Bill Clinton "mesmerized women" and often had up to 25 women show up every day when he was running for governor of Arkansas looking for him, a controversial new documentary will reveal.

Marla Crider, who worked with Clinton in Arkansas and says she had an affair with him, said women were "literally mesmerized" when they him.

"It was like flies to honey. I don't think there is any question Hillary was hurt," she says.

"Monica Lewinsky gave him something that he needed at that time: to be adored."

Clinton also told pollster Dick Morris that when he went to the White House he had to “shut down my body” and he eventually broke down and began the now infamous Monica Lewisnky affair.

For the first time, several close associates of Clinton have spoken about his women problems as well as his involvement with Monica Lewinsky.



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The two-part biography will be screened in the U.S. and Britain in February. In it, Dock Morris told the reporter that just before the Lewinsky affair broke, Clinton called to tell him.

"Bill said to me: 'Ever since I got to the White House I have had to shut down my body,'" says Morris, who was then asked to carry out opinion polls on how to handle the crisis.

Another insider Ken Gormley, a legal expert in the White House, said he knew Lewinsky was trouble the moment he saw her with the president.

"There were almost these sparks flying between them from the first moment when they saw each other," he says.

Clinton's entanglements with women began when he started first running for office. One campaign manager remembers dealing with "25 women a day" who came to the office looking for Clinton.

David Maraniss, the Pulitzer prizewinning journalist who wrote a major biography on Clinton, said his legacy had to include the good and the bad.

"People always try to separate the good from the bad in Clinton and say that, if he had not done certain things, he would have been a great president. But you can't do that. Those were his major characteristics," Maraniss told the Observer.

Robert Reich, Clinton's labour secretary, was shocked when the Lewinsky affair was revealed.
"He would not be so stupid as to jeopardise his whole presidency, I felt. That was not the man I knew."

When the affair became public, however, it fuelled the inquiry into Clinton's presidency. Leading journalist Jeff Toobin says the Lewinsky affair did not hurt Clinton as much as was felt at the time.

"The legacy of this scandal favours Clinton more than his adversaries," he told the London Observer. "More Americans think that it was a trivial waste of time than think that he got away with something unforgivable."

"In comparison, too, both with [George] Bush, with his foreign misadventures, and with [Barack] Obama's economic problems, the boom years of Clinton's presidency start to look a lot better," said Toobin.

Former US president Bill Clinton