The Condit Interview You'll Never Forget
By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
Founder, Jews For Life
September 10, 2001
NEW YORK: "Good evening. I'm Charles Gibson, reporting from ABC News. Tonight is a special night for our TV viewing audience. In an exclusive interview earlier today, Connie Chung spoke with Congressman Gary Condit. For many months, questions have been raised regarding the Congressman's relationship with Chandra Levy, who has been missing since April 30. During the ongoing police investigation, Rep. Condit's character has come under scrutiny, and he has not been forthcoming, until now. Tonight, you will hear Connie's personal exchange with Gary Condit, as he finally breaks his silence. And now, we will turn it over to Connie Chung."
Congressman Condit, first, let me thank you for taking the time to be with us this evening.
Congressman Condit? Hello?
Are you talking to me? Sorry. For a moment there, I forgot who I was. Who I am.
Sir, are you prepared for this interview? We only have thirty minutes.
Sure. Take it away, Connie. By the way, did I get that right? Is Connie your real name?
Excuse me? Congressman, what are you…
Never mind. I thought you were someone else.
Um…perhaps we should do this interview another time?
No. Please. Go ahead. My mind wanders these days. Sorry, Bonnie.
Right. Connie with a C. I'll remember.
Sir, are you sure you're feeling all right?
Yep. Interview away.
What took you so long to return our calls?
I've been preparing my response for the American People.
For ten weeks?
No. Since this morning. Someone named Bill Clinton came to my office and taught me how to bite my lower lip without making it bleed.
Someone named Bill Clinton?
Well, yeah. President Bill Clinton. The guy who always bit his lip.
Yes. Of course. You had me scared for a moment, there, Congressman.
Moving along, can you tell ABC News and our viewers, did you ever have an affair with Chandra Levy?
Chandra. Chandra Levy.
That name, it sounds so famil…I'm not sure. I can't recall.
Are you telling ABC's audience and all of America tonight that you can't remember whether you had an affair with Chandra Levy?
All I can remember is that I've been married for 34 years and I'm not a perfect husband. I've made some mistakes, and out of respect for the privacy of someone else's family and my own family, I won't go into details at this time.
What do you know about Chandra Levy's disappearance?
You don't think I had anything to do with that, do you?
Then why ask?
Well, the entire country is asking, sir.
Right. I don't know anything about it. That is, I don't remember that, either.
I see. So what you really mean to say is, you had nothing to do with Chandra's disappearance, is that correct, sir? Are you being truthful?
All I remember is, I've been married for 28 years, and I'm not a perfect husband…
You already said that. And it's 34 not 28.
Thanks for reminding me.
No problem. Congressman, if you did nothing wrong, why can't you tell us if you and Chandra had an affair? Here's your chance to come clean.
You're right. The truth is, I did not know the young woman was missing until this morning, when some guy who calls himself Bill Clinton told me. Then, my doctor showed me the story in the newspapers.
Your doctor? Sir, should we cancel this interview? Are you not well?
I'm fine now. I just didn't know about this young woman Chandra until today.
ABC News was informed that you would take the opportunity and use this venue to break the silence and admit what happened with you and Chandra. Our viewers want answers. Chandra's been gone for almost four months.
I don't know what happened. I've been gone, too.
You mean, you left Washington during part of this time?
I showed up for a vote now and then, and the DNC tells me what to do. But my mind is gone. It's elsewhere.
Aha! You mean, you're preoccupied with someone else. Like one of your many lady friends! Anne Marie, perhaps?
No, it's not that at all. My mind is not functioning anymore. You see, I had a bad accident. I was diagnosed with amnesia.
WHAT!? Amnesia? When did this happen?
Five months ago.
You're telling the truth about this, sir?
As far as I can remember, I'm not lying, Bonnie.
My name is Connie. Bonnie is the lady who penned this piece!
Why wasn't ABC News told about this breaking report before you came on tonight?
Because I forgot to tell them.
Then why didn't you tell me?
I couldn't recall that I didn't remember earlier.
Why did you bother coming to ABC studios at all?
I read in the papers and heard on the radio that I was supposed to show up for some interview.
Now you're here, and the people are listening. Will you admit whether or not you had an affair with Chandra Levy? A simple yes or no will do.
Connie, the only thing I remember is what my doctor told me. Which is that I've been married for 19 years and that I'm not a perfect husband, I've made mistakes…
We already know that. You don't recall what occurred on April 30?
Let's see, I know that on the 31st of April, I had my second CAT scan, and an MRI…
Congressman, April has only 30 days. You've been married 34 years.
Right. Actually, I don't even remember the month of April. Or May. All I know is what my doctor and lawyer tell me.
Sir, could that be the reason why you arrived so late to our studio?
Yeah, for a moment, I got lost. I wasn't sure if I was even Gary Condit. Someone named Bill Clinton told me I was. Am.
It's like this. It happened back in March. There was a scantily clad woman in my bedroom who somehow broke in. I don't know how she got there. Claimed she was a stewardess. I don't know why she only had her bra on, but that's the way it is.
Anyway, I was in my apartment and had an accident. This scantily clad woman evidently called the ambulance and I was taken in secret to the Bethesda hospital and presumably admitted.
Presumably? Not absolutely? Not definitively and truthfully?
I can't be absolutely certain about anything. My memory was gone by then.
This is getting very interesting…what happened once you were presumably hospitalized?
Several days later, I was briefed about what happened on the evening the scantily clad woman broke into my place. Somehow, while unzipping my pants, I slipped on an issue of Playboy. Of course, I don't know why my fly was open, or how a pair of stray panties got into my apartment. In fact, I have no memory of the accident.
What do you remember?
The only thing that comes to mind is that I've been married for 11 years and am not a perfect…
We've been there, Congressman and it's 34…!
Thanks for the update, Ronnie.
Sorry. Anyway, I was informed that after viewing some photos in an issue of Playboy I was just totally knocked out. I developed anterograde and retrograde amnesia.
Explain what that is, please?
I have no memory of anything that happened before or after the trauma. I have both cases of amnesia at the same time. Usually, a person has one or the other.
Now, hold on, Congressman…ABC News was informed you were planning to tell the American People you're sorry for your evasive actions.
And I am. Sorry I seem evasive when I forget. Sorry I've been getting such bad press just because I have two left feet and one lousy memory. I'm a nice guy.
But you must remember something. Didn't the cops search your apartment?
I didn't know about that. I was in seclusion in Bethesda, recovering.
You were told about the search!
They said they were looking for some hot jewelry.
Why would the D.C. police and the feds make up a story like that?
Psychiatrists were afraid that if I suddenly got my memory back and recalled the details of this young missing woman…
…If you say so…I would crack and my memory might never return. They didn't want to risk that, so I was spared the details. That's why the only thing I remember is that I've been married for 7 years, am not a perfect husband, and some such nonsense.
But you are aware now that you were grilled by the police?
Only because we're discussing it. Once I leave here, I won't remember the police, either.
Is that why you never took an FBI polygraph test?
Sure. How can I be lying if I can't remember ever telling the truth?
Is it fair to say that if you don't remember anything, you may have had an affair and forgotten?
Could be. Can't say. To my recollection, no young woman ever came to my apartment. In fact, I don't even remember a girl named…er…named…ah…
Is that her name?
She was an intern at the Bureau of Prisons. Don't you remember?
The only intern I recall was this one very pretty young lady at the hospital…just out of medical school, too…and she worked me over, all right…
NO, NO! Chandra was an intern in Washington.
There was no intern in Washington. Only in Bethesda.
Look, I've been informed that I have a right to my privacy, and that other people have their privacy rights, too. The only thing I remember is that I've been married for 2 years…
Congressman, do you remember you represent the Modesto district of California?
No, because I was told I'm here to represent myself.
Do you remember your wife?
I forgot about her years ago.
Do you remember your lawyer Abbe Lowell?
Only when he sends me a bill. Once I see the fee, I forget about him, too.
Do you really believe this story you're making up, Congressman Condit?
I think so. Somebody named Bill Clinton believed he never had sex with somebody named Monica. And I never heard of either of them. Isn't that proof enough?
Will your constituents accept your explanation?
I don't remember what a constituent is, but if they're mine, I hope not.
Congressman, just answer one question. Do you know where Chandra Levy is?
No. Only what I read in the newspapers. This morning I read that she is missing.
For the last time: Did you have an affair with her?
What's an affair?
Is there anything you can recall?
The only thing I remember is that I've never been married. I'm single, a non-smoker, enjoy long walks in the park and romantic evenings at home. Seeking a tall dominatrix, under 25, slim, who loves animals, is not pretentious and is not into money. Sense of humor a must. Playboy centerfold look-alikes get quick reply…
And that's our interview, folks.
…I'm not a perfect man, I've made mistakes, those chicks knock me out…
Please tune in next week…
By the way, will you come back with me to my place, Bonnie?
It's CONNIE! Bonnie is the writer who penned this piece!
That means I'm not lying. I'm just a figment of a writer's imagination. By the way, this interview lasted 34 minutes, not 10 minutes like you said.
EEEEK!!! Get me outta here!
You're sweet. I like you, Ronnie…
Yeah, well forget it.
Consider it done.
For all of us here at ABC News, this is Connie Chung, until next time. Good night!
You mean, next time you'll be somebody else? Gee, I hope not. I always want to remember you…
The author of this piece thinks her name is Bonnie, although it may be Ronnie or perhaps even Connie and right now she's confused and is not sure if she can remember whether she wrote this piece or not. Please don't inundate her with e-mails asking whether this interview occurred. As far as she can remember, it didn't. But then, maybe it did. If you need a definitive answer, write to Gary Condit, care of some medical intern in Bethesda.
Copyright 2001 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.