Looking back at the Lewinsky affair that nearly cost him the presidency, Clinton says that at the time he was rattled by Starr's Whitewater investigation, which began as a probe of a land deal the Clintons were involved in in Arkansas, and was simply not thinking rationally. "First of all, most personal encounters are not entirely rational," Clinton said. "Secondly, I'm not sure if most people would be entirely rational if they had been bankrupted and seen their friends indicted because they wouldn't lie, seeing innocent people sent to jail, and seeing people in your business cover it up and legitimize what happened. So I was pretty 'wigged out.'"
He was also angry that Republicans had regained power in Congress.
"I was mad. I was mad at myself for losing the Congress because I tried to jam too much change down the American system," Clinton said. "In '93 and '94, the government was shut down, I wasn't sure whether I was going to win that fight or not, and as I say in my book, I was engaged in these two titanic struggles, one for the future of the country and one with the demons I've had since I was a child."
While he eventually won the public struggle, he felt he lost a private one.
"I have no excuses for what I did," Clinton said. "That doesn't excuse what others did."
In his autobiography, My Life, Clinton writes about parallel lives. There is external life that takes its natural course, which in his case is happy and quite successful, and an internal life where secrets are hidden, he writes.
Is that parallel life a fatal Shakespearean flaw?
"I don't think so, because it was not evil, it was not designed to hurt people," Clinton said. "All Shakespearean tragedies lead to death, and in many cases, the king, because of his personal flaws, abuses his power. And the one problem I didn't have was abuse of power. I think that I fought against abuse of power."