Hillary Clinton Plays Crucial Role In Husband's Legal, Political Strategy
By John King/CNN
WASHINGTON (Aug. 5) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton is saying little or nothing these days about the investigation of allegations her husband had an affair with a twenty-something White House intern.
But the first lady is, as always, a crucial player, a picture of steady support in public and a behind-the-scenes powerhouse.
Taking a lead role in her husband's legal and political strategy, Mrs. Clinton talks almost daily to the president's lawyer, David Kendall.
Just being in the picture speaks volumes. "I think an integral part of the public continuing to support Bill Clinton in this situation is that Hillary Clinton still supports Bill Clinton," said political analyst Andy Kohut.
Critics say blind ambition keeps the first lady at the president's side despite more allegations of adultery. Friends see something else in this most complicated of personal and political marriages.
Lisa Caputo, former press secretary to Mrs. Clinton, said, "They speak about everything under the sun and have a continuous conversation about everything. So I think she knows all of the facts and I think that she believes her husband and I think that she has every confidence that this too will pass."
Every now and then, there is a hint of the private turmoil behind the public smiles.
"People come up to me all the time and, as you might guess, they sometimes say things like 'How can you stand politics?' And you know, depending on the day I have had, I could give a different answer," the first lady quipped last month.
For most of the past four years, Ken Starr's investigation has been as much, if not more, about Hillary than Bill.
The Whitewater independent counsel has investigated her legal work back in Arkansas at the Rose Law firm, her role in the firing of White House travel office workers and the suicide of her friend and former law partner, Vince Foster.
In all, Mrs. Clinton has testified under oath six times.
Now it's the president who is in the independent counsel's sights, preparing for grand jury testimony of his own.
But the first lady's influence is everywhere, privately shaping her husband's legal strategy, and publicly offering critical political support.