UPDATED with video: Former President Bill Clinton did pretty well answering #MeToo-era questions about Monica Lewinsky in his third take, while on tour with best-selling writer James Patterson, with whom he co-wrote the thriller The President is Missing.
It could only get better, after Monday morning’s book-tour kickoff on NBC’s Today, in which Clinton’s response to The Lewinsky Question were described as tone deaf– putting it nicely.
“I notice you did not enjoy that entire interview,” Colbert began, asking Clinton, “Would you like a do-over on that answer?… Do you understand why some people thought it was a tone-deaf response?”
Quipped Clinton: “When I saw the interview, I thought that, because they had to distill it, it looked like I was saying I didn’t apologize, and I had no intention to.
“And I was mad at me – not for the first time,” Clinton added, getting Colbert’s crowd to laugh.
“Here is what I want to say: It wasn’t my finest hour,” POTUS 42 added.
Meanwhile, Patterson’s eyes glazed over, having sat through this twice already, with umpteen more book-tour interviews to go.
“But, the important thing is, that it was very painful thing that happened 20 years ago,” Clinton insisted. “And I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family and the American people. I mean it then, I mean it now. I have had to live with the consequences every day since. I still believe this #MeToo movement is long overdue, necessary and should be supported.”
Previous evening, on his second stab at addressing The Lewinsky Question, at a book event in Harlem, Clinton said of his bungled Today answer, “I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked.”
He said similar on Colbert’s show, when the late-night host said he had seemed surprised that the question would come up in the Today sit-down, as if “this had all been adjudicated in the past.”
The “spirit” of the #MeToo movement, Colbert schooled, “is it doesn’t matter how long ago it happened.”
“With all due respect, sir, your behavior was the most famous example of a powerful man sexually misbehaving in the workplace, of my lifetime,” Colbert added.
Clinton said he had been asked the question before in the context of #MeToo, and had answered fully. Melvin’s interview bothered him because it started with an assertion that he had never apologized “and there had been no attempt to hold me accountable, which anybody who lived through that and knew the facts knew wasn’t so.”
“Nonetheless, I realized there are many people who have no memory of that, and all they saw was me mad and seemed o be tone deaf to put it mildly.”
Patterson took a couple questions during the two-segment interview. Colbert asked him, for instance, if Donald Trump is a believable character as President of the United States, or “are we living in a cheap novel right now?”
Patterson admitted that with “some of the things going on now,” citing reports Denis Rodman might go to Singapore for Trump’s summit with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un, make it “hard to keep up. That’s tough competition.”