Romney: Lewinsky Affair is Bill’s Failure, Not Hillary’s
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The Fiscal Times
February 17, 2014

Former governor Mitt Romney vows he will not make another bid for the White House after two failed campaigns.

Romney also insists that regardless of who emerges as the 2016 GOP presidential nominee, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky sex scandal of the 1990s will not be a factor in the race should Hillary Clinton end up atop the Democratic ticket.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has stirred up the presidential political pot by repeatedly suggesting that Bill Clinton's "predatory" sexual behavior toward Lewinsky, the one-time White House intern, would be fair game as an issue if Hillary Clinton were to run and win the Democratic presidential nomination. 

Related: Rand Paul Leads Attack on Hillary over Lewinsky Affair

Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the former First Lady, U.S. senator and Secretary of State will be judged on her own merits. "I don't think Bill Clinton is as relevant as Hillary Clinton if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president," Romney said. "I think her record is what she will be judged upon, not the record of her husband."

The former Massachusetts governor added that while Bill Clinton “embarrassed” the nation with his behavior, “I don’t think that’s Hillary Clinton’s to explain.” 

Romney is enjoying something of a post-2012 surge in popularity, in part because of the recently released  92-minute documentary "MITT" that shows a warmer, more human side to the former Massachusetts governor and businessman than the stiff, patrician image he projected throughout his two presidential campaigns.

Related: The Real Mitt Romney: What You Didn’t Know 

Certainly, he seems like a voice of reason in contrast with Paul, a tea party favorite and presidential aspirant who has publicly called Bill Clinton "a sexual predator" and asserted that "dozens or at least half a dozen public women" have come forward with allegations. 

Over the weekend, The Washington Post's Fact Checker gave Paul Three Pinocchio’s for his charges against Bill Clinton. "Under the most generous accounting, one can find just three women who publicly came forward with claims of sexual assault, but none was ever proven in a court of law," wrote the Post’s Glenn Kessler. "Paul needs to get his facts straight, rather than cavalierly toss out claims of 'dozens' or 'half a dozen' women publicly claiming that Clinton was a sexual predator." 

Related: Hillary Clinton 2016 Alert: Watch Your Left Flank

Paul has also said that Democrats should return any campaign money raised by Bill Clinton to protest his affair with Lewinsky.

A week ago, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative on-line publication, revealed a rich trove of papers describing Hillary Clinton’s reaction to her husband’s infidelity. The voluminous documents include correspondence, journal entries, memos and interviews from the mid-1970s to about 2000 from Diane Blair, a political science professor and one of Hillary Clinton’s best friends, who died in 2000. 

Nine months after the news broke in January 1998 that President Clinton had had an affair with the 22-year-old Lewinsky beginning in November 1995, Hillary Clinton described Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony tune” in a phone call with Blair. She defended her husband and called the affair a mistake spurred in part by politics, her own failures and the loneliness of the presidency.

“Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office? I mean, really,” Paul said. “And then (Democrats) have the gall to stand up and say, ‘Republicans are having a war on women’? Now, it’s not Hillary’s fault…but it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history.”

Related: Rand Paul: 13 Things You Didn't Know About Him

While insisting that the Lewinsky scandal doesn’t necessarily detract from Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president, Paul added that it is hard to separate the two since they are married.

During his appearance on Sunday, Romney said he would not run for the White House again, after losing his challenge to President Obama in November 2012. He also lost a bid to win his party's 2008 nomination to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona.

Romney said that, although Ronald Reagan won the White House on his third attempt, "I'm not Ronald Reagan. I think that has been pointed out to me before."

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Washington Editor and D.C. Bureau Chief Eric Pianin is a veteran journalist who has covered the federal government, congressional budget and tax issues, and national politics. He spent over 25 years at The Washington Post.