Bill Clinton
Paul Hawthorne  /  Getty Images
Former President Bill Clinton speaks after the premiere of "The Hunting of The President" at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts June 16, 2004 in New York City.
updated 6/18/2004 4:08:55 PM ET 2004-06-18T20:08:55

When they asked Sir Edmund Hillary why he climbed Mount Everest, he answered, “Because it’s there.”

When they asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, he answered, “Because that’s where the money is.”

And then there’s Bill Clinton. When they asked him why he fooled around with Monica Lewinsky, he answered, “Just because I could.”

Bits of the 42nd President’s first interview for his book tour are now out. He told CBS that the Lewinsky mess was done for “the most morally indefensible reason” that there was—that he could get away with it.

Clinton has also asserted that he never considered resignation, that he thinks of his fight against impeachment as a “badge of honor.” At a movie screening on Wednesday night, he said: “When the Berlin wall fell, the perpetual-right in America, which always needs an enemy, didn’t have an enemy any more, so I had to serve as the next best thing.”

Even if he’s right, it was the Lewinsky disaster that handed his opponents barrel after barrel of high-grade crude to throw on the fire.

His Lewinsky explanation  and other comments take up the entire hour of the CBS News broadcast “60 Minutes” this Sunday. He will also be visiting a Costco, signing copies of his memoir at the warehouse store in Washington state at the end of the month. Clean up of history at aisle five!

From the end of January through the beginning of December, 1998, I hosted 228 consecutive newscasts on this network, at this hour, devoted to the Clinton-Lewinsky saga. We occasionally did report other news, like “Frank Sinatra is dead—his last words were not ‘Monica S. Lewinsky’,”—but it was pretty much Bill, Monica, and Ken.

We anticipate a little bit of deja vu.

This was the No. 3 story on 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' on Thursday. Show airs weeknights, 8 p.m. ET


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