By any definition, they are one of history's most remarkable couples; he the irresponsible country boy populist oozing ambition and Southern charm, she the brilliant, tough-as-nails Midwesterner with a head for strategy, a taste for power, and in the end, a remarkable allegiance to the man in her life. Together, William Jefferson Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham, scaled the heights of power and prestige, only to have his wantonly reckless behavior bring them to the brink of personal and political ruin.
With never-before revealed information and behind-the-scenes access that only Christopher Andersen can accomplish, Bill and Hillary is certain to make international headlines. Author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Day Diana Died and two best-selling books about another President and First Lady, Jack and Jackie and Jackie After Jack, Andersen takes readers on a fascinating journey inside the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The entity known as Bill and Hillary is greater than the sum of its parts. The Clintons are youthful, brilliant, complicated, sometimes arrogant, often mystifying, always controversial -- but never dull.
Sex, money, power, lies, and scandal, each played a role in the making and unmaking of the Clinton legacy. Yet whatever the judgement of history, the continuing saga of Bill and Hillary is -- above all else -- a curious, compelling, and uniquely American love story.
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Table of ContentsDespite the colossal amount that has been written about the nation's most powerful couple, Bill and Hillary, the true nature of their relationship remains a well-guarded secret and the subject of much conjecture.
Who better to divulge the true story behind the Clinton marriage than Christopher Andersen -- acclaimed author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller The Day Diana Died and the bestselling books Jack And Jackie and Jackie After Jack. In his explosive new book, Bill And Hillary -- sure to electrify the airwaves -- Andersen uncovers the true emotional equation and dynamics of the First Couple's relationship: the bargain they struck, how the marriage really works, why it has survived, and (the question most often asked) will it survive?
Drawing on his interviews with important sources -- many speaking for the first time -- and having gained the behind-the-scenes access that only he could finagle, Andersen pours out one startling revelation after the next, including:
- What really goes on in the private residence at the White House -- including the stormy clash between the President and the First Lady when he finally confessed his adultery to her.
- Never-before-known details of their courtship, the real reason they stay together, and their bizarre links to Jack and Jackie Kennedy.
- From Barbra Streisand to Miss America to Sharon Stone and Monica, the hundreds of women in Bill's life -- and how Hillary has handled them.
- The day Bill's infidelity sent Hillary to the hospital.
- A riveting account of how Chelsea coped with her shock and grief, how Hillary tried to shield her daughter, and the heartbreaking toll the President's self-destructive acts have taken on both women.
- The disturbing reason the President's medical records remain under lock and key.
- How Bill stills pursues other women even after his acquittal on impeachment charges.
On Wednesday, August 11th, bn.com welcomed Christopher P. Andersen to discuss his latest book, BILL AND HILLARY, and the marriage behind the White House walls.
Moderator: Welcome Christopher Andersen! We are so pleased that you could join us this evening online to discuss your new explosive tell-all book, BILL AND HILLARY: THE MARRIAGE. How are you this evening?
Christopher P. Andersen: Wonderful, especially because I learned that my book will be on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 4 after just five days on sale.
Ned from Atlanta, GA: When the Monica Lewinsky scandal first hit, did you know immediately that this would be the subject of your next book? When did you decide to write BILL AND HILLARY?
Christopher P. Andersen: Before I finished THE DAY DIANA DIED, my last book, I embarked on the process of writing BILL AND HILLARY: THE MARRIAGE. Because I had already written two books about Jack and Jackie Kennedy, JACK AND JACKIE and JACKIE AFTER JACK, I felt I had something of a running start on the subject of trying to survive as a married couple in the White House. But, of course, the Lewinsky scandal and the subsequent impeachment process made the topic that much more timely.
Brady from Boca Raton, FL: How many other presidents do you think we have had who had political contracts with their wives? Wasn't marriage in many upper-class circles around the world more a contract than a love match? Is it the public's right to know why their president married?
Christopher P. Andersen: That's an interesting question. Certainly many of these matches blended both love and ambition to some extent, but in the context of the 20th century I don't think any president has ever invested his wife with more real power than Bill Clinton. I am always asked whether this marriage is based on love or is nearly a cynical, calculated arrangement. The answer to both questions is yes. Hillary does love Bill, and she is deeply wounded and scarred every time he betrays her. At the same time she is never happier than when she can come to his rescue, because when she does he invests her with more power. There is a teeter-totter effect here as power shifts from one partner to the other. Right now she has all the leverage in the relationship, and friends say that she has never been happier now that she is free to seek office on her own.
Missy from Stanford: Has the White House publicly commented on any of your book's allegations? Do you have an inside source to report what the First Couple and staff think of it?
Christopher P. Andersen: They never comment on any books written about them, but I understand from friends in Arkansas and in Washington that they are amazed that so many of their closest confidants agreed to talk to me for the book.
Greg from Chicago, IL: When Hillary went on the "Today" show and defended her husband, do you really think Bill hadn't told her the truth? How long was she really in the dark about Lewinsky?
Christopher P. Andersen: I don't think she really knew for certain until he confessed to her on August 13, 1998. The scene was quite dramatic, and I describe it in considerable detail in the book. Suffice to say, Hillary was furious. There are a lot of overused pop psych terms -- such as denial, enabler, and dysfunctional -- that unfortunately apply to this marriage. When she is confronted with these accusations about her husband's womanizing, she uses the technique he taught her: She "boxes it off" in her mind.
Alex L. from New York, NY: What was the single most surprising thing that you uncovered about Bill and Hillary's marriage?
Christopher P. Andersen: There are so many it is hard to single out just one. I suppose the sheer number of affairs and brazen way he conducted them over the course of their nearly 30 years together was one thing that surprised me. I was also surprised to discover that Hillary actually had an affair of her own with Vince Foster. There is also the matter of the impeachment itself -- how Bill reacted to the impeachment vote with a strange euphoria -- and how he had emerged from the entire crisis feeling somehow vindicated rather than chastened. There is ample evidence that he has reverted to his old ways and is even now making uninvited and unwelcome advances on woman. I describe these in some detail in the book.
Sarah from San Francisco: I read that you wrote that Bill's nickname for Hillary is the Warden? Why? What is her nickname for him?
Christopher P. Andersen: Bill jokingly referred to her as "the Warden," as in prison warden, when he was with various mistresses. She really has no nickname for him now, but on the subject of nicknames it is interesting to know that he was actually called "Bubba" throughout his childhood, and in their notes and letters to him, Bill's mother, Virginia, and his brother, Roger, always referred to the future president as Bubba. More recently I have been told by some of his Arkansas-based lady friends that they all have a nickname for his Washington lady friends. They call them "the Barracudas."
Maxime from Rochester, NY: What do you think Bill will do if Hillary is elected to the U.S. Senate? Do you think this is her first step in dumping him or will she still remain senselessly loyal if elected?
Christopher P. Andersen: Their friends are in agreement about one thing: "She will," as one put it, "never, never, never divorce him." Hillary mother was the product of a very bitter divorce, and she taught her daughter that divorce destroys children, so, as far as Hillary is concerned, divorce is not an option. There is also the matter of the Clinton's place in history. She is determined that they will both be remembered as a sort of 21st-century Roosevelts. But their friends are worried about what will happen to Bill when he is left to his own devices back home in Arkansas. They are afraid, as several said to me, he will "go off the deep end."
Jude from Arlington, VA: This book is incredible. And so well written. I've become a real fan.
Christopher P. Andersen: Oh, thank you very much. That means a great deal to any author.
Pam from Cleveland, OH: What was your reaction when THE STARR REPORT came out? In hindsight, do you think Kenneth Starr went too far?
Christopher P. Andersen: That is a very complex and difficult question. Ultimately, all we can say is that Bill Clinton is his own worst enemy. He certainly put his family and the nation through a great deal of pain. In fact I think that Clinton's resilience is another key to their success. As Hillary told one friend during the height of the Lewinsky furor, "They have all underestimated our capacity for pain."
Kate from New York, NY: Don't you think Hillary would have ditched Bill long ago if they weren't in love in some way?
Christopher P. Andersen: Absolutely. Henry Kissinger said it a long time ago: "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." She loves Bill in part because she always knew that by the sheer force of his personality he would win the White House and in a strange way, their shared ambition to achieve greatness fuels the emotional connection between them.
Mark from Baltimore, MD: Would you ever consider writing an authorized biography? Do you ever try to get authorization for your work? Who would you most like to write an authorized biography about?
Christopher P. Andersen: I have interviewed a lot of famous people over the years, from Ronald Reagan to Katherine Hepburn to Laurence Olivier, Betty Davis, and Jane Fonda -- dozens and dozens of celebrities. I find that, with few exceptions, they often don't accurately recall some of the most important details of their own lives. They begin to believe their own publicity, and in many cases practice a form of denial and self-delusion that often helps them accomplish things in their own field. And besides, if you write an authorized biography it is submitted to the subject for that person's approval, therefore what you usually get is a kind of inflated press release, very self-serving and usually not all that illuminating. So I prefer to get the real story from relatives, friends, spouses, lovers, co-workers -- hundreds of different sources -- to paint a full portrait of the individual.
Monica from Los Angeles: What do you think of Hillary's revelation to Talk magazine that Bill's sexual behavior is a result of psychological scars from childhood? Why is she commenting on it now after so many months of silence? I say, just let it die!
Christopher P. Andersen: It is just bizarre. Bill's grandmother and mother doted on him -- he was the center of his own little universe growing up. After all, from the time he was a little boy he got the master bedroom in the house while the parents lived in the smaller room. I think the President was blind-sided by Hillary's remarks and very upset that someone might jump to the conclusion that somehow his grandmother and mother -- both of whom he loved very much -- had abused him. You will notice over the past several days Bill and Hillary have backpedaled furiously on this issue.
Linda from Martha's Vineyard, MA: You claim that Bill is still making advances at women. Do you really think he is that stupid? What kind of proof do you have, and if it is true, why haven't others in the media picked up on this?
Christopher P. Andersen: Members of the Washington press core are well aware of the many, many rumors regarding the President's misbehavior since the impeachment. But because I was in the process of writing the book, I went to the trouble of shifting through all the rumors and gossip. Of the scores of supposed incidents I investigated, only two could be verified by credible eyewitnesses, and I included those two incidents with dates, times, and places in the book.
Berry from Williamsburg, VA: How did you decide to write books that get into people's private lives? Have you ever thought to write fiction instead?
Christopher P. Andersen: Why would I write fiction when the Clinton's have proved that truth is so much stranger?
Mark from Reno, TX: What do you think Bill Clinton's legacy will be?
Christopher P. Andersen: Amazingly not long ago, Bill told Dan Rather that he believed he would be remembered by future generations as the man who defended the Constitution. I think the inescapable fact is that when his obituary is written the first line will state that he was only the second president in U.S. history to be impeached.
Dorothy from Pittsburgh: How do you feel Chelsea is coping with these problems with her parents?
Christopher P. Andersen: You have to hand it to both the President and the First Lady: They have done a marvelous job with Chelsea. She went through hell during the Lewinsky uproar and was rushed to the hospital at Stanford University for "anxiety induced stomach pains." However, she is very levelheaded, strong-willed, and intelligent, and she seems to share her parents resilience. It appears, at this stage at least, that she is doing just fine.
Jamie from Brooklyn, NY: You claim that Chelsea found out about her dad's affair with Lewinsky from the newspaper? What is your proof? Don't you think it would have been impossible for her to NOT hear something from her parents before it became breaking news ?
Christopher P. Andersen: On the contrary, Hillary herself was in the dark until virtually the last minute. Those closest to the Clintons at the time say that they were so terrified at the prospect of impeachment they couldn't face the idea of trying to explain things to Chelsea. Before they could, she learned the sad truth on her own.
B. Randall from Miami, FL: You claim in your book that Hillary was deeply in love with Vince Foster and that their extramarital affair was well known. What proof do you offer in your book? Do you think her refusal to leave Bill contributed to Vince's suicide? Do you think this affair will be exposed more if Hillary runs for political office? Is this the only affair the First Lady had?
Christopher P. Andersen: Yes, to the best of my knowledge this is the only affair the First Lady had. I lay out the facts in the book and leave it to the reader to decide whether or not their admittedly deep affection for each other crossed over the line to become a physical relationship. Basically, when Bill was out pursuing other women in Little Rock, Vince Foster came to the governor's mansion to comfort Hillary and didn't leave until the next morning. This happen on many occasions. They were often seen in public behaving in ways no platonic friends would behave, and Hillary actually confessed to one confidant that she was in love with Foster. I think that common sense leads anyone, upon viewing this and other evidence in the book, to the inevitable conclusion that they did have an affair. It was her abandonment of Foster after he moved to Washington, DC, that I believe contributed to his decision to take his own life. Sadly, he felt that he had let her down.
Moderator: Thank you, Christopher P. Andersen. It's been a fascinating chat, and we wish you the best of luck with BILL AND HILLARY. Before you go, do you have any last words for your readers?
Christopher P. Andersen: It had been terrific. Judging by the response to the book, not only from readers here but readers around the world, Bill and Hillary continue to fascinate us. I hope I have been able to shed some light on what has to be one of the most remarkable marriages/political partnerships of all time.