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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Lots of worrying in the Clinton White House

Bill Clinton: 'What, me worry?'
Bill Clinton: ‘What, me worry?’

The National Archives on Friday released about 4,000 pages of previously confidential documents involving former President Bill Clinton’s administration. The documents included some revealing comments about the Clintons and their concerns.

Some examples:

—”Be real…” according to an adviser’s 1999 memo. “Look for opportunities for humor. It’s important that people see more sides of you, and they often see you only in very stern situations.” Adviser Mandy Grunwald in a July 1999 memo as Hillary Rodham Clinton prepared for a Senate campaign.

—The first lady had an “aversion to the national Washington media” and staffers in “Hillaryland” should socialize more with members of the press corps as a way to help the first lady, saying it would “humanize her and show the press the good person that she is.” Clinton press secretary Lisa Caputo in an August 1995 memo.

— “The first lady’s months of meetings with the Congress has produced a significant amount of trust and confidence by the Members in her ability to help produce a viable health reform legislative product with the president.” An April 1993 memo.

— “CBO has the very real potential to sink an already leaking health reform ship.” Clinton aides Chris Jennings and Steve Ricchetti in a 1993 memo on the status of health care legislation on Capitol Hill.

— “Members going to their home districts for the August break are petrified about having difficult health care reform issues/ questions thrown at them.” A 1993 White House memo.

— “The American people have not given up on the Clinton presidency. They want the President to succeed — whenever possible, in fruitful partnership with the new Congress. They are willing to listen attentively to the President on January 24th, but only if has something fresh and compelling to say. The State of the Union may well be our last chance for a very long time to command the attention of the people as a whole. We cannot hold anything back.” Domestic policy aide Bill Galston to White House speechwriters in January 1995.

— “It is inevitable that the president’s remarks will be considered in the context of what Gingrich will do. There’s no way to know for certain what Gingrich will do.” Clinton adviser Paul Begala wrote in 1995 of newly minted House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

— “You know, he’s been running ’round the country, giving these self-righteous speeches about what a low-down, no-good son-of-a-bitch I am.” Bill Clinton, complaining about Republican presidential contender Lamar Alexander in 1998.

— “How old is Susan Rice?” National Security Adviser Sandy Berger in 2000, asking about a then-assistant secretary of State who would go on to have Berger’s job under President Barack Obama.

— “Doesn’t anybody care about me?” Bill Clinton to aides during his final days in office.


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