Today was Tyra Banks much-heralded interview with Senator Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate and former First Lady — and it was her comments about her experience as the former that made the interview big news today. Ten years and one day after the Monica Lewinsky scandal became public, Banks asked Clinton about her personal reaction to that very public betrayal by her husband, then-President Bill Clinton. Among other things, Clinton said that she "never doubted Bill's love for me" and admitted that yes, she had been embarrassed: "You are mad, you are really upset, you are disappointed — all of that goes through your mind...I have found you really shouldn't make decisions in the heat of those moments."
Clinton's candid comments on the subject at this juncture were news, adding to the HRC record in a decidedly personal way, and were featured on Hardball (with an uncharacteristically mum Chris Matthews), Countdown (with Keith Olbermann introducing the clip — and its source — with an air of disbelief) and NBC Nightly News, where Brian Williams introduced it straight "some very personal remarks by Senator Hillary Clinton" — made more notable since Williams had just spent the day with Clinton on Wednesday, joining her on the campaign trail and sitting down with her himself for a half-hour interview (wherein the subject of Monica Lewinsky did not come up).
Banks clearly had no problem asking such things, and asked similarly blunt (though comparatively less sensitive) questions throughout the interview, interrupting Clinton's account of her first date with her husband to ask "Did he kiss you?" (Answer: No, not yet - it was an afternoon date) and "Who said 'I love you' first?" (Answer: Him, and he also asked her to marry him "a couple of times"). Banks also asked Clinton about body image, and asked her if she ever looked in the mirror and thought, "I wish I was better," (Banks specified "cellulite dimples" but only in relation to herself). Said Clinton, with a smile: "It's crossed my mind," and, with a wry look at her supermodel host, said "I take comfort in the fact that every one of us have certain talents and assets that they can present to the world." Chris Matthews had no comment on that.
The interview also featured a slideshow of Clinton's hairstyles through the years and numerous instances of Banks talking about herself.Here's a transcript of Clinton's comments regarding her reaction to the Lewinsky scandal:
TYRA: How did you persevere during the darkest moment in your life?
HILLARY: Well, because I had tremendous faith, number one...I really had to dig down deep and think hard about what was right for me, what was right for my family. I never doubted Bill's love for me, ever — and I never doubted my faith or our commitment to our daughter and our extended family. But I had to decide what I had to do. And I think it's so important to be able to hear yourself at a moment when it's hard...there's so many times when you really have to listen to yourself.
TYRA: Were you embarrassed?
HILLARY: Well, I--
TYRA: I would be embarrassed.
HILLARY: Well sure, all of that, but also — I was I was just praying so hard and thinking so hard about what's right to do that I couldn't get anything else interfere with that. The momentary feelings — you know, you're mad, you're really upset, you're disappointed, all of that goes through your mind — but I have found you really shouldn't make decisions in the heat of those moments. You have to think about them.
TYRA: Do women come up to you and ask for advice? 'My husband stepped out on me and I'm going through hell right now, what do I do' — have they done that?
HILLARY: Yes. All the time.
TYRA: What do you say?
HILLARY: I say, you have to be true to yourself - no one story is the same as any other story. I don't know your reality. I can't possibly substitute my judgment for yours. But what I can tell you is you must be true to yourself. You have to do what is right for you — and that may not be what anybody else thinks.
Watch the video here.
Update: The interview was also picked up by CNN and mentioned several times last week on The Situation Room; Jack Cafferty, like Olbermann, expressed disbelief at its source ("Tyra Banks, political analyst, right?"), but the fact remains that Banks was the one who asked those blunt questions and got her subject to share about the experience in a way that she had never done before. I'd like to see Jack Cafferty ask Clinton about cellulite dimples. Go ahead, tough guy. Best of luck.