Excerpts from 'Living History'
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The following are excerpts from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoir "Living History."
Introduction: "My eight years in the White House tested my faith and political beliefs, my marriage, and our nation's Constitution. I became a lightning rod for political and ideological battles waged over America's future and a magnet for feelings, good and bad, about women's choices and roles. This book is the story of how I experienced those eight years as first lady and the wife of the president."
Vince Foster: "[White House Chief of Staff] Mack McLarty called me at my mother's house [in Arkansas] and told me he had terrible news: Vince Foster was dead; it looked like a suicide....
"As soon as Mack got off the line, I told my mother and Chelsea. Then I started dialing everyone I could think of who knew Vince, hoping someone could shed light on how and why this could have happened. I craved information like oxygen. I felt frantic because I felt so far away....
"Two days after Vince's death, [White House Counsel] Bernie Nussbaum went to Vince's office, and with representatives from the Justice Department and the FBI, reviewed every document there for anything that might shed light on his suicide....
"Bernie discovered that Vince had stored in his office some personal files containing work he had done for Bill and me when he was our attorney in Little Rock, including files that had to do with the land deal called Whitewater. Bernie gave these files to [my chief of staff] Maggie Williams, who delivered them to the residence, and soon after, they were transferred to the office of Bob Barnett, our private attorney in Washington.
"Since Vince's office was never a crime scene, these actions were understandable, legal, and justifiable. But they would soon spawn a cottage industry of conspiracy theorists and investigators trying to prove that Vince was murdered to cover up what he 'knew about Whitewater.' Those rumors should have ended with the official report ruling his death a suicide and with the sheet of notepaper Bernie found torn into 27 pieces at the bottom's of Vince's briefcase. It was not so much a suicide note as a cry from the heart..."
Whitewater: Clinton calls the Arkansas investment it an "old money-losing real estate venture" that came "back to haunt us."
"The name Whitewater came to represent a limitless investigation of our lives that cost the taxpayers over $70 million for the Independent Counsel investigation alone and never turned up any wrongdoing on our part. Bill and I voluntarily cooperated with the investigators. Every time they leaked or leveled a new charge, we bent over backwards to make sure we hadn't missed or overlooked anything substantive. But as one allegation followed another, we realized we were chasing ghosts in a house of mirrors: We would run in one direction only to have the apparition pop up behind us. Whitewater never seemed real because it wasn't.
"The purpose of the investigation was to discredit the president and the administration and slow down its momentum. It didn't matter what the investigations were about; it only mattered that there were investigations. It didn't matter that we had done nothing wrong; it only mattered that the public was given the impression that we had. It didn't matter that the investigations costs taxpayers tens of millions of dollars; it only mattered that our lives and the work of the president were disrupted over and over again. Whitewater signaled a new tactic in political warfare: investigation as a weapons for political destruction. 'Whitewater' became a convenient catchall for any and all attacks that our political adversaries could design."
Health Care: Clinton reflects on the defeat of her "managed competition" health care reform proposal in the fall of 1994.
"After 20 months, we conceded defeat. We knew we had alienated a wide assortment of health care industry experts and professionals, as well as some of our own legislative allies. Ultimately, we could never convince the vast majority of Americans who have health insurance that they wouldn't have to give up benefits and medical choices to help the minority of Americans without coverage. Nor could we persuade them that reform would protect them from losing insurance and would make their medical care more affordable in the future.
"Bill and I were disappointed and discouraged. I knew I had contributed to our failure, both because of my own missteps and because I underestimated the resistance I would meet as a first lady with a policy mission."
President Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky: Mrs. Clinton describes what the president told her about the former White House intern two days before his testimony to Independent Counsel Ken Starr in August 1998:
"Early the next morning, Saturday August 15, Bill woke me up just as he had done months before. This time he didn't sit by the bed, but paced back and forth. He told me for the first time that the situation was much more serious than he had previously acknowledged. He now realized he would have to testify that there had been an inappropriate intimacy. He told me that what happened between them had been brief and sporadic. He couldn't tell me seven months ago, he said, because he was too ashamed to admit it and he knew how angry and hurt I would be.
"I could hardly breathe. Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him, 'What do you mean? What are you saying? Why did you lie to me?'
"I was furious and getting more so by the second. He just stood there saying over and over again, 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I was trying to protect you and Chelsea.' I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Up until now, I only thought that he'd been foolish for paying attention to the young woman and was convinced he was being railroaded. I couldn't believe he would do anything to endanger our marriage and our family. I was dumbfounded, heartbroken, and outraged that I'd believed him at all."
Clinton told the president he had to confess to their daughter Chelsea:
"These were terrible moments for all of us. I didn't know whether our marriage could -- or should -- survive such a stinging betrayal, but I knew I had to work through my feelings carefully, on my own timetable."
After his televised public statement admitting the affair and after his testimony to Starr: "Bill's standing in public opinion polls remained high. His standing with me had hit rock bottom....I could barely speak to Bill, and when I did, it was a tirade."
Mrs. Clinton describes her feelings at the end of August 1998:
"Although I was heartbroken and disappointed with Bill, my long hours alone made me admit to myself that I loved him. What I still didn't know was whether our marriage could or should last."
Impeachment: "My personal feelings and political beliefs were on a collision course. As his wife, I wanted to wring Bill's neck. But he was not only my husband, he was also my president, and I thought that, in spite of everything, Bill led America and the world in a way that I continued to support.
No matter what he had done, I did not think any person deserved the abusive treatment he had received. His privacy, my privacy, Monica Lewinsky's privacy and the privacy of our families had been invaded in a cruel and gratuitous manner. I believe what my husband did was morally wrong. So was lying to me and misleading the American people about it.
I also knew his failing was not a betrayal of his country. Everything I had learned from the Watergate investigation convinced me that there were no grounds to impeach Bill. If men like Starr and his allies could ignore the Constitution and abuse power for ideological and malicious ends to topple a president, I feared for my country."
"Bill and I had agreed to participate in regular martial counseling to determine whether or not we were going to salvage our marriage. On one level, I was emotionally shell-shocked and trying to deal with the raw wound I had suffered. On another level, I believed Bill was a good person and a great president. I viewed the independent counsel's assault on the presidency as an ever escalating political war, and I was on Bill's side."
Senate race: Clinton describes the pressure and decision making in deciding in 1999 whether to run.
"I needed a push. Finally I got one, but it didn't come from a political adviser or Democratic leader. In March, I went to New York City to join tennis legend Billie Jean King at an event promoting an HBO special about women in sports. We gathered at the Lab School in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, joined by dozens of young women athletes who were assembled on a stage adorned with a giant banner that said 'Dare to Compete,' the title of the HBO film. Sofia Totti, the captain of the girls' basketball team, introduced me. As I went to shake her hand, she leaned toward me and whispered in my ear.
"'Dare to compete, Mrs. Clinton,' she said. 'Dare to compete.'
"Her comment caught me off guard, so much so that I left the event and began to think: Could I be afraid to do something I had urged countless other women to do? Why am I vacillating about taking on this race? Why aren't I thinking more seriously about it? Maybe I should 'dare to compete.'"
She started her exploratory campaign in June 1999
"The most difficult decisions I have made in my life were to stay married to Bill and to run for the Senate from New York....I had no doubt that I could construct a satisfying life by myself and make a good living, but I hoped Bill and I could grow old together. We were both committed to rebuilding our marriage with the tools of our faith, love, and shared past."
Bush v. Gore and the 2000 election: "Seldom if ever in our history has the people's right to choose their elected officials been thwarted by such a blatant abuse of power."