Advance copies of Hillary Clinton's much-anticipated memoir ''Living History'' have been as hard to come by as Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; publisher Simon & Schuster has tried to keep the contents secret until next week's promotional blitz, which includes the Senator's interview on Sunday with Barbara Walters, advance excerpts running in next week's Time and People magazines, and a book tour for Clinton beginning on the book's release date on Monday. Still, the Associated Press managed to obtain a copy, and according to AP, the book does answer the one question everyone has wondered about for the past five years: What did she know about Monica, and when did she know it?
AP quotes the former first lady as writing that she believed her husband's cover story, told to the nation in January 1998, that he had not had an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. She writes that she did not learn the truth until the weekend before President Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony in August, when he admitted the affair to her. ''I could hardly breathe,'' she writes. ''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.''' She adds, ''I was dumbfounded, heartbroken and outraged that I'd believed him at all.'' She says she ''wanted to wring his neck.'' Ultimately, she decided that she still loved him and would stay with him; along with running for the Senate from New York, she calls that the hardest decision of her life. She also decided that, while Bill's deception was morally wrong, it was not a betrayal of the public.
Simon & Schuster is paying Senator Clinton a whopping $8 million for the book, $2.85 million in advance -- hence the carefully orchestrated campaign of secrecy. A spokesman for the publisher tells the New York Daily News that Tuesday's AP leak won't affect S&S' plans. Already, the book is at No. 7 on Amazon.com's sales rankings.