Clintons Needn't Fear Monica Questions

Washington Matters

Clintons Needn't Fear Monica Questions

When Chelsea Clinton cut off a questioner with "None of your business" last week (video), it seemed that the now ancient Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal was off limits as far as the Clinton camp is concerned. But the Clintons might do themselves a big favor by taking on the Monica questions directly. Handled well, Clinton could benefit.

I'm not suggesting this as a favor to tabloid magazines looking for new morsels in the epic scandal of Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton. Nor do I believe that Hillary, Bill or Chelsea need to suffer through loaded "how did you feel"  questions -- that's especially true for Chelsea.

But Hillary and her campaign staff needn't fear the kind of questions that are fair game -- such as whether lingering bitterness -- or simple grudges -- will affect her ability to work with Republicans she once included in a right wing conspiracy. She could even turn questions about  how strong her marriage is to her advantage.

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For one, Clinton could easily point to numerous bipartisan deals she has led in Congress with Republicans, including with former House Majority Leader and impeachment proponent Tom DeLay, R-Texas, on programs for foster kids and with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a former impeachment manager, on military issues. She's even worked closely with Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House who led the drumbeat for impeachment, on health care issues and with Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who was Senate majority leader during the impeachment trial.

Clinton may also claim a strong, re-kindled marriage, a bond that has survived far longer than many skeptics thought and longer than many other political marriages -- including "pro-family" GOP icons --that have failed in the wake of sex scandals. And reminding people of the scandal reminds Democrats and Independents of what most of them ultimately regarded as an abuse of congressional power.


If one quality of leadership is letting old grudges go and learning to work positively with former adversaries, Clinton may well claim she has done that, and she might find an airing of an old painful issue actually giving her a boost.