How Newt Reassured Hillary

One interesting tidbit in Bill Clinton’s book is how then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) reassured Hillary Clinton on the political ramifications of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. On Feb. 5, 1998, two weeks after the scandal broke, Gingrich and his then-wife Marianne attended a state dinner for British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The next day, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported on Gingrich’s attendance at the dinner as follows: “If the name Monica Lewinsky was on anyone’s mind, it certainly wasn’t on their lips–at least not in earshot of reporters who hovered around the arriving guests. ‘I’m not going to be a guest at the White House and talk about any of those matters,’ sniffed House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) when asked about independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation of allegations that Clinton lied about having an Oval Office affair with a White House intern.” On page 778 of his book, however, Clinton tells a different story. “After the event,” he writes, “Hillary told me that Newt Gingrich, who had been seated at her table with Tony Blair, had said the charges against me were ‘ludicrous,’ and ‘meaningless’ even if true, and weren’t ‘going anywhere.'” Although Gingrich never became an outspoken critic of Clinton’s obstruction of justice, House Republicans did impeach Clinton for it that December–a month after Gingrich had announced his own resignation.