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Hillary Clinton Tells Her Story

Aired June 4, 2003 - 20:09   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So is Hillary Rodham Clinton really baring her soul in this book or is it just a political ploy?
Love her or hate her, almost every one seems to have an opinion about the former first lady.

Martha Zoller and Victoria Jones are both radio talk show hosts.

Zoller is a Clinton critic and she joins us from CNN Center in Atlanta.

Jones, a Clinton supporter -- she joins us from the nation's capital.

Both of you, appreciate you joining us.

Martha, let me start off with you.


COOPER: What do you think? Is Senator Clinton needing to bare her soul here, needing to purge herself? Or is she needing the money or us she looking to the presidency?

ZOLLER: Well, I think it's a little of all of those things. They certainly needed the money because they never really made money in their lifetime except for her cattle futures deal.

But it's about politics. It's about sucking the air out of a room. Her book comes out now. His comes out next year. It doesn't give the ability for the Democratic candidates to really get heard. They'll be talking about Clinton books for the next year and they'll be getting ready for 2008.

COOPER: Victoria, what about you? Is this written with an eye on possibly running?

VICTORIA JONES, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, it might be. But, I mean, it's kind of ludicrous to say that this is going to be a huge influence on 2008. We've got five years to go. I mean, goodness knows what's going to happen in that time.

If she really wanted to make things difficult, then I would think that she would wait. If she wanted to do an influence on 2004, wait until 2004. Here's the underlying thing to this argument. She already had the advance. She had to write the book. The book comes out. What was she supposed to do? Wait until she's dead to publish it? It doesn't make any sense.

COOPER: Martha, do you think the portrait that emerges of Hillary Clinton from this book is one we've heard before or different? What's your take on it?

ZOLLER: Well, I think it's interesting that the cover picture is kind of a copy of the Diana picture that was on the cover of Diana's book. She wants to look like she's a victim and she certainly was a victim. But I don't believe she didn't have some inkling that her -- that the president was not telling her the truth and I don't think that part is believable.

It is believable, though, on that weekend that Buddy was the only friend that the president had.

COOPER: Victoria, do you think critics are just being unfair, that this is just a woman, you know, who wanted to set the record straight?

JONES: Well, I think critics do need to probe it and we all need to read the book which none of us, you know, have done yet.

But I think there ' an element of nastiness here that comes back any time Hillary does any thing. She can't do anything right. She has never claimed to be a victim. She doesn't claim to be a victim in the book. And I think it's sad that pretty much she tells every thing and it sounds pretty sad and no one is saying, "That must have been tough for her. My gosh. How did she go through that?" And I would think average Americans who are struggling through marriages would understand what is going on with her and wouldn't be quite as critical as some of us are being.

COOPER: Martha, apparently...

ZOLLER: Well, I think average...

COOPER: Go ahead.

ZOLLER: Go ahead.

Well, I think Americans can't believe that she stayed with him so long and that she didn't believe it.

And I do want to read the story and I do want to hear the whole story. And I will say she's been a good senator. Her colleagues like her. She's been a good senator. Good senators don't always make presidents though and I think that's what's in the cards, that she wants to run for president.

COOPER: Do you think this is going to help her though?

ZOLLER: I don't know if it's going to help her. It's too early for that.

But, you know, the real thing is is that the Clintons are dominating, continue to dominate, the press. What have people been talking about all day long with this book was this book. His book will come out next.

JONES: Oh, come on, Martha.

ZOLLER: I think it will help.

COOPER: Go ahead, Victoria.

JONES: It's one day. What people are really talking about is Laci Peterson.

ZOLLER: It's not going to be for one day.

JONES: This is not going to be for very long. You've got the Harry Potter book coming out. You've got other stories coming up.


JONES: doesn't have to write a book to command attention. That's one of the things that people feel so threatened by.

She has presence. She has leadership. She just has to blink and the press comes running. She didn't need to do this.

ZOLLER: Well, let me tell you, I'm not threatened by her. I have to thank her because she's the reason why I'm doing what I'm doing because she said I could have stayed home and baked cookies and I started calling in to talk radio. So I thank her for that.

But I tell you, her book will be the No. 2 fiction book of the summer, next to Harry Potter.

COOPER: Victoria, let me ask you, in the new book Hillary Clinton tells us that she was lied to by her husband about this affair with Monica Lewinsky; that in fact she believed he was innocent until the night before he testified before the grand jury.

She says -- quote -- "I was dumbfounded, heartbroken, outraged that I believed him at all."

Do you believe her?

JONES: Yes, I do believe her, and I don't see any advantage to her in saying that if it wasn't true, because she's going to be got whichever way she goes.

She's attacked for the cookies remark. Then she's attacked for standing by her man. She's attacked if she writes it. She will be attacked if she hadn't written it and pocketed the advance. So I see no reason for her not to tell the truth here.

I think she is telling the truth about this. I think that her book is nonfiction, whether the President Bill Clinton's book is nonfiction or not remains to be seen. But that's a completely separate thing.

This is not going to have an effect on the Democratic candidates because it's going to be hard core Democrats who vote in the primary. They're not going to care about this. They know it's 2004, not 2008.

ZOLLER: But I think this election is going to be a lot like 1988 and these candidates need to get out there where they're getting heard and not necessarily Mrs. Clinton and President Clinton.

But I will read the book, and if it's -- and it sounds believable, those emotions -- and I will definitely read the book. But I'm concerned about the election process and how it's going to affect this.

JONES: Oh, please, Martha. Come on. You're concerned that the Democrats might not get their word out and might not.


ZOLLER: I like a strong two-party system with two viable candidates.


COOPER: As ever, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, polarizing figure.

Victoria Jones, Martha Zoller, appreciate you joining us, both of you. Thank you.


COOPER: See, their friends at the end of it. Isn't that great?


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