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Monica Lewinsky won't be making her television debut on "The Oprah Winfrey Show"

Oprah takes herself out of the running for Lewinsky interview

Web posted on: Wednesday, September 30, 1998 2:26:55 PM

CHICAGO (CNN) -- Television viewers will have to wait at least a little bit longer to hear Monica Lewinsky tell her story.

Oprah Winfrey said Tuesday she had turned down the opportunity to have the first television interview with Monica Lewinsky, indicating the former White House intern wanted to be paid.

'I do not pay for interviews'

"It has been reported that I was going to have the first interview with Monica Lewinsky. I was told that I did have it and then the conversation moved in a direction that I did not want to go. I do not pay for interviews, no matter what the payment is called," said Winfrey in a statement.

"So, I have now taken myself officially out of the running and I no longer want the interview," the popular talk show host concluded.

Lewinsky's spokeswoman, Judy Smith, said she wouldn't comment on the aborted interview talks.

'A really bad rap'

President Bill Clinton has admitted having a sexual relationship with Lewinsky while she worked at the White House.

Lewinsky received blanket immunity from Independent Counsel Ken Starr to tell her story to the grand jury investigating allegations that she and the president had an affair and that he attempted to persuade her to cover it up. She has yet to grant an interview on the case to any media outlet.

Lewinsky's detailed account of her relationship with the president was released last week by the House Judiciary Committee.

Winfrey said she had been interested in talking to Lewinsky because she could relate to her predicament.

"I think Monica's gotten a really bad rap," she said. "I've been 21, and I know what it's like to be 21. And an intern. In a situation where the president of the company acts like he likes you. So already my first question to Monica would be, 'How did this happen?'"

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