MediaWatch: July 13, 1998

Vol. Twelve No. 11

The Subtle Seduction of a Feminist Time Reporter

Former Time White House reporter Nina Burleigh recounted in the July/August Mirabella how she was "quite willing to let myself be ravished" by Bill Clinton. The magazine’s headline touted how Burleigh "thought she was beyond being seduced by a man’s power, his status, his job. Then she played cards with the President on Air Force One."

Filling in for Time’s regular reporter on Clinton’s trip to Jasper, Arkansas last summer for a funeral, Burleigh, now a Time contributor, recalled how she was asked to join Clinton in a game of hearts. Things quickly heated up: "The President’s foot lightly, and presumably accidentally, brushed mine once under the table. His hand touched my wrist while he was dealing the cards. When I got up and shook his hand at the end of the game, his eyes wandered over to my bike-wrecked, naked legs. And slowly it dawned on me as I walked away: He found me attractive."

Burleigh revealed her feminist standard of how men can ogle her if they are powerful: "We all know when we’re being ogled. The weird thing was that I didn’t mind. There was a time when the hormones of indignant feminism raged in my veins. An open gaze like that, at least from a man of lesser stature, would have annoyed me. But that evening, I had the opposite reaction. I felt incandescent. It was riveting to know that the President had appreciated my legs, scarred as they were.

"If he had asked me to continue the game of hearts back in his room at the Jasper Holiday Inn, I would have been happy to go there and see what happened. At the time, that seemed quite possible. It took several hours and a few drinks in the steaming and now somehow romantic Arkansas night to shake the intoxicated state in which I had been quite willing to let myself be ravished by the President, should he have but asked."

Burleigh is still ready to go, telling The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz what specific sex act she’d perform on Clinton to reward his pro-abortion stand. (See the accompanying issue of Notable Quotables.)