Living With the Clintons: Bill’s Arkansas bodyguards tell the story the press missed.
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Hillary, as described by the troopers, pursued power with a single-minded intensity, had few friends outside politics, and was not especially close to her family — just like her husband. “Everything was politics. They wouldn’t go out to dinner with friends the way you or I would or the way I’ve seen this governor [Tucker] do,” said Perry. “If they were invited to a private party, and there were only going to be eight or ten people there, she would say, ‘We’re not going to waste time at that thing. There aren’t enough people there.’ I never saw Hillary just relax and have a good time.”
While Bill genuinely enjoyed shaking every hand in a room, Hillary seemed to view retail politics as a distasteful if necessary evil. “She hated Arkansas. She would always say how ‘backward’ the state was,” Perry said. One trooper told Perry that Hillary forbade him to speak when he accompanied her on a trip to Washington because, as she put it, he “sounded like a hick from Arkansas.”
One of Hillary’s pet projects in Arkansas was HIPPY, the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters, which provided the mothers of underprivileged pre-school youth with in-home instruction by state-sponsored tutors. During the presidential campaign, a commercial was filmed at the governor’s mansion featuring dozens of the impoverished HIPPY children, who stood for several hours in the baking heat while the scene was set. For security purposes, the governor’s residence is fitted out with several video cameras and one audio monitor — at the rear door — that connected it to the guard house. “They would usually forget that thing was on, and we would pick up a lot of what they said. On this particular day, I heard Hillary come out on the rear porch and say, ‘I want to get this s — - over with and get these damn people out of here,’” Perry remembered.
The troopers were also objects of Hillary’s wrath. Patterson recalled the early morning of Labor Day in 1991, when Hillary came out of the mansion, got in her car, and drove off. Within a minute or so of leaving the gate, her aging blue Cutlass swung violently around and came charging back onto the grounds, tires squealing in the dust. “I thought something was terribly wrong, so I rushed out to her. And she screamed, ‘Where is the goddamn f — -ing flag?’ It was early and we hadn’t raised the flag yet. And she said, ‘I want the goddamn f — -ing flag up every f — -ing morning at f — -ing sunrise.’”
Such displays made Hillary by far the most unpopular member of the first family. Troopers volunteered to work several days of consecutive 16-hour shifts just to avoid traveling with her. Though it may have been a reflection of chauvinism on their part, the troopers thought Hillary “liked to intimidate men,” Perry said. She would remark that troopers’ guns are “phallic symbols.” Or she would phone the mansion from her law office and order troopers to fetch feminine napkins from her bathroom and deliver them to her at the firm.
Though they believe she advised her husband on all important matters of state, it seemed to the troopers that the Clintons led very separate lives otherwise. Hillary drove herself in the Cutlass each morning to the Rose Law Firm, about a mile from the mansion. Clinton worked either from his office in the capitol or in the residence. More often than not, one of the troopers drove the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, to school. In the evenings, the family members generally dined separately.
When Bill and Hillary did spend time together, they were barely civil to one another, in the troopers’ assessment. Many times the couple would be driven to an event an hour or more outside Little Rock — with Bill sitting in the front seat of the Lincoln with the driver and Hillary in the back seat — and say nothing at all to each other, which struck the troopers as quite tragic. “If he was dead politically, I would expect a divorce in 30 days,” Roger Perry said.
Over the years, the troopers have seen Bill Clinton in compromising situations with dozens of women. They said their facilitation of the activities ranged from wiping make-up off his shirt collar, to standing “Hillary watch” while Clinton cavorted, to arranging sex sessions in hotel rooms and parking lots, to sneaking women into the governor’s mansion while Hillary and Chelsea slept.
The troopers said Clinton devised and they executed an elaborate plan to accommodate his sexual appetites. Not all of the dozen or so troopers were assigned to these special duties. Perry and Patterson were two of a select handful, chosen by Clinton because he evidently trusted them to protect him and appreciated their street-smarts. It was kind of a down-home replay of the Kennedy days, as described by Richard Reeves:
According to Clinton biographers Charles F. Allen and Jonathan Portis in The Comeback Kid, stories of Clinton’s womanizing date back to the period when he was rejected by the voters in 1980 in his bid for a second term. “Clinton, seeing his political future vanish overnight, became careless about his actions,” they wrote.
As the troopers described the situation, the scale of Clinton’s extramarital activities only increased after he won election to a second term in 1982. When Perry returned to security duty at the mansion in the late 1980s, other troopers regaled him with tales of Clinton’s affairs in the 1982-to-1987 period. During the last five years of Clinton’s governorship, while Patterson worked at the residence, he said he gained first-hand knowledge that Clinton was involved with a group of Little Rock women — regular mistresses or girlfriends — numbering about a half-dozen. The names of the mistresses with whom Patterson was familiar, some of whom are married and have children, are known to me, but will not be revealed here, so as not to exploit them more than Clinton already has, or to punish innocent family members. Each of the names given me by Patterson was corroborated by Perry — who has knowledge of them dating back to 1989 — and the other two troopers with whom I met. I located each of the women by telephone, but each either denied involvement or would offer no comment.
According to Patterson, the long-term mistresses since 1987, in addition to Gennifer Flowers, included a staffer in Clinton’s office; an Arkansas lawyer Clinton appointed to a judgeship; the wife of a prominent judge; a local reporter; an employee at Arkansas Power and Light, a state-regulated public utility; and a cosmetics sales clerk at a Little Rock department store. They ranged in age from their early 30s to their early 40s. According to both Patterson and Perry, throughout the period of their employment at the governor’s residence, Clinton visited one of these women, either in the early morning or the late evening, or one of them came to the residence to see him, at least two or three times a week.
Clinton also had a series of brief affairs and one-time encounters from 1987 through early 1993 of which the troopers had direct knowledge. He often met women at social functions in Little Rock or on the road. Sometimes he would even use troopers as intermediaries, sending them off with messages and outright propositions to women to retire to back rooms, hotel rooms, or offices with him.
One of the troopers told the story of how Clinton had eyed a woman at a reception at the Excelsior Hotel in downtown Little Rock. According to the trooper, who told the story to both Patterson and Perry as well, Clinton asked him to approach the woman, whom the trooper remembered only as Paula, tell her how attractive the governor thought she was, and take her to a room in the hotel where Clinton would be waiting. As the troopers explained it, the standard procedure in a case like this was for one of them to inform the hotel that the governor needed a room for a short time because he was expecting an important call from the White House. (Not a terribly plausible story during the Reagan and Bush years, but it seemed to work like a charm with hotel clerks in Arkansas.) On this particular evening, after her encounter with Clinton, which lasted no more than an hour as the trooper stood by in the hall, the trooper said Paula told him she was available to be Clinton’s regular girlfriend if he so desired.
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