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Monica Lewinsky in Vanity Fair: Clinton rhetoric 'troubling'

Plus six more takeaways from the most famous White House intern's new essay in Vanity Fair.
Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky in New York City in 2006

Monica Lewinsky is no fan of former first lady and potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

After 10 years of silence, the most famous White House intern ever is speaking out about her affair with President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s. Her entire, 4,300 word essay in this month’s Vanity Fair was released Wednesday evening to digital subscribers.

Lewinsky, now 40-years-old, wrote that she’s a “conscientious Democrat.” But after reading recently released archived documents, in which Clinton’s friend, Diane Blair, recounted how the former secretary of state characterized the intern as a “narcissistic loony toon,” Lewinsky said she finds Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric “troubling.”

“Yes, I get it. Hillary Clinton wanted it on record that she was lashing out at her husband's mistress. She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate, but I find her impulse to blame the Woman -- not only me, but herself -- troubling,” wrote Lewinsky, who earned a master’s degree in psychology.

The scandal, of course, led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, threatened his presidency, and has forever been a black eye on his administration.

If Hillary Clinton does decide to run for president in 2016, it’s likely Lewinsky’s name will be popping up more frequently. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, has recently cited the former president’s “predatory behavior.” And Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus earlier this year said the Lewinsky scandal is perfectly apt to bring up should the former secretary of state run.

Still, Lewinsky said Hillary Clinton’s characterization of her could have been worse.

“If that’s the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky. Mrs. Clinton, I read, had supposedly confided to Blair that, in part, she blamed herself for her husband’s affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him. Although she regarded Bill as having engaged in ‘gross inappropriate behavior,’ the affair was, nonetheless, ‘consensual (was not a power relationship),’” she said.

Here are six more revelations in the piece, according to Lewinsky::

1. The relationship with Bubba was ‘authentic’ and ‘emotional.’ Lewinsky said she regrets what happened and would do anything to “go back and rewind the tape.” Still, she says her relationship with the president at the age of 22-year old was “an authentic connection, with emotional intimacy, frequent visits, plans made, phone calls and gifts exchanged.” Looking back, Lewinsky said she was “too young to understand the real-life consequences.”

2. She could have been rich. The former intern denies rumors that her maintaining relative silence meant that she was being paid off by the Clintons. She said after the scandal erupted, “I turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10 million, because they didn't feel like the right thing to do.”

3. Why she’s speaking out now. Lewinsky cited Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide in 2010 after being bullied for being gay, and said she wanted to help others in their "darkest moments." Lewinsky said she too had “strong suicidal temptations” during the investigations and after. “I, too, was suicidal,” wrote Lewinsky, describing her mother's fear "that I would be literally humiliated to death.”

“I wish I could have had a chance to have spoken to Tyler about how my love life, my sex life, my most private moments, my most sensitive secrets had been broadcast around the globe," she wrote. 

5. On Rand Paul bringing her back in the spotlight.

Lewinsky weighed in on the tea party favorite criticizing the former president for allegedly committing workplace “violence” and having acted in a “predatory manner.” She responded “My boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”

6. She doesn’t identify as a feminist

Lewinsky laments she had no “girl-on-girl” support, noting it was partially due to the fact that the president was “friendly” to women’s issues. She added that she feels somewhat abandoned by feminists. “Given my experience of being passed around like gender-politics cocktail food, I don’t identity myself as a Feminist, capital F. The movement’s leaders failed in articulating a position that was not essentially anti-woman during the witch hunt of 1998,” she wrote.