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Betty Currie

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Betty Currie

Betty Currie
Personal Secretary to the President
In office
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Patty Presock
Succeeded by Ashley Estes
Personal details
Born Betty Grace Williams
(1939-11-10) November 10, 1939
Edwards, Mississippi
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bob Currie

Betty Currie (born Betty Grace Williams; November 10, 1939) is the former personal secretary for Bill Clinton (during his tenure as President of the United States). She became well known as a figure in the Lewinsky scandal for her alleged handling of gifts given to Monica Lewinsky by President Clinton.

Contents

  • Life and career 1
  • Lewinsky scandal 2
  • Post-Clinton years 3
  • External links 4
  • References 5

Life and career

Currie was born in Edwards, Mississippi and moved to Waukegan, Illinois as a child. After leaving high school, she worked in the clerical field at the Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois. She later moved to Washington, DC and worked at the Navy Department, the Postal Service, US Agency for International Development, the Peace Corps, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Currie's rise in the government bureaucracy began when Joseph Blatchford became Peace Corps Director in 1969 and needed a new secretary. "The job was a crucial one. It had 10,000 people spread out over 68 countries, and I needed a reliable, efficient person," he says. "I didn't ask if she was a Republican or Democrat. I wasn't interested because she was so good." Currie stayed with Blatchford when he moved to ACTION, the federal agency that ran the Peace Corps, and she stayed there through three directors, Blatchford, Balzano, and Brown, building her own network among the people who sit just outside the big corner offices.[1] Her association with the Peace Corps has continued with her appointment to the Board of Directors of the National Peace Corps Association in 2006.[2]

After initially retiring from government service, she met John D. Podesta who encouraged her to return in 1984 to run offices for the Mondale and then again for the 1988 Dukakis Presidential campaigns and later join the Clinton campaign where she worked with James Carville in the famous "War Room" in Little Rock, Arkansas.[3]

After Clinton's election to the presidency, Currie served as his personal secretary during both of his terms. She still keeps in touch with the Clinton family, and donated $750 to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.[4]

Lewinsky scandal

Currie testified in front of the grand jury responsible for the perjury investigation in relation to Clinton's statement in the Paula Jones case. Currie testified on January 28, May 7 and May 14, 1998.[5] Lewinsky had testified that Currie had arranged a meeting at Lewinsky's apartment to pick up gifts given to her by Clinton, showed up at her Watergate apartment and said, "I believe you have something for me."[6] Currie denied this charge and claimed that Lewinsky had arranged the meeting.[7] Regardless of who instigated the meeting, Currie took the gifts in question home and stored them under her bed. The gifts included, among other things, a hat pin, two brooches, a blanket, a marble bear figurine, T-shirt from Martha's Vineyard, and Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass; the poetry book was of interest as Bill had given a copy to Hillary also.[8] Lewinsky gave Clinton about 30 gifts. The gifts were picked up after Jones' lawyers had subpoenaed them.

It was also revealed that Currie had asked Clinton's friend Vernon Jordan to help Lewinsky find a job in New York on December 8, 1997.[9]

Currie also testified that Clinton had recently called her in to work on a Sunday, on January 18, 1998, and pointedly said to her, regarding Lewinsky and himself, "We were never alone, right?" among other leading questions.[10] This, added to similar incidents involving other potential witnesses, led to Clinton's subsequent impeachment charge of obstruction of justice.[11]

Currie was not one of the four witnesses who gave video depositions during the Senate trial.

During the scandal, it was also reported by the Washington Post that Currie was receiving spiritual counseling from Jesse Jackson.[12]

Post-Clinton years

Currie has retired and lives in St. Mary's County, Maryland with her husband. She has a grown daughter. Socks, Chelsea Clinton’s White House cat, lived with her from the time she left the White House[13] until Socks was euthanized after a long battle with cancer in February 2009.[14]

She was appointed to the Alcohol Beverage Board of St. Mary's County Maryland, serving at her first meeting on Thursday April 10, 2008.[15]

In December 2008 Currie once again returned to Washington, answering phones for the co-chairman of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition, John Podesta. She did not return to the White House after President Obama's inauguration.[4]

External links

  • The HistoryMakers: Betty Currie
  • , Sunday, October 4, 1998; Page A1Caught Between Loyalty and PrincipleWashington Post
  • February 1, 1999, National Desk, Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 20, Column 1THE PRESIDENT'S TRIAL: THE DEPOSITION; Hearing Lewinsky on the Affidavit, the Job, the Gifts (but Not the Sex)NY Times
  • , Sunday February 15, 1998Sources: Lewinsky Sent Gifts Back To White HouseCNN
  • March 16, 1998Will The Secretary Stick To The Script?CNN

References

  1. ^ Gibbs, Nancy (1998-04-27), The Currie Riddle,  
  2. ^ http://www.rpcv.org/pagespage.cfm?id=104
  3. ^ Plotz, David (1998-02-08), Betty Currie. The plight of the presidential secretary.,  
  4. ^ a b Baker, Peter (2008-12-16), Obama Team Has Forged Another Link With Clintons.,  
  5. ^ Excerpts From Betty Currie Testimony,  
  6. ^ EXCERPTS FROM THE LEWINSKY EVIDENCE,  
  7. ^ Lewis, Neil (1999-02-01), THE PRESIDENT'S TRIAL: THE DEPOSITION; Hearing Lewinsky on the Affidavit, the Job, the Gifts (but Not the Sex),  
  8. ^ Monica: Gifts 'meant a lot to me',  
  9. ^ Baker, Peter (1998-03-09), Currie Testimony May Prove Pivotal,  
  10. ^ Merida, Kevin (1998-10-04), Caught Between Loyalty and Principle.,  
  11. ^ Baker, Peter (1998-12-20), Clinton Impeached.,  
  12. ^ Baker, Peter (1998-03-09), Currie Testimony May Prove Pivotal.,  
  13. ^ Craton, Susan (2008-12-16), Socks still rocks.,  
  14. ^ Betty Currie. Socks, former Clinton cat, put to sleep.,  
  15. ^ BAlcohol Beverage Board of St. Mary's County Homepage, 2008-04-10, retrieved 2009-05-05 
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