I’ve been outspokenly critical of former President Bill Clinton’s recent responses to questions about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. So I’ve been asked if the recent Clinton “do-over”on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert show changed my opinion. My answer is no. Not at all. Clinton said, “It was not my finest hour.” I’m sorry, that’s what you say when you spill the gravy and break the heirloom gravy bowl at your mother-in-law’s, not when you have a sexual relationship with an intern then lie about it to the world and allow influential government leaders to discredit and vilify her.
Then Clinton spoke of “living with the consequences.” Yes, he has. But not nearly so devastatingly as Monica Lewinsky has. His response was still all about him, as if someone had asked him if he’d recovered from the flu. So I’ve decided to help him out for next time, and I’ve written the response I want to hear from Bill Clinton. Here it is.
Recent questioning tells me I have unfinished business with the American people and specifically, Monica Lewinsky. With that in mind, I called Ms. Lewinsky this morning and I am grateful she took my call. I personally offered my apologies directly to her and told her how much I regret my predatory and boorish behavior of 20 years ago.
At the time of our relationship, neither she nor I had any idea it would become public knowledge nor — most regrettably — that it would have a long-term negative impact on her life. For that, I am deeply sorry, and I recognize there is nothing I can do today to make that up to her. That is yet another reason it should have never happened.
My family and I have worked through this painful episode, but I now realize my public apology to Ms. Lewinsky was wholly inadequate and — to the best of my ability — I hope I’ve addressed that today. While I can never erase the past, I can and do regret that my actions were hurtful to many others — my family, friends, supporters, Ms. Lewinsky, her parents, who sent her to the nation’s capital with high hopes and entrusted her to my care; and, you, the American people.
Once again, I offer my apologies and pledge to work to deserve your trust. Furthermore, I am establishing a scholarship for college-age women studying political science and government service to be called the Monica Lewinsky Scholarship. I will personally and fully fund this scholarship for 25 women annually at the school of their choice. It will pay tribute to all the women who have been exploited and harassed in the workplace.
That is what I want — need — to hear from Bill Clinton. I’m not holding my breath.
Karen Foss is a retired TV news anchor who moved to Santa Fe from St. Louis in 2010.