JAKE Tapper once went on a "G-rated" date with Monica Lewinsky in 1997, the CNN host recounted on his show yesterday night.
Tapper, 52, interviewed Lewinsky, 48, on Tuesday's broadcast of The Lead and opened the segment by offering "full disclosure" about the pair's chance meeting almost 25 years ago.
The broadcast came on the same day that Tapper's and Lewinsky's date was due to be featured in the latest episode of the FX series, Impeachment: American Crime Story, on which Lewinsky serves as a producer.
"First of all, Monica: Yes, I have to disclose — full disclosure — in tonight's episode, our G-rated date from December 1997 … is portrayed," Tapper said with a smile.
Lewinsky, laughing, emphasized that the pair had "only one date".
Tapper responded by joking that the actor portraying him on the show is "way better looking than me now or then."
"No," Lewinsky assured him before the pair began discussing Impeachment,which recounts the story of her mid-90s affair with then-President Bill Clinton.
Tapper famously wrote about his date with Lewinsky for the Washington City Paper in January 1998, shortly after the news of the Clinton scandal broke and Lewinsky became a household name.
As Tapper revealed at the time, he first met Lewinsky during a friend's party at a bar in Washington DC.
Tapper said he approached a group of women inside the bar in search of an extra quarter to secure a pool table.
Lewinsky was among the group and, not only gave him the quarter he was seeking, but three more for good measure.
"Ignoring the usual coy mating rituals, Monica felt free to actually be nice. Just to be nice," Tapper wrote at the time.
"Maybe she wanted to meet me or someone like me. Regardless, it was refreshing. A warm patch of water in an otherwise chilly ocean."
One of Tapper's friends reportedly tried to warn him off Lewinsky, insisting she was "bad news" and that she "had left the White House because she had kept wandering into the Oval Office and inappropriately striking up conversations with the commander in chief.”
After getting her phone number, the pair made plans to go out for diner at a local Tex-Mex restaurant on December 23.
"Right off, Monica was different from the standard D.C. date: not a salad-picker, she joined me in appetizers and an actual entree of her own," Tapper wrote.
"She had a beer or two, while I drank bourbon. She even offered to pay for her share, a fairly rare offer I rejected but appreciated.
"We talked about some of her past relationships, though the president's name did not come up," he reflected.
"It was a first date, one I wasn't sure would be followed by a second, and how was I to know that the woman on the other side of the table would set the presidency into seismic rumblings?"
NO SECOND DATE
Calling Lewinsky "sweet", Tapper wrote that a second date with her "got lost" in his busy schedule and he never met up with the former White House intern again.
"I don't expect to see Monica again," he wrote at the time. "To be honest, I'm not sure I would have seen her even if she hadn't ended up buried beneath the headlines."
The article kick-started Tapper's career in journalism, landing him a correspondent role for Salon before eventually ending up at CNN.
Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives in December 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for his attempts at covering up his affair with Lewinsky.
During the impeachment hearing, Clinton famously declared: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
Clinton was acquitted of the charges in the Senate in February 1999, permitting him to serve out the remainder of his second term.
Discussing the Clinton scandal with Tapper on Tuesday, Lewinsky said the ex-president's role in their affair was "wholly inappropriate."
"I think what's really important to remember in today's world is that we never should have even gotten to a place where consent was a question," Lewinsky said, pointing out that Clinton was 27-years her senior, and "the most powerful man" in the country.
"So it was wholly inappropriate as the most powerful man, my boss, 49 years old. I was 22, literally just out of college. And I think that the power differentials there are something that I couldn't ever fathom consequences at 22 that I understand obviously so differently at 48," she said.
Clinton has, over the years, reflected on his relationship with Lewinsky, including comments in 2018 where he seemed to defend himself and suggest he didn't owe her an apology.
He said at the time: "No, I do not — I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That's very different. The apology was public."
He later admitted that the defense was not his "finest moment", adding that he felt "terrible" that the scandal had defined Lewinsky's life.
Lewinsky said Impeachment: American Crime Story shows "aspects of Bill that we haven't seen before."
Her own portrayal, she says, is also unfiltered, with Lewinsky emphasizing she thought it was important that the show didn't do any "photoshopping" of her life.
"I felt that I shouldn't get a pass as a producer. I think, first of all, I shouldn't get a pass in general. You know, I think it's important to take responsibility for mistakes, and I've worked hard to work through those," she said.
"But in particular with the show, there are so many people who have worked hard on the show and it was important to me that the credibility of the show be there."
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