Revelations

New Tapes From the Clinton White House

There are still secrets coming out of the Clinton White House. Contents of interviews with Bill Clinton—kept in his sock drawer until he moved out of the White House—have been revealed in Taylor Branch's new book, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President. After Clinton became president, he asked the Pulitzer Prize-winning Branch to record an oral history from the Oval Office on a continuing basis. After each session, Branch would give the audio tape to Clinton, then pop a new one in his recorder and recap their conversation on his ride home. Among the revelations: Clinton said he had the affair with Monica Lewinsky because he "just cracked" from personal and political pressure; Boris Yeltsin almost created an international incident in 1995 during a diplomatic visit to D.C. when he got wasted and ventured onto Pennsylvania Avenue to hail a cab in his undies; Clinton and Al Gore fought just after Gore lost the 2000 elections—Clinton felt underutilized while Gore thought Clinton's scandalous shadow had dragged him down, and the two "exploded" at each other; and George Bush was "unqualified to be president... but he had shrewd campaign instincts." Clinton and Branch have spent hours on the phone since Branch sent him the book's proofs. "I think it's fair to say he's nervous," Branch said, adding, "I didn't change anything that he asked me to change."