Drunk, Yeltsin left White House in briefs to buy pizza

Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin got so drunk during a visit to Washington that he was spotted standing outside the White House "in his underpants", trying to hail a taxi so that he could go out for a pizza.

The embarrassing detail about the extent of Yeltsin's drinking habits have been revealed by Bill Clinton in an oral history of his presidency — based on 79 taped interviews with historian Taylor Branch during his late-night visits to White House, The Times reported.

Clinton has also confided that the following night in 1995, a guard mistook Yeltsin for an intruder after the former Russian President was discovered stumbling drunkenly in the basement of the official visitor's residence at Blair's house. The next day, a drunk Yeltsin managed to give Secret Service the slip. Frantically looking for him, they found him in his underwear on Pennsylvania Avenue trying to get a taxi. He explained in slurred words that he wanted a pizza.

Speaking about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, the former US President said he felt sorry for himself and that "I cracked; I just cracked" under the pressure of personal and political setbacks, including the death of his mother and the loss of Congress to the Republicans in 1994.

Clinton was at first reluctant to talk about the Lewinsky affair because he feared that the tapes might be subject to subpoena and exposure and used against him. Yet, in August 1999 — six months after he survived the Senate impeachment trial —Clinton opened up, according to Branch, who has turned the tapes into a 707-page book 'The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President'.

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