Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate, by Bob Woodward: on Principles & Values


Bill Clinton: 1995: Budget impasse caused federal shutdown & MonicaGate

In Nov. 1995, the federal government literally shut down because of a budget impasse between Clinton and the Republican Congress. It was the biggest gamble of Clinton's presidency. On Nov. 15, amid the chaos of having no regular employees on duty, Clinton wound up alone in the chief of staff's office with a young intern who caught his eye. They began flirting.

She told Clinton she had a crush on him. He laughed. Would you like to see my private office? Clinton asked? She nodded. Clinton took her through his private dining room toward his study. They kissed passionately. Before leaving, she wrote on a piece of paper her phone number & her name: "Monica Lewinsky."

He told Lewinsky he liked her smile and her energy. "I'm usually around on weekends, no one else is around, and you can come and see me," he told her. Lewinsky was on cloud nine, but she was worried that perhaps Clinton's regular girlfriend was furloughed and would be back as soon as the government shutdown ended.

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p292-293 Jun 15, 1999

Bill Clinton: OpEd: Clinton's love goes hand-in-hand with abuse

Dick Morris helped orchestrate Clinton's rise in Arkansas politics going back to 1977. Morris had come to realize that the dynamic on the relationship included periods in which Clinton showered love, punctuated by periods of intense abuse.

A defining moment in Morris's understanding of Clinton's personality dated back to the 1990 governor's race. Clinton felt Morris was neglecting him and his campaign. "You're screwing me!" Clinton shouted at Morris. Morris stormed out.

Hillary then walked Morris around the grounds and apologized on her husband's behalf. She made three points--forgive him, he didn't mean it and he needs you. She offered Morris a telling explanation for Clinton's behavior. "He only does that to people he loves," she said. In other words, the love went hand in hand with the abuse. You buy in for one, you get the other. Morris was not sure whether abuse was a form of love or how they fit together, but taking the abuse was certainly the price of admission to Clinton's inner circle.

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p331-332 Jun 15, 1999

Bill Clinton: Arkansas trooper declined to cover up for Governor Clinton

Clinton's lawyer Bennett [for MonicaGate did] final preparation. Every case, every witness, every client had a point of greatest vulnerability--an Achilles heel. Locating it was a lawyer's, and ultimately the client's, insurance policy. Of the nine women on the list he had located the real problem. It was not Monica Lewinsky.

No, Bennett believed, he had smoked out the real liability on the list--Marilyn Jo Jenkins, a beautiful marketing executive whom Clinton had known for more than a decade.

Danny Ferguson, the Arkansas trooper who was Clinton's codefendant in the Jones case, had sworn under oath that he had brought Jenkins four times for private basement office visits with Clinton at the Governor's Mansion. Ferguson had brought gifts to Jenkins from Clinton.

Bennett had learned from another lawyer that Clinton had asked Ferguson to cover for him; the trooper had declined. "It's tough to be in love with two different women," Ferguson quoted Clinton as saying.

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p373 Jun 15, 1999

Bill Clinton: There IS no relationship with Monica, and WAS none

PBS NewsHour asked about Starr's investigation of the Lewinsky allegations. Clinton's eyes were baggy, and he was tightly wound. "There is not a sexual relationship," the president said, "an improper sexual relationship, or any other kind of improper relationship."

It seemed that Clinton was leaning heavily, even exclusively, on the present tense "is." Reporters accustomed to parsing Clinton's language would seize on it. "Look," an aide said, "you used the present tense, were you meaning to communicate anything?"

"Oh, no, no, no, no," the president said.

"WAS it in any way sexual?" another aide asked, leaning hard on the 'was.'

"The relationship WAS not sexual," the president replied.

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p389-394 Jun 15, 1999

Gerald Ford: Pardoning Nixon carries an imputation of guilt & confession

Ford called in [attorneys] to determine exactly what a president's pardon powers were. In a 1915 Supreme Court case, "Burdick v. United States," the Court's ruling stated that a pardon "carries an imputation of guilt, acceptance, a confession of it." If they could get Nixon to accept the pardon, they would have a confession, an acknowledgment that Nixon was guilty of criminal conduct.

"You make sure that Richard Nixon understand that case too," Ford told his attorney. "That he understands that our position, the White House position, will be his acceptance is an acknowledgment of guilt. Make sure there's an acceptance," Ford said. "I don't want to be embarrassed."

Ford said he was no longer merely considering a pardon. He had decided to do it if he could. [After negotiations], Nixon accepted the pardon and said, "I was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate."

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p 17-19 Jun 15, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Felt she should have known Foster suicide was coming

In early July the White House report on the travel office was released, criticizing staff management. Although Foster was not formally reprimanded and Hillary barely mentioned, Foster took it badly. He stopped functioning.

On July 20, Foster was found shot to death in Fort Marcy Park in suburban Virginia. From all indications it was a suicide. Clinton called his mother, Virginia Kelley, in Arkansas to tell her. He was crying. She wept also. What a waste. How did it make sense? What a price to pay.

Hillary was also depressed and angry--a common reaction for someone close to a suicide victim.

"How could he have done this?" Hillary asked. "Why didn't he tell us? We could have helped him." In retrospect, the signs of withdrawal and overreaction had been there. "We could have known," she added. "We should have known."

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p232 Jun 15, 1999

Jimmy Carter: 1975 campaign promise: I'll never lie to you

In early 1975, Jimmy Carter began campaigning in Iowa. "I'll never lie to you," Carter said one day. [Carter's advisor] noticed that Carter's pledge of honesty resonated with the small audience. They stirred, they perked up. People were fed up with the lies that Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon had told about Vietnam and Watergate.

In the days and weeks that followed, Carter kept saying it, and he went further. "I'll never mislead you," he promised. He told audiences if he did lie or mislead, they should not support him. They should vote for someone else.

Carter's mother, Miss Lillian, told him it was a mistake to make such a bold promise. Small, white lies were a part of life.

But Carter saw the no-lie pledge was recruiting fervent supporters. It was the backbone of the rationale for his candidacy. He was not Nixon. He was not a lawyer. He had never held office in Washington--the seat of a government few any longer trusted. He as an outsider, and he would tell the truth--always.

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p 41-42 Jun 15, 1999

Richard Nixon: Accepting pardon carries an imputation of guilt & confession

In a 1915 Supreme Court case, "Burdick v. United States," the Court's ruling stated that a pardon "carries an imputation of guilt, acceptance, a confession of it." If they could get Nixon to accept the pardon, they would have a confession, an acknowledgment that Nixon was guilty of criminal conduct.

"You make sure that Richard Nixon understand that case too," Ford told his attorney. "That he understands that our position, the White House position, will be his acceptance is an acknowledgment of guilt."

Ford decided to send his attorney to meet with Nixon to see what could be worked out on a possible statement from Nixon if Ford granted a pardon. "I can tell you right now," [Nixon's advisor responded], "that Nixon will make NO statement of admission or complicity in return for a pardon from Jerry Ford."

Nixon accepted the pardon and said, "I was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate."

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p 17-19 Jun 15, 1999

  • The above quotations are from Shadow:
    Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,
    by Bob Woodward.
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  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
  • Click here for more quotes by Gerald Ford on Principles & Values.
  • Click here for more quotes by Jimmy Carter on Principles & Values.
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