Life After Vince — (The New Yorker)

SSRI Ed note: White House counsel takes antidepressants, dies by suicide.

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The New Yorker

A Reporter at Large

by Peter J. Boyer

September 11, 1995

REPORTER AT LARGE about Lisa Foster, the widow of former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster. This is Lisa’s first interview since her husband’s suicide two years ago. Vince and Bill Clinton were childhood friends from Hope, Arkansas. He and Lisa were part of the inner circle of Arkansans celebrating Clinton’s victory on Election Night 1992 at the Governor’s Mansion. Vince joined Clinton in Washington as the deputy White House counsel; Lisa and their three children joined them later. By the time Lisa arrived in Washington, Vince realized that he should have stayed in Little Rock; everything in the Clinton administration seemed to go wrong and much of it was souring under Foster’s watch (i.e. Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood, Lani Guinier, etc.). Vince took most of these failures very personally and he began to have trouble sleeping at night.

Things worsened with Travelgate, and the publication of three Wall Street Journal editorials that were critical of Foster. Vince realized that he was suffering from depression and began taking antidepressants. On July 20th, Vince committed suicide and Lisa was informed about his death by the Park Police.

Lisa immediately left Washington and went back to Arkansas. She was angry at everyone in Washington, the city she believed was responsible for her husband’s depression. Shortly after Vince’s death, wild speculations began circulating in Washington about the reasons he died.

Many subscribed to conspiracy theories linking Vince to Whitewater, the C.I.A., an affair with Hillary Clinton, etc. Lisa doesn’t believe Vince had anything to do with Whitewater or Hillary Clinton, and has conducted her own investigation into his suicide. She believes his depression, resulting largely from a sense of failure at work, ultimately drove him to suicide. Now, Lisa has decided to remarry a Little Rock lawyer named Jim Moody, who was just appointed to the federal bench. They will marry at the end of this year.

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