Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Monica Samille Lewinsky (born July 23, 1973) is an American woman who had a sexual affair with U.S. President Bill Clinton, conducted while Lewinsky was working as an intern at the White House in the mid-1990s. The affair's reprecussions for President Clinton are often referred to as the Lewinsky scandal.
Lewinsky, who is of Russian Jewish descent, was born in San Francisco and grew up in Southern California on the west side of Los Angeles and in Beverly Hills. She graduated with a Psychology degree from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon in 1995, and afterwards moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked at the White House during Clinton's first term.
While at the White House she had a short-term sexual relationship with the President. Clinton and Lewinsky both denied that the relationship involved sexual intercourse. The news of this affair, and the resulting investigation, and impeachment, became known as the Lewinsky scandal.
Confidant Linda Tripp was secretly recording her telephone conversations with Lewinsky regarding the affair with Clinton. Later, Tripp would give the tapes to Kenneth Starr (independent prosecutor), and these would divert him from an investigation of the Whitewater scandal.
Lewinsky admitted that her relationship with Clinton involved oral sex in the Oval Office. This was documented in the Starr report, which eventually led to President Clinton's impeachment on the allegation of perjury regarding the affair.
Clinton denied having sexual intercourse with Lewinsky while under oath in an unrelated trial. In a nationally televised clip from a White House news conference, Clinton later claimed "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." The line later became a punchline for its technical verity but deceptive nature, based on one's definition of "sexual relations." In addition, he stated "There is no sexual relationship" with Lewinsky, a statement which he later said was truthful depending on one's definition of "is." Under pressure from Starr on August 19, 1998, who Clinton learned had obtained from Lewinsky a blue dress with Clinton's semen stain, Clinton apologized for misleading the American people, and he admitted that he had had an "inappropriate" relationship with Lewinsky. Clinton denied having committed perjury because oral sex was not a sexual relation.
Clinton soon faced impeachment hearings in the U.S. Congress. Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives but not convicted in the Senate, so he was not removed from office. Interestingly, Clinton saw his job approval ratings among the American people increase during and after the scandal.
The affair, and its sordid details, led to a period of cultural celebrity for Lewinsky; as an unlikely sex symbol, and as a younger-generation nexus of a political storm that was both lighthearted, and extremely serious at the same time. Some mild use of the name "Lewinsky" still exists as a term for oral sex, though Lewinsky references and jokes have long cooled in the public interest.
By her own account, Lewinsky survived the intense media attention by knitting. She now runs her own business, selling her own brand of handbags. She was also the host of the short-lived reality television dating program called Mr. Personality. Lewinsky currently lives in New York City.
- Starr Report: Nature of President Clinton's Relationship with Monica Lewinsky
- A Guide to the Monica Lewinsky Story, also: The Starr Report; Tripp Tapes; Articles of Impeachment; The "Stalker" Tale
- Monica Lewinsky profile in the Washington Post (January 24, 1998)
- Lewinsky profile in New York magazine, 2001
- Urban Dictionary defines the slang term "Lewinsky"
- The Real Monica, Inc. - Lewinsky's purse company
- Monica's Story by Andrew Morton (Paperback 1999 Publisher: St. Marshal's Press ISBN 0312973624)
- by Marvin L. Kalb
- by Lauren Berlant and Lisa Duggan
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