Hillary Clinton Discusses Monica Lewinsky and Her Marriage

Former first lady declines to comment on what she said about Lewinsky in the late '90s.
6:30 | 06/09/14

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Transcript for Hillary Clinton Discusses Monica Lewinsky and Her Marriage
Reporter: Hillary Clinton's house is a reminder of the drama shaping her life. The Chicago girl who became a star of Yale law school, the transformation into the political wife of a governor of Arkansas. Then her riveting and mystifying resolve in crises after crises. She says she was just living a lesson from her mother. She had been abandoned as a child, worked as a maid and a nanny, but never yielded to the cracks of her hard life while holding the family together. On a table, the book her mother was Reading the day she died, book marker still in place. And right here, the table where she says a secretary of state would come home and tell her mother about the stresses of life. As we sit together, an old stress has returned, an essay in a magazine making headlines and political opponents warning they think the topic is still fair game. Monica lewinsky is back in the news. Well, she's perfectly free to do that. She is, in my view, an American who gets to express herself however she chooses, but that's, you know, not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about. Really? Really. Really, yeah. I mean, I wrote about it in my book, "Living history." I dealt with it at the time, I have moved on and that's how I see my life and my future. You're not looking at me thinking, here she is asking these questions? No, because I knew you would. I knew you would have to. It's something in the news. You have every right to ask and I have every right to tell you how I feel. Did you call her a narcissistic looney toon? I am not going to comment on what I did or did not say back this the late '90s. Reporter: Those words surfaced recently in notes written years ago by her friend Diane Blair. For her part, lieu win ski writes that her life was overwhelmed by ridicule. She says she has lived all these years as a punchline. Is there anything that you would say about her life? I would wish her well. I hope that she is able to think about her future and construct a life that she finds meaning and satisfaction in. How are you different than you were then? Well, I think eight years of the presidency taught me a lot. Then my eight years in the senate. I've tried to become a deeper, more understanding, more open, more grateful person as I've gone through these last 20 years. I don't think we need more political combat in our country. Would you say vast right wing conspiracy again? It's this vast right wing conspiracy that has been conspireing against my husband since the day he announced for president. I probably would not because I think that it became, you know, an excuse for not looking at what was clearly a concerted political effort against the Clinton administration just as we have seen it against the Obama administration. Reporter: So from this vantage point, a lesson for a younger generation about the choice she made back then? Do what is necessary to be resilient. Life is filled with disappointmen disappointments. I've had a blessed life. Sure, I've had disappointments and setbacks and it's played out in public for the second half of my life, but everybody does. I respect anyone who, when they're knocked down, gets back up. It's really about just that. And I learned that from my mother who had a really horrible childhood and was so mistreated and neglected and abused and could have become a whiner, a quitter on life, and she didn't. She kept coming back, and she told me, she said, you know, you can be knocked down eight times, ten times, 100 times. What matters is whether you get back up. Reporter: I went to retrieve a photo I had seen on one of her tables, a couple who met in the Yale law library. She introduced herself saying -- If you are going to keep looking at me and I'm going to keep looking back, we should at least know each other. I'm Hillary Rodham. What's your name. Reporter: We watched her defend him. I love him and respect him and I honor what he's been through and what I've been through together. Reporter: And then become secretary of state with him by her side. I am so grateful to him for a lifetime of all kinds of experiences. Somebody said, forgiveness is releasing a prisoner and discovering the prisoner was yourself. I am 100% in the camp that says forgiveness is mostly about the forgiver. I know too many people having now lived as long as I have who can never get over it. Forgiveness is a way of opening up the doors again and moving forward, whether it's a personal life or a national life. Back to that photo from the table of a girl in a plain cotton dress on her wedding day. We were poor college professors. We got married in our house and I bought the dress off the rack the night before. We had a friend give us a reception. It was wonderful. Is this the happiest time in your marriage? We have had a lot of happy times. We started off a conversation all those years ago at Yale law school -- 40. Oh, my gosh. Lets never stopped. We make each other laugh. We support each other. It's really another one of my blessings. Reporter: As we said, it's a target for the political opposition. A magazine once called it the bill factor. Republican senator Rand Paul made it clear he will use the past in any race for 2016. There's no excuse for that. Republican Rand Paul said it's fair game to talk about Monica lewinsky, that it's fair game to talk about how bosses treat people. You know, he can talk about whatever he wants to talk about. If he decides to run, he'll be fair game, too, for everybody.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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