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Interview With Joe Lockhart, David Bossie

Aired June 9, 2003 - 15:11   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: With me now to talk more about Senator Hillary Clinton's new book are two people who worked opposing sides during the year Senator Clinton was first lady. David Bossie was a House investigator during the Clinton impeachment process. Joe Lockhart was a White House spokesman for President. Clinton. And Joe, you don't even have a copy of the book, you just told me.
JOE LOCKHART, FMR. CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't. But once the lines go down, I'll go purchase mine, because I have to prove I purchased it and wasn't given it.

WOODRUFF: And you weren't given it. And David, you just got a copy about an hour ago. So none of us have had a chance to plunge into this book. I don't have a copy yet.

Having said that, David, you've had a chance at least to look at it. Is there anything in here that you've seen so far that you think is likely to change people's opinions, which are very firmly held of Senator Clinton?

DAVID BOSSIE, FMR. HOUSE IMPEACHMENT INVESTIGATOR: Yes, I don't really think so. She's a very polarizing person. And I think if you like Hillary Clinton, if you are a friend of hers in the political sense, I think you'll continue to be. If you were opposed to her as first lady and the things she did in the health care task force and all of the things related to White Water, you're going to find reasons to hold it against her.

WOODRUFF: Joe, do you think she went into this book with the idea that she was going to change some opinions about her?

LOCKHART: No. I think she went into this book as, in one way, a standard former first lady; all first ladies now write books. But in another way, different from previous first ladies, I think she wanted to finally tell her story.

So much of her story got sort of put through the meat grinder of Washington that it was impossible for her at the time to, you know, sit everybody down and say, you know, that's not true. That's not true. No, this is how it happened. So she sat down, she wrote the book, this is her story.

WOODRUFF: You were just telling me -- go ahead.

BOSSIE: And I agree with that. However, I it's important that she really doesn't tell a lot of those things. Joe, I was actually looking at the index, looking at the book for about an hour. And it really is shocking to me, the omissions, the -- Kathleen Willey, the entire saga of Kathleen Willey, not covered in the book that I could tell.

WOODURFF: This is the woman who accused the president of...

BOSSIE: Absolutely. A vital part of the Monica Lewinsky case, if you will. The behind the scenes activity at the White House. One of the things I was actually looking for, which is what we were doing at the White House while we were over in the House or in the Senate, investigating them, the kind of behind the scenes action was not there as well.

WOODRUFF: Joe, why wouldn't this turn out to be just another -- another polarizing aspect of the life of Hillary and Bill Clinton?

LOCKHART: Because all the people who have made their lives and their careers going after the Clintons don't have a say here. This is her say. This is her telling the story. And I'm not surprised that anyone's shocked by the omissions.

I'm shocked by the fact that people still won't stand up today and say, you know, we took a look at everything. We looked under every rock and we found nothing.

BOSSIE: That's because that's not true, unfortunately.

LOCKHART: Well, we can debate this all we want, but a lot of people who have less of a partisan bent than you looked at this, they found nothing. The RTC found nothing. And people need to -- particularly in the media, who are supposed to be impartial, should read this book, look at it and stand up and say, you know, we made a mistake. We went after this too hard, we fell for the leaks, we fell for the falsehoods that were out there, and we're going to do better next time.

BOSSIE: Hillary in this book is trying to make "The New York Times" and ABC and CNN news part of that vast right-wing conspiracy that she talked about with Matt Lauer those many years ago. And it's just not accurate.

Good reporters do their research. And they know what documents say, and that's really what Hillary Clinton's problem is. Look, she didn't cover the White Water billing records well enough, she didn't cover a lot of issues directly related to White Water.

LOCKHART: See I think your committee in particular, if you'd been straight with the American people, we would have all been a lot better off, but we got selective leaks, we had doctored audiotapes from Web Hubbell. So please, a lecture from you on honesty here is a little rich.

BOSSIE: Oh, Joe. Let me tell you, any type of honesty coming from the Clintons is a stretch.

LOCKHART: Let's talk about this. There's something in the book here. Give me your boss' justification for doing what he did to the Foster family? Going in the backyard and shooting a watermelon.

He made a joke of Congress, a joke of the system. We all know that. This is her time to tell her story without the ridiculous and absurdity that came from over here.

BOSSIE: Joe, totally, I agree with you that there were some things that were out of bounds. But the facts are what they are, and that's the problem.


LOCKHART: The facts are what they are. The RTC looked at it and they said there was nothing wrong with White Water. The independent...

BOSSIE: It's the same old spin.

LOCKHART: It's not spin. It's a fact. Read it. The independent counsel came out and said there was nothing there.

BOSSIE: Joe, read the independent counsel's report.

LOCKHART: I have. I have. And you know what?

BOSSIE: You haven't.

LOCKHART: I was interviewed by the independent counsel for that, so...

WOODRUFF: These are fights that won't die. Haven't died and won't die.

LOCKHART: They will die now because we've got -- Hillary's had her chance to put her side of the story out. And you know what? There's a lot of people saying, what did we get so worked out about?

WOODRUFF: And you're saying that puts it to rest.


WOODRUFF: And you're saying it doesn't.

BOSSIE: Because people like myself are going to go through this book and find the factual errors, find the lies, and are going to...

LOCKHART: My advice for people like you is get a life. Get a life.

BOSSIE: I wish Hillary Clinton would.

LOCKHART: She has. She has. And she's focused on this; she's focused on the future.

BOSSIE: She's focused on $8 million, making a lot of money.

LOCKHART: Sure. But you all need to get over it. WOODRUFF: Joe Lockhart, David Bossie, thank you both for coming in. We appreciate it.

LOCKHART: Thank you.

BOSSIE: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.


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