- (Photo: Reuters/Gary Cameron)
PBS will air a brand new documentary on the life of former President Bill Clinton that offers new insight into his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
The four-part documentary airing next week examines Clinton's personal and professional life, the good and the bad. Of particular note is the president's vulnerability to women.
Marla Cider, who worked and had an affair with Clinton, told PBS that women were "literally mesmerized … It was like flies to honey."
"He needed that, he needed that kind of adoration," Cider added. "I don't think there was any question that Hillary was hurt, whether it was me or anyone else." While others saw a storm brewing with regard to Clinton's appeal and promiscuity, he chose to ignore it.
Finally, though, he made a very costly mistake and had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. News broke in 1998, and Clinton immediately tried to do damage control.
"When the Lewinsky scandal broke, the president paged me, and I returned the call. He said, 'Ever since I got here to the White House, I've had to shut my body down, sexually I mean but I screwed up with this girl,'" recounted Clinton's adviser Dick Morris.
"I said to [Clinton] that the problem that presidents have is not the sin, it's the cover-up, and you should explore just telling the American people the truth," Morris explained. But Clinton chose to deny the allegations, specifically addressing the nation and famously saying, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
Clinton was later impeached by Congress, but not removed from office.
The damage was done, though, and his reputation was permanently marred. His wife, Hillary, became a pillar and icon for women; today she is more popular and respected than her husband. In a 2011 CNN poll, Hillary was given a 65 percent favorable reaction, while in 2010, husband Bill only received a 55 percent favorable rating from a Wall Street Journal-NBC poll.
PBS' website states that the documentary is "the biography of a president who rose from a broken childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history and one of the most complex and conflicted characters to ever stride across the public stage."
"Most memorably, [the documentary] explores how Clinton's conflicted character made history, even as it enraged his enemies and confused his friends," the website adds.
Or, as journalist David Maraniss has stated, "People always try to separate the good from the bad in Clinton and say that if he had not done certain things, he would have been a great president. But you can't do that."
"Clinton" will air for four consecutive nights on PBS, starting Monday, Feb. 20.