Remember our last big government shutdown? The Washington Examiner
reminds us that one day into the 1995 showdown was when Bill and Monica's relationship started heating up.
As that shutdown began November 14th after Clinton and Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich stopped negotiating, the White House was forced to slash its staff of 430 to a skeleton crew of 90, with unpaid interns helping out too.
One such intern was Lewinsky, then a chatty 22-year-old intern. She had been on the job since July and was tasked with answering phones and running errands for former Chief of Staff Leon Panetta.
While she had met Clinton twice before, including the famous rope line scene where she wore a black beret, author Sally Bedell Smith's 2007 joint biography of Bill and Hillary Clinton, “For Love of Politics,” reports that it was one day into the shutdown, November 15, when the duo got cozy -- and more.
It was then that Lewinsky and Clinton made eye contact outside Panetta's office, where the president visited four or five times that day...
I don't want to spoil the surprise for the young ones among us. You'll have to go to the link to read the rest of the story.
Ah, but how did you manage to overlook an even more compelling story that came out in September 1995 about then House Speaker Newt Gingrich, fomentor of the 1995 government shutdown. If Bill Clinton had only read or heard about that Vanity Fair story, who knows, it *might* very well have dissuaded him from giving in to temptation.
> Excerpts from the feature story "The Inner Quest of Newt Gingrich
" from the September 1995 issue of Vanity Fair magazine:"We had oral sex. He [Newt Gingrich] prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'"
-- Anne Manning
, one of a half-dozen former Gingrich campaign workers, talking about Newt's oral sexcapades in a 1995 Vanity Fair magazine interview"I did not have sexual relations with those women."
-- House Speaker Newt Gingrich
to Vanity Fair magazine, his response to charges in 1995 that he had solicited and received oral sex from a half-dozen former female campaign staffers of his. (Vanity Fair had NOT asked Gingrich whether he'd had sexual intercourse with those female campaign staffers anyway.)
The last government shutdown was so useful that we got a major overhaul of welfare and finally got on track to balance the budget. It was such a beautiful thing that it also allowed the love between a horny old dude and a young intern to blossom into a stain on a blue dress and the exploration of alternate uses of a cigar.
And yet, from 1993 to 1999, even while he was House Speaker and fomenting the shutdown of the government, Newt Gingrich had been all the while carrying on a clandestine affair with a congressional aide!
> Excerpt from by the commentary by David Corn in the August 12, 1999 edition of the Nation Online:THE 'BIG' ONE THAT GOT AWAY
WASHINGTON -- These days, Newt Gingrich may be little more than a political has-been whose policy pronouncements barely register in the press, but his sex life, apparently, still can make headlines.
Five years ago, I chased the story that Speaker Newt "Family Values" Gingrich was messing around with a young Capitol Hill staffer, but I just couldn't pin it down. Now the tabloids have "outed" him.
After learning that the Star magazine would publish an article on the
alleged extramarital affair between the former House speaker and a
congressional aide named Calista Bisek, the New York Post and the New York Daily News both rushed out breathless stories on the supposed tryst -- which Gingrich and Bisek would neither confirm nor deny.
"Newt's Fooling Around with His Girl on the Hill," shouted the Post
The Daily News Web site polled readers: "Do you think Newt Gingrich is a
Short answer: Of course. This is a guy who gained the speakership of the
House of Representatives by posing as a champion of family values. Remember how Gingrich repeatedly referred to liberals and Democrats as deviants and miscreants?
And, later, how he gleefully tried to exploit Monicagate?
Well, Gingrich, the advocate of families, informed his first wife he was
divorcing her when she was ill with cancer. Now, he is divorcing his second wife, Marianne, and a tabloid will soon publish a picture of him holding hands with his much-younger girlfriend.
As far as inveterate Newt-watchers are concerned, however, the
Gingrich-Bisek story is old news. For years, word of this relationship was commonplace on the Hill. It was one of those "everybody-knows-it" stories that seem to float endlessly around Washington.
Unfortunately, such stories can be the most difficult to prove. I should
know, for I tried to prove this one back in 1994.
It was the time of Gingrich's ascendance to power. After years as a
backbencher, he had led the Republicans to a historic election victory thatwrested control of the House from the Democrats for the first timein four decades. Newt was riding high and talking the family values talk.
Democratic aides on Capitol Hill, who long had traded in gossip about
Gingrich's extramarital recreations, were beside themselves with anger. From such sources, I received a number of leads and tales. My favorite was from an aide who swore she had once spotted Gingrich's pale-green Mustang bouncing up and down in an underground House parking garage, with the windows all fogged up -- signs that not-so-conservative behavior may have been occurring within.
The aide said she had tried to peer through the condensation to determine with whom Gingrich was rocking and rolling, but that she just couldn't get a clear-enough view.
After all, it could have been his wife.
In any event, the most prevalent rumor concerned the supposed relationship between Gingrich and Bisek, 23 years his junior. A close friend of mine told me that Bisek had talked openly to a co-worker about her affair with Newt. But the co-worker turned out to be a loyal Republican who would not talk to me.
Hill aides further reported that Bisek and Gingrich routinely had breakfast together at the Supreme Court cafeteria. That seemed plausible enough, since Gingrich's Capitol Hill apartment was right across the street from the Court, in the same , in fact, as my office.
Chasing after any politician's personal life raised awkward questions for me -- this was before Monicagate -- but it seemed justified in this case if the leading family-values campaigner was in fact nothing more than a rank hypocrite.
But how do you prove a sexual affair between two adults?
Reporters cannot subpoena dresses and compel DNA submissions. Even if you catch sight of the two together -- say, at breakfast in the Supreme Court cafeteria -- what is that supposed to mean?
As I pondered how to proceed, I was contacted by the producer of a tabloid television show who had heard what I was up to; he offered to set up a stakeout in front of Gingrich's apartment. For a week, the show's staff watched for Bisek coming or going, especially at odd times like late at night and early in the morning.
Yet there was no sign of her. My guess at the time was that Gingrich, just weeks away from being handed the speaker's gavel, realized he was under intense scrutiny, and may therefore have been acting with more caution than previously had seemed necessary to him.
The show's correspondent finally managed to obtain some video footage of
Bisek as she left her own condominium in northern Virginia one day, but that hardly made for a story. Not to worry, however; he would find an excuse to air the video soon enough, even though our mutual effort to nail down the affair was turning into a bust.
Soon, Gingrich was sworn in as speaker. None of the reporters chasing the story, including me, wrote about the Gingrich-Bisek affair. But whenever I saw his wife, Marianne, in our building I felt sorry for her. If I -- and practically everyone else in Washington -- had heard of the liaison, I had to assume that she had, too.
Months later, in a Vanity Fair profile of Gingrich, Gail Sheehy partly
outed Bisek as Gingrich's "frequent breakfast companion." This was, I believe, the first public mention of their relationship.
The Vanity Fair piece, in turn, gave the tabloid TV show cause to air its "exclusive" video tape of Bisek leaving her apartment.
Clearly, Sheehy had heard the same rumors I had, and also couldn't prove
them. But she had devised a clever way to transmit the information to her readers. It was a pretty unfair hit on Newt, though, when so little evidence was available to substantiate the insinuation, even if it may now appear to have been true.
A couple of weeks ago, on July 29, (1999), Gingrich filed divorce papers to end his second marriage, but "congressional sources" told the New York Post that the Bisek affair was not the reason for his breakup with Marianne.
Still, the Post also reported that Gingrich has been taking Bisek to dinner with friends. It seems that the Gingrich secret that "everybody" in Washington, D.C. once knew to be true is finally about to be shared with the public at large.
(David Corn was the Washington editor of The Nation and a columnist for The New York Press at the time this article was published.)
You don't say.
That's very interesting.