Clinton Library Says It Can't Find Missing Oval Office Tapes

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 02:03 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Two pages of thousands of documents recently released by the Clinton Library were tagged with the words "Tape One, Side One," but library officials say they can't find the tapes that were transcribed.

The conversations that were transcribed were between then-President Bill Clinton and his aides inside the Oval Office, and included remarks on race, gays, and preparing for Y2K, ABC News reported. But the tapes may be permanently lost.

"The creation of this particular audiotape, its use, and any transcription [aides] chose to make were all done by White House staff prior to the transfer of Clinton presidential records to NARA [National Archives and Records Administration], and as such we simply don’t know much more than what can be found by searching the holdings as our archival staff has done," Clinton Library official Diane LeBlanc wrote ABC in an email.

The library, which is part of NARA, released the documents among its latest batch of other previously locked-down documents that were let go on Friday, CNN reported.

In the conversations, held with speechwriters ahead of the 1999 State of the Union Address, Clinton joked that then-Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas was "probably a major suspect" in the dragging death of James Byrd in Texas the previous summer.

Further, while talking about the politics of the parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay man who was beaten and later died of his injuries, Clinton said the "white people in Wyoming are by definition Republicans" and said pollsters warned him that his numbers dropped when he mentioned gays in a speech.

In addition, Clinton lamented that his draft speech was "a little more bull-sh****" on the topic of the Y2K scare, joking that he wished he could tell Americans to "buy shotgun shells and bottled water."

But without the tapes, Clinton's exact tone of voice may be lost for good. One of the aides who was at the meetings told ABC that the recordings were made for speechwriters who said they were using them to keep notes.

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