June 25th, 2014
10:54 AM ET

Bill Clinton Defends Hillary: 'She's Not Out of Touch’

 Former President Bill Clinton rated Hillary Clinton’s much-talked about "dead broke" comment from earlier this month as "factually true" on Tuesday and defended his wife as someone who isn't "out of touch."

In an interview with NBC's David Gregory as part of the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Denver, Bill Clinton pushed back against calls that Hillary Clinton doesn't understand the average American, noting that she has worked "all her life" on "things that were good for ordinary people."

"It is factually true that we were several million dollars in debt," Clinton said with a smiling Hillary and Chelsea Clinton watching on. "Everyone now assumes that what happened in the intervening years was automatic. I am shocked that it happened. I am shocked that people still want me to come give talks. I am grateful."

At the start of her book tour, Hillary Clinton told ABC News that her family was "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2001. Clinton added later that her family had "no money" at that time and "struggled to piece together the resources" for mortgages and her daughter Chelsea's college education.

See Political Commentator Errol Louis discuss the interview in the clip above.

MORE on CNN.com

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April 18th, 2014
10:32 AM ET

Clinton Memoir Gets a Title: 'Hard Choices'

 Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's much anticipated next memoir will be titled "Hard Choices," the book's publisher announced Friday.

The memoir will be Clinton's "inside account of the crises, choices, and challenges that she faced during her four years as America’s 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future," according to a release from Simon & Schuster, the book's publisher.

The 688-page book is an important one for Clinton – the overwhelming favorite to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination should she run. Critics have charged that her time as America's top diplomat was marked by no crowning achievement, while Clinton confidants have looked to frame those years as a success and see the book as the most potent way to showcase her achievements.

The publisher, who announced last week that the memoir would be available on June 10, 2014, also revealed the book's cover photo on Friday: A close up, black and white portrait of a smiling Clinton.

The book's release will also be coordinated with a summer book tour for the former senator and first lady.

See MORE  on this story and watch today's "Inside Politics" with  John King in 90 seconds above. 

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February 10th, 2014
10:36 AM ET

Report: Documents Reveal Hillary Clinton’s Private Reaction to Her Husband's Cheating Scandal with Monica Lewinsky

A new report claims that Hillary Clinton told a close friend that Monica Lewinsky was a "narcissistic loony toon," and also discussed in detail why she decided to forgive her husband for having an affair with the White House intern.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website which posted itsstory late Sunday evening, said it based its reporting on the writings of Diane Blair, a now-deceased friend of the Clintons. Blair's papers are housed at the University of Arkansas, where she taught political science.

“It was a lapse, but she says to his credit he tried to break it off, tried to pull away, tried to manage someone who was clearly a 'narcissistic loony toon'; but it was beyond control," Blair wrote, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The website noted that Blair wrote that Hillary Clinton had suggested her husband had made the mistake with Lewinsky because of the personal toll the deaths of his mother, her father, and their friend Vince Foster had taken on him while "the ugly forces started making up hateful things about them, pounding on them."

CNN was unable to reach a university spokesman late Sunday evening to authenticate the content of the writings, but the school does highlight on its website what appears to be an extensive collection from Blair including an entire subsection on the Clintons.

The story comes as speculation is heating up that Hillary Clinton is eyeing a second run for the White House. The Blair papers were not made public until 2010, well after her 2008 presidential bid. And it comes as Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a likely 2016 GOP White House contender, continues to call the Lewinsky scandal a liability for the Democrats.

In addition to Hillary Clinton's private thoughts on the Lewinsky matter, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Blair's writing talks about Clinton's support for a single payer health care system, as well as her thoughts on foreign policy, among other subjects.

Blair, a political science professor from Arkansas, joined Gov. Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign as a senior researcher and worked as a senior adviser on his successful 1996 reelection bid. She died in 2000 at the age of 61. At the time, The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton eulogized Blair as “the best person that one could have as a friend.”

The documents portray Blair’s relationship with Clinton as both professional and personal. While they appeared to talk extensively about policy and politics, they also discussed books, travel and family, the website reported.

The Clinton-Lewisnky affair captivated the nation’s attention as the sordid details became international news. The relationship and grand jury investigation led the House of Representatives to impeach Clinton on two charges in December 1998. In February 1999, the president was acquitted by the Senate.

The Washington Free Beacon's report said that Hillary Clinton sought to downplay the relationship.

“HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behavior but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within any real meaning… of the term,” Blair wrote.

The website said the documents showed that days after Clinton’s 1998 impeachment, Blair and Clinton spoke at length about her reaction.

“She sounded very up, almost jolly,” Blair wrote about Clinton. “Told me how she and Bill and Chelsea had been to church, to a Chinese restaurant, to a Shakespeare play, greeted everywhere with wild applause and cheers—this, she said is what drives their adversaries totally nuts, that they don’t bend, do not appear to be suffering.”

According to Blair, Clinton said that “most people in this town have no pain threshold.”

CNN was unable to reach a spokesman for Hillary Clinton late Sunday night for comment.

The Blair documents were donated by her husband, James, in 2005. The documents were processed and completed by 2010 and contain 109 boxes of information that range from Blair’s professional materials to her correspondence with the Clintons. James once helped Hillary Clinton make $100,000 in commodity futures trading, which drew scrutiny for its timing.

According to the Free Beacon, Hillary Clinton was a supporter of making the Blair records public in 2010.

“With this collection, [Diane Blair’s] contributions will grow and live on, enlarging our understanding of history, politics and culture,” Hillary Clinton reportedly said, according to the Free Beacon. "I hope also that some young scholar will come along and write the story of Diane."

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January 29th, 2014
10:02 AM ET

All of Congress Applauds for War Hero at State of the Union

It’s a partisan see-saw that marks when Democrats and Republicans stand and applause at a State of the Union address. Tax cuts – cue Republicans, raise the minimum wage – hurrah go the Democrats.

But on Tuesday night, an Army soldier with a heroic and remarkable story obliterated that custom, receiving arguably the most heartfelt expression of bipartisan gratitude any Congress could muster – a nearly two-minute standing ovation.

Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg was seated beside first lady Michelle Obama as President Barack Obama heralded his sacrifice in Afghanistan.

During his final tour of duty in October 2009, Remsburg was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The blast left him in a coma for three months. He was partially paralyzed and brain damaged.

Obama said Remsburg is blind in one eye and struggles with movement on his left side.

“Cory is here tonight,” Obama said as cameras fixed on the Army Ranger in his full-dress uniform.

“And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit. Cory!”

As those packing the House chamber jumped to their feet and erupted in applause, Remsburg stood and gave the crowd a thumbs up. Obama reciprocated by saluting him.


Obama first met the 30-year-old at the 65th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in 2009, before the roadside bomb blast.

“Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program, the ceremony – he was a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack,” Obama said during the speech. “We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.”

Obama again met Remsburg at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, as he lay in the hospital after the bomb blast nearly killed him.

“He couldn’t speak; could barely move,” Obama said. “Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, hours of grueling rehab every day.”

According to a lengthy profile of Remsburg in the New York Times, Obama met privately with the soldier in Phoenix in August 2013, where Remsberg “did something that neither Mr. Obama nor military doctors would once have predicted: he stood up and saluted his commander in chief.”

For his heroism, the Arizona native was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
During the speech, Obama used Remsburg’s story to convey the broader point that Washington can get things done, even though they may seem near impossible.

“My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy,” Obama said.

“Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. … But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us the way Cory summoned the best in him, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach.”

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