Former American Spectator reporter David Brock apologized to Clinton in an open letter published in the April edition of Esquire magazine, saying he questioned the credibility of the sources he used for the 1993 article.
"I wasn't hot for this story in the interest of good government or serious journalism. I wanted to pop you right between the eyes," Brock said.
Brock's initial article gave a lurid account of the Clintons' behavior when Bill Clinton was Arkansas governor. The story was based largely on interviews with state troopers and has become known as "Troopergate."
It refers to a woman known only as "Paula" with whom Clinton allegedly had an untoward meeting in a hotel room. Paula Jones later came forward and identified herself publicly and filed a sexual harassment suit against Clinton.
In his letter of apology, Brock said he was tipped off to the story by a major contributor to GOPAC, a conservative political action committee founded by Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The donor put Brock in touch with Cliff Jackson, a longtime Clinton critic in Arkansas who steered him to the troopers he eventually interviewed.
"I don't know what happened between you and Monica Lewinsky any more than I know how much of Troopergate or Paula Jones' story is true," he writes. He later adds, "If sexual witch-hunts become the way to win in politics, if they become our politics altogether, we can and will destroy everyone in public life."
Brock said he never shared the "the visceral hatred" of many of Clinton's detractors, "but I did regard you, the first Democratic president in my adult life, as an ideological threat."
Hillary Rodham Clinton has publicly blamed a "right-wing conspiracy" for the accusations against her husband, including independent counsel Kenneth Starr's Whitewater investigation.
White House counsel Jim Kennedy called the apology "an interesting correction of the record."
"I'll let the article speak for itself," he said.
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