Candidate Clinton denies new charge of infidelity reported by tabloid paper

January 24, 1992|By Jules Witcover | Jules Witcover,Sun Staff Correspondent Paul West of The Sun's Washington Bureau contributed to this story.

CLAREMONT, N.H. -- Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas yesterday denied new allegations of past marital infidelity and pressed on with his candidacy for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination.

Arriving at a paintbrush manufacturing plant here, Mr. Clinton dismissed as untrue a charge in The Star, a nationally circulated tabloid newspaper, allegedly from a Little Rock, Ark., woman, that he had had a 12-year affair with her.

The woman, Gennifer Flowers, was said to have told the #F newspaper in a paid interview that Mr. Clinton had advised her, in a telephone conversation she said she had secretly taped, to deny it if she was asked if there had been an affair.

Mr. Clinton, questioned about the report, said, "I read the story. It isn't true. She's obviously taking money to change her story -- the story that she felt so strongly about she paid a lawyer to protect her good name not very long ago."

The Clinton campaign released a copy of a letter dated Jan. 31, 1991, in which a lawyer who said he represented Ms. Flowers threatened to sue a Little Rock radio station for broadcasting a report in October 1990 about her alleged affair with the governor. The lawyer, Robert M. McHenry, refused to comment last night.

Ms. Flowers, a television reporter turned nightclub singer, is now an Arkansas state employee, the Associated Press reported. She was not in the office yesterday, the AP said. She is one of five women alleged to have had affairs with the governor and named in a lawsuit filed against Mr. Clinton by a disgruntled former state employee.

In his remarks to reporters, the governor acknowledged that the woman had telephoned him, but said, "I never initiated any calls to her. When she called me, she basically wanted reassurances. She felt like a lot of people feel when they have to face this [inquiries from the press] and they're not used to it.

"I just told her, 'Tell the truth, tell the truth.' . . . We tried to reassure everyone involved in this circus."

The Arkansas governor said the woman had called him months ago and said she had been "offered $50,000 to change her story. She told the person who offered the money that it wasn't true."

He questioned whether there was a way he could defend himself against this sort of allegation.

Referring to his wife, Hillary, the governor said: "She knew about every one of these calls."

One of Mr. Clinton's senior political advisers, pollster Stanley Greenberg, said the taped conversation between Mr. Clinton and the woman was "clearly . . . a setup." He contended that Mr. Clinton's comments to the woman had been quoted "out of context."

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