Tuesday, November 17, 1998 Published at 18:44 GMT
Window into Lewinsky's soul
Lewinsky: Again in the spotlight
Some hate her. Some admire her. Now Americans - and the rest of the world - are hearing her speak.
In tapes secretly recorded by her friend Linda Tripp, Monica Lewinsky is anguished, girlish and matter-of-fact about her relationship with the man she calls the Big Creep.
What she says on the tapes is nothing new. For nearly a year, Americans have been inundated with what she said. Full transcripts of the conversations were released by Congress earlier this year.
The irony of some lines rings through on the tapes. At one point she says breathlessly: "Linda, you can't tell - say this to anyone."
"Oh sure," replies Linda Tripp.
"Not even like I heard ... I'm serious."
"Who would I tell?"
Just like anyone else?
What is startling is how much like other young women Ms Lewinsky sounds as she and Mrs Tripp analyse the minutiae of their lives.
The difference, of course, is that their office gossip revolves around the most powerful in America such as the president, his secretary, the White House chief of staff to name a few.
Throughout the tapes, Ms Lewinsky sounds frustrated, exasperated and self-absorbed.
In one conversation, Ms Lewinsky is close to tears as she tells Mrs Tripp how she hung the phone up on Clinton's personal secretary, Betty Currie, because she felt brushed off.
"I need to get out of here because I cannot - I'm going crazy. I am going absolutely ...."
Trying to soothe her, Mrs Tripp repeats, "I know. I know. I know."
"I am hysterical," says Ms Lewinsky, her voice full of distress. "I am throwing things. I am shaking. My heart was hurting before. I just can't ... do this anymore."
"Here is someone trying to tell you what they really feel - a truth. It might be something that is wrong.
"What you can't tell is whether they are lying to themselves. It does sound like at that moment they are trying to express what they feel."
Linda Tripp: Friend or foe?
In her role as Ms Lewinsky's adviser, she is at times harsh, at others soothing.
At one point, Ms Lewinsky exclaims: "I don't know why I have these feelings for him ... I never expected to feel this way about him."
"Fear is the biggest motivator. It's self preservation ... Why do you think you haven't been having the same access?" she continues.
"You seem to believe that all of sudden 'it's that he doesn't like me'. I don't believe that for a minute - especially given my perspective of a different age from you.
"And I know you want to protect him. I just don't want you to be savaged in the process."
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