers was a law degree. She is the first to have an office in the West Wing which is where the policy is made. She was later on the first to testify before a grand jury as the investigations were ramping up.
After her office, she was the first to be elected and served as United States senator, the first of course to run for president herself and the first to serve as secretary of state. We're going to be talking about all of that and more with our two guests, Gail Sheehy and David Maraniss, but first we have to go back to the beginning.
Hillary Clinton was born in Chicago as Hillary Diane Rodham to parents Hugh and Dorothy Rodham. Tell me about her childhood and what was most significant about it.
SHEEHY: The most significant thing I think was the way she saw herself which was from the age of 8 or 10, a star. And one of her fantasies was and she wrote about this was she would get out her lawn and dance in the sun and spin under the sun and imaging that God was beaming the sun down on her, only her and that heavenly cameras were filming her every move.
She made that a reality. You know, for many years now, maybe not heavenly, maybe, you know, satanical cameras but cameras nonetheless are following her every move. She made it happened.
SWAIN: So, David Maraniss, but she came from parents, her father had worked as - has been born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, worked in the factories and in the mines as a youth, made his way to Chicago. Her mother was a traditional housewife. Where did this come from in Hillary Clinton?
MARANISS: I wouldn't quite call her mother a traditional housewife. She was a housewife but she was very strong and independent and infused that into Hillary. Her father was a rock-ribbed republican. Park Ridge was 99.5 percent white. It was in that sort of the deep part of the Midwest middle class. It was very sheltered in that sense that children were the chosen ones and Hillary thought of herself as the chosen of the chosen ones.
But she also - so she had her father's politics but as Gail said, the politics was sort of incidental to who she thought she was. She even had, you know, she was very strongly a Methodist throughout her life but it started in her early teenage years and her youth minister Don Jones was a very progressive person who was challenging Hillary and many of the other kids to sort of think about the world outside of Park Ridge.
And so that was going on her mind even before she blossomed or changed her politics.
SWAIN: You told the story in your book about this minister who would take these white suburban kids from their sheltered life and take them to Chicago to see how other people lived.
SWAIN: How did that affect her?
SHEEHY: Poor people and migrant workers. She was enormously affected by that. You know, she knew then that Park Ridge was a bubble and she wanted to know more about how the real world worked. But I have to say that, you know, her mother told me, I think one of the significant stories about her childhood, when they moved to Park Ridge that, you know, vicious social hierarchy of four year olds didn't admit her and a little girl named Suzy used to beat her up every day.
And she came back crying and one day her mother said, this house is no place for cowards. You go back out there and you knock that girl off her pins. And that's what Hillary did. And the boys were watching, their mouths agape and Hillary came back home and said, now I can play with the boys.
SWAIN: But she was...
MARANISS: And she's been doing that ever since.
SHEEHY: And she has. That's right.
SWAIN: She was also a preteen, if I have the age right, who was reading Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative and she also had a high school teacher?
MARANISS: She was a teenager by then.
SWAIN: OK, but still very young to be reading that. I haven't read those sorts of books as a teenager. But she also had a high school teacher who was very conservative, who was influencing her the other direction. Do you know about the role he played in her life?
MARANISS: Well, she did have some conservative teachers in that period but so did all of us. So, I don't think that that teacher had a profound influence no more so than her father but it was enough to have her thinking in those directions politically but not sort of internally. So I would not say that any teachers at Maine Township High School had more influence on her than the youth minister of the Methodist church or her mother. I think those were the two key influences. And as I say, it transcended politics.
SHEEHY: Yes, and two other ways which her mother had an important influence on her. She wanted her to have equilibrium. And so she used a carpenter's level to, as a visual, to say keep the bubble in the middle. And then she also wanted to warn her never get divorced because she, Dorothy Rodham, parents had been divorced and they abandoned her and it blighted her life.
So, Hillary never agreed to give Bill Clinton a divorce even though at one point he wanted it. So, she had a powerful influence but the other amazing thing about Hillary was when she met Martin Luther King introduced by Don Jones, she was really taken.
SWAIN: The Methodist minister, Don Jones.
SHEEHY: The Methodist minister introduced her to Martin Luther King who she heard in Chicago and she realized that, you know, there were no black people that she saw in her class or in Park Ridge and she read up on it and she realized that, you know, the emancipation proclamation hadn't really been carried out.
And she wanted to do something and her aha moment was at Wellesley when she came in the day that Martin Luther King was shot and she heard about it. And she came in screaming and sobbing and saying this cannot go on. And that was when she really turned off from being a Goldwater, a Goldwater girt to being a real progressive marcher, you know, a real liberal.
SWAIN: How didâ€¦
MARANISS: Well that was 1968 and she would graduate the next year. I think that was a moment when she turned into an activist but you can see her politics changing as soon as she got to Wellesley really as did hundreds of thousands of people of that generation of kids when they got to college.
SWAIN: As the war was going on and social unrest...
MARANISS: And civil rights and all of that.
SWAIN: How did she get to Wellesley, this Midwestern girl?
MARANISS: Well, she was a very smart student and she was the president of her high school class and it was an all-girl school in Suburban Boston. And, you know, her parents drove her out in the Cadillac, you know, Hugh Rodham's Cadillac andâ€¦
SHEEHY: But it made her father furious when he realized that it was, you know, a snobby Eastern liberal girl school. And he never visited her there until her graduation but what's fascinating thing to me about Hillary's Wellesley years was she wrote a number of letters to a high school friend which she gave me.
She had a four-year identity crisis. She thought she had to select her identity and she laid them out like a smorgasbord and she said, "Well, shall I be a pseudo hippie?" Well, no, I mean that was OK because she didn't care anything about her appearance but she was a moral Methodist. She was (inaudible) she hated it. She read Catcher in the Rye and hated it. Then she said, "Well, I don't really like people very much maybe, I'm a misanthrope."
And she wrote to her friend and said, "Can you be a compassionate misanthrope?" And she was sort of. Should she be an alienated academic and she finally came to a decision. She chose her identity which was she might as well - she hated looking inward. She couldn't stand introspection and her father had taught her that any expression of emotionality was a sense of weakness. She wrote about that. No emotion in show. So she decided she would help other people lead their best lives and help to save the world.
SWAIN: She became president of the student body at Wellesley, is that correct?
SHEEHY: She did.
SWAIN: And she was selected to give a speech at Wellesley that actually thrust her on the national spotlight for the first time.
SWAIN: What was that all about?
SHEEHY: Well, she had a speech which she put down but it was because her generation was - did not want to hear from a moderate republican even though he was a black man about, you know, entering the workforce and going on to be competitive and so on. So, she got up and said, "We don't believe in just materialism and competitiveness. We are looking for ecstatic experiences."
Well, you know, her student body just got up and gave up, you know, an uproar of applause that the faculty was mortified and Hugh Rodham got out of town as fast as he could but they got her in to Life Magazine and she was already a star.
And then I asked her, "Well, what was the most ecstatic experience of your 20s?" Then she said, "Falling in love with Bill Clinton." And I said, "What attracted you to him?" And she said, "He wasn't afraid of me."
MARANISS: The African-American senator was Ed Brooke of Massachusetts and if you don't mind, I'll read that paragraph that Gail was talking about. This was the essence of Hillary's speech.
"We are, all of us, exploring a world that none of us understands and attempting to create within that uncertainty. There are some things we feel, feelings that our prevailing, acquisitive, and competitive corporate life, including tragically, universities, is not the way of life for us. We're searching for more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating modes of living."
That was the speech that Hugh Rodham didn't want to hear.
SWAIN: So as you know, if you've been watching us along the way, the thing that makes this program different and interesting for us at the table are your questions and we welcome them three different ways, you can call us, we'll put the phone numbers on the screen (inaudible) your calls in throughout our 90 minutes. You can post a comment on C-SPAN's Facebook page. There's already quite a lively discussion going on about Hillary Clinton on our Facebook page. And you can tweet us and you can use @C-SPAN and in fact, let me ask a question by Twitter as we're in this period of her life.
A viewer wants to know whether or not Hillary wanted to drop out of college but her mother encouraged her to stay. Is that part of her biography, did she ever consider dropping out of college?
SHEEHY: You know, I don't remember reading that in her biography. It may have been in there. She did go through a year of depression. She felt that she - there were a lot of high-born society girls at Wellesley and that wasn't her bag at all and she wasn't sure that she was smart enough at the beginning. So and she was depressed. I think it was in her sophomore years so she may have considered it.
MARANISS: I think it was more like maybe taking a year off than actually dropping out for good.
SWAIN: How did she get to Yale Law School? What was the decision to study law?
MARANISS: Well, that's what somebody who wanted to have an active life affecting change would do in that period. She got to Yale Law School in 1969, actually a year before Bill Clinton did, and took a five-year program to get through Yale Law School but I think she did it not so much that she wanted to more - she wanted to be a lawyer more than he ever did. But they both saw it as way to the life that they wanted in politics and affecting social change.
SWAIN: Our next â€¦
MARANISS: And Yale Law School, I'm sorry, was a very socially active place during that period. The classes were the opposite of Harvard law, you know, it wasn't like everything was rigid. It was very loose.
SWAIN: Which she had considered Harvard Law as well and chose Yale over Harvard.
SHEEHY: Yes. She did choose Yale.
SWAIN: What was the environment for women studying at Yale Law School when she arrived?
SHEEHY: Well, there weren't very many. I think there were something like five in her class or but - so she was quite unique there as she has been in every venue. And I don't know if she - she didn't speak an awful lot about, you know, sexism or prejudice because she was just too darn smart. And when she and Bill decided to enter a contest with the Barrister Union in presenting a case before a live jury, it was she who did all the work and all the writing.
And then Bill did the presenting and of course, he was brilliant at presenting but he goofed off during the preparation. And it was Hillary who made a real impression on one of the judges, John Doar who later hired her for the impeachment committee on Richard Nixon.
MARANISS: You know, their working together in that prize trial sort of captured everything that was to come in her way where one of the fellow law students described them as Bill Clinton was all To Kill A Mocking Bird and Hillary was all Chicago Lawyer.
SWAIN: Well, we have a clip next from 1994 when Hillary Clinton talks about how she and Bill Clinton met, let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: He was standing out in the hallway and I just, I don't know. You know, those moments, you know, sort of like click, you know, and I was sitting there and I just started staring at him. And I just begun to look at him and I thought, you know, I really liked the way he looks. I need to get to know him.
And then he caught my eye and he begun staring back at me and so here I am in the library not reading. Here he is actually surrounded by people who are talking at him not talking back. So finally, I thought this is ridiculous, you know. I'm in this class with this person and so I put my books down and I went up and I said, you know, if you're going to keep looking at me and I'm going to keep looking at you, we ought to at least know each other's names. I'm Hillary Rodham, who are you and he says that he couldn't remember his name. That makes me feel so good when he says that but anyway, he did sort of stumble out I'm Bill Clinton.
Well, you know, then - you really want me to go on about this? I mean this is - then we ended up and it was the last day of class. This class that we hardly ever went to but occasionally saw each other in and we both showed up for the last day. And so I was walking out the door and he kind of got to the door at the same time, he said, "Where are you going?" and I said, "Well, I'm going to go register for my classes next year."
He said, "Oh, oh. I need to do that," and I said, "OK." So we walked together and we stood in this endless line, you know, registrars, endless lines. And we talked and talked and talked and I finally got up to the line. And the registrar, this wonderful woman who I kept in touch with, (Gloria McCue), said "Well, Hillary what are you going to take?" And I started to spill it out and then she looked at me and said, "Bill, why are you here? You registered yesterday."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWAIN: So people always want to know and you both have explored this, what is at the heart of this relationship? What was it that attracted these two people so strongly to one another? They seem so different in many ways.
SHEEHY: Well, I think in the case of Hillary, she had not been popular with boys, I mean in a boy-girl sense, and here was this - she liked big handsome hunks. And here was this big handsome red-haired guy with Elvis' sideburns and yes, he was rough around the edges and he had this Southern charm. And he was just walking after her out in the class kind of like a lovesick hound dog, you know, kind of panting behind her. And it really made her feel like a woman. And that was very - that was a new experience for her.
But then she realized how brilliant he was. And how they clicked and how, you know, she could like really do something with this guy. She could really bring him up. And when she, you know, left the Watergate Impeachment Committee to go out to Little Rock, Arkansas, not even Little Rock, Fayetteville, and her best friend was saying, "You're crazy. You're crazy, Hillary.
What are you doing here leaving this fabulous career in Washington where you're, you know, in line to be in political life?" And she said, "You know, Bill Clinton is going to be president someday, you know, and I'm going to marry him." And that her friend said, "Does he know that?" She said, "Not yet." David.
MARANISS: Well, from Bill Clinton's perspective, obviously, there were a lot of women that were interested in him and he in them but Hillary was different. During that period his roommates at Yale would say that he would prepare and prep them for times when Hillary is coming over because he wanted to impress her so much. And the reason was that she was - she wouldn't put up with this sort of, what she called his Arkansas palaver. She was the one girl who had the guts to just say, "Oh, come off it, Bill."
And but also beyond that, they just understood that they actually did have a lot in common, Susan, they were completely different personalities but they had the same ambitions. And they saw they could get places together that they couldn't get to apart. And they shared a love of politics, and of movies, and of books, and of intellectual things and there was a spark there. I think that Hillary from the very beginning was head over heels for him.
SHEEHY: I think she was.
MARANISS: And I think that Bill just saw her as someone different and someone who could really help him and be a partner.
SWAIN: How long did it take from that first meeting to marriage and how did the relationship progressed?
SHEEHY: I'm not exactly sure. I think it was several years. But what happened in between was quite fascinating when Bill was running for his first congressional race and he's campaign was chaotic and he was losing and Hillary dropped everything, flew out there, came into the little campaign area and they shooed the college girl that he was having a romance with out the side door. And she came in and said, "You know, what's going on? This is a mess."
She took over. And that night, the night before the vote, they knew they were going to lose. She and the campaign manager and his wife all got locked in the room together to find out what was really going wrong here. And Hillary was giving them the third degree. And the college - the wife said, "Well, I even had to take, you know, Bill Clinton's girlfriend as my babysitter to get her out of the way." And she turned on the campaign manager, "You got Bill Clinton a girl while I was away? You SOB," and she started swearing and cursing and throwing things. The next thing is a window was broken.
It was a melee and who sat through the whole thing, nobody ever mentioned him was with the passivity of a Buddha, Bill Clinton. And that set the mold for the way she dealt with all of those eruptions. It was never his fault. It was always somebody else's fault.
MARANISS: They met in 1970 and they got married in 1975. And when she came out to Arkansas he was running for congress and as Gail described that scene but they also were law professors together at the University of Arkansas. And again, in that setting they - it sort of set the tone for the differences between them.
Bill Clinton was an easy professor who gave everybody B plusses at the worst and mostly As and the feeling was that was because they were all going to be voters in Arkansas someday. He didn't want to upset them. He also was known for losing the tests, you know, being on a plane and leaving the exam somewhere.
Hillary was completely organized, her classes were tough and the dean of the law school said that if he was going to hire one of the Clintons to actually be a law professor it would have been Hillary.
SWAIN: Before we leave this period of her life, talk about her experience on the impeachment inquiry staff for Watergate, one of the few women, one of the youngest lawyers on a staff of about 44 lawyers altogether. She described it as one of the most important normal formative experiences of her life, what was important about it? How did it shape her?
MARANISS: Well, it was that historic moment in American history. She was hired by John Doar who ran the House Impeachment Committee staff because she had met him at Yale when he was a judge at the prize trial. He brought her down. They holed up in the old congressional hotel where the staff was working.
Actually, her job was not the most exciting. A lot of the staffers were going over the Nixon tapes and really getting into the grit of the scandal itself. Her job was to look at the constitutionality of impeachment but she learned a lot from watching John Doar and one of her bosses was Bernie Nussbaum, a lawyer who would later be the counsel in the White House when the Clintons got there.
It was really an examination up-close of power and the manipulation of power and the abuse of power. You couldn't work in that office without learning a lot about that. So, of course that would have a significant effect on her.
SWAIN: We're going to take you next to Fayetteville and the house that Bill Clinton bought for Hillary Rodham as he proposed and were they got married. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEMALE: This home is where the Clintons lived when they were professors in Fayetteville. In fact, after Hillary's first year of teaching here, Bill was driving her down this road to go to the airport. And they saw the house and it was for sale and Hillary pointed at the house and said, "That's a cute house." And Bill took her to the airport and picked her up from the airport about a month later and said, "I bought your dream house. You have to marry me and live with me in it, because I can't live there alone." And that was in fact the fourth time he had proposed. And they were married right in the living room.
There were nine people at the wedding. It was a very small intimate ceremony. Their wedding announcement made notable mention of the fact that Hillary was retaining her own name. Bill didn't seem to be bothered by this. However, when they told Virginia she gasps and when they told Hillary's mother she cried.
Now, we have a replica of Hillary's wedding dress here at the museum. She got her dress the night before the wedding on a shopping trip with her mother at Dillard's for $53 off the rack. And it was made by Jessica McClintock which was a popular designer at the time.
It was very humble beginnings for the Clintons here in Fayetteville. They were both making $14,000 a year as law professors and this room which has been enclosed was actually a screened in porch. And they used to sleep out here in the summers because they did not have air conditioning.
This is the Clinton kitchen and Hillary referred to it in her book in Living History as the room in the house that desperately needed to be remodeled. And this is what the Clinton kitchen looked like whenever they were here and they have the Harvest Gold appliances. And we've taken it back to somewhat of how it looked like when they were here. Of course Hillary never cooked. She did say that Bill would occasionally fry things but you got to check a lot of the people that were here.
And her (inaudible) back to the house was in 2007 when she was on the campaign trail. This humble dining the Clintons called the war room and they actually used it as campaign headquarters for his attorney general campaign which was his first successful political campaign in 1976. And there was a desk that sat in the middle of this room that had a map of Arkansas on it. And Hillary had the idea to visit each county three times so that they could really (inaudible) the grassroots politics that would get him elected both then and in future elections.
Fayetteville was a place where they really settled in. They really thought they had arrived, they got married, they had bought a house, they had successful jobs as law professors, and they finished law school. And so, they'd kind of reached a plateau where they had achieved a lot of things that they had set goals for in life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWAIN: Mindful of our time, so what I'm going to do is to get some of our first callers in here and then we'll pick up our story, let's begin with James on Oakland, California our first caller tonight.
Hi James, you're on.
JAMES (ph): JAMES (ph): Hi good. Good show, I'm loving it, Sue. I have one question for Gail Sheehy when she referred to an earlier time when Bill Clinton agreed to divorce Hillary Clinton and I'm not aware of that period. I'm also interested during the presidency where Hillary had major policy differences than Bill Clinton supported. Thank you.
SWAIN: Thank you.
SHEEHY: OK. Hi, thanks, Bill. Well, it was 1989 when Bill Clinton had been - he'd gotten caught with bimbo eruptions and he had pulled back from running for governor again. And Hillary had explored whether or not she should run for governor but a poll showed that she really wasn't going to be getting many votes at all.
And Bill Clinton fell in love with another women, really fell in love with her. This was not a bimbo, this was not (inaudible) lounge singer. This was actually a woman of quality, a professional whose family was in Arkansas and in politics. And he asked Hillary for a divorce. And she consulted with her minister and herself.
And came back and said, "Nothing doing." That's not going to happen and this, you know, affair is going to end. And that was the end of it. He never brought that up again. And they found their own arrangement much later which we can talk about later in the program.
SWAIN: And it does jump the story, do you have a brief comment on major policy differences between the two?
MARANISS: Not too many, but there were some. I would say one of the major ones was more nuanced than complete difference, but early in his second term when Bill Clinton declared that the era of big government was over and then proceeded to and during that period was reforming welfare.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's mentor was Marian Wright Edelman and her - Edelman's husband was very much opposed to what they're trying to do in terms of the welfare reform and he quit the administration and it was quite a tense period between them for that reason and other reasons, but that was one of the major differences, I would say.
SWAIN: Next caller is Trivante (ph) in Brooklyn, you're on the air.
TRIVANTE (ph): TRIVANTE (ph): Hi, what drives Hillary Clinton to become the first lady?
SWAIN: What? I didn't understand your question, Trivante (ph), will you ask it again?
TRIVANTE (ph): TRIVANTE (ph): I wanted to know what drives Hillary Clinton to become the First Lady.
SWAIN: What drove her to be the first lady? So, is it something she had the aspired to? I mean you said at the beginning she knew Bill was going to be president, soâ€¦
SHEEHY: Yes, she thought that Bill had it him to be president and she wanted to be part of that. She literally remembered she wanted to be a star and in that era she felt hitching her wagon to his star was a way to, you know, become a star herself. And she was right.
SWAIN: So, thank you Trivante (ph). All throughout this series we've had a lot - quite a few young callers calling in which is wonderful to get them interested in history. Chad (inaudible) is on Twitter and he asked because we're talking about the minister who was influential, how influential is religion and her faith? HRC does not seem as visible or as vocal with it as President Clinton.
SHEEHY: Well, I think she's even - that's more important to her.
MARANISS: I would agree.
SHEEHY: Don't you agree? She was a very moral Methodist, a very buttoned up, a prude in many ways, socially conservative in behavior. And faith got her through some of the worst times. She really relied on it and also the inspiration of Eleanor Roosevelt.
MARANISS: Bill Clinton was a Baptist. Hillary was a Methodist. Bill Clinton as a Baptist would wake up every morning and forgive himself. He had the rest of the world. Hillary had used her religion more in sort of an explanation of her active life. You know, her motto was do the best you can, the most you can as often as you can. And that was really sort of her Methodist motto.
SWAIN: That will be a line that we will quote after this program is over, forgive himself. Next is Kip (ph) in Atlanta. Hi, Kip (ph), you're on.
KIP (ph): KIP (ph): Yes, Ms. Swain, good evening.
SWAIN: Good evening.
KIP (ph): KIP (ph): I hadn't talked to you since Ida McKinley. David Maraniss and Gail Sheehy, two icons, and I have read your - both your works. Ms. Sheehy, I really enjoyed your work on Character back in 1988.
SHEEHY: Thank you.
KIP (ph): KIP (ph): My question was in response to a caller last week with Mrs. Bush, they want - I think the question was what was the relationship between the two first ladies during the transition? I seem to remember a quote of Mrs. Bush and I'd like to get both your comments on it after the informal tour of the White House, Mrs. Bush in response to a reporter's question, I think the reporter said, do you have any advice for Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Bush said, avoid the reporters like the plague and if they quote you, make - be sure they heard you.
So, I would like to find out from both of you in terms of what Hillary Clinton - I don't remember her having much of a comment then. But I'd like to get your take on the transition. And thank you so much for your work.
SWAIN: Thank you.
MARANISS: She certainly didn't avoid the reporters like a plague even if sometimes she might have wanted to. You know, it's interesting that Barbara Bush in your programs talked about how much she likes Bill Clinton now. I don't think that was necessarily true then.
SWAIN: Mind you, she was a tough campaign.
MARANISS: Yes, very much so.
SWAIN: But over time they became quite good friends as she told us.
SHEEHY: I had an experience with Hillary vis-a-vis the press and other things. Early in 1992, actually the day after she and Bill had appeared on 60 Minutes to address the Gennifer Flowers issue. Actually, yes, so I flew with Hillary in a tiny little plane to Pierre, South Dakota where she was going to appear before the pork rib feeders roast.
And as soon as we've landed, got into a hotel, there on this television screen was Gennifer Flowers playing her tapes with Governor Clinton.
I was right next to Hillary and I watched her expression. Not on iota of surprise, just a lizard eye blink and then directing her press secretary, get Bill on the phone. Get (inaudible) on the phone. Get Stephanopoulos on the phone.
Boom, right into battle mode. She then swept into the pork rib feeders roast, charmed the whiskers of the farmers and then was told all (inaudible) with Gennifer. She went to the phone again, came back boiling mad.
We got on the plane and for the next half hour she staked out what would be their battle plan for the rest of their time on the White House which was she said, got to run against the Republican attack machine because they're now doing paid character assassination. And run against the press. Well, the second one was a really big mistake. She did shut the access to reporters off which really alienated them a great deal. And she stumbled all the time and she lied much of the time.
And the press very early on stopped giving them glass half full and started giving them glass half empty.
SWAIN: What's important about that story is that she didn't seem as though she was angry at Bill Clinton for transgressions.
SHEEHY: Exactly. She had decided that she'd made a choice and named my book was Hillary's Choice she was here to going to rise with him or fall with him. They were symbiotic. They were joined at the hip.
SWAIN: And she knew what she was getting.
SHEEHY: And she knew what she was getting and he never really asked him, they had an unspoken agreement. She didn't ask him for any details about the women and he didn't ask her about Whitewater or Morgan Guaranty or her cattle futures or her investments.
MARANISS: I wouldn't say that she wasn't angry at him but I would say that she was so steeled for it that she could just plow forward.
SWAIN: So we have got to spend a little bit of time about the - with the Arkansas years and we'll not do it justice. But Dave Murdock asked us on Twitter how did the locals treat Hillary? Was Bill popular in town? What did they think of the marriage? Let me use that as a jumping off point to say after the successful attorney general bid he went on, Bill Clinton, to be elected to five nonconsecutive terms as governor of the State of Arkansas.
What is important about Hillary Clinton's time during that period, the Rose Law Firm but then how did she serve as first lady of the state?
MARANISS: In some ways as she did as First Lady of the United States. Now that's the period when Bill Clinton first started relying on her to help him with his most important policy issues. And so, the precursor to healthcare in the White House was education reform in Arkansas where he appointed Hillary to lead the effort to reform the Arkansas school system which was so bad that their motto was thank God for Mississippi because Arkansas was 49th instead of 50th among test scores.
So there was a reliance there in her ability to deal with policy that was very important. She came in to the first lady of Arkansas as Hillary Rodham.
Two years into their governorship he was defeated. He was rendered the youngest ex-governor in American history. And as a result of that, part of the campaign against her, against Bill was sort of this woman who wouldn't even take her husband's last name. And that was so un-Arkansan.
I would argue that although Bill was always called sort of the protean character who could adapt to any setting. Hillary was also adaptable. I mean she's the one who came from Illinois and the East Coast to Arkansas. And after those first two years I think she really figured out how to work in Arkansas and over the rest of his governorship she was very much part of that whole social and political and cultural milieu.
SHEEHY: Yes, and a lot of it had to do with image. She, you know, hadn't given any, you know, thought to her appearance, buying a dress off the rack. She dressed kind of like a hippie. She didn't, you know, she didn't wear makeup, her hair wasn't fixed and she really spruced up. She pulled herself together and begun to look more like an unacceptable southern lady.
And, you know, give teas and do more of the sort of first lady duties. But she was also supporting them. The big thing that she gave Bill Clinton was money. I mean, she was the breadwinner while he was making, you know, poultry salary for many years.
And she was made partner at Rose Law Firm three years after she was hired once he was back in the governor's office because that was now a very big connection.
SWAIN: They're a little parallel there with the Obama families where Michelle Obama was the lawyer earning more money to allow the husband to pursue hisâ€¦
MARANISS: The difference, yes, the difference was that Michelle during that period really was unhappy with her husband being this political guy going off to Springfield, Illinois. Whereas Hillary from the moment they got together she knew what his job was and she supported that part of it.
SWAIN: Gail Sheehy, in Arkansas there were the seeds of things that she would take to the White House and you referenced them and we should explain how - what decision she made that they would end up becoming investigations, the Whitewater investment, the Whitewater properties, the Rose Law Firm and billing during that time period, investment in futures, were all things that Americans across the country would begin to hear about when they made it to the White House.
SWAIN: Will you talk about Hillary Clinton's involvement in these and decisions that she made that would become national in their scope.
SHEEHY: I think the real story here is about the decision to allow a special prosecutor. That was a big debate between Bill and Hillary.
SWAIN: But we're advancing the story, I'm looking at the Arkansas â€¦
SHEEHY: What she actually did?
SWAIN: What she did there to â€¦
SHEEHY: You know to this day, I don't think anybody really knows but â€¦
MARANISS: Well, she was trying to make money for the family.
SHEEHY: She was trying to make money. She was investing. She had a hotshot investor who got her into cattle futures ad she made a big profit.
MARANISS: Jim Blair was a friend of theirs. Diane Blair was at Fayetteville at the university when the Clintons were there and her husband was very sharp with trading and that's how they got into that putting $1,000 and make $100,000 on cattle futures. And then the connection to other people in Little Rock is when she got in trouble with the Rose Law Firm records and actions involving Jim McDougal who was actually Bill Clinton's friend.
SHEEHY: A kind of crazy (inaudible) guy.
MARANISS: Yes. It's all in the sort of morass of Arkansas politics that sort of they got trapped in.
SWAIN: John (ph) is watching us in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Hi John (ph), what's your question?
JOHN (ph): JOHN (ph): Yes. Good evening. I like everyone have been following this series of programs and I want to commend you, Susan and all of C-SPAN for such a wonderful, wonderful journalism. It's been great.
Regarding the Clintons, I'd like to go back to 1972 and I believe that Bill Clinton was in charge of the Texas McGovern campaign. And that Hillary and a man who's now a historian, Taylor Branch, also worked on that McGovern campaign in Texas in 1972. And that was the first foray I think that the two of them, Bill and Hillary, got together. Am I correct in that?
And then one other thing connected with that. I think that I heard this and I wonder if this is true or if it's apocryphal that I believe that Bill Clinton said or wrote in one of his books that in a course of that he drove Cokie Roberts' dad, Hale Boggs, who was then the House Majority Leader to the airport and dropped him off, you know, because he was a campaign aide, Clinton was, and say goodbye to him and everything. And that was the last that Hale Boggs was ever seen.
SWAIN: Thank you, John (ph). We're going to get responses to your questions. The McGovern campaign in 1972 and how formative it was for them.
SHEEHY: Well, I think it was hugely formative because this was a - this is a very new kind of politics which they believed in. I think McGovern was, you know, had the kind of platform that they were interested in. And they thought they were going to bring that new politics to a larger America. I think that inspired them but you have more on that.
They also met Betsey Wright in that campaign. And Betsey Wright was furious with Hillary for, you know, advancing Bill Clinton's political career instead of striking out on her own. But Hillary pulled back from that. She was much more interested in, you know, making it a twosome.
MARANISS: Betsey Wright later became Bill Clinton's chief of staff as governor of Arkansas. But yes, 1972, Taylor Branch and Bill Clinton were very young. And they were running Texas for George McGovern. They've been hired by Gary Hart to run the state. And he brought them in there because neither of them was from Texas. And Texas was a political mess for Democrats at that point. There was huge split between the progressives and the conservatives. And they thought that these two kids would at least sort of be able to diffuse some of that. It was an enormous learning experience for both of the Clintons.
Hillary was actually stationed most of the time in San Antonio. Bill was in Austin running the campaign. He not only did drive Hale Boggs to the airport as the caller suggested. He also took George McGovern out to the (inaudible) to meet with LBJ in a famous meeting they had out there. Clinton learned a lot during that camp. But the essential thing that he and Hillary learned was how you can lose. And from that moment on Bill Clinton's whole concept was how you can be a progressive, moderate progressive and still hold on to something in America as it was changing. That was the first of those many lessons that he followed over the next 20 years.
SHEEHY: During his term as governor, the Clintons increased their national profile leading to the 1992 presidential campaign. We mentioned earlier that it was a bruising one. Those of you who were following politics at the time will remember it well including the arrival of Ross Perot's candidacy in the campaign. It brought Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton to the White House.
Shortly after they arrived there was the announcement about healthcare. We have a couple of clips to show you about the - to help demonstrate the intention of the First Lady's involvement in the healthcare issue. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Bill Clinton: I am grateful that Hillary has agreed to chair this task force and not only because it means she'll be sharing some of the heat I expect to generate. I think that in the coming months the American people will learn, as the people of our State did, that we have a First Lady of many talents, but who most of all can bring people together around complex and difficult issues to hammer out consensus and get things done.
HILLARY CLINTON: As the President and as he believes this is not a partisan issue. It is not an ideological battle. It is a problem to be solved that affects all of us. And I'm looking forward over the next weeks and months to not only working with you but to watching you craft the most important social policy that our nation will have confronted in many decades.
When I worked on healthcare a lot of people thought that I shouldn't be making recommendations about legislation or that I shouldn't be involved in working on behalf of my what my husband asked me to work on which was one of his primary objectives because they thought that that was somehow inappropriate. That if you exercise influence do it behind the scenes where nobody can see you, I find that curious.
I mean to me I'd like to know what goes on in front of the scenes because I'm very, very much the kind of person who believes that you should say what you mean and mean what you say and take the consequences. I mean just like anybody else who's involved in public life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWAIN: For our guests, (Emily Emmer) on Twitter says what and why was the difference in Hillary Clinton's healthcare proposal failing compared to Obamacare? So what was the difference? Why did that not work for the Clintons?
MARANISS: You know what's interesting at the time that they were pushing it each of those presidents had control of Congress. But I would say that one of the contradictions in Hillary's statement there or at least paradoxes is that she talked about how she liked to be open and upfront. And one of the real problems for that effort to push through healthcare then was that they were so secretive and that Congress did not feel that they were a part of it.
Now of course getting any sort of major initiative like that through Congress is enormously difficult no matter who's controlling it. And there was so much antipathy towards it and money spent by the insurance companies to defeat it. There are a lot of complications to it. But Barack Obama - President Obama was able with the Democratic majority to just barely get it through by working with them and one of the major problems with the Clintons' effort was that there wasn't a feeling that they were actually partners in it and that they were just concocting it in these secret meetings.
SWAIN: Strategically how important was the appointment of Hillary Clinton ultimately in its trajectory?
SHEEHY: I think it had a long hangover for the Clintons. And you can see from the video that Hillary came on and she had beautifully modulated voice. She speaks without notes in paragraphs. All of the skills that we've seen her practice all along but she never said I'm not an expert but she never showed any deference to the people on this committee, one of the oldest and most important committees in Washington to say I look forward to your expertise to educate me. What she said was I know, I've studied and I've talked to thousands of Americans and this is what we need to do.
And I think she got off on the wrong foot as like who is she with Members of Congress. And as David said then everything was in secret, many, many meetings. And then this giant whatever thousands of pages thing was dropped on the table.
And the same complaints, the same opposition from Republicans then on every single score including what will Americans be guaranteed that they can keep their healthcare plan if they like it that Obama faced. The Clintons just were way ahead of their time and she was - the key was in her defense when she said I don't understand why I couldn't make policy just like any other public official. She wasn't a public official.
SWAIN: Now in 1994 the Gingrich Revolution came to the House of Representatives, the Republicans took control for the first time in several decades. And I don't want to do a Bill Clinton presidency discussion now because I want you to frame this question in terms of how it affected Hillary Clinton's record because Republicans took over and investigations began. Will you talk about that?
MARANISS: Yes, before we get to the investigations, the key thing to understand about what happened after healthcare is the defeat in 1994 was to the Clintons exactly like the defeat in 1980 when they lost the governorship. And they have to recover in the same way. They drew on the same people to do it.
They had to sort of think up what the (inaudible) would be, how to get back into the game. It was - Clintons were used to running every two years. That's the way he did it in Arkansas. So even though they weren't on the ballot at 1994 that defeat was the same as any other for them. And then once they lose control of the House they lose control of what's - of investigations and everything started to unravel from there.
SWAIN: And we will talk more about the charges and the investigations later on. But I wanted to essentially make the connection between that decision to put Hillary in charge of healthcare, the uprising against it which then had an effect on the election which then changed the course of their presidency.
MARANISS: You know there were other reasons why the Republicans took over in 1994 but healthcare was the top reason.
SWAIN: Other causes that she was involved and continually were children and also women's issues. She published a book during this time period and it became another phrase emblematic with her. It was It Takes a Village.
SHEEHY: Yes, and this brought her back. I followed her on that book tour and the public loved it. That concept was really Hillary's which is, you know, it was her form of family values. You know it takes a village to support women that they can work and have a family at the same time and be productive in the community. And it takes pulling together. It's not all just up from your bootstraps by yourself with no help from government. She was mobbed for it by the press for a while. But she was so popular on the book tour people had to then acknowledge.
And her book became a big best seller. And she was able to rehabilitate herself with that book. And then became a book writer added to her many other talents, that one which she continues to use.
SWAIN: And (Charlie Watts) asked, is it true that Hillary Clinton won a Grammy Award? Answer is she is.
SWAIN: For the spoken version of this book.
SHEEHY: That's right, yes.
MARANISS: Sort of like Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. Now one wonders what was involved in that decision for a Grammy.
SWAIN: Hillary Clinton held a White House Youth Summit, lobbied for passage of the Foster Care Independence Act. So she was involved in the policy side of children's issues throughout her time in the White House.
SHEEHY: That's right. And she also, you know, called out the military on Agent Orange and made them finally admit that this was a disease that was a result of warfare in Vietnam and they needed to take care of veterans.
SWAIN: Let's go to Jason (ph) next in Louisville, Kentucky. Hi Jason (ph), you're on.
JASON (ph): JASON (ph): Hi, thanks so much, Susan. Thank you for doing this special and also thanks to C-SPAN. Not really a question just a comment in that - around the historical significance of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. And specifically that she moved the issue of equality for the gay community to the front of America's diplomatic agenda.
And one signature way that she did was with her historic speech before the Human Rights Council in Geneva where she famously said gay rights are human rights much as she did in Beijing regarding women's rights. And to my knowledge prior to her we had not had someone that served at that level to take that stand and really make that push.
SWAIN: Thank you, Jason (ph). But I'd let that stand as a comment because it's far ahead in our story and thank you for calling in tonight. While we're talking about here interest in children's issue we haven't talked about the Clintons' child, Chelsea, who was born in 1980. A word about their style as parents and how they raised her in this very public life that they were living.
MARANISS: Well, you could see when they go to the White House that they were protecting her. She wasn't part of the story until there were certain times when they needed to present an image of this family and then all of a sudden she'd appear in People Magazine. But there's nothing negative to say about their parenting and there shouldn't be.
They were excellent parents. They showered her with knowledge and books and love. And she became very much like parts of both of them, the better parts of each of them I would say.
SWAIN: And when you watched how they managed to give her something of a normal life in that very public environment, what were your observations?
SHEEHY: I used to see them at Renaissance Weekend when Chelsea would be around. And it was the awkward years when she was in middle adolescence and she was kind of gawky. But she carried herself with confidence that they must have instilled in her while she was going through that awkward state. And she was devoted to her mother. And then her father used to come home and have dinner with her oftentimes when Hillary was traveling. And so he'd have his Saturday night date with Chelsea. And that was one of the things that was the most heartbreaking for him when he had really, you know, gone over the line with Monica Lewinsky was he kind of lost Chelsea for a while.
MARANISS: There was a time when he was governor of Arkansas and young Chelsea was asked what does your father do for a living? She said he drinks coffee and talks on the telephone.
SWAIN: For each of the First Ladies we have talked about their stewardship of the White House. And Hillary Clinton actually wrote a book about that while she was in the role, An Invitation to the White House, At Home with History and we're showing you a picture of that book right now.
May I ask each of you to comment about their - her stewardship of the White House and how they used the White House politically to advance their goals (inaudible) as most presidents have? Would you talk about her interest in the history of the White House and how she approached it?
SHEEHY: Well she started America's Treasures Preservation. And did a lot of research and found a lot of things and put them on display. I think she did restoration with the Treaty Room, several of the rooms of the White House. She wasn't as active as Jacquelyn Kennedy was but she was still pretty active. And I don't know much about their social entertaining. They had some big White House lawn parties and they - but they didn't use the White House nearly as much as the Kennedys for instance who made it a cultural center because they were - she was very busy doing other policy things.
MARANISS: Of course know about the Lincoln Bedroom.
SWAIN: I was going to ask you about this.
MARANISS: So they did have a lot of social activities. They had brought in a lot of musicians. Bill Clinton loved music and so much like President Obama and Michelle bringing in various great musicians the Clintons did as well. But they also turned it into something of a sleepover place. A lot of friends stayed there often. No one actually lived there like under Roosevelt. But there were friends constantly coming through. And also a lot of big donors would get rewarded with a night in the Lincoln Bedroom.
SHEEHY: That's right.
SWAIN: So let me take a couple of calls and then we have to talk in broad brush stroke about the investigations and legal troubles of the Clintons as a political partnership. Let's listen to Elle (ph) in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hi, Elle (ph), you're on the air.
ELLE (ph): ELLE (ph): Hi, thank you so much. (inaudible) I have the TV on and you had a funny look on your face there. Anyway, (inaudible). Two points and this has to do with something that was brought up last week with Barbara Bush. A person talked about how she kind of and the Bushes tend to put the fear of the Lord in the press in that they would get called back to the White House if they printed something that was - that Barbara Bush was not in agreement with. Yet Barbara Bush knew that her husband had been having an affair and so did a number of the press. But they wouldn't acknowledge that.
And Hillary Clinton, she said, you know, lied that she knew a lot of things. Why do you suppose the press and the public would be so much more willing to accept the grandmotherly Barbara Bush who really was very steely versus a Hillary Clinton who really was quite a bit more vulnerable and thenâ€¦
SWAIN: All right, Elle (ph) thank you, we're going to run because we're running out of time here.
SHEEHY: I'm not sure I understand the question. But I can say something about, you know, Hillary was really furious at George Bush, you know, reputedly had a Gennifer too. And when I did an interview with Hillary Clinton, a very formal one, she interrupted, you know, out of nowhere raised this issues.
And she had been sitting with the head of the Atlanta Newspaper Fortune and she brought this up. And this woman said, Anne Cox Chambers, why don't the - why doesn't the media investigate George Bush's Gennifer. And Hillary said, you know, they're just going to circle the wagons on them because that's what the Republicans do. And she planted this in my tape recorder when I wrote about it.
Barbara Bush slammed back and said, you know, how dare she talk about my husband that way and Hillary had to really eat humble pie. And she was depicted on the cover of the New York Post saying well shut my mouth. And when she stepped off the - it was just before the New York Primary when she and Bill Clinton arrived in Albany to - for the last day before the primary.
Bill Clinton had to step in front for a very rare appearance apologizing for Hillary. And he did it with a slight smile on his face. But I think, you know, Hillary was just beside herself that the Bushes could get away with this kind of thing but she couldn't and Hillary - Bill couldn't.
SWAIN: The story of the Clinton two administrations was also a story of investigations and scandals and reactions to those. I'm going to show you a clip from 1994, early in their White House years when Hillary at a news conference talks about the level of trust that people have with her. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIEDO CLIP)
FEMALE: In the recent news reports about the First Lady's cattle future earnings and with all these Whitewater allegations, many of us Americans are having a hard time with your credibility. How can you earn our trust back? Is there a fundamental distrust of the Clintons in America?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I hope not. I mean that would be something that I would regret very much. I do think that we are transition figures, if you will. We don't fit easily into a lot of our preexisting categories. And I think that having been independent, having made decisions, it's a little difficult for us as a country, maybe, to make the transition of having a woman like many of the women in this room sitting in this House.
So I think that the standards and to some extent the expectations and the demands have changed. And I'm trying to find my way through it and trying to figure out how best to be true to myself and how to fulfill my responsibilities to my husband and my daughter and the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWAIN: David Maraniss, what are your thoughts watching that?
MARANISS: Well my thoughts are that's the famous pink suit press conference where she talked for several hours. And she was embroiled in controversy at that point over the cattle futures and several other things involving the Rose Law Firm. I think what she said has a lot of merit to it. The word transitional figures, she was facing things that no first lady was before. Some of it was just part of the culture of that moment and some of it was self-induced.
And so you can't really separate the two. They did many things that did not help them during that period. And it's also true that they were being judged in ways different from anybody before them, especially Hillary.
SWAIN: Yes, see here, I'm going to show two more clips and this is from a pivotal year, 1998 where we see a transition from the beginning of the year unto the end of the year in their discussion of these issues. January of 1998, let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: These past months have been a torturous process of coming to terms with what I did. I understand that accountability demands consequences, and I'm prepared to accept them. Painful of the condemnation of the Congress would be, it would pale in comparison to the consequences of the pain I have caused my family. There is no greater agony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWAIN: So for both of you, quite a long year, so much to talk about. What's important for people to know about that year? And again, we're putting this in the framework of Hillary Clinton as first lady.
SHEEHY: You know a year elapsed before Bill Clinton was finally able to come clean to Hillary and then to the country and that was a torturous year for both of them. And she, you know, tried to change the story. It's about the right wing conspiracy. It's not about my husband. She did not know or did not allow herself to know that Monica Lewinsky was really a sexual relationship until Bill Clinton actually had to sit her down and tell her. And then she, you know, really threw things at him and exploded. And we saw how the family split apart. And it was that very tragic thing to watch.
But for that most of that year she was right in there fighting for him. And the attorney who was working with them on that damage control I said well gosh, when they were sitting there preparing with the defense, you know, she must - the body language must have been pretty, you know, hostile. He said oh no, not at all. They're always holding hands. And their arms were around each other. They were totally affectionate. They were in this together. And what you saw was that when crisis engulfed them they would be like it was at war.
They were in the foxhole together, you know, bombs were exploding all around. It's your battle buddy. It's you two against the world and it made them closer. And what would also happen when those things - when things erupted and it happened all through their relationship. When she would, you know, turn into a lioness and rush into rip the flesh off their enemies and sit down and make the battle plan Bill Clinton would suddenly reward her with affection, intimacy, more power. They were closer. That was when she got the closest to him so it was kind of, you know, a loop. It wasn't all bad for Hillary when things erupted and she became the crisis manager and Bill Clinton loved her for it.
MARANISS: That's exactly right. There was this cycle to their relationship where when one was up and the other was down then one would be up and the other would be down. They keep going back and forth. And that actually had an effect of keeping them together through all of this. And just as Gail had talked about in 1992 when she saw Hillary that first time with Gennifer Flowers just steel herself for the battle plan she did it again in 1998 and 1999, of course things fractured. But the thing to remember from that is they stayed together.
And one of the great ironies of modern political politics is that the Clintons have stayed together when families like the Gores who everybody thought was a perfect family split apart.
SWAIN: Bev (ph) is watching us from Cleveland. Hi Bev (ph), you're on.
BEV (ph): BEV (ph): Hi, thank you. I have been watching this series the whole time. I wanted to say I read one time or heard that Hillary Clinton really garnered or earned a lot of loyalty in terms of, you know, people over of many years that she has been associated with either as, you know, friends or people that worked for her.
And that's why there's really been no kind of tell all stories because she does have earned that kind of loyalty. And does that speak to her genuineness, her character which I would think if that's the case that would certainly be an admirable characteristics whether it's a first lady but also as a possible president of the United States.
And also just to say that I was fortunate enough to shake hands and meet them when they were in 1992 running for - when he was running. So that was quite a thrill so yes, if you would just kind of speak to then to her character in terms of that.
SWAIN: Thank you, Bev (ph). As Gail Sheehy is answering, we wanted to show all of you an interesting illustration in the New York Times Sunday Magazine just yesterday. And it really speaks in graphic sense of these interrelationships that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have forged throughout their many years of public life. It's called the Madam Secretary of the Universe. You can see her in the center there as the sun, I guess, and all the planets revolving around it. But to the caller's question about the importance of these relationships in shielding them.
SHEEHY: It's been enormously important. I think both Hillary and Bill, you know, kept notes on people, you know, starting in college and in law school and they had files and so they would always remember, you know, even if they were visiting, you know, a military base in one year and then coming back the next year. They would know to talk, you know, to ask, you know, Sergeant, did your wife have the baby yet? How did it turn out and people would melt.
But I think even more important for Hillary are the women that she brought into her bosom, into her family. They called it a family. She would treat them almost like family members, really pay attention to their ups and downs and when they needed help. The loyalty that she showed to Huma Abedin when she got into all the trouble with Anthony Weiner shaming her in much the way that Bill Clinton had shamed Hillary. That was very endearing I think. And Huma is still attached to her side.
So having a Hillary land and having wonderful women, really smart, supporting her and her loyalty to them has been enormously important. But there's a downside too. Patti Solis Doyle was her chief of staff for a while. And in the 2008 presidential campaign she kept Patty on as the campaign director. And Patty was not ready for primetime. And a lot of things went wrong because of her and it was killing to Hillary to have to finally fire her.
SWAIN: David Maraniss, again, we have about 20 minutes left and so much to cover. So let me ask you, we left the story with Bill Clinton's troubles which led to him being the second president in history being impeached. And ironically as his troubles were mounting Hillary Clinton was considering a bid for the United States Senate. And she was successful at that.
Will you talk about her decision to become a candidate herself? And how she pulled that off when her husband had been having political troubles.
MARANISS: You know it's kind of ironic, I remember that Gail and I, the last time we were on TV together was on Meet the Press in 1999. And Tim Russert had asked us whether we thought Hillary would ever run for office and we both said yes. And the next day Robert Tortorelli, the head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee started talking about Hillary running for the Senate.
I think that she had already had her eye on that. I think that because of Bill Clinton's troubles she was frustrated in those last few years in the White House and was looking to go out on her own. They had risen together as far as they could for 25 years. And now it's her turn and I think that's the way she felt.
SHEEHY: She did. But even more than that because I heard all about the meeting that she had with Harold Ickes on the very day that the impeachment vote was taking place in another part of the - in Congress. And Bill Clinton's stopped in to say hello to her guest and Hillary didn't even look up and, you know, they didn't want have anything to do with him. Hillary was then totally focused. She'd done everything she could to line up the ducks in the row so that the Democrats would make sure that he wasn't going to be thrown out of office.
Now she was moving on and this was the biggest passage in her life. She said to Harold Ickes I want independence. I have to have it. I can feel it when I could speak with my voice. She was 53 years old. I don't think it's going to take another, you know, with the current generation of women it's not going to take that long to speak with their own voice. But she had to wait that long and still had to wait a little bit longer after that. But she did start her campaign before she left the White House, moved to New York, started a whole new life.
You know began to be seen socially and began to move away and develop a separate channel. They never got divorced but they found a way to, you know, kind of cohabit in the universe and still help each other.
SWAIN: What distinguished her two terms in the Senate or eight years in the Senate rather?
MARANISS: Well she was actually very well liked in the Senate. I don't think that you point to any specific legislation that came through during that period that she was related to. Although very early in her first term 9/11 happened and she was the senator from New York where that took place. And I think that the key issue and vote that ironically hurt her in 2008 was the vote in 2003 on invading Iraq and she supported it. And one can see the connection between being the senator from New York where the Twin Towers were hit and her vote a couple of years later.
And one can easily make the case that that vote caused her the Democratic nomination because Barack Obama who is not in the Senate but gave a strong speech opposing the Iraq war won the progressive vote in Iowa and took off from there.
SWAIN: From the time that she had been considering her run for the Senate did she have her eye on the presidency itself or was that an evolution?
SHEEHY: You know she was asked I think in early 2000 when she thought we would have a woman president and she said 2008. I heard her say that. Well, we didn't have a woman president but she tried as hard as she could to be one.
MARANISS: And she thought she would be the one.
SHEEHY: And she thought she'd be it.
SWAIN: Here is 2008 in New Hampshire. This is a pretty familiar piece of video to those of you who are following the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: It's not easy. It's not easy and I couldn't do it if I just didn't, you know, passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I've had so many opportunities from this country, I just don't want to see us fall backwards, you know, so â€¦
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWAIN: Ultimately, why did that campaign fail?
MARANISS: It was a mess. You know, as tight as her White House operation was in what they called Hillary Land. The campaign itself had all these different factions of Hillary people and Bill people and a lot of disagreements and tactical errors. So all of that had to do with it in terms of, you know, whether they would focus on caucus states which the Obama people figured out so many different ways. But in the end it always comes down to the candidates themselves.
And the interesting thing about that clip is that it shows Hillary at a point where Barack Obama is just winning the emotion vote. You know his speeches, the energy that he had, the youth and all that. And Hillary was considered sort of too much of a machine, an automaton candidate. And so there she is trying to show I'm human too but it was a little bit too late.
SHEEHY: Well yes, you're absolutely right, David. And it was Mark Penn and Bill Clinton who said absolutely you can't run as a woman. You have to run as a man. You have to be the strongest man in the cabin. You have to be the commander in chief. And that was - she had just lost. She was third place in Iowa, terrible shock to her. She comes to New Hampshire, just a small group of women and it was an older woman who sort of asked her, how do you do it day after day?
And that kind of got to her and she was Hillary unplugged for once, you know, where she actually - you saw a little bit of being a human, of being a woman and then she got slammed for crying. She didn't cry. She just choked up a little bit. I mean there were men crying all over the place who were in politics in that period getting away with it.
SWAIN: Aida (ph) is in West Palm Beach, Florida. Hi Aida (ph).
AIDA (ph): AIDA (ph): Hi Susan and I thank you very much for taking my call again. We spoke when you had the series on Jackie Kennedy and I'm enjoying this so very, very much. I have a quick question. Does the panel feel that she will run again for the presidency considering all the scrutiny that she went through the first time you've just alluded to with her crying and all of that? And if she does not run, is her health going to be a factor?
Thank you so much for this series. I've really enjoyed it.
SWAIN: Thank you for watching.
SHEEHY: I think she cannot not run unless she has a serious health problem. That would be the only reason to hold her back. She now has the former Obama machine Project USA. Is that what's it's called or Primary?
SHEEHY: Yes, USA backing her â€¦
MARANISS: Which is Obama's people basically.
SHEEHY: Obama's people. She has Ready for Hillary which is a grassroots operation that's been going on for a year that's raised almost a couple of million of dollars. And, you know, she can't disappoint all these people plus the fact she's always wanted it. And she's had so much scrutiny and here we are scrutinizing her all over again and everybody else will be doing the same. I think she's in many ways bulletproof on a lot of what's gone on in the past.
MARANISS: I would never say bulletproof but I think that there were a lot of people who in the Primary's voted for Barack Obama who then a couple of years after that were thinking well, maybe Hillary would have been a good president or had more experience even than he. But, you know, everything seems totally greased for her. And that always sends off alarm bells in my mind. You know everything seems inevitable. History is never inevitable.
So even though it looks like it's going to happen I would - I'm counterintuitive enough to think that something else might occur.
SWAIN: In June of 2008 Hillary Clinton dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed and campaigned for Barack Obama even though the two had had really some tense times on the campaign trail in the months before that. She agreed to serve as his secretary of state. Was that a momentous decision for her?
SHEEHY: It certainly was and I think what we - I've just found out more recently is that she came into that discussion with a strong negotiating position. She didn't just accept it right away. She said I have my own agenda. I want to bring my vital voice which was her program in the White House to empower women and work for gender equality in countries all around the world. And she had (inaudible) as a partner in that.
She wanted to bring that into the state department as an official US policy. And she said to Barack Obama, you know, if you can't accept that, fine. Otherwise, you can find somebody else. And he agreed and she did do that. And I think that may be her greatest legacy is to have made progress for women and girls around the world.
SWAIN: Well David Maraniss, as she became the most traveled secretary of state, 112 countries visited during her term. We had a caller earlier who commended her for her work on gay rights while she was in the state department. We just heard Gale Sheehy's thoughts on her promoting the causes of women. But in fact, this particular clip of her testimony after the attack in Benghazi will probably be most remembered for her tenure as secretary of state, let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: We have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown.
SEN. RON JOHNSON: No, no, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that. And that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact. And the American people could have known that within days and they didn't know that.
HILLARY CLINTON: And with all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they'd they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.
Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. But the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we'll figure out what was going on in the meantime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARANISS: That also was Hillary unplugged in a very different way. I think that's a Hillary that a lot of people have seen in campaign meetings behind the scenes. So she's angry. I don't think that's staged at all. I think that's the way she was feeling at the time. And I think there's some legitimate point she was making and also some of, you know, she said today that Benghazi was her main regret as secretary of state, the fact that four people were killed on her watch. And you know there's still a lot to be determined about Benghazi.
The reporters that I trust the most who've really explored it for both the New York Times and the Washington Post say that it's much more complicated than the Republicans have tried to portray it. But there is some responsibility that the Obama administration and the State Department has for what happened.
SHEEHY: You know I think a lot of it is a money issue. They're just cut backs on providing security for American outposts around the world had been severe. And they didn't have enough people. I think Hillary was, you know, very aware of taking care of people in the State Department. But obviously she didn't think of Libya as being a place that needed to be fortified in advance. And if she could have done anything really important that would have been it.
MARANISS: The other thing to say which is the larger scheme of things, yes, that quote in Benghazi will the most remembered in the short term and that will be played over and over again if she runs for president. But in the course of history, you know, people could say well, what did she do as secretary of state? In terms of international diplomacy you can't point to that many accomplishments.
But you can point to something that has been part of her from when she went Beijing as the First Lady and spoke about women's rights. And so going back to what that man said about gay rights and women's rights I think that the larger impact that Hillary Clinton has had on the world has to do with her speaking out so strongly about those issues.
SWAIN: We have just about five minutes left in our 90 minutes on First Lady Hillary Clinton. We're going to take a call from Tess in Springdale, Arkansas. Hi Tess, are you there?
TESS (ph): TESS (ph): Yes, I'm here.
SWAIN: Your question please.
TESS (ph): TESS (ph): My question is why did Hillary get so little coverage as secretary of state when under the Bush administration Condoleezza Rice was in the news every day?
SWAIN: That's a good question perhaps you know, David. Do you agree with her premise that she got little coverage as secretary state?
MARANISS: I don't know what the different would have been between her and Condoleezza Rice except that when Condoleezza Rice was there we were dealing with wars in a way that Hillary was sort one step removed from dealing with that Iraq and Afghanistan. She was focusing on some other things and they had special diplomats dealing with those two issues.
SHEEHY: And one of the reasons that she didn't show any major accomplishments was because foreign policy was very much held tight by the White House. Hillary wanted Richard Holbrooke as her Deputy Secretary of State. The Obama Administration would not agree because it would have put too much power in the State Department. So he was given Afghanistan. They gave - Dennis Ross was given Israel. Hillary didn't have a major brief. So what she did mainly was make friends around the country and try to undo some of the damage that had been done by the Bush Administration in alienating both allies and exacerbating enemies.
MARANISS: The other aspect of that was that when President Obama took over it was the economy, stupid, as James Carvel commented once that all of the focus of that presidency was on the economy. And so we had to have somebody running foreign policy that he felt was confident or trust to do it. But the press and everybody else was paying to attention to what was going on domestically.
SWAIN: Tom is watching us in Philadelphia. Hi Tom, you're on.
TOM (ph): TOM (ph): Yes, hi how are you doing? My question is will she win the presidency, yes or no?
SWAIN: Well, I think David Maraniss answered that earlier with things that are greased don't always play out the way they should.
MARANISS: Yes, I was hoping the Packers would win the Super Bowl so, you know. It's the same thing as saying that. I'm not interested - I mean I'm interested in the results. But for whatever I say I know no more than you or anyone else in this country.
SWAIN: Gail Sheehy on Twitter, (inaudible) has a personal question about Hillary. Does Hillary have interest or hobbies outside politics? She seems singularly devoted to the political world.
SHEEHY: Well I think she is primarily, you know, she doesn't really like to exercise. She doesn't play any instruments. She says she can sing. I'm not sure what else she likes to do. She doesn't like to do her hair. I can tell you that. She says she can't do it herself and that's why she let it grow long and so she could wear it in a ponytail or a bun. And it took a lot of nudging by her Hillary Land pals to finally get her to cut her hair and change the style.
SWAIN: (Regina Krumkie) asked on Twitter is Bill a political ally for Hillary or a liability. So let's go back to their relationship. And what is his - how is he seeing himself with - now that it's her turn to seek the White House. How is he approaching this?
MARANISS: Well you can go back to 2008 and how he approached it there. He was both a liability and a help. He loves being a campaign manager. For all of his own campaigns he was always both the candidate and the campaign manager. He loves breaking down every precinct and county in Iowa, in New Hampshire. He knows them all. And he also understands and learned some lessons from 2008 that he has to be careful about what he says and how he affects her candidacy. So I think that it's both a liability - but he is in my experience of covering politics for several decades the smartest politician I've ever met.
SWAIN: We are just about out of time. As we close here I wanted to ask you both, this has been a historical series about First Ladies. We have this period of time women who are still very much living and with us and still writing their own life stories. But how should we put a capper on this discussion of Hillary Clinton? What should people think about her from all your reporting and know about her that's significant in the context of history.
SHEEHY: I Hillary Clinton's from the very beginning wanted to be helpful in advancing the lives, the security, the opportunity and the impact of women and the protection of girls. And you see that (inaudible) in every, you know, framework that she has operated in right to this day and I think that that has been her greatest impact on the world.
She and Bill Clinton have been in rehab for a long time. But I think she has rehabilitated herself much more than he and he is probably depending on her to make the ultimate rehabilitation even if and when she becomes president.
SWAIN: We really only skimmed the surface here so much so we didn't about his heart attacks and the effect on the family of that and so much more but in closing, as much as we can do the story justice, what should people know about this woman?
MARANISS: Well, I think she is the best known woman in the world. I think that she is an incredible story whether you like her or dislike her and everyone has an opinion pretty strongly one way or the other about her. I think that she's a pioneer. She placed a path for every woman to follow in terms of her political career and activism. And she is a survivor as his her husband and together for all of the incredible ups and downs of their lives together and moving forward, she keeps going.
You know, she once quoted the Woody Allen that, you know, 90 percent of life is just showing up and she keeps showing up.
SWAIN: So, David Maraniss and Gail Sheehy, thanks very much for being here as C-SPAN's First Ladies Series looks at the life of Hillary Clinton. Thanks for your time tonight.
SHEEHY: Our pleasure.
MARANISS: Thank you.