Former President Bill Clinton called his relationship with a White House intern a “terrible moral error” in a television interview Sunday night.
said in the interview on CBS “60 Minutes” that he committed adultery with Monica Lewinsky for the worst possible reason: “Just because I could.”
“I think that’s just about the most morally indefensible reason that anybody could have for doing anything,” Clinton said, “when you do something just because you could.”
Clinton said there were more sophisticated and psychological explanations for his moral failure, “but none of them are an excuse.”
“Only a fool does not look to explain his mistakes,” he said. “People should try to understand why they did the things they did.”
The interview came just before release of Clinton’s 957-page autobiography, My Life, due out in stores today.
In the CBS interview, Clinton said telling his family that he had been lying about his relationship with Lewinsky was his worst day in the White House.
Clinton said his wife was furious when she found out the truth. He said he spent months sleeping on the couch, and feared losing his daughter’s love and respect as well. “Sooner or later every child learns that his or her parents are not perfect,” he said. “But this was way beyond that and it was a big dose to swallow.”
The former president said Hillary Clinton needed time to decide whether to stay married to him. After she decided to give it a try, they worked together on salvaging their marriage, including joint and individual counseling for a year.
“It was hard and interesting work, and I would say to people who have invested a lot of time in a relationship that before they give up on it it’s worth trying,” he said.
Clinton told “60 Minutes” that he met regularly with three ministers to help him hold his family together and that he believes in the power of prayer.
“[I prayed] a lot as president,” he said. “When we had a daughter, we prayed every night together. And I prayed a lot alone. All my life. I didn’t wait for the bad times.”