3 Lessons from the Secret Clinton Tapes

Historian Taylor Branch's interviews with Bill Clinton give pundits unexpected insight into his presidency

This article is from the archive of our partner .

During his presidency, Bill Clinton gave a series of 79 secret interviews with historian Taylor Branch. Now, those late-night conversations are the subject of Branch's new book on the Clinton years, "The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President," which claims to shed new light on everything from from the Monica Lewinsky scandal to Clinton's sometimes strained relationship with Vice President Al Gore. USA Today reported that Clinton may be anxious about the book's release. After reading a preview, some commentators say they understand why.

What they've learned from the Clinton tapes so far:

Lesson #1:'Bill Clinton Isn't Done Lying About the 1990s,' John Cook said at Gawker, who calls Clinton a "sociopathic narcissist." Cook says this is more of the same from the former president. "In case you missed the endless stream of lies Bill Clinton told about himself and others during his presidency, it turns out he was telling other, secret lies into a tape recorder the whole time. Now you can read them."

Lesson #2: Right-Wingers Tried to Destroy Clinton, Too,
Tylor Marsh reminds readers. "Today, people seem to have also forgotten just what the Clinton's fought against, the full scale onslaught of the right that started the moment [Clinton] took office, making light of the viciousness and no quarter aspect of the political mayhem."

Lesson #3: Apparently, Boris Yeltsin Had a Drinking Problem, says Patricia Murphy at Politics Daily. "Although Clinton discussed the Lewinsky affair with Branch, the biggest shocker is a story about then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who Clinton says was once found dressed hailing a cab in front of the White House, dressed only in his underwear, trying to get a late-night pizza during a state visit."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.