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Monica Lewinsky's Bombshell Article; Lynne Cheney: Daughters' Feud 'Unfortunate'; Can Monica Lewinsky Hurt Hillary's Candidacy?
Aired May 7, 2014 - 18:28 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
S.E. CUPP, CO-HOST: Well, Wolf, we have brand-new quotes from Monica Lewinsky's "Vanity Fair" article. We're looking at her impact on Hillary Clinton's potential campaign.
VAN JONES, CO-HOST: Well, actually I think the Republicans have fallen into some kind of a time warp. The answer's going to be the same for them in 2016 as it was in 1998. They are going to lose.
CUPP: We'll see.
JONES: The debate starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Tonight on CROSSFIRE, he's a global statesman. She's the Democrats' heir apparent. So is Monica Lewinsky the real victim?
On the left, Van Jones. On the right, S.E. Cupp. In the CROSSFIRE, Ruth Marcus from the "Washington Post." And Penny Young Nance of concerned women for America.
The return of Monica Lewinsky. Does it hurt Hillary Clinton? Tonight, on CROSSFIRE.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. I'm Van Jones on the left.
CUPP: I'm S.E. Cupp on the right. In the CROSSFIRE tonight, she's back. CNN just obtained the entire Monica Lewinsky diatribe in "Vanity Fair," complete with a brand-new photo spread of a very glamorous-looking 40-year-old Monica.
Here's the part I hope we all get to focus on. Lewinsky writes that Hillary Clinton's impulse to blame the woman is, quote, "all too familiar." "With every marital indiscretion that finds its way into the public sphere, many of which involve male politicians, it always seems like the woman conveniently takes the fall."
And this is what really kills me. Sixteen years later, and we're still talking about the two women at the center of this scandal and not the one man who actually broke the law.
Van, tell me, man to man, how does Bill Clinton get away with this? JONES: Well, first of all, he got impeached. I don't know if you can say he got away with it. He got two --
CUPP: He's loving life now, come on.
JONES: We've got two women here that can have their opinion about it in the CROSSFIRE tonight. Ruth Marcus from the "Washington Post." We also have Penny Young Nance, president of the Concerned Women for America.
I want to go to you. We've got some interesting language here I just want to get your response to. Monica opens up. You know, she's talking about a lot of things, talking about how Hillary Clinton called her a narcissistic loony tune. She takes exception to that.
She also says this, "These 16-year-old descriptions of me triggered memories of past anguish, particularly in the area of women lobbing derision at one another." We think that's about Hillary.
"So where, you might be wondering, were the feminists back then?" Again, Hillary. "It's a question that troubles me to this day."
Now, I want to get your reaction to this. It sounds like to me she's saying that Hillary Clinton, who spent her whole life out there fighting for women going all around the world, somehow doesn't have the right to be critical of a woman who slept with her husband. Do you think that if Hillary Clinton has the right to be critical of Monica Lewinsky for sleeping with her husband?
PEGGY YOUNG NANCE, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: I think this goes deeper than the fact that she was the wronged wife. She was the enabler in chief if you remember correctly.
His indiscretions didn't start with Monica Lewinsky. They went back to Gennifer Flowers. And then any woman who dared bring up the fact that she had an affair with him, that he made a pass at her, he sexually harassed her, the Clinton machine kicked in, of which Hillary Clinton was a part, which they destroyed, demeaned and raked her over the coals.
RUTH MARCUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Enabler in chief. That's pretty strong. I don't think we can pretend to understand what goes on in anybody's marriage, particularly not the Clintons' marriage. It's a very complicated enterprise, that marriage.
But I think that clearly, if you read the Diane Blair papers, where Hillary Clinton used the words, according to Diane Blair, "narcissistic loony tunes," I would like to say if my husband's strayed, that would be the nicest possible thing I would say about the other woman.
You can see her wrestling with her husband's indiscretions. It was obviously very, very painful to her.
JONES: I got to take you on --
NANCE: Trailer trash.
JONES: Hold on. Hold on. I don't understand. You are a family values --
NANCE: That's right.
JONES: -- traditional conservative, loud and proud, well known in the country for that. Are you saying that Hillary -- are you now the pro-divorce caucus now?
JONES: Hillary Clinton is the only person in the world --
NANCE: I'm not commenting on whether or not she should have stayed married. I'm commenting on --
JONES: Shouldn't you be proud of Hillary Clinton for sticking with her marriage?
NANCE: Hang on. What I'm commenting on is whether or not she actually took on the issue of these women being demeaned and destroyed. She was not the only one. There were victims all around the Clintons. The minute one woman -- and by the way, remember all the articles that came out from the Arkansas State Police, how that he would use them to procure women. This has been going on for ages.
So the minute he sent her out front to say it was the -- it was the right-wing conspiracy, she's lying.
MARCUS: Oh, come on. I just think that goes way too far to say that she was lying. Maybe you might say she was in denial. You might say she was way too defensive.
NANCE: Willfully ignorant.
MARCUS: You might say that also. But, you know, many of us have done that.
And can I just say one thing? I do think -- I'm really disagreeing with your criticism of Hillary Clinton, but I do think there is a fair criticism of other feminists, who were not married to Bill Clinton at the time of the affair and scandal, where they really --
NANCE: There was a pile-on.
MARCUS: -- did not rise to Monica Lewinsky's defense.
CUPP: Yes. I also -- I also don't know that we can get inside Hillary's mindset, but I do know that the Clintons got off pretty easy here.
You know, Bill Clinton is beloved around the world. She could be the next president of the United States. It's really been all uphill for them since. And reading this "Vanity Fair" article, it's clear it's been downhill for Monica. She's alone. She hasn't been able to get a job. She was suicidal.
MARCUS: Hasn't been married.
CUPP: That's what I mean, she's alone. It was a sad read.
Now, as someone I assume who's interested in fairness, because you're a good liberal, do you really think the past 16 years have been fair?
MARCUS: Well, I thought it was a sad read also.
MARCUS: I do think that you're a little bit airbrushing some of the difficult pieces of the Clinton's history. Clearly, the post- presidency has been very good to both of them.
MARCUS: He's been extraordinarily successful. Post-presidency, she, well, could become president of the United States.
MARCUS: But you had those pictures of the famous walk to the helicopter up there with Bill and Hillary and Chelsea. And it was a painful, humiliating time. As Van pointed out, he was impeached.
JONES: That will be in history forever.
NANCE: No doubt. Oh, no doubt.
MARCUS: That is a big piece of history.
CUPP: They are multibillionaires.
MARCUS: But I wrote in the "Washington Post" this morning Monica Lewinsky -- some people took offense at this. I did not mean it offensively. Monica Lewinsky is the tragic road kill of this entire sordid episode. She's the one who really has never recovered while they've gone on to fame and fortune.
NANCE: I agree with you, Ruth. I mean, he's a rock star and the darling of the media and a rock star to the left. And she has -- she has reaped so much pain from this. And, clearly from that article, is still dealing with the pain. It was really very sad.
JONES: We're going to talk more about it more when we get back. When we get back, I am going to weigh in. I'm going to tell Rand Paul why he should keep quiet, though, the next time the issue of Monica Lewinsky comes up in a conversation that he's a part of.
We also want you to weigh in on today's "CROSSFIRE Quiz." How old was Monica Lewinsky when she began her affair with President Clinton? Is it 19, 22, or 24? We're going to give you the answer when we get back.
JONES: Welcome back. Now we're going to answer that "CROSSFIRE Quiz." Monica Lewinsky was actually 22 when she started the affair with Bill Clinton.
Now, it seems to me that some of my Republican friends actually want to relive 1998. Even before Monica Lewinsky wrote this "Vanity Fair" article, the Republican front-runner running for 2016, Senator Rand Paul, was already using this tired ancient scandal as an excuse to attack the Clintons. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Democrats can't say, "We're the great defenders of women's rights in the workplace, and we will defend you against some kind of abusive boss that uses their position of authority to take advantage of a young woman," When the leader of their party, the leading fund-raiser in the country, is Bill Clinton, who was a perpetrator of that kind of sexual harassment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: OK. So we can talk about definition of sexual harassment, which he clearly does not know, however, let's just talk about the reality of the Republican Party.
They desperately need to attract younger voters. That's what they need. Guess what? The 18-year-olds are going to be voting for the first time in 2016, they were in diapers the year the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. That was the year they were born. They care about this scandal as much as they care about Frank Sinatra. All right?
Even back in 1998, the Democrats picked up seats the time Republicans went on this bench last time. Some Republicans just never learn.
CUPP: Can I just tell you? I think Rand Paul is thrilled to hear you call him a front-runner.
CUPP: That's the breaking news here.
JONES: That's exactly what the polls tell.
Anyway, look, welcome back. This CROSSFIRE.
We've got Ruth Marcus. We've got Penny Young Nance.
I'm going to go to you first. Something about the Clintons drives Republicans nuts. Listen to this. The past couple days, past couple weeks we've heard conspiracies from the right wing.
Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. Why? Because it's about Hillary becoming president. There was a guy on FOX who said Hillary Clinton deliberately knocked herself on the head so she wouldn't have to testify about Benghazi. Just totally ridiculous.
Somebody said the shoe that was thrown -- that was all staged. And now, you've got Lynne Cheney saying stuff like this about this recent "Vanity Fair" article. She says, "I really wonder this isn't an effort on the Clinton's part to get that story out of way. Would 'Vanity Fair' publish anything of Monica Lewinsky that Hillary Clinton wouldn't want in 'Vanity Fair'?"
What is wrong?
CUPP: Probably a fair question.
NANCE: They do care about Gwyneth Paltrow but probably don't care about Hillary Clinton. You know, look --
NANCE: Well, you know, look --
JONES: It's a crazy conspiracy theory?
NANCE: Going to keep you off the blogs, first off. And secondly, I would say that, you know, I think timing is everything. I don't think they hate it that it's out now. I don't know that they could control that. But I don't think they hate it. They don't like being reminded. But they know it's going to be part of the conversation. They'd be foolish not to actually get it over with and have it now.
MARCUS: Lynne Cheney is conjuring up this world in which Hillary Clinton or one of her minions calls up Monica Lewinsky and says, this would be a good time. Come on. I do agree this is actually -- we -- Rand Paul is making a big mistake. You should encourage him --
JONES: To do more of it.
MARCUS: Keep doing more of it. Exactly.
CUPP: Let me remind everyone at this table Republicans didn't write the "Vanity Fair" article.
MARCUS: Right. I do think the timing of it is actually healthy for the Clintons and a potential Clinton run.
CUPP: To get it out of the way.
MARCUS: You know, asked and answered. Inoculation is the best medicine in American politics. Even though we're all, you know, we cannot resist a good Monica Lewinsky story and reliving it and reliving it and re-reliving it, there's only so many times we're going to be able to sit around this table. CUPP: Oh, from your lips to God's ears --
MARCUS: On her fourth piece in "Vanity Fair", perhaps we won't be talking about it. So I think it's healthy for a Clinton presidential run to have this discussion now.
CUPP: Let me just satisfy everyone at the table that Republicans will have plenty more to talk about when it comes to Hillary. There's Benghazi, relationship with Goldman Sachs, missing State Department record. There's plenty to go after.
But, Ruth, be honest with you. It seems as if there is a bubble around Hillary. Liberals are very cagy. There's a whole list of things you cannot wring up when it comes to Hillary Clinton. Her past is one of them.
MARCUS: I never got that list, S.E., this is what you're talking about. Maybe it's in my spam.
CUPP: Can't bring up Benghazi. We're over that. It was two years ago, dude. You can't bring up a past scandal. It was the '90s.
I mean, it really reeks of insecurity. This is a woman who I think can defend herself.
MARCUS: She totally can defend herself. Honestly I don't know what list you're talking about. If I had an interview with Hillary Clinton, I wouldn't be scared of bringing up anything.
CUPP: This stuff is fair game, right? Part of her history.
MARCUS: I think there are a lot more things that are a lot more important to ask about than some of the things you had on your list, but one question that I would ask Hillary Clinton right now is what do you say you were quoted by Diane Blair as calling her a narcissistic loony tune? What did you think? Did you -- she's had this piece in "Vanity Fair," you might not have read it but surely heard about it. What do you think about it? And I think it would actually --
CUPP: I'd like to see you ask her that.
MARCUS: I'd like to see me ask her that, too.
CUPP: If she's watching, you have an invitation.
JONES: We began this in the first block. I want to bring it back.
Listen, we've got a big new article out there. Everybody is talking about this now. Do you think there's anything about this scandal that disqualifies Hillary Clinton from being president of United States? In other words, she is the injured party. There was a man and a woman who had an affair. Is there anything about that disqualifies her from being president from your point of view? NANCE: You know, I think she has a lot to answer for. There are a lot of things about Hillary Clinton that disqualifies her for president. I don't know if it's this particular scandal. But, you know, there's really important point here that I just don't want to miss.
NANCE: And that is there is an injured party here. Monica Lewinsky, she did -- she says that it was consensual, and it was. But she is still a very injured party. And the left has never, ever gone out of their way to say they're sorry for what they did to her.
But I would just point out that, you know, there are people to look to. She does need to get out there. She does need to move on. But I would point to -- can I point to Donna Rice Hughes?
Remember the Gary Hart scandal from the '80s? Donna Rice Hughes was caught in a scandal in her mid-20s and spent the rest of her life. She became a Christian, and she spent the rest of her life fighting against child pornography.
NANCE: She is a hero. There is a path forward for her. And there is a path forward for her to deal with.
JONES: Well, first of all, I think that's a very important point. And Monica Lewinsky has said that she wants to help against bullying and this kind of stuff.
But you did point out that people owe her an apology maybe on the left. But do you think people on the right, people like Ken Starr and others who used her as a political weapon owe her an apology?
NANCE: I don't think he used her. I think what happened is the direct result of the president lying under oath. I mean, I was here for this. And we can go back and refight that whole thing if you guys want to. I was here for that. And most of you were too.
CUPP: All right.
NANCE: But the bottom line is the left treated and the Clinton machine treated her horribly.
MARCUS: The bottom line is she is a victim. And she was mistreated to some extent by both sides.
CUPP: I think we can all agree with that.
All right. Stay here. We want you at home to weigh in on today's "Fireback" question.
Does Monica Lewinsky speaking out help or hurt Hillary's 2016 ambitions? Tweet help or hurt using #Crossfire. We'll have the results after the break. We also have the outrages of the day. I'm outraged because some of Hollywood's biggest stars, though properly outraged, are also quite naive.
CUPP: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.
Now, it's time for our outrages of the day.
Imagine a place where police have used online dating services to entrap and arrest gay men, or a country that arrests a 14-year-old girl for adultery and then performs an invasive virginity test on her, or where a woman is sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Hollywood celebrities are outraged to discover that places like this exist, and they're showing it by boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel, owned by the sultan of Brunei to protest his country's new Sharia laws against homosexuality and adultery.
But the place I was talking about wasn't Brunei. It was the United Arab Emirates -- a favorite destination and filming location for wealthy Hollywood celebrities. Justin Timberlake will perform there in May. "Fast & Furious 7" is reportedly filming there right now. George Clooney, Ben Affleck, the Kardashians, all popular guests of the Dubai.
Rather than boycott a hotel in the town you live in, putting hundreds of Americans out of jobs, Hollywood should get cozy with the very uncomfortable truth about the world it lives in, and really, put your money where it counts.
JONES: OK. I'll take that one.
But here is mine. I was actually already outraged about Republicans who were trying to cash in politically on the murder of four Americans in the Benghazi terror attacks.
But now, they're trying to cash in literally, literally, financially. Now that's not only gross, it is beyond hypocritical.
Now, let's not forget, the big Republican critique of President Obama was this. In the middle of a national tragedy, the White House was more concerned about politics than about dead Americans. OK? Interesting.
Now what's the GOP response? Make as much political hay as possible and rake in as much cash as they possibly can off of this thing.
Now, check out -- I'm not making this up. Check out the National Republican Congressional Committee's fundraising page. It asks you to, quote, "Stand with Congressman Trey Gowdy, the Benghazi select committee and House Republicans as we fight for the truth what happened with the Benghazi terror attack." And then the bottom line, help fight liberals by donating money today.
Now, wait a minute. I thought this was about the truth, not political attacks, not fundraising. These people should not get 2 cents. It's an absolute outrage what you're doing.
CUPP: Well, I assume you're equally outraged by the MoveOn.org fundraising.
OK, let's check in on our "Fireback" results. Does Monica Lewinsky speaking out help or hurt Hillary Clinton's 2016 ambitions? Right now, 64 percent of you say it helps. Thirty-six percent say it hurts.
What do you guys think of that? It makes sense.
MARCUS: I think it marginally helps.
CUPP: Marginally helps.
NANCE: I think it marginally hurts. But I would love to talk to Monica Lewinsky about redemption.
CUPP: Oh, we have two offers on the table. Hillary, Ruth would love --
MARCUS: I'll take either.
CUPP: Monica is -- Monica, you should give Penny a call.
NANCE: Hillary is going to voice, straight to voice mail.
JONES: Anyway, thanks to Ruth Marcus and Penny Young Nance.
The debate is going to continue online at CNN.com/Crossfire as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
From the left, I'm Van Jones.
CUPP: From the right, I'm S.E. Cupp.
Join us tomorrow for another edition of CROSSFIRE.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.