Phone Message Transcript: Feb. 7, 1998
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]

"Hello, everybody, this is Anne Rice. It's February 7, 1998.
I have returned from a fairly long trip to Florence and Rome, Italy. Let me thank you for all your messages regarding my strong feelings in favor of President Clinton. They were transcribed and faxed to me in Europe, so I was able to keep up with everything you had to say.

In general, except for four messages, all else--and there were a great many--were pro-Clinton, and many shared my view that the President should be allowed to focus on running the country.

However, there were four disagreements. Two were courteous and thoughtful. Two were rude to the point of abusiveness and insult. Since messages on this line are seldom abusive and insulting, these two messages stood out. One woman left her phone number. I would no more call this person than I would go keep company with hungry lions.

Let me make some general announcements and then I'll briefly take up the subject of the President again.

PANDORA will be out on March 15th from the publisher. THE VAMPIRE ARMAND will appear in the fall, probably around October 31st.

Both of these are "vampire novels." PANDORA deals with an ancient character, the paramour of Marius who was the mentor of the Vampire Lestat. Pandora has emerged as one of my favorite characters, as she is very strong, and had to face considerable adversity. She does not take the transformation to vampire as a tragedy. The novel focuses on how a brilliant, educated, and forceful woman deals with tragedy around her, and also with the powerful and somewhat authoritarian Marius. In a way, the book for all its blood and gore, is about mental attitudes. Pandora is open to all kinds of thinking. Marius is a strict atheist and rationalist, fearing those philosophies and religions that risk the supremacy of reason. Anyway, it ain't all that dry.

My love/hat relationship with the boyish and seductive Armand has ended in a long novel that very much resembles THE VAMPIRE LESTAT. It rolls along over centuries, and deals with all the heartbreak which life has given Armand personally, and with his love of God, nourished so strongly in his Russian childhood and in his Renaissance years with Marius, and which flowers in his later years when the Vampire Lestat comes back from his journey with Memnoch and shows Armand the Veil of Veronica on which is imprinted the bloody face of Christ. There is much more real vampiric horror in ARMAND. Little time is spent on his life before the transformation.

If I wasn't happy with both books, I wouldn't talk about them. I'm very happy. Though ARMAND is finished and on file with the publisher, I still have time to include many details resulting from my recent Italian trip. But I want to use this recent Italian experience in a new novel for which I don't yet have a name. I know that old Florence and Rome will figure in it.

Now on our President. Rather than argue point by point with the four people who disagreed with an earlier point of view, let me only state this clearly. I expect the president to be moral. But by moral, I mean I want him to care about the hungry of the world, the poor of the world. I want him to foster and promote world peace. I want him to protect us from nuclear threat from other nations. I want him to care about the environment, and about health care. I want him to give us tax reform. I believe he has shown himself to be a moral man on all these counts, and I look to him to continue to be the leader of the free world.

I don't care what he does with consenting adults behind closed doors. I don't care what he does sexually even if he does it on the White House lawn.

I'm revolted, nauseated at the conduct of Gennifer Flowers in trying to destroy Bill Clinton. I'm nauseated at the treachery and dishonesty and sheer malice of Linda Tripp in taping 20 hours of a friend's conversation. I think the harm that Linda Tripp has done to Monica Lewinsky far outstrips anything Bill Clinton is alleged to have done with any woman anywhere. Linda Tripp is an abomination. I think Kenneth Starr is immoral and ethically unacceptable as a prosecutor. He should resign. If he actually tried to get Lewinsky to wear a wire to entrap Clinton in comments about sexual activity, Starr should step down now. He is not only squandering the taxpayer's money in his vicious persecution of Clinton, he has shown himself to be an immoral man.

Moral does not mean sexual. Moral has to do with conscience. It has to do with our obligations under God, not only to God as our Creator, but to our fellow men and women.

Nowhere anywhere does it say in any document that our president has to be a celibate or a faithful husband. He is not a bishop, a pope, a cardinal or a priest. He is not a minister of a church. His personal life ought to be his own. If we had a legal clarification of this--if we could establish some kind of resolution that the president's sex life was his own business--then he wouldn't be subject to tyrannical snooping on the part of the FBI, Kenneth Starr or Linda Tripp.

I feel sorry for Monica Lewinsky. She is a consenting adult and she was when she met Bill Clinton. But she's young. And Linda Tripp has done her an incredible and terrible wrong. Kenneth Starr has compounded it. I'm highly skeptical of the way that people use civil suits to get their way. But I really do hope that Monica Lewinsky sues Linda Tripp.

That's all I have to say for now. I want to go write about Italy."