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What makes a book about Bill and Hillary Clinton so explosive that someone would steal it?
Labor Day Weekend 2007 -- In the dead of night during a hot Virginia summer, an unknown intruder silently hoisted himself through a downstairs window into a rural home. The next morning, Kathleen Willey awoke to find her jewelry untouched, her credit cards intact, and her electronics disturbed but not stolen. A copy of the manuscript of her upcoming book -- a book containing damaging revelations about Bill and Hillary Clinton -- had mysteriously disappeared.
For Willey, the theft was deja vu. Then years earlier, the former White House aide's life had been turned upside down by threats aimed at silencing her about the sexual assault she experienced at the hands of President Bill Clinton. The Clintons' fears were heightened by what she knew of their shady political operations. Now, with Hillary Clinton in the midst of a campaign to return to the Oval Office -- this time as president of the United States -- Willey has decided to break the silence she maintained for ten years. And, as a result, Willey is once again a target.
"Willey takes readers on a whirlwind tour of the events that propelled her into the Clinton impeachment vortex. Bill Clinton's star turn in Willey's life began with sexual harassment in the Oval Office but soon turned to pure harassment. And it's Hillary -- the woman would would be president -- who's at the center of the forces attacking Kathleen for telling the truth about the president's rapacious sexual appetite. This is an important read." -- Ann Coulter, author of five New York Times bestsellers, including Godless, Treason, and Slander
"The White House under Bill and HIllary Clinton was a moral and political slum, where a decent woman could be molested in the Oval Office and defamed and harassed when she complained. It's shocking to think that the crooked partnership could ever be allowed back into our Executive Mansion and Kathleen Willey has done a great service by reminding us so vividly of what it was like last time." -- Christopher Hitchens, author of No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family
"Just when you think you've heard everything about the Clintons, think again. Willey doesn't just remind you of who they really are and what they did to their political enemies. She offers searing new insights into how they -- and their enforcement machine -- operate. If Willey's account is Hillary's 'feminist' vision of how women should acquire and keep power, then all American women should rethink what the women's movement was about." -- Monica Crowley, host, The Monica Crowley Show, Westwood One Radio
"After President Bill Clinton sexually assaulted Kathleen Willey in the Oval Office, the Clinton machine went into overdrive, unleashing both a smear campaign and terror tactics to try to silence her. With honesty and courage, Willey recounts what the Clintons did to her." -- Melanie Morgan, host, KSFO Radio, and co-author of American Mourning
Democratic activist Kathleen Willey helped send Bill and Hillary Clinton to the White House in 1992. Little did she imagine how the Clintons would repay her.
While serving as a volunteer in the White House and facing financial hard times, Willey met with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office to request a paying position. Instead of offering assistance, the man she considered a friend sexually assaulted her. Distraught, Willey hastily fled Clinton's presence, only to discover that her husband Ed had committed suicide that same tragic afternoon.
Yet that was only the beginning of Willey's torment at the Clintons' hands. When her name later surfaced as a potential witness in litigation involving the president, Willey found herself on the receiving end of a mob-style campaign of threats and intimidation. The unmistakable message? Keep silent, if you know what's good for you. The perpetrator? Willey concluded that it was Hillary Clinton herself!
Now, with Hillary seeking a return to the White House, this time as president, Kathleen Willey has broken her decade-long silence to tell America the shocking full story. In the pages of Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Willey reveals for the first time:
• Whom she identified as the jogger sent to threaten her, his Clinton connection, and why law enforcement took no action.
• Information about shady financial dealings involving the Clintons and her late husband.
• Evidence that Hillary Clinton orchestrated the campaign of terror against her.
Blow-by-blow and in vivid detail, Target details Willey's ordeal at the hands of the nation's most ruthless political tag team.
Faced with the prospect of another Clinton presidency, Willey has opted not to back down. Instead, she is sharing her story so voters know exactly what they'll be getting should they return the Clintons to the White House.
Kathleen Willey is the mother of two. She has pursued a successful career in real estate and is a popular commentator on political affairs. She currently lives in Virginia.
To my Hero, thank you for your love, devotion, and encouragement, the gifts you gave me, the lessons you taught me, and the courage to face all of my tomorrows. I will forever hold you in my heart with abiding hope.
• Preface • Introduction • 1: A Soccer Mom Meets a Governor • 2: The First Campaign • 3: The First Term • 4: Assault in the Oval Office • 5. Promises, Promises • 6: Exposed • 7: Terror Campaign • 8: Smear Campaign • 9: Obstruction of Justice • 10: A Third Clinton Term? • Update • Acknowledgments • Bibliography • Notes • Index
I was a politically active and aware Democrat for most of my life, but politics is only a small part of who I am. An ordinary American woman, I was a housewife and a soccer mom. But ten years ago, as impeachment loomed for the president of the United States, I was suddenly involved in the biggest political crisis since Watergate. This frenzy intertwined both national politics and sexual behavior. What could be more scandalous?
Of course, I wanted nothing to do with it.
But what do you do?
Do you tell your girlfriends? Do you trust the authorities?
Or do you lie? Do you swear under oath that nothing happened, even though it did? Do you let good and innocent people be smeared, while the guilty walk away with impunity?
Do you cave in the face of fear?
I chose not to. I chose to tell my story: President Bill Clinton assaulted me in the Oval Office.
I went through intensive FBI interrogations, gave depositions, and testified before the grand jury. In the process, I hurt Clinton. His machine came after me and defamed me in the media. They coerced others to lie about me. They violated my right to privacy. I suffered a public ordeal of humiliation and frustration. That was the fight that the American public saw.
But there was another side of my ordeal. It was the private side -- my private terror.
They threatened my children. They threatened my friend's children. They took one of my cats and killed another. They left a skull on my porch. They told me I was in danger. They followed me. They vandalized my car. They tried to retrieve my dogs from a kennel. They hid under my deck in the middle of the night. They subjected me to a campaign of fear and intimidation, trying to silence me. It didn't work.
When Bill Clinton assaulted me, he betrayed my trust and our friendship. This was a personal betrayal. But that which followed was not. That which followed was a betrayal of the public trust, of political power, and of the Democratic ideology that the Clintons and I once held dear. Subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of Bill Clinton, I was then subjected to abuse of power at the hands of the Clinton administration. More than any other's, these were Hillary Clinton's hands.
When the White House released letters in which I asked President Clinton to help me find a government job, they broke the law and violated my right to privacy. That was Hillary's call. When my corroborating witness recanted her story, a very powerful Washington lawyer whom she could ill afford stepped in to represent her. That was Hillary's good friend. When a White House aide predicted my reputation would sink just days after my first public appearance, he told a friend he could go to jail for what he was doing. That was Hillary's aide. When White House lawyers hired private investigators, those thugs terrorized me. They were Hillary's investigators.
Did Hillary attack me because she was the heartbroken and destroyed wife of an adulterer? Did she do it out of revenge? Or did she do it out of lust for power? The answer is complicated. It calls to mind yet another question, the popular guessing game of our generation: Do Hillary and Bill have a "real" marriage?
Yes, I think they do have a real marriage -- a real dysfunctional one.
Consider the legendary pairing of polar opposites that makes their political partnership so ideal. Like chocolate with merlot, they blend perfectly. She is calculating while he is childlike. She is rigid while he is spontaneous. She is cold while he is charming. She has the guts for a knock-down, drag-out fight. He just wants everyone to like him.
Such compatibility is equally obvious in at least one aspect of their marriage: He is a sexual addict and she is his compulsive enabler.
With more than thirty years of practice behind them, their behaviors are automatic, their patterns entrenched, their denials well rehearsed. And though they perfected the dynamic, their "private issue" became public because Bill's addiction was so advanced. For her part, Hillary is not a typical codependent housewife, but a woman with vast money, power, and people at her disposal. Further, their political milieu -- which is no accident -- allowed them to skirt self-destruction.
Now, however, we have a new and even graver concern. To Hillary's half of the professional partnership -- the calculating, rigid, cold, and aggressive politician -- add something deeper and darker to the mix: the psyche of a compulsive enabler in a person who wants to become president of the United States. That is a fearsome combination.
Ironically, theirs is a partnership that depends on the favor of women for its success. Just as a pedophile loiters around playgrounds, so the sex addict surrounds himself with willing (and unwilling!) women. And just as the convict loudly professes his innocence, so the sexual predator professes his feminism. And so does his wife.
But make no mistake: Bill Clinton is no feminist. He raped Juanita Broaddrick. He assaulted me. He promised young Monica Lewinsky a future with him. He objectifies women, treats them like trash, and calls them names much worse than "bimbo." He holds all women in contempt, all women except those who tell him what to do, who guide him and discipline him and mother him, as Hillary does.
Bill Clinton is no feminist, and neither is his wife.
Hillary enabled her husband to degrade, abuse, and assault women for more than thirty years. She, condoned his behavior, facilitated it, and swept up after it. In doing so, Hillary stopped at nothing. While Bill victimized women, Hillary kicked us when we were down -- smearing us in the media, digging into our backgrounds, humiliating and terrorizing us.
He stabbed us, and she twisted the knife.
That was my life, every day, for five years. I struggled to summon the personal strength to stand up to them. I tried to retain my dignity and it cost me. Though I am an outgoing person, I went into hiding, became self-conscious in public, and shied away from crowds. I've spent ten years lying low. I never was paranoid, but became overly sensitive to being in public.
People sometimes recognize me and it's still hard for me to believe that it was mer. When Sean Hannity mentions my name on his television show, it still shocks me. When I'm sitting at a stoplight with Rush Limbaugh on the radio and he says, "And Kathleen Willey ..." I get the funniest feeling, look at the people in the cars around me, and wonder if they are listening too.
I've kept a newspaper clipping for nearly ten years. I was working in a bookstore one Christmas, wrapping books for people who made a donation to our animal shelter. I met a woman, another shelter volunteer, who was also a reporter for Style Weekly, our Richmond alternative newspaper. She stopped by our book-wrapping table and later wrote that I was "a woman who can travel amongst us, volunteer for our local animal shelter, and shop amongst us like a normal person."  I have kept that clipping on my refrigerator ever since, but I think now is the time for it to come down.
A friend looked at me recently and said, "It's time for Kathleen Willey to come out of hiding. This is not you. You're an outgoing person. You need to come out of hiding." And she is right.
After ten years of living my private life, I need to come forward again, to remind America, especially American women, what Hillary and her husband will do. It is not a matter of what they are capable of doing, but what they have done in their lust for the presidency. They have wielded an ugly power over me and over many other women and witnesses. They will do it again and, worst of all, they will do it in the name of feminism!
America is ready to elect a woman president. The planets are perfectly aligned in Hillary's favor, and many women will likely vote for her just because she is a woman, because it is time for a woman to be our president. But Hillary Clinton is the wrong woman.
This is why I need to tell my story. I know it will open old wounds for me, subject me to more dirty tricks, and make me vulnerable to an onslaught of attacks. As an American and as a woman I have to share my story, because Hillary Clinton cannot claim to be an advocate for women if she victimizes us when no one is looking. She cannot claim to support our empowerment when she uses power to betray us. She cannot claim to be a feminist when she enables her husband as a sexual predator. Hillary claims one thing and does another. She is a lie.
He can tell that something is wrong. I am on the verge of tears. My adrenaline has gotten the better of me and I am trembling. He greets me with a hug. I know -- he hugs everyone. But at this moment, it is sincere and just what I need. A flurry wells up in my stomach, a mixed rush of fear and solace, all raw, all at the surface. He is my friend -- the most powerful man I know, the most powerful many anyone knows. Surely he can help me, give me some hope, maybe a job, anything to help me out of this crisis. A hug is a good start. Then he looks into my face, into my eyes.
"What's going on?"
"I just really need to talk with you about something," I start to explain as we sit at his desk. "I've got some real problems." I have helped him for a long time, worked for him, supported him when other people didn't. I figure a relationship like that goes both ways, and I don't think twice about asking him for help. But I don't want to cry in front of him, and I try not to let go of the tears. "I don't know what will happen with Ed and me. He's gotten himself into real financial problems and we need help."
"I can see how upset you are," he said. "Would you like a cup of coffee?"
"Oh, yeah, okay."
"Well, come on," he says. "Let's go back to my kitchen."
He opens a side door that's discreetly integrated in the paneling of the office wall, and I follow him through it into a narrow hallway. There's a small bathroom on the right and just past it, a little galley kitchen. A steward starts to ask what we would like but he is quickly dismissed and we are alone.
"I will fix you a cup of coffee," he says. "Decaf?"
"No, high test."
We stand in the hallway for a minute or two. He pulls down a Starbucks cup and pours my coffee into it, mentioning that he only takes decaf.
"How do you like it?"
He hands me my cup. My hands are shaking and I worry about spilling, so I quickly taste the coffee.
"Come on back here to my study," he says, "where it's easier to talk."
I follow him through a narrow hallway into his private study. He rests on the back of a chair while I stand, leaning against the doorjamb. At six feet two, he is a big man, but half-sitting he no longer towers above me and we are at eye level with each other. It's subtle, yet I wonder if he knows that this makes me feel a little more at ease. Still, I tremble. Holding the full cup of coffee, my hands are shaking. I think, Now just calm down! I grip the warm mug to steady myself.
"I can tell you are really upset," he says, looking at his watch. "Are you okay? Tell me more about what's going on."
"I'm frightened," I said. "And worried about my family and where this is going to all end."
My voice trembles as I quickly tell him about my crisis, passing over the details. I have a serious problem. I don't know what's going to happen with my husband. I don't know if we're going to get divorced, and I don't know what's going to happen to us. I only know that Ed is in trouble, owes a lot of money, and I have to do something. I am scared to death. I've got to rise to the occasion. I have not had a paying job in twenty years, but my volunteer days are over.
I've got face time with a very powerful friend who only has a few moments for me, so I'm going to make the most of it. Tears well up in my eyes. I try to maintain my dignity. I don't want to lose it in his office. I just need him to point me in the right direction. That's basically how I look at it. I want him to know that times are bad and this is very serious. With all this desperation and nervous energy, I run my mouth for five or ten minutes. He looks at his watch again. His assistant said he would see me before a three o'clock meeting, and I cam in at about two forty-five, so I should finish talking and get out of his way. "I hope you can give me assistance because I desperately need a job. Please, send me anywhere."
"We'll see what we can do."
But my coworkers wanted me to tell him about some office problems, so I tag them on as an aside. "And you really need to know this too," I add. Still on the verge of tears, I think talking about work will help me to level out the conversation and distract me from my panic. "The office is just chaos. It's a mess. There's no protocol, no rhyme or reason, no organization. There's no language code, and it's very inappropriate." Finally, I conclude, "You really need to do something about that." I know it's nervy of me to tell him what to do. But that's just who I am!
Again he looks at his watch. I'm not paying much attention to the time but I know it's close to three o'clock and time to leave. We move back into the small hallway. I set my coffee cup on a shelf to steady myself again.
He promises to help.
There is a loud knock beyond the door from the outer office, and an assistant calls out, "It's time for your meeting!"
He ignores this. He doesn't say anything, not one word. I'm thinking, How can he ignore this? But he does not answer at all. He doesn't even say "Give me a minute," or "Hold on." Why don't they just come in? What must they think if he doesn't answer?
Again he looks at his watch. Obviously, he's trying to show me he needs to get to that meeting, so I should go.
"Well," I say, "I'll be going."
"No, you don't have to rush."
"But you have an important meeting here, and I know you have a lot to do that's more important."
"No, it's all right."
But again he looks at the watch. I think that contradicts his words and my time is up. "Okay, well, I'm open to any possible job, and I could go anywhere," I conclude. "I've taken enough of your time, so I should leave."
The assistant beyond the door resumes knocking. "You're late!"
Somebody's got to move to the door here, and obviously it's not going to be him. You'd think it would be him -- or that somebody would come through the door and say, "Okay, it is time to move along." Yet there's no such person. Instead, he looks at the watch. It crosses my mind: Why does he keep looking at that watch if he's not going to usher me out?
The assistant bangs on the door again. I decide to ease myself out of there.
"Well, thank you for listening. I'd better go, and if you could help me, I'd really appreciate it." I retrieve my coffee cup. I have no idea why, just that I was so full of distracted, nervous energy. I move to the door and head back toward his office. He follows me and moves closer. I turn around and he is right next to me, but it's a narrow hallway, so I don't really feel like he's crowding me. I finish the conversation, "So, you know, whatever you can do for me ..."
"I'm so sorry this is happening to you."
He reaches around to hug me but I'm holding my coffee cup at my waist, with both hands. He presses into the cup between us.
"I'm going to spill my coffee."
He takes the cup and puts it on a shelf, then gives me a big hug. But this hug lasts a little longer than a hug should. I pull back. All of a sudden, his hands are in my hair and around the back of my neck. What the hell? And then he kisses me on my mouth. Somehow, before I know it, I'm backed up in the corner by the little bathroom, against the wall behind his office. I am trying to maintain my space but he's all over me, just all over me. And all I can think is, What the hell is he doing?
I try to twist away. He is a foot taller than I am and nearly double my weight. I can barely think. What do I do? He is my friend, my boss. He is a very powerful man. And I am trying to be a lady.
"What are you doing?" I finally manage.
"I've wanted to do this since the first time I laid eyes on you."
I am totally unprepared for this. I have been off on this other plane -- terrified for my husband, for my family, for our future -- and he says, "I've wanted to do this ..."
He takes my hand and places it on his genitals, on his erection -- perhaps to show me how much he's "always wanted to do this." What is he doing? I am shocked! I yank my hand away but he is forceful. He is all hands -- just all hands. His hand goes up my skirt, he touches me everywhere, pressing up against me and kissing me. His face is red, literally beet red. It is as though this bizarre scene gives him a different kind of rush.
My mind is racing. I should slap him. That would shake it out of him. Can I slap him? I don't know if I can slap him! I'm pinned in the corner against the bathroom door and the wall, and his hands are all over me, up my skirt, over my blouse. I think he is trying to unhook me ...
"Aren't you afraid that somebody's going to walk in here?" This should give him pause.
He doesn't miss a step. "No. No, I'm not."
"What if your wife or daughter walks in here?"
"I know where they are," he says, "all the time."
The aide outside the office is frantic, banging on the door and yelling from the other side, "You're late for your three o'clock meeting." But the assistant doesn't come in. Why doesn't he come in? Where is everybody? Where is that steward? What about security? Why doesn't someone come in?
I realize why they don't come in. They've been told to stay out. Oh, God! I've got to get out of here! I just have to get to that door. I have to get out!
I was the person who helped file the lawsuit against Sogyal in 1993/4. Mary Finnigan interviewed me for the BBC in which I spoke up about Sogyal's sexual exploitation of me.
I never really got to fully speak my mind about how rotten a person I thought Sogyal was at the time I got to know him, how grossly narcissistic, deceitful, slothful, sadistic, immoral and basically stupid I think he really was. I'd like to say that now.
A number of women contacted me around the time of the lawsuit by phone and letter, who had also been abused by Sogyal but who were afraid or ashamed to speak out openly, including a woman who had been a head of his organisation, saying how staggeringly corrupt his sick relationship with his devotees truly is, with them basically creating some kind of pimping service for him, called Lama Care. He was conning people and really hurting them! Not just some little dalliances but really USING and ABUSING women, some violently, especially those who had just lost a loved one, for example whose father had just died. He used people who were bereft and grieving for his sexual gratification! How SICK is that!!!
ON ELECTION DAY, November 8, 1960, I was fourteen years old, a Catholic schoolgirl in a small, sheltered community. The world beyond my little life was brimming with political fervor, which I was only starting to notice. Though political news was just coming on to my radar, it was compelling. I started to pay attention to everything that was happening out there. And what was happening was fantastic. America was electing a new president. And -- incredibly -- he was a Catholic.
I loved John Kennedy. In my little Catholic community, we all loved him. I was young and unaware of the cultural importance of his victory, but both my mind and my world were infused with passion and joy for the political process. It was not about ideology, but was a lesson in the joy of empowerment. It was a liberation. Of all that happened, one thing was obvious above all others: The nuns at St. Gertrude's were ecstatic. And that was something!
My life as a child centered around St. Bridget's, our parish, our whole community. Isolated in this enclave, it never occurred to me that people would discriminate against Catholics. Other than my dad's friends from work, all of my parents' friends were from the parish. My brother went to Benedictine, the boys' military school down the street, and we had a little strip of neighbors and a few children on the street who weren't Catholic. But I didn't know any other public school kids. All of my friends were Catholic and went to Catholic school, as my sister and brother later did. That was our life.
My dad, who sold cash registers for NCR, went to work every day to support the family. A Russian Ukrainian, Mike Matzuk was a dreamer and a quiet man. My shanty-Irish mom more than made up for his serenity. My parents were from Philadelphia, where I was born, before they moved and settled in Richmond, Virginia. All of our relatives were still in Philadelphia and vacationed on the Jersey Shore every summer, so we'd sometimes take vacations there to see them.
We were a typical middle-class family. Mom, of course, stayed home to raise us. We lived in the west end of Richmond in a new suburban tract home, which was a standard three-bedroom house. When we moved out there, it was nothing but woods -- maples and dogwoods under tall pine trees.
The families in our neighborhood started one of the first neighborhood club pools. They put a pool in the ground and built up everything around it. In time, every family had their own little plot of grass at the pool club. The pool became a great place for me to socialize. I had an independent streak and loved meeting the public school kids at the pool. By ninth grade, I wanted to move beyond my small social circles. While my siblings and friends were content in the parochial schools, I'd had enough nuns in my life! I desperately wanted to go to the new public high school.
"Please let me go to public school," I begged my parents. "I can't stand nuns. I don't want nuns anymore. Please let me go to that school."
They finally relented and off I went to the beautiful, brand-new Douglas Freeman High School. Life was good until my senior year. When I graduated from high school in 1964, I was eighteen years old and three months pregnant. Imagine my mother's anger and shame. The Irish-Catholic attitude toward unwed mothers at the time was severe, to say the least, and my mother rushed me out of town. As soon as I graduated from high school, she sent me to a home for unwed mothers -- run by nuns -- in Columbus, Ohio. It was awful. Awful. We were sinners, all of us.
My son, Sean, was born on January 23, 1965. I could only look at him through the glass. Within minutes, he was gone. I was forced to give him up for adoption. I was devastated. Six months later, I went by myself to Catholic Charities in Richmond to sign the final papers. I came home and never talked about it, wasn't allowed to talk about it. I couldn't tell a soul what I was going through.
Not only was I utterly powerless, I was also heartbroken. Sadly, I was right on the cusp of a cultural revolution. Only a few years later the world changed and women could walk around pregnant and unmarried with their lovers. But what happened to me happened to young women all the time. It was a real shame, and it was wrong. I missed Sean and mourned this loss for many, many years.
Most of my friends married after high school. Some went to college and earned their degrees, but about half of them dropped out after a couple years to get married. They'd go to work so their husbands could get their degrees. That's the way it was back then. In the end, ninety-nine percent of my peers from Richmond became secretaries, nurses, or teachers. I was part of the remaining one percent. I didn't think the way most young women at that time did.
Maybe it's the Irish blood in my veins, but I always thought slightly outside the box. I was strong for a young woman of my time. I had my own ideas about my life, thank God! I would have liked to go to college, study pre-med, and become a doctor. But first, there was something I really wanted to do: I moved to New York, went to flight school, and became a flight attendant for TWA.
I flew from 1967 to 1969. At that time, it was all about the "flyer." Flying was a privilege, and women would dress up in special outfits to take a flight. What a different culture that was! Those were the days when airlines would do weight checks, insist that a flight attendant's hair didn't touch her collar, and frown upon married flight attendants. They had a long list of sexist rules we had to follow. But there were few careers that provided women such liberating experiences.
On two different flights, Jack Lemmon was one of my passengers. The first one was a red-eye flight. He was traveling from Los Angeles to Philadelphia for a funeral. We were on an old 707 that had a lounge in front, and I sat and talked to him all night. It was fascinating. On another flight, I saw him with his wife and he remembered me. Famous people were always on the flights out of California, and I met different movie directors and even Lucille Ball once.
The pilots I flew with were also interesting, good guys who had just gotten back from fighting in Vietnam. They'd been jet or helicopter pilots in the war and had seen everything. The airlines hired them right and left.
We often flew out to places like Dallas or Los Angeles or San Francisco, but I never saw parties like people sometimes talk about. I swear that is an undeserved stereotype. We'd go out for dinner and we'd all go back to our rooms and that was it for the night. There might have been a couple of times when flight attendants drank a little too much and the next morning had to deal with it. But every pilot I ever met was always extremely careful about the alcohol deadline before flying. Of course there was always a little fooling around, just like anywhere in life. But the whole time I was flying, I saw little evidence of the loose partying that people associate with flight attendants.
There's a mind-set that a woman who is a flight attendant is a party girl who "gets around." This chauvinism continues to revisit me. Though I was a flight attendant for only two years in the 1960s, I have been called a "former flight attendant" ever since! Of course, people never say, "So-and-so is a former nurse" or "She's a former teacher"! But once a flight attendant, always a flight attendant. Yes, it's funny. And it's wrong.
Working as a flight attendant in my early twenties was a valuable life experience. It allowed me to get out in the world and expand my horizons. In the end, I think it helped me think more globally than most of my female peers. As the women's movement got moving, I was flying right along with it, because my experience as a flight attendant gave me an awareness of sexism before we even had a word for it.
Though I flew out of New York, I had moved back to Richmond and was commuting from there to New York. In the '60s, this meant I had to take a puddle jumper, which was a real hassle. Finally I quit. But looking back, I wish I'd flown much longer.
Ed Willey Jr.
I lived in an apartment complex in Richmond. A friend there had pointed out a divorced man, a lawyer who was the son of a famous Virginia senator. In fact, his dad had been the senator pro tem of the state senate for years and years. Father and son had the same name: Ed Willey.
I was at the swimming pool one day and he was there, sitting on the side of the pool with two young children in the water. Let's just say I noticed him. He was a very handsome man and I wanted to strike up a conversation with him. Though he was at least ten years older than I was, he had dark hair, sophisticated good looks, and an overt, Kennedy-like charm.
I swam up to him. "So, what kind of lawyer are you?"
"A damn good one."
Okay, well, that answers that.
It went from there. This "damn good" lawyer had recently divorced and he cared for his two kids every other weekend. The rest of the time the children lived in Roanoke with their mom. On top of this, Ed was also getting out of a relationship that he'd been in after his divorce. None of this stopped me!
Our courtship was quick. Before long, Ed took me to meet his parents, and I found myself living a scene right out of the movie Love Story. Ryan O'Neal played Oliver Barrett IV and Ali McGraw played his girlfriend, Jennifer Cavalleri. Carefree and in love, they drove his little MG with its top down from Harvard out to the suburbs, and pulled up to the Barrett mansion. Oliver introduced Jennifer to his parents, but his father disapproved of the common college girl and cut off Oliver's inheritance.
We pulled into the drive and went around to the back door, the way most people enter homes in the South. Just inside the kitchen, Ed came up close behind me, leaned in, and whispered into my ear.
"Don't tell them you're Catholic."
He repeated, "Don't mention that you're Catholic."
I was aghast. I turned around and blurted, "Don't tell them I'm Catholic?"
I was taken aback. Why wouldn't I tell them? For the first time in my life, I felt discriminated against. Until that moment, I had no idea that anyone in the world thought being Catholic was anything but good. Besides, I was utterly intimidated about meeting Ed's mother and the great senator Ed Willey Sr. I was stunned and hurt and angry. I was also twenty-four years old and scared to death, so I decided to shush.
We sat in the parlor, where a life-size picture of The Senator hung over the fireplace. Our conversation was polite and formal.
"And what does your father do?" Ed's mother asked me.
"Uh, he sells cash registers ... "
Our relationship survived all of it. We married three months after we met and within two years I had two babies, Shannon and Patrick.
Though people called me "Kathy" when I was a girl and I started going by "Kathleen" when I grew up, Ed always called me "Irish." I like to think it was my red hair and green eyes, but it might have been my temperament. Though I had come of age before the women's movement, I was strong-willed as a girl, and as a woman I still am. As much as Ed wanted me to be a shrinking violet, he also liked my fire -- and he got plenty of it! I had a temper and he had one too, so we butted heads a lot. And although I was not a submissive wife, he always won because he was the strong one, the husband, the father. He was a man, a Southern gentleman who commanded a situation and did things his way. He built his law practice, made the decisions, and paid the bills. That's the way it was. I was still me, but whatever else we were, we were both Virginians, Southerners, and we had a very Southern marriage.
Ed grew up in North Side, the old beautiful part of Richmond where his dad -- who was not a lawyer but a pharmacist -- had a pharmacy. We bought a house on that side of town, a little tri-level. Ed started his own law office and I worked there a couple of days a week off and on for years, helping when people were sick or filling in during their vacations.
One day in 1975, we visited friends on the south side of the river in Midlothian, a suburb. They lived on a pretty street with old oak trees that towered above the houses and sheltered open lawns adorned with dogwoods. Three doors down from our friends' home, a house was being built. Already under roof, it was a simple house, a typical New England saltbox. Even without landscaping, the lot was nice. It was wooded, with a gentle, curving slope up to the house. We bought it and it became the home in which our children grew up. We had a good life there.
I was the wife and mom, and I stayed home to take care of the house and Ed, Shannon, and Patrick. I joined the PTA and got involved with my children's sports teams. I liked it. I volunteered at school, coached soccer, and I worked to make our home nice. I grew flowers in the garden, set a pretty table, and made macaroni and cheese from scratch. I loved doing all kinds of canning and giving people Christmas gifts of peach jam, hot pepper jelly, and corn relish. Looking back, I wonder where I found the time to do all those projects while I was driving my kids across town from school to soccer and everywhere else, but I did it and I enjoyed it.
Our neighborhood had a country club with a golf course, but we didn't live a country-club lifestyle. We didn't travel in "social circles" and I didn't join the junior league or women's clubs or anything like that. We weren't that kind of family. I wasn't that kind of woman.
In the summertime, our children went off to summer camp for six weeks. I didn't really know the meaning of "summer camp" because the only camp I'd ever experienced was a week with the Girl Scouts. But Ed had gone to summer camp. That's the way he grew up, so when our children were young, they went away for most of the summer. Other than those periods, my life as a "housewife" was busy, filled with school functions, T-ball games, soccer practices, and outings with the children.
Though I was a Martha Stewart-type homemaker, I was also an activist mom. At my children's high school, I started the first alcohol-free after-prom party. Other schools were starting to throw parties to keep teens from drinking and driving, so I talked to MADD and introduced the idea to our school. I invited parents to an information night to promote it and discuss what this all-night party would be like. Surprisingly, plenty of parents vociferously opposed it. "Who are you to tell us how to raise our children?" they challenged me, adding, "As parents, we need to teach our children how to drink!" But in the end, I won. The school has held this all-nighter every year since.
I started hearing stories about the drunken high school "Beach Weeks," when high school students went to the beach, drank a lot, and got into some serious trouble. So when my children were in middle school, after school let out for summer vacation, I started taking them and their friends to the beach, and continued until they graduated. At first, I only wanted to start my children on a healthier version of "Beach Week." Ed usually came for part of the week. When the children were older, I would take them with fifteen or twenty of their friends. Shannon had good friends, and I'd take her whole gang and Patrick's friends too, since Shannon and Patrick were just two years apart. We would rent a large house on the beach, usually down at Cape Hatteras. I'm sure some of them snuck out and bought beer, but for the most part it was volleyball in the sand or a fire pit on the beach. Since then, a few of these young adults have come up to me and said, "Mrs. Willey, I have the best memories of junior and senior Beach Week!"
One year, when the children were about fourteen and twelve, they each brought just one friend to Beach Week. We stayed at my sister's little condo down on the Chesapeake Bay side of Virginia Beach. There was a narrow point where the beach comes in to some culvert pipes that drain a little trickle into the bay. When we went out to the beach each day, a young cat began to greet us. He was about six months old, apparently living in one of those pipes, and he'd come out and play with Shannon and Patrick. Damn if that cat didn't follow the children right into the water! I mean cats don't do that! He especially latched on to Patrick and as the week wore on, he and the other children started in on me. Patrick never let up. After all, the cat was pretty amazing. And he was a stray. So what was the harm?
"Mom," Patrick pleaded. "Can we please take him home?"
The harm was that Ed was not a cat lover. We had an Irish setter and a rescue dog, Murphy and little Meg. But we did not have any cats. And Ed did not intend to have any cats. But this cat? This cat was pretty cool.
"What are we going to do about the cat, Mom?"
"Well, we're going to have to make up some bizarre story about him," I said. "We're going to have to stick together on this one, so don't blow it for me, okay?"
"This is what we'll do ... " I rehearsed the scenario. "We'll tell Dad that we were leaving, driving down the road to the highway, and this cat ran across the road and the car kind of bopped him, just knocked him out. And there he was in the gutter and, you know, we couldn't leave him there, poor cat! Of course we couldn't leave him ... "
"Yeah, yeah!" Shannon and Patrick agreed. "That's good. That'll work."
"Okay, so we'll stick to this?" Yes, they promised.
When we walked into the house with this cat, Ed zeroed in on him instantly. Then he looked at me.
"What is this, Irish?"
"Oh, wait till you hear this!"
The children were no help at all, as they were barely stifling their giggles.
" ... So we couldn't leave him in the gutter. We didn't know where any vets are down there, and we needed to come home, so we had to bring him with us."
He didn't like it. "All right," he grumbled. "Okay. But you take care of him. He is your cat."
"Well, actually," I looked at my giggling children, "Shannon and Patrick felt real bad too ... " After all, there's enough Catholic guilt to go around.
He was a pretty cat, a light yellow tabby with a bull's-eye pattern on his sides, so Shannon's friend Beth named him "Bullseye."
About a week later, Ed and Shannon were washing the cars. Water was spraying everywhere and Bullseye was right there with them. The cat was acting like he was in a spring shower, lounging around under the spray, totally in his element, tipping his head back to face the fountain of water with his eyes closed. He was the picture of springtime bliss, just loving it.
"That is the damnedest cat I've ever seen!" Ed said to Shannon. "I've never seen a cat that liked the water like that."
"Oh, man, that's nothing!" Shannon blurted. "You should have seen him chasing us in the waves and following us into the water at the beach!"
We were toast.
But by then, even Ed had to admit that Bullseye was a cool cat. He was Patrick's cat because they had made a real connection from the start. After all, what boy wouldn't love a cat as nuts as Bullseye? Those two would be on the hardwood floor and Patrick would grab him by the tail and twirl him around on the floor -- and Bullseye loved it.
Ed was more of a dog man. We had an Irish setter, Murphy, a great dog who was at Ed's feet every night, so when it came to the cat, Ed insisted on playing the role of the outraged, duped father. And he played it up! He wasn't at all serious, but he got as much mileage out of that as he could. He'd needle the children, calling the cat "Target" instead of "Bullseye."
The children protested, especially Patrick. "Dad! It's Bullseye!"
"Nah, it's Target," Ed would say. "I think Target's better."
But eventually Ed took a liking to him. He had to, because Bullseye was a love bug. In the winter, I'd build a fire in the fireplace and sit reading or knitting or watching TV, and Bullseye always climbed up in my lap and cuddled.
As a mom, I spent many years, week in and week out, on the sidelines watching my children play soccer. Some of us moms learned to referee or coach the teams and finally we thought, Hey, we know this game ... We should play! So we started a women's soccer league.
There was a cross section of women -- some had children, some didn't, some even had grandchildren. The moms with children were like me. The most I ever did sportswise was shake the pom-poms in high school. Girls didn't have many other options before 1972, when Title IX was enacted. Before that, when I was in school, we didn't have any girls' teams, so women my age had never engaged in competitive sports before. Some of the women who played with us, though, were young, athletic college PE majors who didn't have children.
In 1983, we pulled together a wonderful bunch of women, formed teams and a league, and created a special bond in the process. College girls to grandmothers and every age in between, we came from all walks of life and went through everything together, supporting each other through our childrens' births, illnesses, teenage strife, and family deaths. These are the kinds of friends who open their homes to one another, for whom a guest is just part of the family, so our sisterhood was the beauty of this group of women. We called our team the Streakers, and every Sunday we played soccer against other women's teams. We played together for a long time, and our husbands and children came out to cheer us on for a change!
Ed and the Dixiecrats
"He's such a dreamer," Ed's parents used to say about him. "We couldn't keep his attention, could never get him to focus." Unfortunately, until the mid-1980s, attention deficit disorder (ADD) was not on anyone's radar -- certainly not ours. But it was our life! Ed was always blowing in late to soccer games, baseball games, and meetings. "I'll get there," he'd say. "I'll be there late and I have to leave early, but I'll get there." Ed would charge in a few minutes late in a big flurry, shaking the change in his pocket and going on about how he had locked his keys in his car so he needed to call his secretary to come and get him.
There were many times when I literally could not get his attention. I always followed up after him and took care of the details. I was simply accustomed to living my life like this. I was oblivious to its implications, and it took me a long time to realize that Ed likely had ADD. Adults with ADD didn't receive treatment until the early 1990s, and it never occurred to me -- to either of us -- that he might have a problem. I often wonder if it would have helped Ed if he'd been diagnosed, but it was too late for him. He struggled a lot and had many problems in his life. As the son who couldn't live up to his great father, he suffered many demons. I often think that if he had sought treatment or counseling he might still be alive today.
When it came to our children, Ed had a soft touch and I was the disciplinarian. He grew up in a fairly middle-class family and wanted the children and me to have all the things he didn't have when he was growing up, so he enjoyed providing for us. While I encouraged our children to get summer jobs, do their chores, and live on an allowance, Ed indulged all of us in the lifestyle he wanted to give us. I was oblivious to the financial resources, or lack of them. Whenever I asked about the money, Ed would say, "Well, uh, Jane-Lee ... "
Jane-Lee was Ed's right-hand girl, the one who cleaned up the rest of his life: his law office. Ed was terrible about returning phone calls to clients, and Jane-Lee and the other women in the office would cover for him, especially at the end when he was really in trouble. They were very loyal to him because he was a good and caring boss. But he was very female-dependent. It was as though the females in his life were a means to an end.
Every April hundreds of politicians -- including my husband -- attended a bizarre gathering in the Virginia woods to celebrate politics and fish, of all things. Shad is a bony fish that doesn't taste good at all. They took the shad and nailed it to planks of wood, then propped the planks into the sides of a fire pit dug into the ground. They'd cook the fish and talk politics, but I think the "Shad-Planking" was an excuse for a bunch of guys to get drunk. The state troopers in attendance would look the other way when all the drunk drivers got in their cars, but they'd make sure they all made it home. The Shad-Planking has been around as long as I have and it is vital to Virginia's political process. Back in Ed's day, everybody who was anybody went to it: our state legislators, former governors, senators, Washington congressmen and senators, and absolutely anyone else who was politically connected. Of course, I desperately wanted to go. There was only one problem -- it was all men.
"What do you mean, all men?"
"Don't start, Irish," Ed pleaded.
"Well it's time for women to go! What's wrong with having a woman along?"
"Irish, this is not the place for you to burn your bra."
"Oh, come on!" I begged. "I won't look when they're peeing in the woods!"
This is the way our marriage was, the way we were. But I still could not go to the Shad-Planking.
Having evolved from southern Dixiecrats, Ed's father and his cohorts were "Democrats," but they were not McGovern Democrats. Far from it. They held tightly to their socially conservative ideology. Still, they were Democrats on paper. At least we had that in common.
A Virginia senator from 1952 until his death in 1986, my father-in-law was an extremely powerful legislator. As chairman of the state finance committee, he controlled the budget, which gave him authority over the state's purse strings. Everybody bowed, scraped, and groveled at Senator Willey's feet, and he was very good at being bowed to. He loved it.
His clout, which exceeded that of the governors, is evident today in the Willey Bridge, which spans the upper James River. Of course, the son of such a man would always be involved in politics. My husband ran his father's campaigns. Ever since I was a young girl and John Kennedy was elected, I have been interested in politics. In the 1960s, I was politically aware and I was pretty liberal. Though I never went to marches or protests, I supported equality for women and believed in the civil rights movement. As a political "child" of JFK, I held on to the idealism for which he stood.
When Shannon was about sixteen years old and Patrick was fourteen, I realized I could do political work during the school day, so I started volunteering. The timing was good. Ed's law practice was successful. At the time, he worked on land-use, condemnation, and zoning cases. Our family life allowed me to dig in to politics and I was enthusiastic about doing so.
I met a Democrat named Mary Sue Terry. In 1985, Doug Wilder ran for lieutenant governor and Mary Sue ran for attorney general. I joined her campaign, doing anything that needed to be done. We didn't do many mass mailings back then. It was more footwork. We didn't have fax machines, and copy machines were just starting to be common. The lucky campaign offices had copiers, but we had to borrow somebody's copier or run down to a copy office. We did a lot of that kind of legwork.
Where I helped most was fundraising. More than anything, that meant using the phone, but I was also good at organizing fundraisers. All those years as a housewife paid off when it came to planning events to raise support and money. We won, and Mary Sue Terry became the first female attorney general in the state of Virginia and in the country. Wilder, who eventually became Virginia's first black governor, was elected lieutenant governor. After that, I went to work for him as "unpaid staff," mostly handling constituents' problems and helping anyone who contacted the office for help on any issue.
The Rock Star
Four years later, Doug Wilder was ready for a promotion. He ran for governor in the fall of 1989. John and Patricia Kluge were honorary chairs of Wilder's campaign, and I volunteered, planning events and raising money. The Kluges held a grand fundraiser for him at their expansive estate in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their mansion was like nothing I had ever seen in my life. With Roman pillars and every extravagance, it was beyond grandiose.
We were excited about the event because we knew the campaign was going to bring in substantial donations that night. Coinciding with the fundraiser, President George H. W. Bush had gathered the nation's governors in Charlottesville for a summit on education. In addition to all the people who had come just for the fundraiser, many of America's Democratic governors also came to support Wilder.
Among the governors at the Kluge fundraiser was a rising star, the governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton. He was very up and coming. Word was that Pamela Harriman doted on Clinton. She had a Washington "salon" where all the Democratic thinkers would sit and jawbone. He was one of her favorites. Besides, Bill Clinton is Bill Clinton. He was a rock star!
Clinton offered to support Doug's race for the governorship and I told him that we would be delighted. I was constantly fundraising and suggested that we could use his help. "We'd love to have you come to a fund raiser in Richmond," I said, "whenever you're in Washington." He was always in Washington. I gave him the phone number of Doug's campaign office.
"Yeah," he said. "Sure."
Ed and I were impressed by Bill Clinton. He was our age. He was attractive, charming, and personable. When Ed introduced himself and mentioned that he was a lawyer, Clinton said his wife was a lawyer too. That was all I knew of Hillary at the time, but Bill seemed down to earth and had so much charisma that Ed and I thought he had a lot to offer.
In the evening, the event moved from the Kluges' estate to a historical home for dinner and dancing. Ed and I found seats at a dinner table and just as our table was filling up, Governor Clinton quickly tried to sit next to me. Somebody else had already claimed the seat, so he moved to the next table. Still, he zeroed in on us and continued to make eye contact with me throughout dinner. He was being flirty and assertive, and I felt uncomfortable, for myself and also for my husband.
About a week later, I was at campaign headquarters and a young intern working at the campaign during the summer stopped me. "Oh, I forgot to tell you," he said. "Governor Clinton called you."
"What?" I said. "When?"
"Well, it was the day after that fundraiser at the Kluges'," he said.
"Did he say what he wanted?"
"He just wanted to talk to you."
"Well," I said, "did he leave a number or anything?"
"I don't think so ... "
"Well, do you want to go back and look? See if you can find something?" I wanted Clinton to come to Richmond to do a fund raiser for Doug. For goodness sake, kid, find the damned message. He couldn't find it.
Though I didn't know it at the time, meeting Bill Clinton that night was only the beginning of a long and difficult period of my life. At the end of it, my pleasant life as a homemaker would be in shambles and my loyalty to the Democratic Party -- the party of my childhood hero JFK -- would be in serious jeopardy.
But at the beginning it was sheer excitement. After all, I was about to become involved in a heady, victorious presidential campaign for the man who would eventually become America's forty-second president. I was determined to make the most of the opportunity.
WHEN BILL CLINTON announced his bid for the presidency in October 1991, I met with Richmond's Main Street businessmen and other politically active people to discuss his campaign. I met with Bob Burrus, a lawyer who was a big Democrat, and Alan Wurtzel, the president of Circuit City. Together, we formed the state campaign, "Virginians for Clinton," and set up campaign headquarters in Ed's office suite.
Ed's practice had continued to grow and he had another lawyer, a secretary, and his paralegal, Jane-Lee, working for him. His offices took up part of the first floor of a nice building, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake. For its headquarters, the campaign occupied one of the offices.
The national campaign sent Doug Bonner down from Washington to manage the state campaign part time. But everyone knew that Virginia wasn't really in play. Clinton would not win the state, so it wasn't much of a priority to his national campaign and Bonner's job there was very low-level. He manned the fort but wasn't all that engaged. We gave him space while we went about the business of raising as much money as we could. I planned several fundraisers in Virginia and met often with national campaign coordinators in Washington.
The following January, just before the New Hampshire primary, a tabloid proclaimed that Clinton had engaged in a long-term affair with a woman named Gennifer Flowers. More news started trickling in about Gennifer and the revelations almost derailed his campaign. I was so angry I ripped the bumper sticker off my car. But Clinton denied the story. Since my husband and I supported him, we talked at length about it and decided that there are women out to get powerful men. That happens all the time. We were loyal Democrats and we thought, "Who is this troublemaker?" Besides, we thought Clinton would make a very good president. In the end, Ed believed in him and I believed in him -- and I didn't believe them. So we continued to support him. It should have been my first warning and I should have known better, but like most Democrats, I believed him, and the self-proclaimed "Comeback Kid" prevailed.
We had planned a fund raiser for February 10, which was right on the heels of the Gennifer Flowers scandal. Clinton was planning to attend but he canceled at the last minute, promising to make it up to us.
Into the summer, I worked on his campaign nearly full time. Since Ed and I had started "Virginians for Clinton," people in Virginia came to us at the campaign headquarters if they wanted to go to an event.
Whenever Clinton was scheduled to attend an event, the Secret Service arrived in advance. They'd get to know who was involved in the planning and organizing, because we needed to be able to move around freely at the event and they needed to feel comfortable talking to us, asking questions, or requesting help. As a security mechanism, the Secret Service gave us a little button that signified that they had checked us out. I got a button at all the events I worked at, and Ed would just die for one! He kept saying, "Get me one of those." I finally gave him one of my old ones and he wore it around town.
In addition to my work organizing fundraisers, Ed and I attended several events for Clinton. One time, we drove up to Washington to attend a seated dinner. We brought another couple, Ed's colleague Michael Morchower and his wife, Beth. Clinton was going to attend the fundraiser but, at the last minute, he couldn't get there and Hillary filled in for him, delivering a speech and working the room. She didn't strike me as anyone interesting at all, and we were disappointed that Governor Clinton hadn't come.
Ed and I attended another splendid fundraiser in the spring of 1992 in Annapolis, Maryland, at Tom and Debbie Siebert's home. Tom Siebert had gone to law school at Georgetown with Bill and Hillary, so they had a history. Enormously wealthy, he gave a lot of personal money to Clinton's campaign. Clinton later appointed him ambassador to Sweden and Tom's wife, Debbie, later volunteered in the White House Social Office, where I really got to know her. A seated dinner for at least a hundred people, the fundraiser was on the grounds of their home overlooking the Severin River. Clinton, of course, was an hour and a half late, but at least he showed up.
After dinner, the party moved onto an elegant wooden boat modeled after the Sequoia, the old presidential yacht. The boat accommodated about fifty people, so only about a third of the guests could board the yacht at one time. With all the fund raising I had done, I had learned how to keep an eye on the Secret Service, so we stayed close to them and the candidate, moving along with them just ahead of the crowd, down the big steps to the dock and onto the boat.
Though it was crowded, the cruise down the river was delightful. Ed and I were in the salon when Clinton came in. Don Henley music played in the background and Clinton told us that Henley was one of his favorite singers. We exchanged small talk but I was thinking about the fundraiser, when he canceled at the last minute, and I wanted him to make up for it. I knew that with him we had the opportunity to put on a high-dollar fundraiser.
I finally said, "Remember -- you owe us another fundraiser."
"Sure," he said. "I'll do it."
He promised again to come to Richmond. We talked about the Democratic Convention coming up in July in New York, and he asked if we would be there. I went to the convention at Madison Square Garden with a bunch of Virginia politicos, and Clinton was nominated. It was thrilling! We attended many of the events, including a big dinner where we again spoke with Clinton. Like a broken record, he again promised to come to Richmond for a fundraiser.
In the late summer, we attended an event at Pamela Harriman's estate in Middleburg, Virginia. The epitome of Southern gentility and elegance, Pamela opened her lovely home where her political memorabilia was on display. Her huge, well-manicured estate offered views of the peaceful countryside and the pastures and forest beyond her lawn, on which she had a tent set up for the party.
In October, Governor Clinton did come to Richmond -- for the third presidential debate with Ross Perot and President George H. W. Bush. And I finally got my fundraiser!
Virginia's lieutenant governor's office called and invited me to go to the airport to welcome Clinton because I worked with them. I was part of a delegation that included Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer and some of his staff members. About six of us carpooled to Richmond's airport and waited on the tarmac in the clear and breezy morning. Finally, more than an hour late, Clinton's jet arrived and he emerged with his entourage.
The national press corps had front-row access, while envious local reporters struggled to get clear footage of the popular candidate. Off to the side on the grass, a few fans with campaign signs tried to catch a glimpse. We had a little ceremony for him and Clinton made quick rounds, shaking hands and talking with Don Beyer. Clinton spoke as little as possible. He'd lost his voice and the debate was the next day.
After about five minutes, Clinton and his cortege moved toward their motorcade. He moved close to one of his assistants, a stunning, polished-looking woman with long blonde hair, and he spoke discreetly in her ear. Then he pulled her by the arm, closer to his body, and turned her away from him. He put his face down next to hers, lined up their view, and pointed at me.
In a minute, she approached me, encumbered by several briefcases and bags hanging from her shoulders. "Excuse me," she said. "The governor would like yours and your husband's phone number."
"Oh, okay," I said. "But, uh, who are you?"
"I travel with the governor as his personal aide," she said. "And he would like your phone number."
I gave it to her.
Clinton and his party boarded limousines and the motorcade pulled away, off to Williamsburg where Clinton was to prepare for the debate. Our carpool gathered and everyone was abuzz as we got in the car. They had heard the conversation I had with the aide and were thrilled. We wanted tickets to the debate, which was going to be at the University of Richmond. All the tickets went to students and alumni of the university, so extra tickets were not to be had. I don't care who you were -- nobody could get them. But now that Clinton had noticed me, we thought maybe I could get a few tickets.
I got home and no sooner did I put down my purse than the phone rang. It was Governor Clinton.
"Hi, Kathleen," he scratched, really hoarse. "How're you?"
"Well, I'm fine." Actually, I was in shock.
"It was so nice seeing you there at the airport." Though he had no voice, his Arkansas twang came through. "Where am I?"
It occurred to me that candidates are flying all over the place and understandably have to be told where they are.
"You're in Williamsburg, just down the road." I added, more urgently, "How are you going to do the debate tomorrow night when you've got no voice?"
"I've got doctors coming. They're gonna help me out with this."
"Can they help you talk? I mean, how are you going to get your voice back to get ready for the debate?"
Ah, I'll be all right. They know what they're doing."
"But what are you going to do about your voice?" This debate was the biggest political event Richmond had ever seen. We all wanted him to do well, but his laryngitis seemed like a disaster.
"It sounds like you need some chicken soup," I suggested casually.
"Would you bring me some?"
That took me off guard. "Well, I guess I could," I said automatically. Really, I could. It's possible. I didn't happen to have any chicken soup on the stove at that moment, but I could whip some up. I was good at that sort of thing. After all, I'm a Martha Stewart kind of woman. I probably had some homemade stock in the freezer.
"How far are you from me?"
"Well, I'm about an hour away, but..." I started thinking, Okay, what's this all about? Is this what I think it is? I didn't know what to say. Maybe these rumors about him are true. But the man is good. He knew exactly what he was doing, exactly the position that he was putting me in. I was thinking, Did he just say that? You think he meant that? Or did he mean this? It was like, "It depends on what the definition of 'is' is." Exactly! That's how good he was. In the end, something told me he wasn't interested in chicken soup.
"Well, I'm surrounded by Secret Service and I think Hillary's going to come in tonight, but maybe not until tomorrow," he said. "I have got to find out where Hillary is going to be tonight, so let me just check into a few things. I'll see what I can do here and I'll call you back at about six."
So I thought, All right, now he wants to know where Hillary is and to get rid of the Secret Service. Though there was a lot of speculation at the time about his womanizing, I still thought it was all just speculation. I would not allow myself to believe the stories were true.
I hung up and called Ed. "You're not going to believe this!"
"Did you get tickets?"
That was all we were thinking about. We wanted tickets to the debate. I was more involved in the Clinton campaign than Ed was, though Ed very much liked the political limelight. Bill Clinton knew me, but he'd also met Ed.
"I haven't asked yet," I said. "He's going to call me back and I'll ask him then."
I told Ed about the chicken soup.
"He wants you to take him chicken soup?" Ed was always a gentleman. He was a man, but he was also a Southern gentleman, always tight and guarded. "What does that mean?" Ed asked me.
"Well, you're a man," I said. "You tell me. What do you think I should do?"
"I don't know."
"I don't think I should go," I told him.
"Well, er, I think that's a good idea."
Sure enough, at about six o'clock, Clinton called back. He told me that he had "cleared the decks," found out where Hillary was going to be, and said it would be fine to leave anytime and bring him that chicken soup.
I told him, "I don't think I'd better do that."
"I think it would really help me."
"Well, you know, you're there at the Williamsburg Inn," I suggested. "I'll bet they make really good chicken soup, and you could probably just call room service." You know, open a can of Campbell's or something.
"Ah, I kind of cleared the decks here," he said, "and I just ... ah ... okay ... "
Well, now's the time, I thought. "Before you go, you know, we'd really appreciate just two tickets to the debate."
"Oh, I don't know if I can get any."
"Well, if you can't, who can?" I mean really, he couldn't find two tickets? Obviously, he got a certain number of tickets, and probably as many as he wanted.
"I'll have to ask around," he said. "I'll see what I can do, but I don't know if I can get my hands on any. So, uh, I'll ... I'll see."
He had obviously lost interest. So we didn't go to the debate.
Later, I think the FBI tried to make something of the issue that Clinton wouldn't get me the tickets because I didn't perform. That never went anywhere.
We watched the debate with a crowd at the Omni Hotel in Richmond. Bush kept looking at his watch as if to say, "Get me out of here," and Clinton found his voice and did very well. Richmond was electrified! We never saw this sort of thing in our city. That night, after the debate, everyone was buzzing. The planets were perfectly aligned for our high-dollar fundraiser and it was a huge success.
The room was jammed with about a hundred and fifty people. John Kerry, who had helped Clinton with debate preparation, was there, and somebody had invited Pierce Brosnan, who was making a movie in Richmond at the time. Clinton arrived and gave me a hug, and then I took him around the room and introduced him to everyone by name. Everyone was eager to shake his hand and spend a minute with him -- and support his candidacy. The money poured in.
An account in the press years later quoted somebody as saying that Ed was going around the room that night saying things like, "Did you see the big kiss Bill Clinton just gave my wife on the mouth?" Ed "reportedly bragged about it for weeks."  That really galled me, because it wasn't true. What's more, that is not something that would come out of Ed Willey's mouth. I knew him well enough to know that just was not Ed.
After the fundraiser, late that night, Clinton spoke at a huge public rally that continued until one o'clock in the morning. It was mayhem. Richmond had never seen anything like it!
Early the next morning, they had another rally at Capitol Square, the largest gathering ever on the grounds of the Capitol! Clinton was already a rock star, but he did so well in the debate that he had turned sedate, conservative Richmond, Virginia, into a city full of fervor. Thousands of people came, from college students to older Democrats. The rally was huge.
I went with my mother and a good friend who attended all of these events with me. When Governor Clinton gave his big talk, we were right behind the stands where all the politicians were -- Hillary Clinton, Governor Chuck Robb and his wife Linda, senators -- all the Democratic big wigs.
As Clinton's speech ended, Secret Service agents paved the way for Bill and Hillary to shake hands along the rope line. The agents went all along the line, checking people out and saying, "Don't engage either one of these people in conversation. They've got a lot to do, so don't stop them for any kind of conversation. They don't have time for it. Let them keep moving," they instructed. "Shake his hand, smile at him, that's all. Don't do any more than that."
Hillary started at one end and Bill the other, and they headed toward each other. Hillary came along first, and we shook hands. I had seen her before, when she stood in for him at the dinner in Washington, but I hadn't really met her. She had already made the comment that, "I suppose I could've stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,"  which I thought was awful. I was one of those quintessential "soccer moms," staying home and baking cookies myself, so I felt personally insulted and thought it was a terrible thing for her to say.
Down the way, she and her husband crossed paths as they worked the rope line, and soon he came to us. Clinton came first to my mother, then me, and then my girlfriend. He stopped. Regardless of what the Secret Service had said, he was certainly going to be engaged!
"I'd like you to meet my mother," I said. And boy was he all over her! When Bill Clinton is talking to you, you are the only person in the universe, and my mother was dazzled by him.
"Well, aren't you pretty?" he said to her. "Aren't you just pretty?" He had his hand behind my head, touching the back of my hair -- in public, while he was talking to my mother! "Well, I can sure tell that Kathleen takes after her mother. She looks just like you." My mother could not get words out of her mouth. She was just blubbering. And still, he had his hand in my hair while he was saying, "It's obvious that she really does look like you."
I was embarrassed and hoped no one else noticed. Here he was, flirting unabashedly with me while his wife was right down the rope line!
"She's done so much to help me in my campaign," he added, "and we just love her."
My mother couldn't get words out of her mouth. Literally, she was like, "Mblaaagh." People later told me that when she returned to work, my mother was giddy, bouncing off the walls. This is how people reacted to Bill Clinton. He had just won the big debate, and he was the star.
Then he turned to me, giving me both hands. "Thank you for everything you did last night."
Then he greeted my friend, who was also hardly able to speak. An African-American, she said, "I just want you to know, I got all the folk out for you." She beat herself up over that for about a month. "What in the hell was I thinking?" I told her there was nothing wrong with that.
Clinton spent a couple of minutes with us. Standing behind him, the Secret Service agents talked into their earpieces as if to say, "Ahem," until Clinton finally started moving down the rope line. As he did, he kept his eyes on me. He moved down the rope line, shaking hands, watching me the whole time. It was blatant! He shook hand after hand but didn't look at any of those people. He looked at me all along.
"Do you see that?" my girlfriend said. "Do you see the way he is looking at you?"
"Uh, yeah, I do," I said.
"I don't think I have ever seen a look like that before," she said.
"It's pretty intense," I said.
"Jesus, God!" she said.
It made me nervous and uncomfortable, just as it had at the Kluges' fundraiser. As he shook hands and walked farther and farther away, he kept looking back, maintaining eye contact the whole way down the line.
Hillary was working the other end of the rope line. I think she knew, but didn't want to see it. That's what I believe, because she's not clueless.
Bill Clinton is tall, but when he got to the end of the rope line he stood on his tiptoes, still looking. And as they all got ready to leave and get in the limo, he stood up on something and pointed at me. Nobody else would have known he was pointing at me, as it seemed like he was pointing at anybody. But he added a huge wave good-bye.
My friend was incredulous. "Do you see what he's doing?"
I thought, Well, he's pretty friendly but this is a little over the top. She and I talked about it later and wondered whether the rumors about him were true. But we talked ourselves out of it. We wanted this man to become the next president of the United States -- and it was going to happen! As people say, he's a very charismatic man. So I left with a little doubt that started to seep in. It was there, but I didn't give it much attention, just filed it away.
On election night, Ed and I drove Patrick and a friend to meet Shannon at Washington National Airport in D.C., where we boarded a chartered plane filled to the brim with giddy "FOBs" -- Friends of Bill. Supporters like Ed and me, and people from the campaign in Washington, were flown to Little Rock. We went to the invitation-only celebration at the infamous Excelsior Hotel. It was an electric night. The numbers were looking good and our candidate was going to win! It was intense, the most exciting time. The Fleetwood Mac song, "Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow" echoed in our minds. We were victorious. Our man won and it was thrilling!
Clinton arrived at the hotel very late and gave a short speech. Hillary left to go to bed but he stuck around, reluctant to leave. He worked the room and finally came our way.
Across the room, Shannon panicked. "Mom! Mom, wait!" My sophisticated, well-mannered daughter jumped tables to get back to us. "Get me over there!"
She made it. Clinton talked with her at length, asking about her studies at Harvard, talking about the election and campaign -- especially in Virginia -- and thanking her for her help.
Shannon was dazzled. All of us were dazzled. Even Patrick. As a teenager, he hung out with Woody Harrelson the whole time.
A few days later I was vacuuming Shannon's bedroom when the phone rang.
"This is Bill Clinton."
What? I thought. Surely not! I mean, I'm in my sweats, vacuuming! At first I thought it was a joke from a disappointed Republican friend or something like that, but I quickly recognized his voice.
"I just want to thank you for all that you did for us," he said. "I'm going to be up at Pamela's for a big dinner ... " He was going to go to Washington right after Christmas, when all the major inaugural events would be gearing up. "Are you going to be up at any of those things?" he asked me.
I had call waiting and a call beeped in. "Could you hold on just a second?"
Ed was calling me. "Oh my God," I exclaimed. "You're not going to believe who's on the other line!"
"What?" Ed said. "Who?"
"I'm on the phone with Bill Clinton," I explained, "and he's talking about inviting us to the inaugural stuff!"
"And you put him on hold? Oh my God, Irish!" Ed said. "What in the hell are you doing, asking him to hold? Don't you think you ought to get back to him?"
Yes, I put the president-elect on hold. We laughed about that for years. But it was a weird phone call. I didn't know what it was about. It was as if he just called to chat, as if he didn't have enough to do with choosing cabinet members, hiring staff, and planning the inaugural events.
But during the conversation Clinton asked if I "might possibly" be able to meet him over dinner in D.C. to discuss my role in the inaugural. I later realized that this should have been another red flag. In my gut, I just didn't feel right about it, although I couldn't see at the time exactly why I hesitated. I gracefully demurred.
When I got off the phone, I called Ed right back. "You're not going to believe this ... " I told him about Clinton's dinner idea.
I also called a friend who had worked on the campaign with us. Very politically savvy, he had traveled in a lot of political circles.
"Now, first of all," I said, "I just got off the phone with Bill Clinton."
"Yeah," I said. ''I'm in my sweats vacuuming and he just called here and thanked me."
"Yeah," I said. "He's going up to Washington for all the pre-inaugural stuff, and Pamela Harriman's giving him a big party and all that."
"That sounds cool."
"And he asked me to meet him for dinner."
"Yeah," I said. "Now, how would that work?"
"Well, obviously, it would be someplace very private," he said.
"You know, let's say if he was up in Washington doing something, it would probably be in his suite."
"Well," I stammered. "Uh ... "
He kind of read my mind.
"It'd be very private," he added. "The Secret Service would know about it, but it would be really private. The Secret Service would know, and that's about all."
I didn't go. But I did volunteer to work with the Inaugural Committee. Mary Mel French and Rahm Emmanuel were inauguration co-chairs. Mel was a lovely, refined woman from Little Rock, but Rahm was an arrogant jerk. I commuted by train from Richmond to Washington as much as I could, and helped plan the inaugural events. It was chaotic. The only thing we knew for certain was that the inauguration would happen whether we were ready or not, because it happened every four years.
When it did happen, we were ready. Clinton was inaugurated on January 20, 1993. Ed and I attended all of the festivities, including a formal gala where we saw Barbra Streisand and sat behind the Kennedy clan, including John Kennedy Jr. and Daryl Hannah. It was incredibly exciting to be a part of all of it.
Looking back, I should not have been surprised when the scandals arose about the Clintons and money -- the sale of the Lincoln Bedroom, for example. One could attend any and all festivities at the Clinton inaugural, for a price.
But the glitz and glamour of the inaugural were only the beginning. For the next few years, I would work in a White House that knew how to put on a very good show on the outside while it was corrupt on the inside. The only thing more offensive than the lack of decorum within the walls of the White House was the lack of concern among those who should have been most interested in preserving the dignity of the office of the president -- namely, the president and his wife.
WITHIN A MONTH, the new Clinton White House was overwhelmed by mail. They sent out a massive request for volunteers, calling all the campaign offices around the D.C. area. One such call came in to the Virginia State Democratic headquarters, asking if any of us would be interested. I talked with Ed and thought, maybe this would be a really nice opportunity. Our children were in college, Ed had his law practice, and the time seemed right. So I answered the call. Along with many volunteers who lived around the Washington and Bethesda areas, I volunteered to work in the White House Correspondence Office.
Linda Tripp was one of the first people I met. She kind of came out of nowhere and befriended me, and I enjoyed her. She was friendly, nice, helpful, and she had a funny side. Yet she constantly put herself down, especially about her appearance. She would sometimes come in with her long, beautiful hair straightened and she looked really pretty. But she never thought so. She was hard on herself. Her hair was naturally very curly, so she would go to a salon in Washington and have her hair straightened professionally. Washington women thought nothing of paying $250 for a cut and color, which was a shock to me because I paid twenty-two dollars for a haircut in Richmond. But Linda's self-esteem seemed to need that.
Linda was an insider, one of the very few holdovers from the Bush administration who stayed on in Clinton's White House. I thought it was dangerous to have someone like that there, but they needed people like her. After the inauguration and the parties, everyone moved into their offices but nobody knew what they were doing. They needed people with experience and Linda was one who provided it. I don't know whether she was actually good at her job or just good at promoting herself -- probably some of both -- but her background was definitely a commodity that helped her keep her job when Bush left. She worked as something of a floater, moving wherever they needed her day to day in the West Wing.
I started working at the White House in March. In April, I volunteered at Clinton's first White House Easter Egg Roll. It was great fun. The president was out in the crowd and came over to speak to me, greeting me warmly.
"Good to see ya."
"Good morning, Mr. President."
He asked in which office I was working.
''I'm in the Correspondence Office," I said, "in the Old Executive Office Building."
"Oh, you don't need to be there," he said. "You should be in a better place. I'll have Nancy call you."
I'd heard of Nancy Hernreich. She was the president's assistant, the director of the Oval Office and the keeper of the gate. When I got home that afternoon, she had already left a message on my answering machine! "The president asked me to call you and talk to you about maybe a different position in another place," her message said. She asked that I meet with her the next time I came to the White House.
I thought, Wow, this is great! I was only a volunteer, but I'd raised lots of money for President Clinton and I figured that was how it worked.
The next time I went to work at the White House, I called Nancy and made an appointment to see her. Walking from the Correspondence Office in the Old Executive Office Building, I embarked on my first trek over to the "real" White House. I walked down through the basement and up to the main floor. Mack McLarty walked by and George Stephanopoulos was there. I took in the majesty of the White House and eyed the people about whom I'd read and heard so much.
I found Nancy's office and was instantly shocked. She was the woman who had asked me for my phone number at the Richmond Airport before the debate. I had never put the name with the face. I sat across from her and she told me there was a slot open in the Visitors Office and one in the Social Office. And, she said, "We think you'd be better suited to that."
I was thinking, This is an awful lot of interest they're taking in an unimportant volunteer who's riding up on the train from Richmond, Virginia. But I'll take it!
"Just a second," Nancy said. "I need to take this file in to the president." When she came back, President Clinton strolled into Nancy's office with her. I thought, Okay, well ... Here's the president of the United States!
He gave me a big kiss and a hug like he's famous for. "Come on in," he said. "I'll take you on a tour of the Oval Office."
Years later, press reports, pundits, and the public wondered at the access I had to the president. One article, for example, said I was "a questionable character of dubious qualifications, gaining access to the president only through the corrupting power of campaign contributions."  That was silly. Our own financial contributions were nothing compared to the work we did starting the Virginia campaign and raising support and money in our state. I never expected or assumed that those efforts would give me access to the president or the Oval Office. In fact, I was surprised and delighted that President Clinton welcomed me the way he did.
When he took me by the hand and led me in, I didn't think much of it. He's famous for hugging people, I thought. He takes a lot of people by the hand. At that time, Nancy's office was on the other side of the Oval Office and, to get there, he led me into the private dining room, past the galley kitchen and the private study, and into the Oval Office through a side door.
It was the first time I'd ever been there. I was overwhelmed, just dazzled by it, as President Clinton pointed out the Remington statue and the desk, which had been John Kennedy's desk. That was really something for me because Kennedy was a hero to me. I looked at that desk and thought about Caroline and John playing underneath it. Pictures of them ran through my mind. I was awestruck. I thought, John Kennedy walked right on this spot where I'm standing. He sat at this desk, right here! I walked around, nodding, thinking to myself, Try to remember everything! I didn't want to walk out and forget any of it. I asked for some autographed pictures for Ed and my children, and President Clinton gave them to me. He escorted me into his private study and showed me his extensive collection of old campaign buttons. I saw one of the stewards, a really sweet Filipino man, but he quickly went away.
As we talked, the president suggested that I could be better utilized in the White House Visitors Office or the Social Office, and I should call Melinda Bates at Visitors or Ann Stock in Social.
Then, all of a sudden, he seemed distracted, like he wasn't quite all there. He looked around a lot, and even though he was showing me the button collection and other artifacts in the study, I thought to myself, I can't seem to get his attention. It was as though he was going through the motions but not able to pay attention, as though there was something else -- something big -- going on in his mind.
I later realized that he was sizing up the situation, looking around, thinking, Is there time for something here? Is anybody around? Where's Hillary? Much later, I also realized the significance of the little lair to which he'd taken me. That little hideaway behind the Oval Office across from the galley kitchen -- and beyond the view of the White House security cameras -- would one day become famous.
After about fifteen minutes alone with the president, he gave me a hug. I started to feel a little bit uncomfortable. It was so subtle. The hug was a little long and we were in a private room. My feminine intuition recoiled. It was one of those things, a feeling I had as a woman, but he was the president of the United States! I didn't think of it as being alone with him, but as being shown the Oval Office by the president. This is where he's good. That was, of course, his whole MO. But I didn't realize that yet.
I raced back to my office to pick up the phone and call Ed -- and everyone I've ever met in my entire life! I'd gone from soccer mom to working at the White House and getting a tour of the Oval Office by the president of the United States. That is the pinnacle! I loved it. I was thrilled.
Neither Ed nor I ever questioned -- at all -- whether it was inappropriate. We simply thought we were great fund raisers and our guy won the election, and this is what you get.
That was April 15, 1993, one of the best days of my life. When I returned to my desk in the Old Executive Office Building, I received the phone call for which I had been hoping for twenty-eight years. I had hired a search group to find Sean, the son I had given up for adoption, and they found him in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! A few months later, I finally met Sean while traveling through Pittsburgh. It was great. The spitting image of his father, he was in a huge crowd and I spotted him right away. About three months later, he came to Richmond to meet Ed and his new sister and brother.
Days after I met with President Clinton, I called Melinda Bates in the Visitors Office and told her that I was calling at Clinton's personal suggestion. Surprisingly, she was cold and unwelcoming. I found Ann Stock in the Social Office to be much friendlier. She said there was room for me, so I went to work in the East Wing.
A lot of the volunteers in the Social Office were Democratic faithful who didn't have a relationship with either the president or the first lady. Still, whenever a new volunteer started working in the office everyone would ask, "So, are you a friend of his or hers?"
"Well, I know him better than her," was my standard answer. I was careful about that, because many people would say they were friends with the Clintons when they really weren't. I didn't like it when anyone bragged about a relationship with the Clintons, so I made a point of downplaying mine. But if I was walking with someone and we saw the president, he'd always stop and say, "Hi, Kathleen."
"Oh, you really do know him?" my coworkers would say. "So you really are close to him?"
"Well, yeah," I'd say. "Ed and I worked on his Virginia campaign," I would explain, "and we were at that fundraiser after the debate." I certainly didn't go around advertising it, but the longer I was there the more people saw it, and people generally knew that I had a history with Clinton.
Later, when the Clintonistas started to smear me, reporters gathered comments from my Social Office coworkers who supposedly said, "Kathleen was always throwing Bill's name around," and "She was always talking about how close they were." These were cheap shots. Each comment was anonymous. Nobody would stick her neck out for such lies.
Part of that was political, of course. But it was also the nature of the beast. There was a lot of appalling behavior in the Social Office, and it started at the top -- with the president and his wife.
In Living History, Hillary claimed that she and Social Secretary Ann Stock "tried different combinations of linens and place settings before settling on the ... china acquired by Mrs. Reagan. We worked on seating arrangements" and "consulted with the White House florist ... as she arranged the tulips I had selected for each table."  Actually, Hillary hardly gave any input at all. We worked with the florist on her arrangements and prepared mockup place settings with the china and crystal and silverware for Hillary's approval, but she never seemed to care. "Hillary would respond, 'I don't have time. I don't want to do this,''' wrote Carl Bernstein in his 2007 biography of Hillary, A Woman in Charge.  I think I saw Hillary in the Social Office maybe two times. Everything -- all the planning that was done for the events and Christmas parties and state dinners -- was left up to the staff. She didn't know anything about entertaining and never showed any interest in such things. Bernstein even noted, "There was little evidence throughout 1993 of Hillary as the hostess to the nation." 
To her credit, Ann Stock told Bernstein that, had the first lady "skillfully entertained," it might have helped her politically, laying a groundwork from which she and the president could promote their legislative agenda -- starting with Hillary's health care plan. But Hillary would not get involved in such tasks. "The first lady's social secretary was flabbergasted by Hillary's initial unwillingness to engage in the usual protocols of White House entertaining," Bernstein wrote. "For better or worse, effecting change in the capitol, and thus changing the country, was an intricate process that involved a certain amount of bowing and scraping, and the first lady was no exception from the requirement ... [but] Hillary refused."  Obviously, bowing and scraping were not a part of Hillary's agenda as first lady.
Hillary hired Stock, who had graduated from Purdue University where she majored in elementary education. When Hillary gave her the White House job, Ann was vice president of public relations for Bloomingdale's in New York.  As the story goes, the first lady hired Ann Stock in fifteen minutes, such was her concern about the Social Office.
Stock was an outsider and many of the women in the office were more connected. Ann McCoy was one. A lovely woman, she was a very proper Southern lady who knew the right way to do things. A loyal Clinton supporter and "Friend of Bill," she had come to the White House from Little Rock because she loved Clinton, just loved him. But Ann Stock treated Ann McCoy like dirt.
Ann Stock had no sense of decorum or good taste, which was typical of the Clinton White House. She cussed like a sailor, dropping the "f-bomb" every other minute. That set the tone for the office. With no language code -- never mind a dress code -- the scene inside the White House was completely inappropriate. I often thought about Jackie Kennedy or Nancy Reagan and wondered what they would think.
The White House was populated with interns, some of whom were placed in sensitive positions. In the Social Office, we often had calls from high-dollar donors and very influential, important people from all over the world, inquiring about an invitation to an event or a visit to the White House. The fact is some people need careful and respectful handling. But these interns were college kids who didn't know anything about anybody. They had no manners, and treated these people with no particular respect. Time and again, people would call and the interns didn't even act like they recognized their names -- because they didn't!
One woman in the Social Office who was a breath of fresh air was Vernon Jordan's wife, Ann Jordan. She really knew the ways of Washington and was a rare voice of reason in the office. I was so grateful that she was there because she knew how things were supposed to be.
But her kind of reason and civility were not requirements in the Clinton White House or in its Social Office, and they certainly weren't common. While most of the volunteers had a sense of dignity about working in the White House, not a lot of the regular staff seemed to have the same regard. Many of the volunteers, like Debbie Siebert and Harolyn Cardozo, would often tell me, "You need to tell the president what's going on around here!" Yeah, I thought, I'll just go tell the president what to do!
Harolyn Cardozo and I became good friends. I liked her a lot. But she was caught up in the ugly drama of the Social Office, the gossip and backstabbing. I really went to bat for her, but in the end Harolyn left. And Harolyn Cardozo is not the kind of person that you let walk out and quit. She came from a very rich family and knew how to run a party. She also had a lot of influence and knew her way around Washington. But she quit.
Despite all the drama, I enjoyed working in the Social Office and I was good at it. My experience as a housewife and fund-raiser had taught me how to organize beautiful dinners and events. Ruthie Eisen was another volunteer in the office, very adept at entertaining and a dear friend of mine. Almost immediately, Ruthie and I were put in charge of the White House Jazz Festival in July. At the same time, we were unpacking and evaluating crafts and ornaments for the Christmas tree and holiday decorations for the White House. We had the theme -- a handmade country motif -- and invited vendors from all over the United States to contribute ornaments to match our theme. One of our jobs, long before we worried about bombs or anthrax, was to screen the boxes of ornaments and decorations that came in. Essentially, we looked at all of them to make sure they were tasteful and appropriate, even if nothing else in the White House was. One guy made his ornaments out of roadkill and actually sent one in. The minute I saw it I was horrified!
Some of the volunteers in the Social Office were the least likely types you'd ever expect to be working anywhere in the White House, much less volunteering in the Social Office. These were fine older men, one of whom was a retired CIA agent. I later learned he had been one of our most notorious CIA spies. He told us that his daughter had been born under an assumed name in a foreign country. He wanted to tell more about his experiences, but many of those things are never to be known. He was a nice man -- the last person you'd ever think would have been a deep-cover CIA agent -- and here he was, working in the Social Office. I mean, there must have been something else he could do, rather than stuffing envelopes in the Social Office.
Just behind the Social Office was a military office. Every detail of every trip had to be planned with military logistics, and the office that coordinated them was just behind the Social Office. A really nice man who was left over from the Bush administration ran it. He hated the Clintons. And he wasn't alone.
The First Lady
Linda Tripp was another holdover who hated the Clintons. She knew that I was a staunch Democrat and that I was there because I was a Clinton person, but I quickly saw that she was extremely displeased with the Clintons. She had been a Bush person and obviously didn't support the Clintons' ideology. But the new administration's lack of decorum and its disrespect for the White House and the presidency antagonized her more than anything. Clinton had no dress code for the Oval Office, much less for the White House. And there was no language code, no protocol, nothing. There was no schedule. Nobody followed the rules. Everything was loosey-goosey, just sloppy. And Linda hated that.
One day, she told me with disgust, President Clinton had a hankering for a Big Mac, so they sent her out to McDonald's to get him one. I thought, Surely the Secret Service isn't going to let somebody go out and bring the president a Big Mac? I know they don't have food tasters, but they have to be a little careful, don't they? But the way the White House was run, it could have been true. That was the dichotomy of the Clinton White House: America had a bull in its china shop.
The Social Office problems were just symptomatic of the problems in the whole White House. A managerial anarchy trickled down through the ranks, starting at the top with the president and first lady. The White House didn't seem to follow any rules. The work had no rhyme or reason. It was chaos. And to top it off there was no sense of propriety.
The casualness of the Clinton crowd did not fit in the White House. It doesn't matter how casual the president is, nor does it matter that he came from Arkansas or that he's as popular as a rock star. It should not have been that way. It was inappropriate and wrong. It diminished the integrity of the White House from the top down.
According to Linda, during the Reagan administration, men were required to a wear a suit and tie to enter the Oval Office. George H.W. Bush did Reagan one better. In Bush's White House, women weren't even allowed to wear pants -- dresses only! That's very sexist, but at least he upheld a sense of decorum. Believing in the dignity of the presidency, these leaders afforded due respect to the White House and to the office. Not so with the Clintons.
On three-day weekends and days when most of the workers were gone, President Clinton was known to walk around the White House wearing jeans, and James Carville and his cast of characters would also come in jeans, with their shirts out. I even heard they would sprawl on the sofa, eating pizza in the Oval Office and resting their feet on the desk -- Jack Kennedy's desk. I thought to myself, This is just is not right!
Ann Stock confirmed this to Bernstein. The Clintons' gang "treated the White House as if it were a campaign venue," Stock told him. "They didn't really understand the significance of the president's house."' 
The first lady was someone else who didn't seem to understand the significance of the White House, the people's house. People often described how rude and impatient Hillary was and how filthy her language was. She sometimes walked around the White House looking like she had just rolled out of bed. Her hair was dirty and hardly brushed and she didn't wear a stitch of makeup, not even foundation or something to improve her ruddy, uneven skin. She paid no attention to her clothes. When I saw her around the White House looking like that, I thought, Doesn't anybody around here understand where they are?
In the beginning, clothing designers and vendors begged her to wear their lines, so they sent racks of clothes to the White House. I like nice clothes. I always have. When I worked at the White House, I was polished and appropriately dressed every day. When racks of Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera fashions showed up, I just drooled! And everyone buzzed, "What's Hillary going to wear?"
Her wardrobe was so bad that people would say to me, "Kathleen, can't you tell her what to wear? Can't you make a suggestion?" Obviously, I wasn't about to tell the first lady of the United States that she wasn't dressed appropriately.
Following the Clintons' example, their friends behaved just as inappropriately in the White House. An Arkansas couple, Harry Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, was a famous example. He was a sleaze. All he did was walk around with his badge and his hands in his pockets, with his big gut hanging out over his belt. He walked around, with free rein of the place. He made me so uncomfortable. His wife was in California, but when she did come to the White House they couldn't wait to get to the Lincoln Bedroom so they could jump up and down on the bed. Some of the Clintons' friends notoriously had sex in the Lincoln Bedroom -- even when they were not overnight guests!
Bernstein confirms that Harry Thomason lived part time in the White House in early 1993, and that he was "given a White House pass, an office in the East Wing, and a vague charter, known as the 'White House Project,' to continue shaping the public images of the president and first lady." 
Harry and his wife weren't the only ones. The White House was full of visitors with passes and some of them were the most flamboyant and bizarre people I have ever seen in my life. Sometimes it felt as though I were walking around a Hollywood movie studio. They moseyed around from the Old Executive Office Building over to the West Wing or wherever, and had free rein of the whole White House. Some looked like Elton John wannabes. And there were many very extravagant-looking women.
I would be working at my desk, with Secret Service agents around, and we'd see these clowns walk by and we all looked at each other like, "What is this?" We had no idea where these characters came from or what they were doing there. It was just crazy.
The craziness turned serious when Vince Foster died. Among the thousands of unanswered questions about Vince was the issue of his relationship with Hillary. Everyone knew they were incredibly close. As Bernstein put it, "The relationship would confound Foster's wife (but not Bill Clinton)." 
Linda Tripp noticed it too. "I believe at one time they were very close," Linda observed. "She was dependent on him, which, over time, caused a strain." Vince was increasingly on the spot for Travelgate and, while Hillary claimed it had nothing to do with her, Linda said she had evidence that Hillary "masterminded the entire Travelgate massacre." 
Curiously, when Vince moved to Washington, he insisted on leaving his family in Little Rock until their youngest child graduated high school. His wife didn't like it. Bernstein recounts a telling story. "She and their children came to Washington for the inauguration, but Vince had no time for them." In fact, he ditched them when the ceremony was over, leaving them on the Capitol grounds, from which they had to find their way back to their host's house. Naturally, she was furious. "I was just angry at him for ignoring us and leaving us behind, and making me have to deal with everything, all the decisions, and he was getting all the so-called glory." 
According to Bernstein, Vince told Web Hubbell that he felt that, as deputy counsel to the president, he and Hillary "were the team he had always imagined they would be." That's an intriguing view, considering it was Hillary and Bill who were the infamous team. Sadly, as Bernstein adds, "The glow didn't last long." 
The fair-haired boy, Vince graduated magna cum laude from law school and became head of the Law Review. He did everything right. He and Bill Clinton had been buddies since kindergarten. Though Vince was tall, thin, handsome, and came from the right side of the street, he didn't have the tough skin that the Clintons have. Vince took a lot of political hits and the press really beat up on him. On July 20, 1993, he went to a park outside of Washington D.C., put a gun in his mouth, and shot himself.
Linda Tripp had worked with Vince. "His very being commanded respect -- dignified, decent, kind, smart, immensely loyal," Linda said of him. "Vince Foster was a good man."  She was the last person known to have spoken with him. When she appeared on Larry King Live in 1999, Larry asked Linda if she knew he was troubled.
"I don't know that I knew he was troubled."
"Were you shocked when he killed himself?"
"I was shocked that he was dead, yes."
"Are you saying," Larry pressed, "you are not sure he killed himself?
"You know, I don't know," Linda said. "To this day, I don't know ... It was the aftermath of that suicide that started to make me ... question things." 
Hillary was not in Washington that night, and phone calls flew between Maggie Williams and Hillary. But Linda was there and saw that they were taking files out of Vince's office. It was suddenly a mad rush. Linda said Maggie Williams hauled all kinds of stuff out of there. It was "chaos, people milling around," Linda later said. "Finally, I closed the doors because there were no guards, no nothing. Security in the Clinton White House was lax at best. When you have a high-ranking administration official dead by other than natural means, there obviously should be an investigation," she added. 
Linda thought that the Capitol Police or other officials with some legal authority should supervise the file transfer, but they didn't. Linda knew what should and shouldn't be going on, and she wanted to ensure it was proper and legitimate. Linda said there was a lot of hush-hush activity. "Initially," she said, "there was shock and grief. But then doors shut, covert weirdness began." She knew the files in Foster's office were "sensitive" materials that would cause problems for Hillary, and she watched them being removed from his office to the Clintons' residence. 
Years later, chief investigative counsel for the House Judiciary Committee David Schippers said, "I think he was murdered. Absolutely. We were going to investigate that. All my investigators said, 'Let's investigate the Vince Foster thing.'" But once the Republicans lost the midterm election, they were called off of everything. "We were called off the Ron Brown thing. We wanted to get into that. We wanted to get into Chinagate," Schippers said. "But they called it all off. We were all told we had to stop dead." 
Our offices were always full of women from Arkansas, some of whom were Southern ladies, flawless and elegant. I became good friends with one such woman, Mel French, who had headed up the inaugural before becoming chief of protocol at the State Department. But when Arkansas women came to town it often was a different story. It usually raised Linda's antennae. She seemed to know whenever an Arkansas woman set foot in the White House.
"Who is she?" Linda would quiz us. "Is she a former?" I still didn't believe that the president had any former flings, but according to Linda there were many. She seemed to revel in the drama and intrigue, and she perpetuated it, frequently pointing out women in the White House, saying, "Now she is definitely a former!" or "There's a former," and "So-and-so is a former." I'm not convinced that it wasn't all just in her mind.
Linda was a promoter, and during 1993 I noticed that she was particularly promoting scandal. Until she had something real to go on, she would try to make something out of nothing. For a while, that "nothing" was me.
Linda and I would often take a break and walk outside together so she could have a cigarette. On our way, we would sometimes see President Clinton in the Rose Garden as he went from the Oval Office to the residence. Other times, we encountered him in the White House corridors. Whenever we saw him, he was familiar and friendly with me. He would stop and give me a hug, say hello, and talk for a moment. As soon as we went on our way, Linda would say, "Did you see that? Did you see the way he looked at you?" I thought she was being ridiculous. I mean, the president didn't save those kinds of greetings for me. Men and women alike, that's just what he did. That was Clinton's way, I thought.
As a Social Office volunteer, I frequently helped at receptions and parties. If the president was expected to attend an event, Linda would be in my ear a few days beforehand. "What are you going to wear?" she'd ask me, as if I weren't a married woman. It did occur to me that Linda seemed to be trying to get the president in trouble. It was pretty clear she was out to get him, and she seemed to think I might be the way.
Not surprisingly, Linda would repeat the tactics that she used with me on a more susceptible woman -- Monica Lewinsky. Linda used to say something to me that echoed back a few years later. While working in the office, I heard my own voice on an answering machine. I thought, God, I sound so nasal -- and I can still hear my parents' Philadelphia accents. Linda and I were casually talking about this, and I mentioned that, like most people, I hated the sound of my own voice. "Oh no, Kathleen," Linda told me, "you have such a sexy voice." Linda said the same thing to Monica Lewinsky! Years later, in one of the infamous recorded conversations between Linda and Monica, Linda said to her, "You've just got the most seductive voice. No wonder he calls you for phone sex, that voice of yours." When I heard and read the transcripts of Linda's conversations with Monica, I recognized that many of her comments to the young woman echoed things she had said to me a few years before. It was as if she used the same playbook, trying to finesse information out of Monica, while steering her in a particular direction. Unlike me, though, Monica obviously followed that path.
The Clinton White House was full of interesting characters, some of whom were respectable while others were not. The work we did was chaotic, and the atmosphere was often less edifying and dignified than what was appropriate in that situation. But the undisciplined, loose environment was simply a symptom of a deeper, far-reaching problem -- a problem, as I would unfortunately soon discover, that started with the man who sat behind John Kennedy's desk.
ED LOVED being connected, loved that I worked in the Social Office. There were times when he helped me write notes to the president or had me bring him gifts. Once Ed asked me to give President Clinton a Jeffrey Archer book. Another time, Ed bought a Nicole Miller tie for the president. She named her ties, and this one was called "Presidential Shoes." It had pictures of presidents' shoes back to Abe Lincoln. Ed asked me to leave it for the president, so I dropped it off with Nancy, who was always very gracious. Next thing I knew, I had a letter from President Clinton sitting on my desk. Ed got a kick out of that and loved saying, "My wife works at the White House."
It was a small pleasure, no doubt. For Ed, there couldn't have been many pleasures that year. I didn't know it yet, but he was in serious trouble.
Throughout our married life, Ed would do things that I thought were ill advised, even reckless. For example, he would move his law practice relatively frequently. He had about five offices in his career. One of them was ten minutes from our home, but Ed fought with the landlord of the office building and stopped paying the rent. Finally, the owner of the building locked the door on him. I found out and called Jane-Lee. As usual, she and all the women at the office covered for him.
Finally, I talked to Ed. I was in a panic. "Where are you going to go? What are you going to do?"
"Oh, don't worry," Ed said. "I have it all figured out."
And he did. He always had it figured out. He always had an ace in the hole, always landed on his feet. Always. Until he didn't.
At the top of the list of Ed's recklessnesses was his approach to taxes. He wasn't big on paying them. Worse, he didn't seem to have a problem with that. This bothered me to no end, but he always lived on the edge and liked it there. Still, it scared me. They were our taxes. There wasn't much I could do, because Ed kept financial details from me. But he had been playing fast and loose with the Internal Revenue Service and was getting behind on the taxes. I didn't know that things were getting dicey for him. In the end, Ed had an accountant file my taxes separately so I wouldn't fall into the hole. Instead, I inherited it.
Ed had won a land-condemnation case for some clients and their money went into escrow. But it was too tempting, and Ed made a terrible mistake. He borrowed from Peter to pay Paul, using his clients' money to pay the IRS and other bills. The clients figured out what Ed had done. They wanted their money, and they called him constantly to demand it. Ed dodged them. Jane-Lee and the other secretaries covered for him. But the clients kept calling for the money, and finally they caught up with him.
Ed owed the money to a man named Tony Lanasa who was represented by Bubba Marshall, another country good ol' boy. Ed slipped out early one morning and met with Bubba and Lanasa at the Chesterfield courthouse parking lot at six thirty in the morning. They told him they knew what he had done. They gave him two weeks to repay the money in full or they would turn him in. They gave him a promissory note to sign and demanded that I cosign the note. It had to be in Bubba's office by noon.
I went to the dentist that morning and was on my way to deliver Meals on Wheels, as I did about once a month. It was eleven fifteen and I had to be there at eleven thirty, so I was in a rush, running a little late. We didn't have cell phones back then, but big car phones, and Ed called me in my car.
"I have something I need to talk to you about," he said.
"Yeah," I answered. "What's up?"
"No, I have to see you at the house."
This is weird, I thought. He'd never done this before. I was just a few minutes from his office.
Why did I have to go all the way back home? Something must be wrong.
"I have to talk to you at the house," he said. "Now."
We stood in our kitchen, separated by the island counter. Ed had his hands in his pockets, jiggling his change. He was nervous, anxious, wired. Finally, he sat down.
"I have gotten myself in some trouble," he blurted out. "I need you to cosign a note."
"I won a condemnation case for these clients and I put the check in escrow and I borrowed the money."
"We needed it. I spent it."
"On what?" I was starting to get panicky.
"Office expenses and tuition and ... "
"Two-hundred and seventy-four thousand dollars."
"You have got to be kidding me!" I started to raise my voice.
"And Irish," he said, "these aren't nice people."
Ed explained that he had "illegally borrowed" the money and the clients found out about it and demanded that I cosign this note, which was to be in their hands by noon that day. He said they had threatened us.
The note would come due on Monday, November 29. My husband had two weeks to come up with more than a quarter of a million dollars.
I was in shock and upset with him, but he was my husband and he was in trouble. He needed my help and I wanted to help him. I signed the note and Ed promised that it would be "taken care of."
He took the note to Lanasa and Bubba, and they agreed to let bygones be bygones if they had their money in two weeks. They shook on it, the kind of "gentlemen's agreement" that usually means something in the South.
I went into high gear. I was going to fix it, to keep our lives from falling apart. I scrambled for alternatives. We had a condo in Colorado, but it was in Shannon and Patrick's names, and we'd had a thirty-year note on our house since 1975.
"We have to do something," I said to Ed. "Maybe we can sell the house?"
Ed couldn't live with that. He liked our nice home and lovely neighborhood. But more than that, losing the house meant losing his reputation. He did a lot of work at the county and was well liked, and he had a name to live up to. Losing the house was too much. He wouldn't agree to sell it. He kept saying I shouldn't worry and he would not discuss it with me. When I brought it up, he dismissed me and said that it was "handled."
By then, it didn't really matter. The die was cast.
We didn't know it, but that morning, despite signing promissory note, shaking on it, and saying, "Bygones will be bygones," Bubba and Lanasa had marched into the courthouse and told the commonwealth's attorney what Ed had done. Ed had helped him with his campaign and they were very good friends. "There's the door," he told the two good ol' boys. "Get out!"
Instead, Bubba and Lanasa reported Ed to the state bar. The bar sent letters and called Ed. He would probably be disbarred and go to jail. And Ed Willey Jr., the Southern gentleman, son of the great senator of the Commonwealth of Virginia, would certainly be humiliated.
Ed kept all this to himself. Of course, I worried about the unknown -- jail, disbarment, humiliation. I knew it would ruin him, both of us. Adrenaline, the fight-or-flight reflex, kicked in, and I was all about fight. I had to try to fix it, to grasp at whatever might help my family survive.
Days went by. The deadline loomed. I kept asking Ed what he was going to do, what we were going to do. He stalled me. "Don't worry," he said. "I've got it taken care of. Don't worry."
Of course I worried. Where could he possibly come up with that kind of money?
Thanksgiving was almost always at our home, but that year we went to my brother's house for a change. It was strained. Shannon and Patrick came home from college, and everyone vaguely knew something was going on. We were tense, but we managed to have a lovely day and Ed even regaled us with funny stories during dinner. It was our last Thanksgiving together.
The clock was ticking. I kept nagging Ed, telling him that we had to talk to our children about the crisis. Things had to change, and they needed to understand what was going on. They needed to seek grants and loans and jobs. And, I kept telling Ed, if we have to sell the house to get out of this, we're just going to have to do it.
On Saturday, the four of us finally sat down at the kitchen table for our family discussion. Ed hemmed and hawed. He couldn't tell them. He couldn't even say, "I stole money." The only way he could get it out was to say, "I illegally borrowed," with a few sketchy details of what he had done.
We're in trouble, and I need to fix it, I thought, going into takeover mode. I explained that times were going to change and we all had to help. We would have to tighten our belts, we may have to sell the house, and I was going to get a job for the first time in twenty years. I told them I was going to go to Washington to see the president on Monday to ask for a paying job. And they needed to help, too.
The "discussion" didn't go well. With my adrenaline in charge, I lost control of my fear. "I'm scared to death, Ed! I mean, my God, what are we going to do?" I lashed out at him. "Why did you do this?"
The kids also became really upset. Shannon, about to enter medical school, panicked about whether she'd be able to attend. Patrick, defending his father, was incensed at my accusation. "I don't like what you're calling my dad!" he stood up and said. "You're calling my dad a thief!"
Ed remained quiet through it all. He just sat there, subdued, watching us argue. He didn't say a word as the three of us blew up at each other. It turned into an ugly brouhaha. We yelled and hurled insults, and it ended badly. My guilt over that scene plagued me for years. I was burdened with regret. I could have handled it all so differently. But we have no idea what tomorrow is going to bring.
After the awful family scene, we went our separate ways. Shannon decided she couldn't stay for the rest of the weekend, so later Saturday she drove back to Baltimore. Patrick and his friend went back to school the next morning. On Sunday, I felt badly about how the conversation had gone and was still upset with Ed. He went upstairs, packed a small bag, and went to bunk with a friend. I thought it was a good idea, because we all needed space. But that wasn't why Ed left. He had a plan, and unless he was graced by an eleventh-hour miracle, he knew what he was going to do. If only he would have done something else.
The President of the United States
I woke up on Monday morning at about five thirty. I usually wore a blouse and skirt with heels when I worked in the White House, but that morning I was on autopilot. My mind was elsewhere. I cannot for the life of me remember what I wore that day.
I left my empty house, drove to the train station, and caught the eight o'clock train. Three or four days a week, I took that two-hour train ride, usually reading the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Washington Post on my way to the White House. But on this day, the news did not concern me. Though I tried to read, my mind was racing. I had to get my name on the list to see the president. Then I would call Ed.
I arrived at the White House at about ten-fifteen and the minute I got to my desk, I called Nancy Hernreich. "I've got a real problem," I said, "and I need just a few minutes with the president at some point today."
"Just sit by the phone," Nancy said. "You won't have much notice but I'll call you."
I called Ed's car phone but he didn't answer. I called Jane-Lee. "Is he there?"
"No, he's not here," she said. "I have tried to reach him many times."
"Well, did he have a court case?" I asked her. "Where do you think he is?"
''I'm trying to find him," she said. "He's out there somewhere."
I tried to work, but I was upset and getting more and more worried about Ed. Where is he? I repeatedly called his car phone but he never answered. Why doesn't he answer his phone? I left message after message. "Ed, where are you? Please call me back. I'm worried about you."
I kept calling Jane-Lee, "Have you heard from him?"
"He'll show up," she told me. "Don't worry, Kathy."
But I was beyond worry. I started to panic, pleading with his voice mail. "Ed, please just call me and let me know you're okay! Just call. Please leave a message." And I said I was going to see the president and would hopefully have some news for us.
At about two o'clock, Nancy Hernreich called. "Come on over," she said. "We'll fit you in, but it's going to be tight. Be prepared to wait." I was amazed that she was able to get me any time with the president.
I walked into her office at about a quarter after two and Nancy could see that something was wrong. I sat outside her private office, in a chair across from Betty Currie's desk, and waited to see the president. All of a sudden Al Gore came flying in. Everywhere he went, Al Gore ran. Anyone who wanted to keep up with him had to run too. So he came flying in, ran right up to the little peephole and peeked into the Oval Office.
"Is he in there? What's he doin'?" Gore asked. "Is he in there? Is he with somebody?"
"Yes, he's in there and he is with somebody," Nancy said, always perfectly poised. "And Kathleen's next."
My jaw fell open.
"Oh, okay," said the vice president of the United States. "See ya!" And -- whoosh -- out he went, a storm of dust behind him!
I sat there and thought, This is too screwed up. This just should not be this way. But it was that way. And much, much worse.
In about fifteen minutes, Nancy showed me into the Oval Office. As he walked from his desk to give me a hug, President Clinton could also see how upset I was.
I had been in a prolonged state of panic. But greeting the president, I felt a flash of hope. I knew he could help me. Of course, anything -- any guidance or a suggestion from the most powerful man in the world -- could help turn me from raw distress to action. We talked briefly in the Oval Office before he offered to get me a cup of coffee from his kitchen. Then he suggested we go to his private study, where we could talk more comfortably. The president asked a few questions while I prattled on about our family crisis for five minutes or more, and I told him I needed a paying job.
While I talked, President Clinton looked at his watch a couple of times. Nancy had told me that he had an important meeting with cabinet members at three o'clock, so I knew I should finish talking and leave. I added a comment about the Social Office and some of the problems there, and again he looked at his watch. Time to leave. We moved back into the hallway toward the door to the Oval Office.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the Oval Office door. "Mr. President," Andrew Friendly called out. "It's time for your meeting!"
The president ignored him. I said I should leave and moved toward the door, but the president told me not to rush, said he had time. He looked at his watch again. I mentioned his important meeting and he again encouraged me to stay. But then Andrew Friendly began banging on the door and calling more loudly, "You're late!"
I turned and went through the small hallway toward the Oval Office and President Clinton followed closely behind me. When I turned around at the end of the small hallway, he was right next to me. He expressed his regret for my situation and gave me a big hug, but his hug lasted a little too long. I pulled back. All of a sudden, he was running his hands in my hair and around the back of my neck.
What the hell?
He kissed me on my mouth and, before I knew it, I was backed up into the corner, against the closed bathroom door and the wall behind the Oval Office. The president's hands were all over me, just all over me. And all I could think was, What the hell is he doing? Just what is he doing?
I tried to twist away. He was too powerful. President Clinton is almost a foot taller than I am and nearly double my weight. I couldn't get away and could barely think. I didn't know what I was supposed to do. He was my friend. And he was the president of the United States.
I finally managed to say, "What are you doing?"
"I've wanted to do this," he said, "since the first time I laid eyes on you."
I was terrified for my husband, for my family, for our future, and the president says he's wanted to do this since he laid eyes on me? I was totally unprepared for that.
Then he took my hand. I didn't understand what he was doing. The president put my hand on his genitals, on his erect penis. I was shocked! I yanked my hand away but he was forceful. He ran his hands all over me, touching me everywhere, up my skirt, over my blouse, my breasts. He pressed up against me and kissed me. I didn't know what to do. I could slap him or yell for help. My mind raced. And the only thing I noticed was that his face had turned red, literally beet red.
I reminded him that Hillary or Chelsea could come into the room. I thought that would give him pause, but he said he always knew where they were and he wasn't concerned about them just then.
Andrew Friendly banged on the door and yelled. But he didn't walk in. I didn't understand why he didn't come in. If the president of the United States doesn't answer, wouldn't the Secret Service come and check on him? Someone should have come in. Finally, I realized why no one came: The president had told them to stay out!
In a different setting, with a different man, I probably would have yelled for help. Were it not for Andrew Friendly banging on the door and Bentsen and Panetta pacing outside, I would have felt more vulnerable. Indeed, I would have been more vulnerable. Had he the opportunity -- the time and the privacy -- I believe Clinton would have raped me that day, just as, I believe, he raped Juanita Broaddrick.
[Lisa] Juanita Broaddrick's story begins in 1978. She was a registered nurse who had started her own nursing home in Van Buren, Arkansas. Bill Clinton, the state attorney general, was running for governor.
[Bill Clinton] I believe the people expect me to be ready to be governor if I'm elected.
[Juanita] I thought he was just something that was really going to be good for Arkansas. I thought he was a very charismatic man that had bright ideas for our state, and I just really liked him.
[Lisa] Broaddrick, whose married name at the time was Juanita Hickey said she was so impressed with Clinton that she volunteered to hand out bumperstickers inside, her first and only political campaign. Broaddrick says she met Bill Clinton for the first time when he made a campaign stop at her nursing home in the Spring of 1978 when these pictures were taken.
[Juanita] While he was there visiting, he said, "If you're ever in the Little Rock area, please drop by our campaign office." And he said, "Be sure and call me when you come in; call down to the campaign office."
[Lisa] Broaddrick says not long after that conversation, she did go to Little Rock for a nursing home meeting held at the Camelot Hotel, now the Doubletree. She said she checked into the hotel, and the next morning called Clinton campaign headquarters. She said she was told Clinton was at his apartment, and to call him there.
[Juanita] I did call and asked him if he was going to be in the headquarters that day. And he said, "No, that he didn't plan to be there." He said, "Why don't I just meet you for coffee in the Camelot coffee shop?"
[Lisa] But Broaddrick said Clinton called later -- she thinks it was around 9:00 in the morning -- and asked if they could meet in her hotel room, because there were reporters in the coffee shop. Did you think that his interest in you at the time was personal or professional?
[Juanita] I thought it was professional completely.
[Lisa] So you thought this was going to be a business meeting?
[Juanita] Yes I did. Yes, I really did.
[Lisa] Did you have any qualms at all about him going to the room?
[Juanita] I was a little bit uneasy, but I felt a real friendship towards this man. And I didn't really feel any danger in him coming to my room. And I sort of ushered us over to the coffee -- I had coffee sitting on a little table over there by the window -- and it was a real pretty window view that looked down at the river. And he came around me and sort of put his arm over my shoulder to point to this little building, and said that he was real interested if he became governor to restore that little building. And then all of a sudden, he turned me around and started kissing me. And that was a real shock.
[Lisa] What did you do?
[Juanita] I first pushed him away; I just told him, "No," you know, "Please don't do that." And I forget -- it's been 21 years Lisa, and I forget exactly what he was saying -- it seemed like he was making statements that would relate to "Well, did you not know why I was coming up here?" and I told him at the time, I said, "I am married, and I have other things going on in my life, and this is something that I am not interested in."
[Lisa] Had you that morning, or any other time, given him any reason to believe you might be receptive?
[Juanita] No. None. None whatsoever.
[Lisa] Then what happens?
[Juanita] Then he tries to kiss me again, and the second time he tries to kiss me, he starts biting on my lip. [Breaks down crying and sobbing and covering her face with her hands] Just a minute. He starts to bite on my top lip, and I try to pull away from him. And then he forces me down on the bed. And I was just very frightened. And I tried to get away from him, and I told him, "No." I didn't know what to say. But he wouldn't listen to me.
[Lisa] Did you resist? Did you tell him to stop?
[Juanita] Yes. I told him, "Please don't." He was such a different person at that moment. He was just a vicious, awful person.
[Lisa] You said there was a point at which you stopped resisting?
[Juanita] It was a real panicky, panicky situation. And I was even to the point where I was getting very noisy, you know, yelling, telling him to please stop. That's when he would press down on my right shoulder and he would bite on my lip.
[Lisa] Broaddrick also says the waist of her skirt, and her pantyhose, were torn.
[Juanita] When everything was over with, and he got up and straightened himself -- I was crying at the moment -- and he walks to the door, and calmly puts on his sunglasses, and before he goes out the door he says, "You better get some ice on that." Then he turned and went out the door.
[Lisa] On your lip?
[Lisa] She estimates that Clinton was in her room less than 30 minutes. Is there any way at all that Bill Clinton could have thought this was consensual?
[Juanita] No, not with what I told him, and with how I tried to push him away. It was NOT consensual.
[Lisa] You're saying that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted you, that he raped you?
[Lisa] And there's no doubt in your mind that that's what happened?
[Juanita] No doubt whatsoever.
As it was, he violated me. He exploited me and betrayed my trust, but he did not injure me. More than all that, I thought, My God, this is the president of the United States, and this is the way he acts in the Oval Office? It conveys my heritage and upbringing that the main thing on my mind was that what he had done to me was just not proper. The man disgraced himself. He was humiliated in my eyes. I was truly embarrassed for him.
I made a dive for the door, yanked it open, and burst into the Oval Office. He followed me. As I scurried across that stately room, brushing my hair with my fingertips and checking that my blouse was tucked in, Clinton walked directly to his chair. His lechery aborted, the president of the United States concealed the remains of his arousal behind John Kennedy's desk in the Oval Office.
As I reached the door to the reception area, I turned to President Clinton and said, "Thank you for taking the time to see me, Mr. President." Apparently, part of me still respected the presidency, if not the president, and propriety if not the person. Stunned, I was polite to the last and, to my horror, those words tumbled out of my mouth. Thank you for taking the time to see me? Thank you for taking the time to assault me when I came to you in despair!
My heart was pounding. Thoughts raced through my head about what he'd done. The stories and rumors I'd heard came flooding in. I'd never believed those stories before, but now I had to process all of it over again, rethink it all. This is really the truth here. This is what he does. I was messed up. I thought about my makeup. Get yourself together! Whoever was outside that door, I didn't want them to think something was going on.
Sure enough, I opened the door and looked straight into the eyes of Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen. Leon Panetta, chairman of the OMB, stood behind him, and there was Laura Tyson, chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors. I was mortified. What would they think of me? I came out the door and they were all there. Andrew Friendly had been banging on the door and yelling, and everyone had to have heard that. Given the fact that the president was late, given his reputation, and given that I emerged from the Oval Office, I knew what they thought! Then I had to walk past Nancy's office and Betty Currie at her desk. And though I had done nothing wrong, it felt like I was walking the walk of shame. They all looked at me. I felt embarrassed and started to get really angry. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
On any other day, being assaulted by President Clinton would have measured pretty high on my Richter scale. But on November 29, 1993, it was a mere blip on my radar. Not only did he not help me that day, but the twenty-four hours that followed would bring me such agony that all my recent despair and panic and even Clinton's assault would pale by comparison. And it would be many years, in fact, before the president's behavior became important in my life at all.
Discrepancies arose later about whether I looked unkempt or not. I have a general sense that I went straight from the Oval Office to a restroom. I normally would have done so to make sure that I looked okay, because I wouldn't let myself walk around the White House looking disheveled. But my memory is vague. After all, I was in a state of shock. It was as if my brain had reached its limit and I couldn't think anymore. I was going through the motions. I wanted to talk to somebody, as if dumping it out of my brain, talking about it, would make it go away.
I went to see Linda Tripp, who was working in Bernie Nussbaum's office. She glanced at me and said, "Where's your lipstick?" In an interview with George Magazine, Linda described me as "flustered: hair messy, red face, no lipstick, an overall disheveled wreck," and that I was highly agitated. She added, "It's possible I misread her excitement for joy." 
"I need to talk to you," I said.
A smoker, Linda suggested we go outside. We walked out a side entrance to a VIP parking lot where people went to smoke.
I said, "You're just not going to believe this!" And I told her.
Linda went into high gear. "All right," she said, her mind working double time. "This is going to lead to an affair and, now, this is how it's done. They're going to be finding a safe house for the two of you, and you'll be going to Camp David, and ... " I sat there, staring at her. I felt indignant. I wasn't interested in him that way and besides, Linda knew that this scene with the president came in addition to my panic about Ed. I had told her that my life was falling apart, that my family was in trouble, that I couldn't find him, and instead of supporting me and listening to me, she started describing a novel. It was as though she'd expected it and been waiting for it. She had it all figured out. She assumed I was the player she wanted me to be. And because it fit her agenda, Linda assumed that I welcomed the president's abuse.
A few years later, in the George Magazine interview, Linda said her "instant reaction was, 'It happened,'" meaning "some sort of romantic thing." But she finally acknowledged that I described it as "rough and violent," even though she says I attributed this and his red face to passion.  Still, going with her assumptions, she started in on me.
"This is how it's going to be ... " she went on.
I thought she was nuts.
I went back to my desk and tried to call Ed about every thirty minutes. I called his office, home, his car, but I couldn't find him and he never called me back. I was desperate to hear his voice, to know that he was okay. And I wanted to talk to him, to tell him what had happened, to find out what we were going to do about the deadline.
I took a cab to Union Station and caught the five o'clock train. Two hours later, back in Richmond, I got in my car and drove as fast as I could to Ed's office. When I pulled up, my heart sank. The office was dark. It was seven thirty and the secretaries were gone. Everyone was gone. Where could he be? I drove past our house to see if he was there, but he wasn't. I became frantic and drove around the village looking for him. I called Jane-Lee at home. I stopped at my friend Julie's house. I checked for him at bars. I thought, God, maybe he's drunk. I hope he's somewhere just drunk. But he wasn't. He wasn't anywhere.
God, Ed, would you just appear!
It was late when I finally gave up. I was thinking I'm going to go home and his car's going to be in the driveway. I went home, exhausted. He was not there.
Alone and scared out of my mind, I didn't sleep much. The phone woke me at seven in the morning. It had to be Ed.
"Your husband there?" a man barked at me.
"No he's not," I said. "Who's this?"
"This is Bubba Marshall."
"You know, it's seven o'clock in the morning," I said, annoyed. "I'm trying to find my husband. I don't know where he is, frankly. So what is it that you want?"
"You people owe me some money!" He was irate, yelling. We had missed the deadline on the note the day before. "Somebody better be showing up today with my money!"
"I don't have any money for you," I said. "I can't help you."
He said he was going to find me that day and get the money.
"I don't have any answers for you. I don't have anything for you!" I hung up.
I didn't know that they had turned on Ed and reported him. But Ed knew. He'd already received letters from the state bar.
I kept trying to call Ed.
At nine, the phone rang again and I jumped at it. It was the sheriff of King and Queen County -- a remote area about sixty miles away. He wanted to speak to Shannon Willey. He had found her car on the side of the road with a flat tire.
"Where are you?" I asked the sheriff.
"I'm in King and Queen County."
"Where is that?"
I started to worry. Shannon had gone home to Baltimore on Saturday night. How did she get from there to King and Queen County on Tuesday morning? And why? It didn't make sense. I needed to find Shannon. A scary thought popped into my head. "Irish, these are not nice people," Ed had said.
Oh my God, maybe they abducted Shannon! Maybe they were holding her until they got their money? Shannon was always at her desk at Johns Hopkins, so I called there. She didn't answer. Why didn't she answer? Where was she? My worry turned to raw terror. Had they hurt her? Have they murdered her? I was beside myself. I sat on my bed and felt like all the blood had drained out of my body. My legs shook so badly I couldn't walk, and my whole body tingled. I thought, My God, my daughter is dead. I can't find my husband and my daughter is dead. What in the hell am I supposed to do here? I don't know where King and Queen County is. Should I go there? Do I need to call somebody? I don't know what to do!
I was desperate to hear her voice, to hear somebody's voice. I called my brother and Jane-Lee, but nobody could answer my questions. The adrenaline and panic continued for an hour. I needed Ed. I needed to find him.
"Where can we look?" I asked Jane-Lee. "Who else can we call? Should I call the police?"
The phone rang again. It was the sheriff. This time, he asked for Ed.
The cars were mixed up. When Ed had received the stickers that coordinated with the car registrations, he had just put them on whatever license plate for whatever car. So the tag registered to Ed's blue Isuzu Trooper was on Shannon's aqua Mitsubishi.
While I was on the phone with the sheriff, Shannon beeped in. The second I heard her voice, I knew she was okay. But I didn't want her to panic either, so I tried to act casual.
"Oh, I'm just calling to see how you're doing," I said. "Are you feeling better?"
"Have you talked to Dad?" she asked me.
"Well, no," I said. "But he's upset and I'm upset."
"Well, is he okay?"
"Oh, yeah," I tried to assure her -- and myself. "He'll be all right."
Back on the phone with the sheriff, we finally figured out it was Ed's car, not Shannon's. Now it all made sense. Ed had gone down there for some court case that he hadn't told me about, I reasoned, and he had gotten a flat tire, so he called one of his friends to pick him up. That's why he hadn't answered the car phone. He was at somebody's house. I had the whole thing solved. And I knew that, wherever Ed was, I would find him and then we would manage to repair our life together. It would all turn out fine.
My brother called. ''I'm on my way over," he said.
"Well that's nice," I said. I felt I already had the answer to all my confusion by then, so I was relieved.
He walked into my house. "It looks like something has happened."
"What are you talking about?" I said. "What do you mean something has happened?"
"They found a body."
"Well, so, whose body?" I asked him. I knew it wouldn't have anything to do with me.
"They think it's Ed," he said. "But Buford is on the way down to see."
"Well, that just can't be," I stated flatly. And then I did something very bizarre. I walked outside with bare feet at the end of November and filled up all my bird feeders.
The county sheriff had called the state police, and they called Jane-Lee. She asked Ed's best friend, Judge Buford Parsons, to go and check it out. And she called my brother to come and be with me. Before long, Buford pulled into my driveway and when I saw his face, I knew. A big, burly man, Buford was sobbing, just sobbing. He had identified Ed's body at the scene.
On Monday, Ed had pulled off to the side of a dirt road onto a hunter's path. His car was blocking the road, so some hunters had slashed the tires. Ed never knew. He had walked into the woods, over a little berm to a small marsh. It was cold and the forest was darkening on that late November afternoon when Ed sat down on an old tree stump beside the dreary swamp, put a gun in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.
At just about the same time that Clinton assaulted me on Monday afternoon, a gunshot cracked through the forest in King and Queen County. From a distance, someone heard the shot. My husband was dead.
Some time later, when conspiracy theories started to emerge about Vince Foster's death, people accumulated names of former Clinton associates who had died abruptly -- and conveniently for the Clintons. The list includes a plane crash here, a car accident there, a suicide here ... My husband, "Clinton fundraiser, Ed Willey Jr." is on that list. And it has not escaped my notice that, less than five months after the left-handed Vince Foster drove to a wooded area in Virginia and used both hands to put a .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, so did my husband.
People ask me whether I believe Ed's death was a suicide. It is a wrenching question, and I doubt I will ever completely resolve it in my mind.
For one thing, I could never answer one question: Why would someone kill Ed?
After his death, my friend Carole told me something I hadn't known. Ed and I spent Christmas 1992 in Colorado with Carole and her husband. One evening during that trip, Ed confided to Dann that he'd taken briefcases full of cash to Little Rock during the campaign. When Carole told me this, I was shocked.
"Well, think about it," she said. "Is there any way he could have done that without your knowing?"
"Well, yeah, sure," I said. I was home all day and I assumed Ed was either at his office or out looking at property. "He had land-use and zoning meetings out in neighborhoods all the time," I said. "I guess he could have flown to Little Rock in the morning and come home the same day, especially if private planes were involved." But if he had done that, I was oblivious. I never saw any hint of it. Still, it makes me wonder. Ed may have been more involved in the Clinton campaign than I was.
I recently saw something on a blog, The Cocaine Candidacy, that explored early, illegal fund-raising activities by the Clintons. In its list of campaign "officials" who died, the site includes this curious notation: "Ed Willey, the manager of the Clinton 1992 presidential campaign finance committee, and notable for handling large briefcases full of cash, reportedly avoided airplanes. He died of a gunshot wound which was declared to be a suicide (not unlike Vincent Foster)."  Unless the writer of this blog talked to my friend Carole and her husband, I have no idea how anyone other than the Clintons would know that Ed might have carried cash in briefcases. So why would he be killed? Because he was carrying illegal money? That's probably not enough reason. But what if, in his desperation, Ed had "illegally borrowed" from the campaign?
After Ed died, I asked the police where he'd gotten the gun, a Smith and Wesson .38 Special. They told me it was unregistered, though they later tracked it to a woman in North Carolina. I still don't know who she was. To this day, I think there's a lot the state police didn't tell me, to protect me.
I watch criminal dramas on television, so I asked Dan, my lawyer, if there were powder burns on Ed's hand. Yes, he assured me, the evidence is solid. Ed had powder burns on his right hand. I shivered. Ed was left-handed.
Writing this book opened old wounds as I began to question Ed's death again. I requested a copy of his autopsy report and spoke to a medical examiner, who told me the powder burns were consistent with suicide. When I asked if the burns were indicative of a left-handed person committing suicide, she said no. The room started to spin, and I went into the bathroom and threw up. By the time she sent me the full report, though, she'd reconsidered, saying it could be consistent with a left-handed person. She suggested that he held the gun with both hands but pulled the trigger with his right. That's exactly how Vince Foster is said to have killed himself.
The report raised other questions, too. For one, it said that there was blood spatter, not on his palm, but on the back of Ed's left hand. If he pulled the trigger with his right hand, why would his left hand have been facing away from his face?
I noticed something else.
After death, the blood in the body pools to the lowest parts of the body due to gravity. In several hours, the blood "fixes" in this position, no longer shifting when the body is moved, so medical examiners look for "livor" or "livor mortis" to indicate the position of the body in the hours after death. When the sheriff found Ed, he was lying face down with the gun underneath him. He had been in that position overnight, so livor should have been fixed on the front of his body. But, according to the autopsy report, livor was complete, it's distribution posterior, on the back of his body. His body might have been moved.
Also, according to the autopsy, the bullet was not recovered.
I have not seen the police report, so I do not know if they searched the woods for the bullet. I do not know if they examined the area for blood spatter or other evidence that Ed did, indeed, die beside that swamp. I do not know why Ed would have gone to King and Queen County, to that particularly ugly place. I do not know where in the world Ed would have obtained a .38 Special, or whether he had personally purchased the box of bullets that the police recovered in his car. There's a lot I don't know.
I had been told that Jane-Lee found Ed's suicide notes were in his office, but the medical examiner's report noted, "Exam at site revealed five notes." There was one for each of us -- me, Shannon, Patrick, and a couple of others. Ed wrote his good-byes, said he'd done a bad thing, and wished us well. He told me he was a fool and out of control. He told Shannon that she was going to be a great doctor. He told my son to look after Shannon and me. And he asked us to forgive him. How anyone could sit and write such letters is beyond me. But then, I could never understand how he could leave us, either. And while the letters are in his writing, I also know that anyone would write anything at gunpoint.
I know, this is the point where people say, "Ah, she's nuts."
Despite the unanswered questions, I reconciled in my mind, long ago, that Ed killed himself. In my heart, I don't want to think so and I still wonder, How could he possibly do that? I go back and forth. And, as I do, the possibility lingers, logical or not, that Ed was murdered.
Family and Friends
The worst part was that I had to call my daughter and son and tell them over the telephone that their father had killed himself. How do you possibly do that?
Ed's death was shocking to many people. He had helped a lot of people and had endeared himself to them. He was a well-known lawyer. And he was a Willey, so it was big news in Richmond. Immediately, the phone started to ring and the house filled with people. The newspaper called. Barbara McGonagha, another volunteer in the Social Office, informed everyone at the White House. When she heard, Nancy Hernreich called me and I sobbed. Nancy later reported that I had asked her to have the president call me, but I only remember that we talked and she said that the president would want to speak to me. I told her he could call me anytime.
I don't remember much of that week. I don't remember going to bed at night or getting up in the morning. People gathered around the table, talking about Ed, trying to figure out what had happened. Buford brought Ed's letters over. Shannon came home and my family arrived -- my brother, sister, and my mother, who walked in the house shaking and asking for a Kleenex. I was worried sick waiting for Patrick. He refused to fly so he drove home, but I couldn't rest until he arrived late that night.
The Streakers, my women friends from the soccer team, stayed in touch and brought food. They were wonderful. On Wednesday, there were more visitors in the house. A friend answered the phone and told me, "The president is on the phone." It was noisy so I went upstairs to take the call. I have only a vague memory of that phone call. I cried uncontrollably and I recall Clinton saying, "You didn't see this coming, did you, kiddo?" He said something about attending the funeral and encouraged me to return to the White House soon.
Thinking about it later, it crossed my mind that Clinton might have assumed that I came home that Monday and told Ed what Clinton did to me in the Oval Office. When he heard about Ed's death, Clinton was probably worried. He didn't know anything about the circumstances yet, so it certainly might have occurred to him that his own behavior could have had something to do with Ed's suicide. With Clinton's MO, I'm sure he felt entitled to abuse me, but the master egotist had to be concerned about whether Ed's death involved him.
After all, Clinton had a pattern of risky behavior. I think he got off on that. I think it was part of the thrill for him. The risk seemed to make it more exciting, more arousing. Flirting with danger is part of his dysfunction, part of his sexual game. His recklessness was a common denominator in his affair with Gennifer Flowers, in his rape of Juanita Broaddrick, in his abuse of Paula Jones, in his assault on me, and in his seduction of Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office.
But if the sexual danger in that little hallway behind the Oval Office stimulated Clinton, Ed's death certainly raised the stakes. It likely scared the hell out of him. I think that's the reason why Clinton called me that day. I think he needed to know what was going on. Did I tell Ed? And did Ed kill himself because of Bill Clinton?
I have just a vague recollection of sitting with the minister in the funeral home and planning the services. I had picked out Ed's suit and tie, though I don't remember what suit or what tie. I don't remember much, but we had an open casket in a side parlor. It was too hard for my children and my sister and brother to see him, but my mother and a best friend and a few other friends came with me. That night, the funeral home was like Grand Central Station and the line of people was down the block. There were hundreds of people at the visitation, but I can only remember talking to about three people. I was in shock.
I have a foggy recollection of seeing Ed in the casket. My young niece had always loved Ed. She knew that Ed had loved to fish, so my sister gave me a little fishing trinket that her daughter had found for him. I didn't have any experience with people dying and I certainly had never touched a body, but I needed to put this little thing in Ed's hands and I remember trying to pry his fingers open. ''I'm so sorry," I sobbed to his body. "Why did you do this?"
Ed's funeral was on Friday, December 3. I remember very little of it. Patrick and I both spoke. I read a beautiful poem but, other than that, I don't know what I said or how I got through it. It just became part of the blur. A lot of my women friends from the White House drove down from Washington to attend the funeral. They were good to me, a big part of my support system at that time. Linda was as well, but she didn't come to the funeral. She knew I had been looking for Ed, saw my panic and held my hand through the day he died, so it seemed weird to me when she didn't show up. But the rest of the women were there and they encouraged me to come back to work soon. "It'll be good for you," they said.
Of course, returning to the White House was now more awkward than ever. In addition to dealing with the death of my husband, I had to consider how I would navigate my relationship with Bill Clinton, but I was facing a financial crisis, and the president of the United States is a very good friend to have when in need. It was a dilemma that I could not avoid.
THE DAY after the funeral, reality pounded at me. Piling on top of my shock and grief, I was still in a financial crisis. Ed had isolated me from our financial life through twenty-three years of marriage. Now, thrust into the middle of it, I didn't know how to resolve those issues that Ed had always handled. And worse, I was alone. My husband, my best friend, my closest companion and confidant, was gone. It was too much for me. And then, there was more.
A process server showed up and served Shannon, Patrick, and me with papers demanding $500,000. A friend of Ed's brought an attorney, Dan Gecker, to my house and we started piecing together the details about why Ed killed himself. Though Bubba and Lanasa had promised they wouldn't do it, they had reported Ed to the state bar. My gregarious, generous, well-liked husband faced certain disbarment -- and public humiliation.
I blamed Bubba and Lanasa for Ed's death and took my grief out on them. I didn't threaten them but, brokenhearted and overwrought, I apparently started harassing them on the phone. I called Lanasa at work the day Ed's body was found. I called them both, but mostly Bubba. I called them at two and three in the morning. I don't remember doing any of it, but they were furious at me for it. They started taping the calls.
A few days after the funeral, Bubba and Lanasa requested a warrant for my arrest. But the magistrate at Henrico Court was the son of a man who served in the senate with Ed's father. He looked at Bubba. "Good God, man! What are you thinking?" he exploded. "I'm not going to serve her with this! I'm just not going to do it. You figure it out." So Bubba hired a process server to serve me with a warrant for making "threatening" phone calls during the week. Rather than being arrested, I turned myself in on Monday. Dan came with me. I remember walking in, but not much else.
That week, I tried to find some kind of normalcy in my life, but it was too much for me. I took painkillers for my back and Valium and other sedatives -- you name it. I was still hysterical and, though I wasn't threatening to do anything, I didn't want to feel anything. I was taking all those pills inappropriately. Everyone was worried about me. My friend Julie Steele helped me a lot. One week after the funeral, she drove me to the hospital and I checked myself in. They sedated me, watched me, and helped me get over the trauma. I was there for three days.
I was still grief-stricken several weeks later when I had to face the trial for those phone calls, but it was just a misdemeanor. God knows what I looked like when I showed up in court. I don't remember getting up, brushing my teeth, or getting dressed. I was still a mess.
I started to freak out. "Whatever you do, I don't want to hear that. I don't want to hear me," I pleaded with Dan. "I don't want to hear me! I just can't hear me in that state. Please, don't! Please ... "
The judge was not very sympathetic and took the case under advisement. I didn't know what he was doing, and my worst fear was that it would be in the paper, that my family would be mortified and ashamed of me yet again. But as we expected in the first place, the judge dismissed it.
Dan helped me survive this first of many legal hurdles. The following March, I told him about the president's assault on me in the Oval Office. For many years to come, Dan would help me build a new life out of the chaos.
My women friends also helped me find life after Ed and taught me that I would eventually be okay on my own.
A few weeks after I buried Ed, I got a call from one of the Streakers.
"Did I ever tell you what was going on with the girls at the funeral home that night?" she asked. I had no idea what she was talking about. I didn't remember much about that night.
The soccer women all knew Ed and wanted to come to the funeral home to support me, but a lot of them were young and had never been to a funeral home before. They didn't know what to expect, what to do, how to act. "What do we say to her?" they asked each other. "We don't know what to say."
One of the older women gathered her "little ducklings" and brought them down to the funeral home. A few of them, especially my buddy Beth, got it in their heads that the only way they could handle it was with a beer -- or two. They loaded up a big cooler of beer and piled in the car. By the time they got to the funeral home, they were all a little more comfortable and made it through the formalities at the funeral home without anyone making fools of themselves.
After the service, a lot of people were still there and the Streakers stayed around a while too. Then they hit on an idea. "Ed Willey deserves an Irish wake!" they decided. "We're going to give him one!" So they piled into the car out in the funeral home parking lot and had their wake for Ed. They drank beer and told war stories about Ed, how he had always come to our soccer games, all prim and proper, the dutiful husband on the sidelines.
Naturally, this bunch of women made a big dent in that cooler of beer and they all had to go to the bathroom. A couple of them made a bathroom run, scurrying through the funeral parlor lobby and into the ladies' room. Then they hustled back out, through the cold December night to the warm car, then another cluster of girls darted into the funeral home and found the restroom, only to be followed by another group of girls. The car's windows were steamed up and everybody was lit, coming and going and laughing and reminiscing.
But they weren't the only people lingering there. Some other guests were still visiting at the funeral parlor, including a state senator who had been a peer of Ed's father. He was there with his wife and they had driven in from the west end in their luxury car.
On one of these bathroom runs, the senator's wife encountered two of the women coming out of the bathroom. At this point, they were feeling no pain, laughing and talking and telling stories about Ed.
The senator's wife stopped them and said, "What's going on here?"
"Oh, hell," my friend Beth answered loosely. "We're having an Irish wake for Ed Willey over there in the car."
"Well," the lady said, "I've got my martini in the car. I'll be right over!"
So the senator's wife joined the Streakers. She was probably drinking on the way down to the service too -- just like a lot of people.
Ed would have loved that story. And he would have been glad to know, as I continued to learn, how we women take care of each other, how girlfriends support each other through the tough times. I have been blessed with great women in my life. I don't know what I would do without them.
Christmas was always big at our house, and I'd already begun making plans and decorating for the holiday season, but of course all that stopped. Shannon was staying in Baltimore to have Christmas with her future husband and his family. Patrick was home from school and had no schedule, so all of a sudden we were around each other all the time, which we weren't used to. And neither of us was handling our grief well. We were trying to help each other but we didn't know how. One minute we smothered each other, crying our eyes out, and the next we tried to be normal and make a joke.
Christmas, I knew, was going to be hell. I was basically not going to have Christmas that year and the depression and worry were weighing on me. I had to get out from under it, had to get my life going again. I needed to get out of the house, find something normal. I needed Christmas.
Since summer, I had been working on Christmas events and decorations for the White House and all my friends in the Social Office encouraged me to come back. I thought, All right, I helped these people plan Christmas and if I'm going to have Christmas at all, it's going to be at the White House. I decided to go back a couple of days a week. Ann McCoy in the Social Office said, "Come right up here and find me and we'll keep you busy." I don't know how I did it, but I went back to work a few weeks after the funeral.
The Social Office volunteers helped at the White House Christmas parties by greeting guests and playing hostess. So I dressed up and went to work. During the holidays, the White House had parties constantly, entertaining members of the press, congressional families, military VIPs, underprivileged children, diplomats' families, you name it. These parties were held on the State Floor, but guests were invited downstairs to the beautifully lit hallway with the arched ceiling, where they could have their pictures taken with the Clintons in front of a Christmas tree.
It was good to get out of the house, but I still had a mountain of debt and no income. My legal and financial situation was dire. Some dear friends sent me a check that sustained me for two months, but the fact remained: I needed a job. In December I started writing letters to the president. My attorney, Dan, whom I later told about the incident in the Oval Office, reviewed every letter. Each one was conversational. Each one mentioned my need for a paid position. And each one sent the message that our relationship was as I had always assumed it to be: friendly, respectful, and professional. In other words, as far as I was concerned, the incident was over -- and it would not happen again. On December 20,1993, I wrote:
Dear Mr. President --
I just wanted to wish you a wonderful Christmas. I can only imagine how you must be looking forward to your first Christmas here -- Thank you for the opportunity to work in this great house --
After this bittersweet year, my first resolution for 1994 will be the pursuit of a meaningful job. I hope it will be here --
The president had asked me to see him upon my return, so I went to the Oval Office and spoke to him alone. I told him that what had happened shouldn't have happened and that day was history. I would not bring it up again. He didn't acknowledge one word I said, but looked right through me. So I reiterated my need for a paying job. Halfheartedly, he told me to stay in close touch with Nancy.
I saw him again soon after that. I was wearing a black dress and pearls because I was working at an evening reception for members of the press and high-dollar donors. We were downstairs. Bill and Hillary were in a reception room having their pictures taken with guests in front of the Christmas tree. I was standing at the front of the line, escorting people to the tree and giving them the kid-glove treatment.
Clinton looked up and spotted me. He kind of nodded and I kind of nodded. I turned away. When I looked back in his direction, he was still looking at me. And he kept looking. Then he was interrupted. Tony Lake came in because he needed Clinton to sign some papers. The whole time, Clinton still looked at me. He was talking to Lake, flipping through the papers and supposedly signing them, but the whole while he was staring at me. It was just like the scene at the Richmond airport. It was unnerving.
Clinton had a way of doing that. People have said that when he talked to them one on one, he made them feel like they were the only person in the room. He had a way of locking in on you, like it's just the two of you. I think that's probably the first thing that got Monica. Linda Tripp validated that Clinton takes advantage of this particular talent. "He was so charismatic and mesmerizing," Linda told Larry King about Bill Clinton. "You can't be in his presence and not feel a sense of awe. He has a mesmerizing ability to draw you in." 
This time it seemed a little flirtatious, but also voyeuristic and domineering, like he was trying to read my mind. I looked away to pay attention to the next guest in line and, when I looked back, he was still watching me, as if to ask, "What are you thinking? Have you told anybody? Does anybody know?" His gaze said all of that. It was intense and intimidating. It made me uneasy.
Jerome Levin, Ph.D., is an addictions expert and author of The Clinton Syndrome, in which he describes Clinton's ability to zero in on a woman. "He can make every person he encounters in that crowd feel that they are the center of the world and the sole object of his attention. However," Levin adds, "the quid pro quo -- the unspoken but understood contract -- is that the feeling of being special will be returned, that the person in the crowd that Clinton singles out will feel adulation for him." 
As far as sensual relationships with women are concerned, these are divided into four categories: “laughing, regarding, embracing, and union”. These four types of erotic communication form the pattern for a corresponding classification of tantric exercises. The texts of the Kriya Tantra address the category of laughter, those of the Carya Tantra that of the look, the Yoga Tantra considers the embrace, and in the writings of the Anuttara Tantra (the Highest Tantra) sexual union is addressed.These practices stand in a hierarchical relation to one another, with laughter at the lowest level and the tantric act of love at the highest....
Such agitated games are, however, just one side of the tantric philosophy, on the other is a concept of eternal standstill of being, linked to the image of the maha mudra. She appears as the “Highest Immobile”, who, like a clear, magical mirror, reflects a femininity turned to crystal. An obedient femininity with no will of her own, who complies with the looks, the orders, the desires and fantasies of her master. A female automaton, who wishes for nothing, and blesses the yogi with her divine knowledge and holy wisdom....
The fact that Tantrism focuses more upon sexuality than on the more sublime forms of erotic love, does not change anything about this principle of “erotic exploitation”. The manipulation of more subtle forms of love like the look (Carya Tantra), the smile (Kriya Tantra), and the touch (Yoga Tantra) are also known in Vajrayana. Likewise, in Tantric Buddhism as in every religious institution, the “spiritual love” of its believers is a life energy without which it could not exist. In the second part of our study we shall have to demonstrate how the Tibetan leader of the Buddhists, the Dalai Lama, succeeds in binding ever more Western believers to him with the “chains of love”....
An amusing anecdote, likewise from the world of film, brought the Tibetan doctrine of incarnation into discredit a little. Namely, the famous Aikido fighter and actor Steven Seagal announced he was the reincarnation of an important lama (Chung-rag Dorje), who had lived several centuries earlier and had made his name as a treasure hunter (terton).  It was not at all the case that Seagal had arbitrarily adopted his former identity, rather he was able to appeal to the confirmation of Penor Rinpoche, the head of the Nyingmapa school. This “revelation” raised many questions and some confusion among western Buddhists. There was speculation on the Internet as to whether Seagal had purchased the “incarnation title”, whether this was not an act of religious political propaganda designed to exploit the actor’s popularity, and much more. For others the incident was more embarrassing, since Seagal appeared in monastic robes shortly after his recognition. When he was in Bodh Gaya in India at the beginning of the year 1997, he sat down upon the place where the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment, “giving his blessings to hundreds of baffled Tibetan monks” (Time, September 8, 1997, p. 65).
The action films in which Seagal plays the lead are considered the most brutal of the genre. “Scenes in which he rams a knife through his opponent’s ear into his brain or tears out his larynx”, says the journalist H. Timmerberg, “captivate through their apparent authenticity. He fights dispassionately, one could say he fights coldly, and when he kills neither hate nor anger are to be read in his eyes, at best contempt and a trace of amusement. Precisely the eyes of a killer, or the look of a Samurai. It could be both” (Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin No. 28, July 16, 1999)....
The manipulator himself may not surrender to any emotional inclinations. Like a tantric yogi he must keep his own feelings completely under control from start to finish. For this reason well-developed egocentricity is a necessary characteristic for a good manipulator. He is permitted only one love: narcissism (philautia), and according to Bruno only a tiny elite possesses the ability needed, because the majority of people surrender to uncontrolled emotions. The manipulator has to completely bridle and control his fantasy: “Be careful,” Bruno warns him, “not to change yourself from manipulator into the tool of phantasms” (quoted by Couliano, 1987, p. 92). The real European magician must, like his oriental colleague (the Siddha), be able “to arrange, to correct and to provide phantasy, to create the different kinds at will” (Couliano, 1987, p. 92).
He must not develop any reciprocal feelings for the lover, but he has to pretend to have these, since, as Bruno says, “the chains of love, friendship, goodwill, favor, lust, charity, compassion, desire, passion, avarice, craving, and longing disappear easily if they are not based upon mutuality. From this stems the saying: love dies without love” (quoted by Samsonow, 1995, p. 181). This statement is of thoroughly cynical intent, then the manipulator is not interested in reciprocating the erotic love of the lover, but rather in simulating such a reciprocity.
But for the deception to succeed the manipulator may not remain completely cold. He has to know from his own experience the feelings that he evokes in the lover, but he may never surrender himself to these: “He is even supposed to kindle in his phantasmic mechanism [his imagination] formidable passions, provided these be sterile and that he be detached from them. For there is no way to bewitch others than by experimenting in himself with what he wishes to produce in his victim” (Couliano, 1987, p. 102). The evocation of passions without falling prey to them is, as we know, almost a tantric leitmotif.
In the spring, my friends in the Social Office encouraged me to start dating again. I didn't feel ready to date, but I was open to getting out and having a life. My girlfriend Ruthie was always trying to fix me up with somebody and Harolyn suggested that I meet her father. After prodding me for a few months, she invited me to spend Memorial Day weekend with her and her family at her father's place in Easton, Maryland. Harolyn set it up. Then I found out that Harolyn's father was Nathan Landow. Nate was a close friend of AI Gore's and big Gore supporter, a very influential Democrat and a powerful man. He was a huge fundraiser who had started his own political action committee and had been the national finance chair for Gore's 1988 presidential bid.
Ruthie was excited. "Wow, Nate Landow!" she gushed. "That would be perfect! He's really rich. Really rich! Let me find out for you." Ruthie found him listed in Washingtonian Magazine and called me. "Okay, are you sitting down?" She said, "One hundred million dollars!" I just sat there and didn't react.
Sheepishly, Ruthie asked, "Is that enough?"
Well, yes, a hundred million dollars is a lot of money. But it's not the most important thing.
I went with Harolyn to her father's home on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It was a big estate. In fact, everything Nate did was big. He had big cars -- a big Range Rover and the most expensive Mercedes. And his house looked like a place that would have been created for J.R. Ewing on the television show Dallas! Everywhere I looked, I saw his initials "N.L.," which reminded me of Laverne & Shirley. Nate's house had a Western flair, an oversized Wyoming style with big overstuffed leather chairs and bear heads shipped in to decorate the walls, so it didn't exactly fit the beautiful beach property overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Nonetheless, Nate was the perfect host and we had a great weekend.
A couple of weeks later, we had our first date. Nate invited me to go to New York with him and said I should take a cab and meet him at the executive airline terminal at National Airport in D.C. He was there waiting for me. The next thing I knew, we got into a limousine and drove out on the tarmac. We boarded his private jet and flew to New York, sipping champagne. I had never experienced anything like that.
His limo met us on the tarmac in New York and drove us to the Plaza Athenee, one of the nicest hotels in New York. Nate was obviously a regular there and we had adjoining suites. We had dinner at a beautiful restaurant. At some point, Nate showed me a diamond ring, the biggest I had ever laid eyes on. It was a huge diamond. "If you're a good girl," he said, "this might be yours." I knew what that meant.
I stayed in my own suite and Nate was a perfect gentleman.
The next morning, we left in his limo to make several stops. In his sixties, he had just had a facelift and needed to see his doctor for a follow-up visit. We dropped him off and Nate directed his driver to take me anywhere I wanted to go, then reached into his pocket, pulled out his American Express platinum card, and told me to "Go play." Instead, I went to Henri Bendel's with my Visa card and its $1,500 limit. When we picked up Nate, his next errand was to go to the Diamond District to see a jeweler friend. Everywhere we went people knew him, and he flashed the giant ring around. He was going to sell it. While we were driving, he opened the box and said, "That's what you could have had if you had behaved last night."
With that comment, I realized that there would never be anything between us.
So I never had an affair with him.
I saw him a few more times that summer. He flew me back and forth between Easton and Washington and I would see him at his estate. Sometimes he would charter a plane for me, not a jet, but a little a puddle jumper, or some of the time, I just enjoyed the drive up there.
Everything with Nate was cloak-and-dagger. When he took money out of his pocket, he hid it as if it were a poker hand. There were always little mysteries, things going on that I didn't understand. He had hushed conversations all the time. One day when I was with him in Easton, he had a hushed conversation with a woman on the board of supervisors about a zoning issue. It was always like that. Nate was new money. He got rich in real estate development and was always on the fringe.
Though my girlfriends in Washington thought he was a real catch, I was not willing to pretend I was attracted to him -- or any man -- no matter how much money he had. This was on the heels of the excesses of the '80s, when numerous New York trophy wives married old geezers who were rolling in money. But I looked at these young women with these older guys and I thought, I don't care how much money the guy has, you still have to wake up with him in the morning.
It would have been convenient if I had been physically attracted to him, but I wasn't. Not at all. With silver gray hair, he was a distinguished and nice-looking man and he always wore wonderful clothes. But his looks belied him. He was a bully -- very gruff, profane, and rude. He had atrocious table manners. Relaxing out in Easton, for example, he would sit and eat his ice cream with the bowl resting on his stomach. I just thought, I don't think so. He had no class, was not my idea of a Rhett Butler, just not a Southern gentleman. Since there wasn't anything there on my part, the relationship didn't last long. I didn't want to hurt Harolyn's feelings, so I gracefully faded out of the scene by summer's end.
The White House Counsel
I still volunteered in the Social Office when Linda Tripp helped me get a volunteer position in the Counsel's Office as well. That was in the West Wing and I saw Clinton a lot when I was there. He was casual and dropped into our office a couple of times. About once a month, I'd run into him in the hall or see him going from the Oval Office to the residence. My good friend, Social Office volunteer Ruthie Eisen, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and I arranged a surprise luncheon and visit with the president for her. Whenever I saw Clinton, I was friendly but cautious.
In March 1994, White House counsel Bernie Nussbaum was the first to resign under a black cloud. We had a little going away party for him at the office and Clinton came up and surprised Bernie. After he left, Linda started in on me. "Did you see the way he looked at you?" she asked me. "He looked at you with such lust in his eyes! Oh my ... " Then, the other women in the office and I went to Bernie's going-away party at his apartment in the Watergate. Janet Reno was there that evening, as well as Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Lloyd Cutler came in as the new counsel and I got my part-time paid position as "staff support" in the Counsel's Office. I worked three eight-hour days a week for twenty thousand a year, plus the best health-care package known to man -- which explains why our congressional representatives don't care about our health-care system. It is unbelievable!
A lot of people came through the Counsel's Office. One person whom I respected a lot was George Tenet. He was a gentleman. He was nice, pleasant, and always respectful. He was a professional. Louis Freeh was also nice, though he battled with Clinton and didn't like him at all.
One thing I learned when I went to work in the Counsel's Office was that there was no more discipline or sense of decorum in the West Wing than there had been in the East Wing. FBI background checks still hadn't been done for months, so people who hadn't been cleared continued to walk around the White House. At the same time, papers and confidential reports were left lying around. I walked into the office one day and Justice Stephen Breyer's confidential FBI background check had been tossed on my desk and was lying there, half open. That's mildly problematic, to put it nicely. That's just not right.
Despite the grandeur of the White House, it is not as spacious as people think. Work areas are small and everybody fights for real estate. Outside of the White House Counsel's Office, we had our office area with four desks crammed together. We were on top of each other, squeezed in behind our chairs and desks. My chair even touched Linda's. Working so closely, I was aware of her activities. One thing I knew about Linda was that she had a relationship -- of some sort -- with Wolf Blitzer at CNN. They seemed to have a close tie and she was often whispering on the telephone with him.
Right outside our door, the rickety elevator took people from the basement to the top floor. We saw everyone who got out of that old elevator -- and we'd hear them. Some people we heard more than others.
When Hillary got off the elevator on the way to her office, which was next to ours, we all knew what kind of day it was going to be on our floor. She would emerge with her entourage, cursing up a storm. And all day long, we heard her raised voice through the wall. Hillary always seemed to be miserable, unhappy, and angry. Christopher Andersen, who wrote American Evita, said in an interview, "The staff was not afraid of Bill Clinton, the staff was afraid of Hillary Clinton -- they were terrified of her. She had a tremendous temper."' 
She didn't reserve her tirades for staff. She made the president plenty miserable, too. David Gergen wrote, "A chipper president would arrive at the office in the morning, almost whistling as he whipped through papers. A phone would ring. It was a call from upstairs at the residence ... his mood would darken, his attention wander, and hot words would spew out..."  FBI agent Gary Aldrich wrote that he heard Hillary cuss at Bill about a newspaper article. "Come back here, you asshole!" she yelled at him. "Where the fuck do you think you're going?" 
That's the Hillary I saw. I've walked behind her when she was cursing an aide with a very foul mouth. Then she would see somebody who mattered and instantly pour it on, all sweetness and light. A doey-eyed expression on her face, she'd act so sincere. The minute they were gone, she'd turn around and explode again, cussing a blue streak. Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson wrote in Dereliction of Duty, "While I got used to Hillary's wrath, her ability to turn it off and on amazed me."  She was one of the phoniest people I have ever seen.
Hillary treated her Secret Service agents like dirt. These were really good people -- disciplined men and women with military backgrounds -- who had a solid sense of how things should be done. But the Clintons hate the military. Hillary especially made it clear. Many of those guys were former Marines and some had gone to Vietnam. She saw this as reason enough to be horrible to them.
She spoke to her Secret Service agents just as she had to the state trooper bodyguards in Arkansas. Once, when one of her bodyguards greeted her with, "Good morning," Hillary replied, "Fuck off! It's enough that I have to see you shit-kickers every day. I'm not going to talk to you, too. Just do your goddamn job and keep your mouth shut."  As first lady, she maintained this attitude. On another occasion, she reportedly ordered a Secret Service agent to carry her bags, though he was reluctant to do so because "he wanted to keep his hands free in case of an incident."  Hillary's response to the diligent agent was, "If you want to remain on this detail, get your fucking ass over here and grab those bags."  In yet another incident, the first lady said to the Secret Service detail in charge of protecting her life, "Stay the fuck back, stay the fuck away from me! Don't come within ten yards of me, or else! ... Just fucking do as I say, okay?"  That was our first lady! With obviously more class than she had, those men endured her with integrity. But I felt badly for them.
To curb the philandering as well as make the early public comeback more efficient and discreet, she now hedged about his time and schedule as much as possible. When a driver was caught indulging Clinton's "campaign stops" at bars and clubs for the inevitable female "constituents," Hillary promptly fired the young man, adamant that Clinton be escorted by "professionals." Later, back in the mansion, she would insist for similar reasons that he have Arkansas state troopers as bodyguards and drivers, men whom she first trusted, then soon came to despise for what she saw as their dutiful good ole boy collusion in the governor's extramarital indulgences. Later still, as the Clintons were finishing their first year in the White House, a few of the same troopers would reveal glimpses of the couple's tortured private life in Little Rock, an expose that indirectly led to the media and legal inquiries into Whitewater.
When the slow, old elevator was busy or not working, most people used the back stairs, a much faster way to get around. One day I was walking down those stairs and a girl, an intern, was walking up. I don't think she had on any underwear from top to bottom. I continued down, looked at her and thought, No! Obviously, her supervisor in the intern's office didn't look at her that day or couldn't be bothered to say, "No, I don't think so." So I turned around and went back upstairs and got in her face. "You know, I think you need to go home and change your clothes," I said. "I think you need to go home and put some clothes on." She looked at me like I had horns. "Do you understand where you are here? Do you understand what kind of people walked on these steps that you're walking on? Does that have any meaning to you? What you are wearing is really not appropriate. You need to go home and put on some more appropriate clothes."
Linda was fed up with all of it. The ridiculous style, the defiance of protocol, the degradation of the White House -- it all really outdid Linda. Plus, it seemed impossible to get work done at all, much less properly. Work was done only because the administration had regular employees, people like Linda, who had been there a while and who sat at their desks and actually accomplished something. They were the only ones who knew how to do anything, how to get any work done.
Linda knew who everyone was so she always filled me in. She was also very conniving, a master at playing one person up against another, and she often pitted us against each other. And she told the women in my office lies about me, claiming that I had been having an affair with the president. She told them our rendezvous point was the private study behind the Oval Office -- where Clinton would later have his secret meetings with Monica.
From day one, Linda hated one woman in our office. This woman went all the way back to Watergate with Hillary and Bernie Nussbaum and she was really tight with them. That was all the reason Linda needed. She was out to get her. Linda started in, trying to get rid of her. Linda secretly told me that the woman reeked of alcohol and came to work drunk every morning. I liked this woman a lot and I never ever saw any evidence of that, so I let Linda talk and reserved judgment. But Linda knew I wasn't going to confront my friend and say, "Hey, are you coming into work drunk?" She planted her ugly gossip and let it fester. In that way, she got away with it. She did that kind of thing to a lot of people, all the time.
Linda impressed me as an insider, and at some point she probably was. But there weren't many holdovers, and I don't know how Linda escaped the change in administrations. One problem was that she always compared the Clinton administration to that of the elder President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. She loved him, loved Barbara, and loved the way they ran the White House. And not only did she disagree with the Clintons ideologically, she despised the way they treated the "people's house."
Somebody finally labeled Linda the Forrest Gump of the White House: She was always where the action was. She was there with me, she was there the night that Vince died, and she was there with Monica. When the Clintons' biggest scandals happened, Linda was there every time. I don't think it was a coincidence. Linda had good antennae, a keen sense about what was going on with people, and a great knack for steering them in the direction she had in mind.
In time, Linda's whole agenda became hatred of the Clintons, and she always looked for trouble. Her animosity seemed to grow and she didn't hide it. I often thought how dangerous that was to the Clinton administration.
Finally, when Bernie had to resign and Lloyd Cutler came, they fired Linda. They said it was a cutback, but she was the only one. I think they could have kept her but got rid of her because of her attitude.
Linda thought I took her job, which was preposterous. She was making over fifty thousand dollars a year and I made a mere twenty grand as a part-timer. She wouldn't listen to reason and dismissed my argument about the salary discrepancy. All hell broke loose and threats flew. Linda later said that the real reason she was asked to leave was because Hillary had noticed that the president had been eyeing her.
Unfortunately, she didn't leave for two weeks, during which she spent a lot of time deleting files from her computer. She'd come and go, and we never knew when to expect her. A tall woman, Linda was actually rather thin at that time but, when she showed up, she looked like a battle-axe stomping in there. She was so irate that we would panic. "Oh, God, she's here!" we whispered to each other. "Oh, my God! What's she going to do? Is she going to hurt one of us?" We were afraid of her. Somebody in the office said Linda was so angry, she might bring a gun into the White House and do away with all of us and we'd have one of those shootouts in the West Wing. She scared us to death.
One afternoon, she told me that she knew "what's going on around here." She accused me of being the president's girlfriend and said that was why I replaced her. I think she really believed it. I think she had fostered this fantasy since Clinton assaulted me the day Ed died.
On her last day, as she walked out, she turned to me.
"I'm going to get you for this," she pronounced emphatically in front of everyone in the office, "before this is all over!"
In September of 1994, Clinton appointed another counsel, Judge Abe Mikva, who brought in his whole staff. There was no slot for me, so I lost my job. On my last day at the White House, I saw Clinton and thanked him for my previous employment, reiterating that I still had a pressing need for a full-time job. He told me to stay in close touch with Nancy and promised to help. Naively, I believed him. I continued writing him friendly and conversational letters, mentioning my need for a job, like the following one on October 18, 1994.
Dear Mr. President,
Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. Since I've seen you, I have had the opportunity to talk with Mel French, Harlan Lee, the assistant chief of protocol, and Craig Smith. I hope to meet with Leon Panetta next.
As I said to you, I have invested almost three years with your campaign and administration and am not very willing to depart yet. I would like to be considered for an ambassadorship or a position in an embassy overseas. I now find myself with no encumbrances, with Shannon away at medical school and Patrick in college in North Carolina.
I feel confident that I would represent you and our country well if given the opportunity and hope you will consider my request.
Please accept my best wishes for your historic trip to the Mideast next week -- I don't need to remind you of my willingness to help you in any way that I can.
In 1994, Colonel Oliver North was running for the governorship of Virginia against Chuck Robb. I've since changed my mind, but at the time I thought North would have been a terrible mistake for Virginia. Clinton had come to Virginia to help Chuck, who won, and I wanted to thank him because I thought he'd done a great service for Virginia and I had been his "number one fan." So in November 1994, I wrote to Clinton.
Dear Mr. President --
You have been on my mind so often this week --
There are so very many people who believe in you and what you are trying to do for our country --
Take heart in knowing that your number one fan thanks you every day for your help in saving her wonderful state.
With appreciation, Kathleen
I spent that Christmas in Stockholm with my friend from the Social Office, Debbie Siebert, and her husband, Tom. Tom had become ambassador to Sweden, so it was a memorable trip. I missed Shannon and Patrick, but it was a remarkable Christmas. While I was there, I made contacts at our embassy and even pursued employment in Europe.
Back in Virginia, I eagerly sought employment. Hoping for Clinton's support, I continued to write letters to him into 1995. One of them paid off and I had a series of meetings with Bob Nash, the head of Presidential Personnel. He told me that he had received a handwritten note from the president and was eager to help me. He soon called and asked me to attend "The World Summit for Social Development" in Copenhagen in March.
The five waiting men were clearly taken aback when Governor Bill Clinton stepped from the vehicle with his aide, Bob Nash, and led the entourage into the World War II ammunition storage bunker that would serve as the meeting place.
In a low tone, Cathey [Oliver North] turned to Terry and said: "Shit! I was afraid he'd show up. That'll certainly upset our agenda. I'm glad Johnson is here. He'll be able to handle him."
The waiting group of five had expected Nash, but not his boss, Arkansas' Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton. By his mere appearance, Clinton was risking exposure of his involvement in unauthorized covert operations. But he seemed desperate.
The meeting had been called at Camp Robinson, an Army facility outside Little Rock, to get some problems ironed out. In addition to the governor and his aide, the "guest list" included Max Gomez (Felix Rodriguez), John Cathey (Oliver North), resident CIA agent Akihide Sawahata, Agency subcontractor Terry Reed -- and the man in charge, the one who would call the shots. He called himself Robert Johnson.
Johnson had been sent from Washington to chair this very delicate operational briefing that would hopefully extricate the Agency from its entanglement in what was becoming a messy situation in Arkansas....
Cathey began the briefing.
"Governor Clinton," he said switching to his toastmaster tone, "I'm glad you could attend tonight's meeting with us. We're both surprised and honored. Bobby (Nash) didn't inform us you would be attending ... However, let's get down to it....
Terry viewed this meeting as his initiation into the inner circle. But this impromptu appearance by Governor Clinton, however, would expose Terry to yet more things that he had no "need to know." It would also confirm his suspicions that operations in Arkansas were being run with Clinton's full knowledge....
"Gentlemen," Cathey said, "this meeting is classified Top-Secret. The items discussed here should be relayed to no one who does not have an operational need to know. I repeat Top-Secret. There are to be no notes taken."...
Johnson, Cathey said, was the personal representative of CIA Director William Casey and had been sent to chair the meeting. Casey was too important to show his face, Terry assumed. But he felt honored, and yet surprised, to find he'd been dealing with someone so closely connected to the Director of Central Intelligence, the top of the intelligence pyramid.
"Thank you," Johnson said. "As Mr. Cathey mentioned, I am the emissary of Mr. Casey, who for obvious security reasons could not attend. We are at a major junction of our Central American support program. And I am here to tie up a few loose ends. As you are all aware, the severity of the charges that could be brought against us if this operation becomes public ... well, I don't need to remind you of what Benjamin Franklin said as he and our founding fathers framed the Declaration of Independence ..."
Cathey interrupted. "Yeah, but hanging is a much more humane way of doing things than what Congress will put us through if any of this leaks out." This marked the only time during the briefing that laughter was heard.
"This is true," Johnson replied. "And therefore, Governor Clinton, I'm going to find it necessary to divide this meeting into groups so that we don't unnecessarily expose classified data to those who don't have an absolute need to know. We can first discuss any old business that concerns either "Centaur Rose" or "Jade Bridge", and I think that you will agree that afterwards you and Mr. Nash will have to excuse yourselves ..."
Clinton was visibly indignant, giving the angry appearance of someone not accustomed to being treated in such a condescending manner.
"It seems someone in Washington has made decisions without much consulting with either myself or my aide here, Mr. Nash. And I'd like to express my concern about the possible exposure my state has as you guys skedaddle out of here to Mexico. I feel somewhat naked and compromised. You're right, there are definitely some loose ends!"...
Nash interjected: "Sir, Governor Clinton's concerns are that there may be some loose ends cropping up from the Mena operation in general. As you know, we have had our Arkansas State Police intelligence division riding herd on the project. And that has been no simple task. Even with some of our ASP officers undercover over there, we couldn't have gained any real inside knowledge had it not been for Mr. Reed's ability to report it directly to me. This thing about Barry Seal getting Governor Clinton's brother involved is what's got us all upset. I mean, as we speak, there's an investigation going on that could spill over onto some very influential people here in Arkansas, and people very close to the governor personally ..."
Johnson looked like he was getting irritated. Clinton had not been scheduled to be there and his original agenda now was being discarded.
"Hold on!" Johnson shot back. "Calm down! Mr. Casey is fully in charge here. Don't you old boys get it. Just tell me what has to be taken care of, or who needs to be taken care of, and I'll fix it for you!"
Johnson boasted to the group that Attorney General Edwin Meese, by arranging the appointment of J. Michael Fitzhugh as U.S. Attorney in Western Arkansas, had effectively stonewalled the ongoing money laundering investigations in Mena where the Contra training operations had been centered. It was his impression, Johnson said, that everything was now "kosher" and the "containment" was still in place. Operations "Rose" and "Bridge" had not been exposed because federal law-enforcement agencies had been effectively neutralized. But Johnson said he was now concerned that the "drug" investigation there might expand beyond his control and unmask the residue of black operations.
Now the meeting was starting to turn into a shouting match, Terry quietly observed that Clinton appeared on the verge of losing his well-rehearsed, statesman-like demeanor. Stopping investigations around Mena had helped the CIA and its bosses in Washington, but it had not solved any of the governor's local political problems. And these same problems were threatening to unveil the Mena operations.
It was the spring of 1986, just over a month after Barry Seal's assassination in Louisiana. Clinton was facing a very tough and dirty reelection campaign. His Republican opponent was certain to be ex-Governor Frank White, the only man who had ever defeated Clinton. The newspapers were filled with stories about Clinton's brother, who had been convicted and served time from federal drug trafficking charges, giving White the dirt he needed to launch a serious and damaging political attack.
Roger Clinton had "rolled over" and turned informant, enabling the Feds to begin an investigation of investment banker Dan Lasater, a close personal friend and campaign contributor of Clinton's. This investigation, it was clear, could spill over into Lasater's firm, possibly exposing CIA money-laundering and other possible illegal activities. 
The investigation of Clinton's brother had been carried out largely by disloyal state police officials who were backing White, and without Clinton's knowledge, when the inquiry was first initiated. Terry wondered whether a "coup" was building? Clinton was clearly in big political trouble, and his demeanor now was not the cool and composed man people saw on television. Perhaps the CIA and the Reagan administration wanted another "presidente," a Republican one, in its banana republic?
Rumors were also running wild that the bond underwriting business, in which Lasater was a major figure, had been used to launder drug money. In addition, candidate White had another big issue to run with. He would charge later that Clinton was directing choice state legal work as bond counsel to the prestigious Rose Law firm, where his wife, Hillary, was a senior partner. And Clinton had to be fearful that exposure of the Mena operations would be the death blow to his reelection hopes. And, if that weren't enough ammunition, the governor was also facing a possible state budgetary shortfall of more than $200 million.
By his comments, the governor's political problems and his potential exposure were clearly on his mind. Clinton showed his contempt for the young man from Washington as he lost his composure, jumped to his feet and shouted: "Getting my brother arrested and bringing down the Arkansas bond business in the process isn't my idea of kosher! You gents live a long way from here. Your meddling in our affairs here is gonna carry long-term exposure for me! I mean us. And what are we supposed to do, just pretend nothing happened?" He was angry.
"Exactly, pretend nothing's happened," Johnson snapped back. "It's just like the commercial, you're in good hands with Allstate. Only in this case, it's the CIA." Johnson paused, took a deep breath, and continued. "Mr. Clinton, Bill, if you will, some of those loose ends you refer to here were definitely brought on by your own people, don't you agree? I mean your brother didn't have to start shoving Mr. Seal's drugs up his nose and your friend, Lasater, has been flaunting his new wealth as if he's trying to bring you down. We're having to control the SEC and the IRS just to keep him afloat.
"Our deal with you was to help 'reconstruct the South,''' Johnson sniped, using a term Southerners hate, since it reminds them of the post-Civil War Yankee dominance of the South. "We didn't plan on Arkansas becoming more difficult to deal with than most banana republics. This has turned out to be almost comical."
"Bobby! Don't sit here on your black ass and take this Yankee shit!" Clinton yelled at Nash in an appeal for support. "Tell him about Seal bribing those federal agents!" It was getting to resemble a verbal tennis match as volleys were being lobbed, each one with more intensity. From the comment about Seal, Terry concluded that Clinton did in fact have his own intelligence network, too.
"Why, Mr. Clinton, with racial slurs like that, the federal government could terminate educational busing aid here," Johnson wryly shot back. "I thought Arkansas was an equal opportunity employer!"
Nash touched the governor's arm, coaxing him back into his chair.
Johnson continued, "The deal we made was to launder our money through your bond business. What we didn't plan on was you and your token nigger here to start taking yourselves seriously and purposely shrinking our laundry."
"What do you mean by shrinking the laundry?!" Clinton asked still shouting. By now, Clinton's face was flushed with anger.
To the CIA, Arkansas had to be a money-launderers' heaven. To understand why, one must realize that intelligence agencies have the same problem as drug traffickers. To launder cash, a trafficker must either find a bank willing to break the law by not filing the documentation required for cash deposits, or go offshore where reporting requirements are less strict. Like traffickers, once offshore, the CIA must use wire transfers to get their money into the U.S., but at great risk of detection.
The trafficker, having broken the law to make his money, has no legal recourse if his banker double-crossed him. In other words, it's an insecure investment, which pays low interest, if any.
Arkansas offered the CIA something money launderers are rarely able to achieve, a secure business environment containing a banking industry where vast amounts of money move around unnoticed as part of the normal course of business. Through its substantial bond underwriting activities, the state had a huge cash flow that could allow dirty and clean money to co-mingle without detection. All they were lacking was the "dirty banker" to cooperate with them by ignoring the federal banking laws.
And that they found within the Clinton administration. This "banker" was none other than the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority, or ADFA, which was a creation of, and directly under the control of, the governor's office. Its official mandate was to loan money to businesses either already in or coming to Arkansas in order to develop an industrial base for new jobs that Clinton had made the centerpiece of his administration. ADFA, was in effect, a bank making preferred loans.
But, from what Terry had learned from Seal and Sawahata, that was not all ADFA was doing. ADFA, in effect a state investment bank, was being "capitalized" by large cash transfusions that the Agency was taking great pains to hide.
"No paper, no trail," seemed to be the dominate doctrine of the Agency's activities since, by design, cash dropped from an airplane in a duffel bag is not the standard way of transferring money.
ADFA was designed to compete for the profits generated by the bond issues necessary to industrialize Arkansas. The old Arkansas Industrial Development Commission that Clinton had inherited had no money of its own, and was forced to send prospective clients seeking industrial development loans to the established, privately-run investment banking industry in Little Rock. The state could be very selective in its referral business, however, and those who received the state's business stood to profit handsomely.
This insider referral business was alive and well when Terry moved to Arkansas, and he saw Seth Ward's son-in-law, Finis Shellnut, jockey for a position to reap these profits by going to work for Lasater, who was getting the lion's share of the secret sweetheart deals.
Before ADFA's creation, the state sent preferred business directly to investment banking firms like Lasater's. All that was needed for money-laundering was the firm's silence and a source of cash, which, in this case, the CIA provided. The heads of these firms were a coterie of wealthy and well-connected people who got even richer by doing what comes natural in Arkansas, "The Natural State" as it's called ..... dealing incestuously under the table.
Arkansas desperately needed new businesses -- and so did the CIA. It had plenty of black money, but that alone was not enough. "You can't kill an enemy by lobbing dollars at him" was the phrase Cathey had used with Terry to explain the CIA's dilemma of having the monetary resources to fund the Contras, but no legal way to deliver it directly. The Agency was barred by Congress from converting the cash into weapons and training the Contras needed on the battlefield, at least not through traditional Department of Defense suppliers.
Under Director William Casey's plan, the CIA needed other companies that would be a source of secretly-produced weapons that would find their way into the hands of the Contras. These selected businesses needed payment to perform these services for the CIA, and that cash came to them conveniently in a legal and undetectable manner, through ADFA, in the form of industrial development loans backed by tax-free development bonds. The CIA should have been showing a profit through accrued interest on their secured investments. But a problem had arisen. As Johnson had said, the "laundry" was shrinking.
And Johnson was not happy about that as evidenced by the way he was firing back at Clinton. It was apparent that Johnson knew Clinton and his people had not abided by his agreement with the Agency.
"Our deal was for you to have 10 per cent of the profits, not 10 per cent of the gross," Johnson sternly admonished Clinton.
"This has turned into a feeding frenzy by your good ole boy sharks, and you've had a hand in it, too, Mr. Clinton. Just ask your Mr. Nash to produce a business card. I'll bet it reads Arkansas Development and Finance Authority. We know what's been going on. Our people are professionals; they're not stupid. They didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, as you guys say. This ADFA of yours is double-dipping. Our deal with you was to launder our money. You get 10 per cent after costs and after post-tax profits. No one agreed for you to start loaning our money out to your friends through your ADFA so that they could buy machinery to build our guns. That wasn't the deal. Mr. Sawahata tells me that one of ADFA's first customers was some parking meter company that got several million in ... how shall we say it ... in preferred loans.
"Dammit, we bought a whole gun company, lock, stock and barrel and shipped the whole thing down here for you. And Mr. Reed even helped set it up. You people go and screw us by setting up some subcontractors that weren't even authorized by us. Shit, people who didn't even have security clearances. That's why we're pulling the operation out of Arkansas. It's become a liability for us. We don't need live liabilities."....
Clinton had paused for a moment to ponder Johnson's words. "What do ya' mean, live liabilities?" he demanded.
"There's no such thing as a dead liability. It's an oxymoron, get it? Oh, or didn't you Rhodes Scholars study things like that?" Johnson snapped.
"What! Are you threatenin' us? Because if ya' are ..."
Johnson stared down at the table, again took a deep breath, and paused. It appeared he wanted to elevate the tone of the disintegrating exchange.
"I'm not here to threaten you. But there have been mistakes. The Mena operation survived undetected and unexposed only because Mr. Seal carried with him a falsely created, high-level profile of a drugrunner. All the cops in the country were trying to investigate a drug operation. That put the police in a position where we could control them. We fed them what we wanted to feed them, when we wanted to feed them; it was our restaurant and our menu. Seal was himself a diversion. It was perfect until your brother started free-enterprising and now we have to shut it down. It's as simple as that. Mr. Seal was a good agent and it's a shame he's dead. But, hopefully, our new operation will build on Seal's success in sustaining our Contra support effort while goddamn Congress dilly dallies around as the Russians take over Nicaragua."
Clinton just glared back. "That was a good sermon, but what can you specifically do to end this investigation concerning my brother and the bond business?"
"Your brother needed to go to jail," Johnson said staring at the governor. "As governor you should intervene and make things as painless as possible now. As far as the money investigation goes, Mr. Meese is intervening right now. There will be no money investigation. The U.S. attorney's office (in Little Rock) is 'getting religion' as we speak. *
"There may be nothing we can do about your friend Lasater's drug problem. I suggest that he and everyone else caught with their pants down take the bad along with the good and do a little time -- as your brother has. It's a shame. But bartenders shouldn't drink. If some of our people are going to be in the drug business as a cover, they should do as Mrs. Reagan says and 'just say no'."
Johnson had applied the balm and now the massage began. "Bill, you are Mr. Casey's fair-haired boy. But you do have competition for the job you seek. We would never put all our eggs in one basket. You and your state have been our greatest asset. The beauty of this, as you know, is that you're a Democrat, and with our ability to influence both parties, this country can get beyond partisan gridlock. Mr. Casey wanted me to pass on to you that unless you fuck up and do something stupid, you're No. 1 on the short list for a shot at the job you've always wanted.
"That's pretty heady stuff, Bill. So why don't you help us keep a lid on this and we'll all be promoted together. You and guys like us are the fathers of the new government. Hell, we're the new covenant."
Clinton, having been stroked, seemed satisfied that the cover-up was expanding to, at least, protect the bond business. Like Lyndon Johnson, Clinton had learned that politics is the "art of the possible." He had not gotten everything he wanted, but he was at least walking away whole.
It appeared to Terry that Johnson had won the debate. Clinton and his administration had no grounds to complain about the Agency terminating its operation. Too many errors had been made. The young governor seemed to recognize he had lost, for now, and didn't want to continue the argument in front of the others.
"Bobby, I guess you and I should excuse ourselves," Clinton said while turning to his aide. "These gentlemen have other pressing business and besides, we don't have a need to know ... nor do I think we want to know."
When Clinton exited the bunker, Terry took a moment to absorb what had happened. Clinton had been treated badly in front of the others. Terry had certainly underestimated Johnson, the man he had sized up initially as a mere errand boy for Casey. His youthful demeanor had been misleading. He was clearly a skilled hatchet man. But Terry felt somewhat embarrassed for the governor. Johnson had effectively neutralized the governor of Arkansas' argument by simply changing the subject, and what a subject it was!
Was he hearing that the presidency is offered to a few groomed men, men groomed by the CIA?
Who was this guy, "Johnson," who so easily manipulated Bill Clinton? He made Bill Clinton, on his own turf, appear to be under the control of an invisible force. Up until now, Terry had known Johnson only as the lawyer for Southern Air Transport. He was obviously a lot more than that. He was beginning to take on the mannerisms of a Viceroy and Clinton was certainly showing his obedience to authority and paying the price for fealty. Clinton was compromised....
When Clinton and Nash had gone, the mood changed dramatically. A mood of familiarity returned and only the brotherhood remained. Gomez was the first to speak. The man who was to be in charge of the new operation in Mexico was indignant.
"Presidente Clinton," he said with disgust in a thick Hispanic accent. "Why is it I have more respect for the enemy I've slain on the battlefield than I have for that yuppie kid governor. I've seen everything now. Republicans conspiring with Democrats. Isn't that similar to capitalists trusting Marxists?"
Johnson restrained himself as if wanting to chastise Gomez for not showing proper respect for Clinton in front of the others. "You need to realign your thinking about black and white, good and bad, us and them. Under our new plan we all get along for the advancement of the common goal."
Gomez spit contemptuously on the concrete floor. "Sounds like Mao Tsetung or Lenin philosophy to me!"
Cathey stepped in. "Let me apologize for Max and the rest of us cold warriors here. We're a product of our training, and old hatreds die slowly, if ever. But what we must all come to understand is that communism is our common enemy and not our dislike for one another. We are all hand-chosen by the highest office in the land to be entrusted with this mission. We should all feel honored to be here. Our objective is two-fold. One, to rid this earth of the evil communist element we've been trained to seek out and destroy. The other is to set in place a true self-sustaining and modern black operations division worldwide, as Mr. Casey has envisioned ..."
I didn't know what to think about it. I attended State Department briefings and met members of the delegation. My role was to be whatever I made of it and I was eager to pitch in, helping delegates, copying notes, going with them to meetings, and following-up. Early on, I was told that an invitation to join a world summit delegation was a real coup, that only very connected people who had worked hard to get Clinton elected or had given a lot of money were invited on such trips. Most of the time, these invitees did not participate with the delegates. As "working staff," they just observed, shopped, and dined on the government dollar. I did not want to be like them. I wanted to participate and work hard. I thought I was possibly being observed by State Department members as something of an audition, in which they would see that I really would do a good job if our government hired me. I wanted to show that I had the goods, so to speak, was worthy of a position in Clinton's administration, and that I could perform the duties for whatever opportunity might arise.
The summit was fascinating, and I saw how delegations work, particularly how minions -- people you will never see -- work into the night for weeks beforehand, hashing out language and fighting over words like "the" and "and" before the president shows up to sign papers and pose for the photo ops. As the public member, invited by the president, I was included in everything, even the bilateral meetings with the heads of the delegation and talks with third world nations. It was unbelievable, mind-blowing. The one thing that I realized early on was that everybody wanted our money. It was a real education for me.
Introduced as a friend of Clinton's, I met Fidel Castro during one of the meetings. In a television interview, when asked what she thought of Castro, Barbara Walters said he was charming, a real flirt, and one of the most intriguing people she'd ever met. When I met him, he was all of that and more. He was very cagey.
"You tell Clinton, we talk," Castro stammered, pretending to speak only broken English, though I knew he understood our language just fine.
Yeah, right. I'll just go tell President Clinton to meet with Castro...
"Please tell your president that we should meet," he said through an interpreter, "someday soon."
Fifteen minutes later, I met Nelson Mandela. He had recently been released from prison and I shook his hand, expecting it to be weathered after all he'd been through. I was amazed and distracted by his exceptionally soft hands. Very soft-spoken, he was a gentle human being and it was an honor to be in his presence.
Al Gore gave a speech at the summit. He was friendly to the whole delegation and made himself accessible to everyone. Hillary, however, was neither friendly nor accessible. Scheduled to speak in a massive auditorium in Copenhagen, she was the star of the summit. The conference center was the biggest place I've ever seen, something like three miles from one end to the other, and you could sense the anticipation throughout the facility: Hillary's coming! Hillary's coming!
The people in our delegation worked many evenings into the wee hours of the morning, day after day, and all they wanted was to meet Hillary. But they were essentially told, "She doesn't have time for you." It wasn't going to happen.
"Well, that's awful," I said, always the fixer. "I'm going to have to do something about that."
I found one of her people. "What's it going to take?" I asked. "Ten minutes? Fifteen minutes? It's the least she can do for them, you know. If she can stand up and make a speech for thirty minutes, she can meet these people."
So they arranged it. I stood at the door to this room and cleared everybody who went in. Hillary finally came in and shook a few hands. Then somebody said, "If you don't mind, we'd like to go around the room and introduce everybody." Everyone stood in a large circle around the room and the introductions went around. Standing near her, I was last. When it came around to me I said, "Kathleen Willey, formerly of your Social Office." I thought maybe she would recognize me. All I received was an icy cold glare. I looked at her and we made eye contact, and I shuddered. She knows, I thought to myself. Oh God, she knows! I felt chills. Goose bumps stood up on my arms. In that moment, I knew that she knew who I was. She didn't speak. She turned back to the roomful of people and poured on the graciousness. She thanked everyone and left.
Juanita Broaddrick told a similar story. A few weeks after Clinton raped Juanita, she and her husband attended a subsequent political gathering at which the Clintons made an appearance. En route, Hillary said she was anxious to meet a woman named Juanita Hickey (now Juanita Broaddrick), and told her limo driver, "Bill has talked so much about Juanita."  According to Christopher Andersen, author of Bill & Hillary, she even told her husband, "Bill, now be sure and point Juanita out."  Then, Juanita says, Hillary' caught me and took my hand and said, "I am so happy to meet you. I want to thank you so much for everything you do for Bill.''' Juanita started to turn away while Hillary held on to her hand. "Looking less friendly," Juanita says, Hillary reiterated the statement, "Everything you do for Bill." 
She knows, Juanita thought. Juanita later told me it scared the living hell out of her. Hillary's meaning was clear: Thank you for keeping quiet for Bill. "I understood perfectly what she was saying. I knew exactly what she meant -- that I was to keep my mouth shut," Juanita said. Hillary "was not going to let [the rape] get in the way," Juanita said. "At that moment, I knew what Hillary was capable of doing. And I could see in her eyes that she wasn't doing it for her husband. She wasn't even doing it for them. She was doing it for Hillary Rodham." 
After my trip to Copenhagen, I started working part time for a friend in Richmond while I continued to pursue work in the government. I touched base with Nancy Hernreich frequently. And I kept networking with contacts from the Copenhagen delegation, including Bob Nash and Sheila Lawrence, wife of Larry Lawrence, our ambassador to Switzerland. Nancy suggested I meet with Mel French, whom I'd helped with the 1993 inaugural festivities. She directed the Office of Protocol and it looked like I had found the perfect niche. Again, the job did not materialize.
In October, Bob Nash invited me to join another world summit delegation to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Jakarta the following month. Nash reiterated that this was at the request of the president. During that summit, Tim Wirth, head of the delegation, introduced me to everyone as a "very, very close friend of the president's." Given Clinton's reputation, I didn't exactly appreciate that.
While I was in Jakarta, Newt Gingrich's Republican Congress shut down the government over a budget impasse, and Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky.
In January 1996, Nancy called and suggested that I come to Washington and speak with two people working on the president's reelection campaign. I made an appointment with Brian Bailey, who was in the process of opening the new headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. He told me that he, too, had received a note from the president requesting that he interview me for a position. It began to look promising.
I also met with Congressman Barney Frank's sister, Ann Lewis. She encouraged me and said I could expect to be hired by the campaign. She sent me to Marvin Rosen, DNC finance chair, whom I met with in the spring. Rosen and Richard Sullivan hired me to do fund-raising for the campaign. He told me that I would be on the road for most of the summer and fall, traveling from event to event to coordinate fund raisers. We agreed on the position, salary, and a June start date. We agreed to finalize the details with a phone call later. But later never came.
After that meeting I got organized, agreed to sublet an apartment, and made arrangements for all my pets. I called Rosen about my start date. He did not call me back. I called again, called Sullivan, and called the campaign office. They never called me back. I never worked on the campaign and never got a job with the Clinton administration.
I finally realized that my career chances in Washington probably never existed. I admitted that they had likely been placating me all along. Why was I sent to two world summits? Had I mistaken those appointments as auditions for employment with the State Department? Why would I be hired for a job -- and never hear another word?
After all I had done for Clinton, after all I had endured, they jerked me around for two years. In July 1996, I wrote one last letter to Nancy Hernreich, expressing outrage at the way the White House had treated me. "I am appalled at the way in which I have been trifled with," I wrote. Curiously, this letter was not among more than a dozen letters I had written to Clinton that the White House later released.
November 5, 1996, was Election Day. America did not know what I knew about Bill and Hillary Clinton, about how they abused the office and degraded the presidency, nor about how they treated their friends, much less their enemies. I didn't vote for Clinton, but America did. He was elected to a second term.
I had managed, however, to bring back some semblance of normalcy to my world. I was, as it were, back on my feet, intent on paying down my financial debts. But the two years between the death of my husband and Bill Clinton's election to his second term proved only to be the calm before the storm. My history with Bill Clinton, including his assault on me, would soon land me in the middle of a firestorm that would burn through the entire country and once again throw my life into chaos.
CLINTON TOOK the oath of office on Monday, January 20, 1997. Not long after that, all hell broke loose -- for American politics, for Clinton's presidency, and for me.
In early February, I received a letter from Michael Isikoff of Newsweek magazine, requesting "a brief chat to discuss a matter of mutual interest." A few days later, he called me. Frequently. Famously tenacious, Isikoff would not take no for an answer. An article in The Nation later confirmed that Isikoff "pressed ... real hard."  I talked to Dan about it. "Let's see what he wants," Dan finally said.
I agreed to meet Isikoff at a restaurant in Fredericksburg, which is halfway between Washington and Richmond. It was a very cold, clear winter day. I arrived about twenty minutes late. I sat down across from him in a booth and he started to talk. He talked for two hours while I listened. He knew how Clinton had assaulted me in the galley kitchen hallway behind the Oval Office. He told me that he had gotten the information from the attorneys in Paula Jones's sexual harassment case against Clinton.
I did not confirm or deny any of what Isikoff said. I just listened and then drove back to Richmond and went directly to Dan's office. After that, Isikoff was like a pit bull. He called every week and asked me to tell him my story "on the record."
A few months later, Linda Tripp called me out of the blue. I had not spoken with her for more than three years, and I did not want to speak with her then. She was very vague, but told me that she had been talking with Isikoff "off the record." It crossed my mind that she might tape our conversation so I confronted her with some old issues from the Counsel's Office, to see if she would talk about them. Linda brought the subject back to the president, telling me that Clinton was involved with a young White House intern and that Linda had gotten herself in the middle of it. Her call waiting beeped and she excused herself to take the other call. In a minute, she returned to my line, but was confused. "Monica?" she asked. We didn't say much after that, and soon hung up.
I never really knew why she called and I was oblivious at the time that I had an inside tip on the biggest presidential scandal in recent memory. Almost a year later, of course, "Monica" became a household name synonymous with scandal, as the young woman was having a disastrous affair with Clinton. And Linda Tripp was indeed in the middle of it, taping the telephone conversations in which she "counseled" her young friend and coworker.
Michael Isikoff never let up. He called and called and wouldn't leave me alone. Finally, Dan and I thought we could control the story if I talked to Isikoff off the record -- neophytes that we were! We thought, This is how to get rid of him. If I talked to him off the record, he couldn't use it, but he would at least understand that my story wasn't much of a story and he would leave me alone. That'll be the end of him! In March, we met Isikoff at Dan's office. We sat in the conference room and I told Isikoff about the incident in the Oval Office off the record. I finally finished.
Dan looked at Isikoff and said, "Hardly an impeachable offense, hmmm?"
Wow, would those words come back to haunt us!
Since I had spoken off the record, I thought -- and hoped -- that it would go away. I was naive.
Isikoff wanted to corroborate my story, so I sent him to talk to Julie Steele. Julie told him the story and, according to Isikoff, Julie said the incident was appalling, that I had adored Clinton and that, now, he was a fallen hero. 
Originally, with the trauma of Ed's death I'd forgotten that I had seen Julie the night I was looking for Ed, after Clinton had assaulted me. But when I finally came up for air, she reminded me that I had stopped by when I was driving all over town searching for my husband. It started to come back to me. I had talked with her about Ed and briefly told her, "On top of all that, you're not going to believe what happened at the damned Oval Office this afternoon."
Sometime after Ed's death, Julie and I had lunch with another old friend of ours, Mary Earle Highsmith. We talked about Clinton and what was going on in the White House, and Julie made some reference to what he had done to me in the Oval Office. She ran her mouth for a minute but I didn't really want to talk about it so we changed the subject.
Julie knew what happened to me from day one, and she constantly pressured me to sell my story. She figured I could make a bundle by selling it to the tabloids. One day, she even threw a stack of tabloids down in front of me and said, "These will show you just how easy it's going to be." Over and over, I told her I would never voluntarily tell my story, but Julie kept trying. "This is how it's going to work -- quick and dirty," she said. "Take the money and run. Nobody will remember when it's all said and done. Let's get as much money as we can out of this thing. Just do it quick and dirty," she kept saying. "And as Adam's godmother, you could set up a tuition fund for Adam's college education."
I just looked at her. "What?" I insisted, "I am not going to sell this story to the tabloids." Besides, I am not Adam's godmother.
As the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against Clinton raged on in the news, stories flew about his infidelities. The media was dying to substantiate a claim against Clinton, but the Clintonistas quickly dispatched each accusation, saying Paula Jones was "white trash after cash" and making Gennifer Flowers out to be a promiscuous lounge singer. But now a rumor circulated that Clinton had accosted a woman in the Oval Office. If he denied it, he might commit perjury. And if he admitted it, the feminists would string him up.
Isikoff was sitting on dynamite, but he couldn't use it until I agreed to go on the record. He pursued me and wouldn't let up. He called all the time. "Talk to me," he pleaded. "Talk to me on the record!"
"How am I going to get rid of him?" I finally asked Dan. "What am I going to do here?"
As we talked about it, I realized what I could do. I decided to call Nancy Hernreich. She mothered Clinton and was one of those women who knew where all the bodies are buried. I figured I could get her to intervene. Somebody's got to do something, I thought. And she's the one to do it.
Dan agreed. "That sounds like a great idea."
So I called Nancy. "Look," I said. "Bottom line -- here's what's going on. Michael Isikoff is all over me and he won't leave me alone. Now do I have to say any more?"
She knew exactly what I was talking about.
"And Isikoff is also talking to Linda Tripp," I said. "You need to know this. The president needs to know this. And I just want Isikoff to leave me alone."
The epitome of a lady, Nancy was always gracious and discreet. She never said anything about anybody, just handled everything delicately. "Kathleen, I'm so sorry," she said. "I'm really sorry about that. Let me look into that."
The next day, Isikoff called me again. "So let me get this straight," he charged. "You called Nancy Hernreich to tell her to get me off of your butt? You told Nancy Hernreich that I just won't leave you alone? That I'm looking for a story?"
What? I was stunned. I was only trying to mind my own business, trying to get out of this thing. "How the hell do you know that?" I said. "Just how do you know that?"
"I know it," he snapped. "I know it!"
And he was mad. He figured I was warning the White House, reassuring them that I was still on Clinton's side.
Some months later, I found out how Isikoff knew I'd called the Oval Office.
Nancy told Clinton and Bob Bennett about my call. Unbeknownst to me, Monica was in the picture at that time, so Clinton panicked and called Monica. "Do you have a friend named Linda Tripp?" he interrogated her to find out if she had confided in anyone. "Are you talking to Linda Tripp about any of about this?"
Monica still wanted to get her relationship back on track with Clinton so she lied through her teeth and said something like, "Oh, God, no! I'd never tell Linda anything!"
When Monica hung up, she immediately went to Linda, accusing her of talking about the affair. "Are you talking to Isikoff?"
Linda denied everything. Everybody denied everything. And Linda told Isikoff.
When Isikoff found out that I had called Nancy to warn her and get her to help getting him off my back, he called my credibility into question. He figured that if I'd been "victimized" by Clinton, I wouldn't have called to warn him. Isikoff demanded to know why I would call the White House if I was angry at Clinton for harassing me. "Let me get this straight," he said. "You're calling Nancy Hernreich to warn them about me?"
Linda, of course, also corroborated my story. But she changed it. Linda never viewed the incident as an assault, but assumed it would lead to an affair. And, even though Ed died that day and I was a wreck for most of that year, Linda remained loyal to her fantasy that I had an affair with the president. And she still believed that was why I kept my little part-time job while she lost hers.
She told investigators that when I came to her that day, I seemed "happy" or "elated." I've pondered that a lot and there are two explanations. Either I was so full of stress that I fell back on my sense of humor to get me through, or my story of Clinton's behavior so perfectly fit her agenda that she assigned her own happiness to me.
However, there was a discrepancy in Linda's story. Well aware that I was looking for Ed that day, Linda asked me to call her when I got off the train in Richmond and to keep her posted. And yet her earliest iteration of the story was that I seemed happy or elated when I told her of my encounter with Clinton. In time, she embellished her version with my supposed intentions of seducing the president and starting a relationship with him.
Throughout her years at the White House, Linda obsessed about stories of Clinton's philandering, but she claimed that I had been trying to entice Clinton and that I pursued him. According to an article in The Nation, she said I arranged to cover evening functions, trying "to attract his attention with outfits such as a particular black dress which accentuated" my cleavage.  But as a 34B, I have no cleavage! Just ask former president Clinton, who assured Monica Lewinsky that he would never have been attracted to me because my breasts are too small!)
According to The Nation, Linda told the grand jury (though grand jury testimony has never been released) that I called her "many, many times" after Ed died, and that I was "in some sort of shock ... didn't cry ... didn't dwell or even speak much about Ed." According to this account, I talked about the president and suggested that Ed's death would spook Clinton and he wouldn't have anything to do with me "on a personal level after this because of the tragedy." 
To back up her notion that I was pursuing Clinton, Linda told investigators that I frequently called her on my days off to find out Clinton's schedule. I didn't have regular days, but worked two or three days a week, depending on what events were scheduled and where they needed me. Linda said that I would call her to get Clinton's schedule so I could plot and plan to accidentally run into him. Linda talked as though I could find out his schedule the night before. The FBI questioned me on this and I said, "Obviously, the president's schedule was never printed the day before or two days before." For security reasons, it was available only in the morning of the same day. Besides, he never stuck to his schedule! Whatever he had scheduled was, at best, a goal. It was the way his day was supposed to go, but that didn't mean it was necessarily going to happen.
While working in the White House, Tripp got to know volunteer Kathleen E. Willey, who told her in the spring of 1993 that she was flirting with the president. In fact, like Lewinsky would later, Willey began to call Tripp regularly, and show her drafts of notes to the president.
After the president allegedly kissed and fondled Willey in November 1993, she described the incident to Tripp, according the FBI interview notes. Willey described the president as "a great kisser." but said she had expected the kiss to be more romantic. When Willey expressed concern someone might see them, Clinton said, "deny, deny, deny," Tripp said.
When Lewinsky told Tripp some three years later about the oral and phone sex she had with the president, Tripp told the grand jury: "It was almost a sense of deja vu. It was Kathleen Willey worse, it was knowing of the others that had admitted this sort of thing while I was at the White House. It was a sense of 'why me?' What are the odds that two of them will tell me the same thing?" She said she knew of at least one other woman who had had "an affair" with the president and that there were rumors about others. Tripp said that "some of us" at the White House referred to former Clinton girlfriends as "the graduates." When asked about the Willey incident by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff in 1997, Tripp said it was not sexual harassment but "a matter between consenting adults who were both in bad marriages." She said she also discussed the matter with presidential adviser Bruce R. Lindsey, who asked if Tripp would agree that Willey was "an unstable person who was emotionally unbalanced."
Tripp said she told Lindsey that she had accused Willey of making the story up, but that Willey stood by it. Tripp said she also told Lindsey that she regarded Willey as "a damsel in distress . . . used, abused and penniless."
-- Tapes Make Tripp's Role Clearer, by George Lardner Jr. and Jeff Leen
I had helped Patrick get an internship at the White House while I was volunteering and when he was there I sometimes got him situated to watch a helicopter take off or similar events. If Patrick had a friend visiting and I knew that Clinton was in the Old Executive Office Building, I'd tell Patrick, "Come with me and maybe you'll get a chance to see the president." I was glad to do things like that for my son, but Linda made me sound like a stalker.
Though she contradicted my story, reports claimed that before 1997, Linda had written a proposal to sell a book that included a married woman who came out of the Oval Office and said the president groped her. Though her book was never published, the report validated my story.
It has since been proven that Linda was very involved with Paula Jones's attorneys and gave them a lot of information, so I suspect that she was the one who told the Jones lawyers about me. If not Linda, it was Julie.
Lanasa, one of the two men to whom my husband owed money, would have been happy if I'd ended up in the street pushing a grocery cart. I tried to reason with him. Since I had signed that note for Ed, I offered to settle with Lanasa for half of the amount Ed had stolen. I felt it was the right thing to do. But that wasn't good enough. He wanted all of it and then some. So we couldn't settle. Luckily for me, I had a really smart, bright lawyer, Dan Gecker.
Ed's life insurance went to my children. I lived frugally, and Dan let me pay him over time. He managed to keep me in the house in Midlothian for a while, but I eventually had to sell it. It was okay. It was a big, traditional, New England-style house and I was alone. Even though it was the house where we had made all our family memories, I needed to downsize. I started thinking that I wanted a little house out in the country. I decided to move to Powhatan, the next county over, where it was peaceful. I set my mind to it. I didn't know much about the county but that was where I was going.
I knew a young man who washed my windows when he was a teenager. When he got married, he moved out to Powhatan and he and a man who owns a timber-frame business built a cottage with some friends. I had heard about the house for years. Eventually, he and his wife had to move, and they had just put the house on the market when my brother went to wash the decks and help get the cottage ready to sell.
"Are you going to go in?" I asked my brother.
"Well, they're not there," he said. He was just going to work outside, on the decks.
"Well, look into the windows and tell me," I said. "All I want is a house that's at the end of a mile-long dirt road, sitting in the middle of the woods. That's all I want."
A while later, he called back. "What are you, psychic or something? I think I found your house! It's pretty great."
When I walked in the kitchen door and got about ten feet into the house, I knew it was perfect.
All my friends said I was nuts when I left my suburban neighborhood in Midlothian and moved to the country in March 1997. But it was a good move.
I had ten acres of forest, which gave the dogs Meg and Shawn room to run. They'd encounter squirrels and raccoons, skunks and deer. My cat, Buttons, liked to get outside and explore the woods, but Bullseye preferred lounging in front of the fire with me. He was such a good guy, a real cuddler. There were many lonely nights when he snuggled up with me. He seemed to know that all was not well in the sad years after Ed died. I used the fireplace in the cottage a lot, curling up in front of the fire during cold weather, which I love. I love the beauty of snow and the dramatic ice storms, and the peaceful forest with the owls calling out to me in my perfect little house.
In early July, renegade Internet reporter Matt Drudge was "hot on the trail" of Isikoff's story about me. Drudge's sources at Newsweek told him that Isikoff was sitting on the story. Drudge didn't have any of the restrictions that Isikoff had, and it didn't matter that I'd told Isikoff off the record. So while Isikoff couldn't report his own story, Drudge could report it as a rumor, and it was a juicy one: The president had groped a White House volunteer in the Oval Office.
And Drudge had substantiation. Hours before he broke the story, he had an AOL chat session with a senior White House staffer. Drudge asked the contact about me, but the White House staffer didn't know who I was, so he asked around. On that Saturday afternoon, the White House learned that I had talked to Isikoff. And they reacted.
Drudge's contact said the information was interesting and wrote, "Are you sure the last name is Willey?"
"Yes," Drudge replied, adding, "I'm holding off my story on it, because of an urgent request ... but will move very soon."
The contact continued to dismiss Drudge's information. "Willey just doesn't seem right to me. I've been here for five years and I've never heard the name."
When he returned, "the senior staffer turned wordy, and panicky," Drudge wrote. "Okay, I'll give you this bit of information," the staffer wrote to Drudge. "I just asked [Deputy Chief of Staff John] Podesta about it and he knows what it is and asked me to check to see if Isikoff was writing for it in tomorrow's magazine. He's not, but you knew that. You and I did not have this conversation. I just got a lot of people very riled up around here about this Willey thing. We'll talk later. Do not mention this conversation. Do not mention this conversation. If asked, I'll tell people that you had on your web page: 'Possible Isikoff story on Willey' but that it's gone from your page now."
Drudge did not reveal this online conversation until nearly a year later, in March 1998. On the Drudge Report, he noted that while the aide replied that the mention of my name got people "riled up" around the White House, "Several hang-up phone calls were received at the Drudge Report office in Los Angeles." According to Drudge, subsequent records also show that "White House staffers were so fixated on the story that they logged onto the Drudge site more than 2,600 times during the first twenty-four-hour period" after Drudge named me on July 28. 
Just days after Drudge exposed me, Isikoff called Julie Steele to review the story and, he later wrote, she "balked." He also asked her for a picture of me with the president and, according to Isikoff, Julie "started to sound nervous." When they talked later that day, Julie recanted the story, said it wasn't true. She said that I had made it up and asked her to lie about it and that, in fact, I hadn't come to her house that night at all.  Eventually, Julie even signed an affidavit saying that I had asked her to lie about Clinton's assault.
Isikoff, to his credit, reported both versions -- that Julie initially corroborated my story and then that she denied it. Isikoff also later wrote that Julie "voiced no objections to her name appearing in the magazine at the time" and stayed in touch with him, calling to chat and apologizing for not giving him the picture of me with the president. In fact, she couldn't have given the picture to Isikoff because she had already sold it. 
When Drudge broke my story, all hell broke loose. But for a few days there was one little silver lining: I had just moved.
I was listed in the phone book at my old house with my old phone number, so everybody in the world descended on my house in Midlothian. That was fine with me, because we had a really contentious closing. The buyer and I had fought over some of my furniture, especially a sideboard that Ed had given me. So when the house finally closed and I turned over the keys, neither she nor I were happy.
When I heard that television trucks and radio station vans and newspaper reporters descended upon my old house, I thought, Well, isn't that just too damned bad.
Then a friend called me at the cottage and said, "You gotta call your old phone number!" So I did. The phone company had already reassigned my telephone number and the people who had my old number were being overwhelmed with phone calls, so they changed the outgoing message on their answering machine. When I called my old number, I heard the voice of an irate man who said, "Kathleen Willey does not live here! This is her old telephone number. If you're calling to talk to her, this is not her phone number. Leave us alone!" Poor guy.
When I moved out to the country by myself, I didn't list my address in the phone book, just "K. Willey, Powhatan." It was funny because most people assumed that I had an unlisted number, so they went through all these gyrations to get my number from other people, when all they had to do was look in the phone book. But my house was hard to find, so at the time I was sitting pretty out in the beautiful forest of Powhatan County thinking, They can't find me!
Soon enough, of course, they did. And it made me nervous, because I knew they had to work hard to get there. Powhatan is farm country, even if there aren't many actual farms left. It's a community of horse pastures and livestock, with a lot of land between houses and more land between roads. There are no suburbs and no sidewalks. It's not like visitors could stop at the gas station and pick up a street map. Reporters and photographers visited the little country post office in Powhatan Village and asked for information and directions to my house. "We know why you're here, and we're not going to tell you how to get there!" The mailman told them, "She doesn't want to talk to you, so get out!"
It took a while but the news crews eventually abandoned the house in Midlothian and swarmed my cottage at the end of the mile-long dirt road. Most of the reporters stayed up on the road and never passed the "No Trespassing" signs on to my gravel driveway.
But one afternoon, in the high heat of a humid August, I had all my windows open when the dogs heard a noise outside and started barking. I was upstairs in the guest bedroom and I got down on the floor below the window and peeked outside. My beautiful German shepherd, Tess, was lying next to me. We saw a man standing on the gravel driveway across from my yard, smoking a cigarette. He came down to my front door and knocked. I didn't answer. He banged on the door and walked around to the kitchen and banged on that door as well. "Hello? Hello!" He smoked one cigarette after another. He must have thought someone was home since my car was parked in the driveway, so he persisted. But I didn't want to talk, so Tess and I just watched him. Finally, he left the side of my house, walked along my walkway and up the steps to where my car was parked and lingered there. Tess and I walked out onto my front porch. I held her collar. He was twenty-five or thirty feet from us. I asked him what he wanted and he said he wanted to talk to me.
"Who are you?"
He said he had been sent to get my story and asked if I would talk to him.
"I have nothing to say to you," I said. "Did you see the 'No Trespassing' sign at the top of my driveway?"
"I really need a story," he said.
"Well, I really need you to leave."
"My editor is going to be real mad if I don't come back with a story," he pleaded.
"Really," I said with more urgency in my voice, "you need to leave. This dog is trained to attack on command and if I were you I would just turn around very, very quietly and go away."
He finally turned and started to tiptoe on up my driveway. "And take your cigarette butts with you," I added. "She doesn't like them, either!"
So, before long, they all knew where I was and they knew my phone number too. My phone started to ring and it didn't stop. Everybody wanted me to talk. The tabloids called and told Dan me I could name my price. They were talking about obscene amounts of money. A product of Catholic guilt, I thought only one thing: I cannot do that!
Of course, I could have used the money. Here I was, still in the middle of the lawsuits with judgments against me, still afraid I was going to lose my house. And with everything I went through, I racked up legal bills. What's more, with my notoriety, it was harder than ever to find a job. Though I eventually gave a few interviews to try to clear my name, I never made a dime doing them because reputable reporters do not pay for stories.
When the story first broke, the White House denied that I had ever worked there. How could they think they could just say things like that and get away with it? These things are all documented. Of course in the Clinton White House such documents often disappeared, but I was a White House volunteer for years and I had a pass. Hounded by the press, Clinton finally had to acknowledge that he knew me. "Yeah, I kind of remember her," he said. "She was always real nice." It went from that to, "Oh, yeah, I guess she was in the Oval Office."
A reporter asked a question about me and it was the most bizarre experience to be sitting on my sofa and watching her ask whether "Kathleen Willey" was a potential witness in the Jones case. I thought, This is weird. This is really weird! And then I watched as Clinton froze and glared at her while answering her question. "There was a request to be left alone and not harassed" -- by me, incidentally! -- "and we're just trying to honor it." 
My mailbox was up at the top of my little hill, where my driveway met the road, and I walked up there every day to get my mail. Invariably, somebody was waiting to pounce on me, so I didn't even pick up my mail, but turned around and came home. Sometimes I even sneaked up there in the middle of the night to get my mail, which made me nervous. One Friday, at five in the afternoon, there was a knock on the door. I opened it to see my mail carrier standing there with a post-hole digger.
"How about I move your mailbox down here, closer to the house?" he offered.
I couldn't believe it. "But then you'll have to drive down here to bring my mail and turn around," I said. "It'll be a pain in the neck."
"I don't mind," he said. "I really don't care."
That Friday night, he moved my mailbox for me. That's how nice some people are.
The day after Drudge ran the story, Dan called. "Well, you're going to be in the Enquirer," he said. "You got sold out."
"Julie Steele?" I said.
And he said, "Julie Steele."
I knew. I just knew it.
Julie was my best friend of twenty years. That's how desperate she was for money. She had mortgaged her house, had a baby, couldn't get a job, and was in a real financial bind. And David Kendall, a fop who represented Clinton, also just happened to represent the National Enquirer at that time. With a streak of luck -- and no doubt a little help from her friends -- Julie sold my story to the Enquirer. The article, published on August 19, 1997, called me a conniving woman who was obsessed with Clinton. Without naming Julie Steele, it said I launched my scheme when Isikoff asked me about the incident and I called Julie, asking her to lie to him. Supposedly, I had come up with the story in order to sell a novel with the same plot, and I allegedly felt that "snaring Clinton in a real-life romantic disgrace would generate huge public interest in the book."  This is the only time Julie expressed this book concept. But it did come up again in 1998, when Uncle Bob accused me of seeking publicity to promote another book -- this time a nonfiction account. (For the record, this is the first book I have ever written and I am doing so only to tell what I know about Hillary Clinton because I believe it is relevant to her presidential bid.)
Julie had wanted to sell this story to Isikoff but Newsweek doesn't pay for stories. Julie, of course, found out that the Enquirer does. Only days after my story broke, they arranged an all-expenses-paid trip to Palm Beach, Florida, for Julie with her grown daughter and her son, Adam, who was seven. The tabloid put them up at a posh resort, The Breakers, and bought the photo and her story. Julie sold me out for ten thousand dollars. Later, Time magazine also bought Julie's story for another $5,500. That's what our friendship was worth to Julie -- fifteen grand.
The sad thing is that Julie had asked for the picture of me with the president so that she could put it in Adam's room when he was just a baby. After I gave her the photo, she hung it in her kitchen and it stayed there for years. It was never for her son. And it was that picture that I had given to Julie as a gift for her child that she sold to the Enquirer.
I avoided the press as best I could but was under constant assault by the media. Worse, as a result of the Drudge story, Paula Jones's attorneys subpoenaed me, wanting to depose me for her sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton. They felt my incident with Clinton corroborated her story and helped her case. I did not want to get involved. That was the last thing I needed.
Dan spoke for me, saying I had no relevant information for the Jones case. He expressed my outrage at being drawn in and made it clear that I continued to have a very good relationship with Clinton. "We made every effort to avoid Kathleen's deposition," Dan said. He called Clinton's lawyer Bob Bennett to get the White House take on the fact that I was being drawn in, and we immediately began proceedings to quash the subpoena. Dan said he spoke with Bennett almost daily and recalls that, "Bob was a good lawyer representing his client well and he wanted to control all aspects of the case."
Bennett was extremely anxious to keep me out of the Jones case, so in a case of strange bedfellows, "Uncle Bob" became my new best friend. While he came across as gruff and a little clumsy, he seemed like a nice guy, the type who has a spot of food on his two-hundred-dollar tie. But Uncle Bob was very good. He offered substantial legal help, whatever he could do, and even faxed legal cases to Dan to help him substantiate the argument that I should not be drawn into the case. I did not want to be deposed. I did not want to tell the story that Clinton has assaulted me. Bennett was more than happy to help me to that end, and the implication was that I didn't need to worry about paying him any legal fees.
We asked for a hearing before Judge Robert Merhige in his federal court in Richmond, Virginia. The hearing was in November, and Uncle Bob attended with Dan and me.
Joseph Cammerata and his law partner, Gil Davis, had recently resigned from the Jones case and Cammerata had been called to testify, so we met him at the hearing. But the scene turned into a screaming match between Bennett and Jones's Dallas attorneys. Dan looked at me and whispered, "Why are we here?"
In the end, we lost. Judge Merhige ruled that I must be deposed in the Jones case on December 5, 1997.
I started to feel some pressure from Uncle Bob. He casually mentioned that the president thought the world of me and then he said, "Now, this ... was not sexual harassment, was it?" When I didn't answer, Uncle Bob pressed, "Well, it wasn't unwelcome, was it?"
I said it was.
Nate had always kind of stayed in the picture and we called each other now and then. When the story broke, we talked again. It was a pretty day in the fall and he invited me to come up and see him. I liked the idea of getting out of town for a while and Nate's estate was a good place to escape. Besides, he was always busy and didn't hover, so I could relax. I told him I'd drive up and stay for a couple days. "I'll send a plane," he offered. To me, that was like something you'd see on television, I'll send a plane. But that was Nate. He liked making all these arrangements. He set it up, called back and told me where to meet the plane.
When I got there, he asked me a lot of questions about what I was going to say about Clinton. "What happened?" he pressed me. I intimated that something did happen, but I did not give him any specifics.
Nate advised me to try to dodge the subpoena. And he pressured me to lie in the deposition, to just say that nothing happened. He had no problem suggesting that I lie.
"You do not have to tell anybody anything," he said to me. "Only two people in this world really know what happened in there -- you and him. You do not need to talk about this. You don't have to say anything happened."
It wasn't out of the ordinary for Nate to fish for information because he's an obtrusive man, the kind who tends to push and give advice. But I felt as though he was strong-arming me. It was overbearing. At that time, I actually felt like it was coming from somewhere else, like he wasn't the only one who was interested. I started to think there was something else going on, somebody he was involved with. I wondered whether Al Gore might have pressed him because he and Nate were close. They had the kind of relationship where Nate could call Gore on his cell phone. Nate had been Al Gore's national finance chair in '88 and was chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party. He was also very influential in the national Democratic Party. Whether it was Gore or someone else, I am positive that Nate was getting phone calls from someone at the White House who told him to talk to me.
Nate's explicit pressure on me to lie was merely the beginning of a campaign to ensure that I did not tell the truth in my deposition. Whoever was working hard to protect Bill Clinton waged war against my sense of safety and well-being. The message was very clear: I was not supposed to talk about what happened in the Oval Office. The media feeding frenzy was hard enough to manage, but what happened in the next months would test my resolve more than anything in my long and wearisome saga.