Hillary Clinton speaks of her pain and shame at the Monica Lewinsky scandal

( Times ) - Hillary Clinton spoke yesterday of the pain and embarrassment caused by her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky, ten years after the scandal erupted and at the height of a presidential campaign when women will be crucial to her White House hopes.

"I never doubted Bill's love for me, ever," Mrs Clinton said in an interview on Fox's Tyra Banks Show, aired on the eve of the Nevada caucuses today, her next contest with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.

"But I had to decide what I ought to do, I think it is so important to be able to hear yourself at a moment when it is hard, there are so many times when you really have to listen to yourself."

Asked by Banks whether she was embarrassed by Mr Clinton's relationship with Ms Lewinsky, which eventually led to his impeachment, she said: "sure, all of that."

The former First Lady also said that she was asked by other women "all the time" about what to do with unfaithful husbands. "I say you have to be true to yourself, no one story is the same as any other story," she said.

Her comments came as she and Mr Obama head into their Nevada contest amid allegations of strong-arm tactics on the Las Vegas Strip, dishonest campaign ads, and with race again looming as a significant issue.

Mr Obama was ridiculed by Mrs Clinton and John Edwards, who is still in the race, for comparing himself to Ronald Reagan, a figure of loathing to many Democrats. Mr Obama said that he and the former Republican President were similar in their ability to inspire people.

Voters in South Carolina, meanwhile, have their say in the volatile Republican race. It is a contest that is far from settled and where the leading candidates are already plotting their course to February 5, "Super Tuesday", when more than 20 states vote nationwide, a delegate-rich battle that could settle both parties' nominations.

In Nevada, Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama were accused of distorting each others' records, with Mr Obama rolling out a new routine at a Las Vegas rally on Thursday night in which he repeatedly attacked Mrs Clinton for not "saying what she means".

As they campaigned across the state for the final time, the Democratic rivals were also looking ahead, to their next contest in South Carolina on January 26 and, like the Republicans, to Super Tuesday.

Aides to Mr Obama held a conference call with donors and strategists to discuss the February 5 contests in Missouri, Tennessee, Connecticut and New Mexico. Mrs Clinton's camp was negotiating for TV advertising spots in multiple Super Tuesday states.

A poll by Nevada's biggest newspaper shows Mrs Clinton nine points ahead of her rival, suggesting that Mr Obama, as a black man, is struggling to win over Hispanics in Nevada, despite his endorsement by the heavily Latino Culinary Workers Union, the state's most powerful trade organisation. There were growing reports that the union was exerting increasing pressure on members to back Mr Obama.

In South Carolina the candidates are facing a Republican electorate so fractured that none can rely solely on their core constituency in the state to bring victory. John McCain and Mike Huckabee are locked in a fight for first place, although a new poll last night put Mr McCain seven points up. After their respective wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, victory in South Carolina would give one significant momentum heading into Florida on January 29 and then onto Super Tuesday.

Mitt Romney, who revived his campaign with victory in Michigan, is focusing on picking up delegates in Nevada's Republican vote today, a contest largely ignored by his rivals, before the February 5 contests.

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