Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Carl Bernstein Says Clintons Changed Minds on Bio

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Carl Bernstein Says Clintons Changed Minds on Bio

Article excerpt

Carl Bernstein first thought a biography of Hillary Clinton would be worthwhile after watching her live through the Monica Lewinsky affair and the subsequent impeachment of her husband in 1999.

"I decided that, coming out of the Lewinsky episode, she was the one person who came out of it enhanced." Bernstein told E&P, adding that everyone else involved, from Bill Clinton to the press, saw their images shaken. "She was the exception. It was obvious she wanted to redeem what was looking like a failed presidency and redeem their legacy. It was going to be very interesting."

Eight years later, the result is "A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton," Bernstein's 640-page report that he contends is "a real biography." Slated for a June 5 release from Alfred A. Knopf, the book has already gotten some early attention thanks to Bernstein's old employer, The Washington Post. E&P received a copy on Tuesday and produced two preview pieces.

Bernstein said he had approached the Clintons early on for interviews during his research and they agreed to cooperate. But he said last year they changed their minds, telling him they knew several biographies were coming out and "did not want to favor one....

"They kept putting it off," he said of his attempts to interview the Clintons for the project, adding that their eventual excuse not to cooperate was "less than convincing...I believe that decision not to talk to me went through the campaign apparatus."

He said that Clinton lawyer Robert Barnett, who helped both Clintons with their own book deals, sought to dissuade Bernstein from writing the book. "He said no one would cooperate with me," Bernstein recalls. "That made me want to do it more."

The Post offered some of the more interesting elements in a Friday Page One story, along with similar tid-bits from another Clinton biography, "Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton," by Don Van Natta, Jr. and Jeff Gerth. Bernstein's book, among other things, claims Hillary Clinton considered divorcing her husband, running for governor out of spite, and even planning to "systematically attack the Washington Post" because of its Whitewater coverage. …

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