TIME TO MOVE ON - BILL CLINTON
Even Presidents Have Private Lives
It follows the full text transcript of
Bill Clinton's Address to the Nation,
also called his Even Presidents Have Private Lives
broadcast from the Map Room at the White House in Washington D.C. —
August 17, 1998.
This afternoon in
this room, from this chair, I testified before
the Office of Independent Counsel and the grand
jury. I answered their questions truthfully,
including questions about my private life —
questions no American citizen would ever want to
answer. Still, I must take complete
responsibility for all my actions, both public
and private. And that is why I am speaking to
As you know, in a deposition in January, I was
asked questions about my relationship with
Monica Lewinsky. While my answers were legally
accurate, I did not volunteer information.
Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms.
Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it
was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in
judgment and a personal failure on my part for
which I am solely and completely responsible.
But I told the grand jury today — and I say to
you now — that at no time did I ask anyone to
lie, to hide or destroy evidence, or to take any
other unlawful action.
I know that my public comments and my silence
about this matter gave a false impression. I
misled people, including even my wife. I deeply
regret that. I can only tell you I was motivated
by many factors. First, by a desire to protect
myself from the embarrassment of my own conduct.
I was also very concerned about protecting my
family. The fact that these questions were being
asked in a politically inspired lawsuit, which
has since been dismissed, was a consideration,
In addition, I had real and serious concerns
about an independent counsel investigation that
began with private business dealings, twenty
years ago-dealings, I might add, about which an
independent federal agency found no evidence of
any wrongdoing by me or my wife over two years
ago. The independent counsel investigation moved
on to my staff and friends, then into my private
life. And now the investigation itself is under
This has gone on too long, cost too much, and
hurt too many innocent people. Now, this matter
is between me, the two people I love most — my
wife and our daughter — and our God.
I must put it right, and I am prepared to do
whatever it takes to do so. Nothing is more
important to me personally. But it is private,
and I intend to reclaim my family life for my
family. It's nobody's business but ours. Even
presidents have private lives. It is time to
stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the
prying into private lives and get on with our
Our country has been distracted by this matter
for too long, and I take my responsibility for
my part in all of this. That is all I can do.
Now it is time — in fact, it is past
time — to move on. We have important work to do,
real opportunities to seize, real problems to
solve, real security matters to face.
And so tonight, I ask you to turn away from the
spectacle of the past seven months, to repair
the fabric of our national discourse, and to
return our attention to all the challenges and
all the promise of the next American century.
Thank you for watching, and good night.