Tapes reportedly portray Lewinsky as obsessed Magazine says she was fixated on creating romantic link with Clinton

June 21, 1998|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky verged on an emotional breakdown as she fixated on forging a romantic relationship with President Clinton and landing a job near the Oval Office, according to a published report.

In a taped message that she apparently sent to Clinton, Lewinsky makes no sexual overture but suggests that she visit the White House at night after the people "who hate me" have departed, according to this week's U.S. News & World Report.

Lewinsky says she and Clinton could have box dinners, watch a movie and exchange hugs, the magazine says.

Lewinsky tells Clinton he looked "handsome" the last time she had seen him but that their 60-second encounter was not enough, the magazine reports.

Lewinsky played the message for her friend Linda R. Tripp during one of the phone conversations that Tripp secretly recorded and turned over to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

U.S. News reviewed the contents of about two hours of the tapes, ones that were made in October, when Tripp had just begun recording about 20 hours of conversations with Lewinsky.

The tapes show Lewinsky seeking a job two months before she was subpoenaed in the Paula Corbin Jones sexual misconduct case. Starr is investigating whether Clinton sought to help Lewinsky find work in return for her silence in the Jones case.

Lewinsky, according to the conversations reviewed by U.S. News, did not like her job at the Pentagon and was talking about having the president get her a different job.

U.S. News says the tapes show Lewinsky "is insecure, apologetic, vulnerable, whiny and immature. She comes across as a desperate romantic, teetering on the edge of an emotional collapse, obsessively focused on the unobtainable."

Lewinsky was angry and frustrated after her overtures to the president were apparently rebuffed, the tapes indicate.

The magazine reports that there is no conclusive evidence on the two hours of tape it had reviewed that Lewinsky and Clinton engaged in a physical relationship. "But they carry an implication that there was a sexual component to their phone conversations," the magazine says.

In preparing the cassette message for the president, Lewinsky told Tripp that she tried to sound conversational so that Clinton ,, would feel as if he was talking with her.

"No wonder the president likes to have phone sex with you," Tripp says. Lewinsky does not respond.

Tripp calls Lewinsky Clinton's "girlfriend" and advises her to send the President tapes and letters. Tripp suggests that she hire Speed Service Couriers to make the deliveries. Speed Service is owned by the family of Lucianne Goldberg, the book agent who persuaded Tripp to record Lewinsky.

Lewinsky can't decide whether to send the tape, wondering whether Clinton secretary Betty Currie will intercept it or whether the president will think that the tape is "crazy." Tripp urges Lewinsky to explain to Currie that she must see Clinton.

At the same time, Tripp claims to be anguished by Lewinsky's situation, saying she hopes things work out between Lewinsky and the president. But Tripp also says that she hopes Lewinsky moves to New York and forgets Clinton.

Lewinsky's lawyers and spokeswoman declined to comment on the tapes obtained by U.S. News. Starr spokesman Charles Bakaly also said he would not comment.

White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said, "While not commenting on the specifics in this article, it does serve to demonstrate the importance of knowing what all the facts are before rushing to judgment."

Pub Date: 6/21/98

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