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 encounter lasted only 60 seconds and 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 new 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 like he was talking with her.

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

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.

At one point, Tripp suggests that the president could help Lewinsky get a job, saying that it "happens all the time." Lewinsky agrees, but says the only job she wants is in the White House and that there is no way Clinton will grant that wish.

Once she decides she doesn't want a White House position, Lewinsky writes Clinton a letter asking that he get her a Pentagon promotion and that she wants her salary raised from $30,000 to $90,000.

"Don't limit yourself," Tripp tells her.

Lewinsky worries that the letter's tone seems too rambling and cold, and wonders whether she should add some "big words," the magazine reports.

Then Lewinsky says she doesn't want a job. She only wants to be near Clinton.

"I want you in my life," Lewinsky writes in the letter.

Tripp counsels that she add the words "at some level" so that Clinton doesn't think "it's only about sex."

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."

U.S. News reports that it was allowed to listen to the tapes but could not make copies.

Most of what is known about the alleged relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky is based on 90 minutes of taped transcripts published in Newsweek.

U.S. News describes the exchanges between Lewinsky and Tripp as "confusing, almost comic" and says Lewinsky "seems oblivious" to Tripp's attempts to elicit graphic descriptions of her supposed encounters with the president.

Pub Date: 6/21/98

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