Bill and Hillary Clinton: Who’s on their grudge list? And what did they do wrong?
A new book says the Clintons don’t just bear grudges, they write them down and rank them
Picking between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential primaries was a ticklish matter for ambitious Democrats in Washington. Those who plumped for Obama had no reason to regret it when he snatched the party nomination and then the White House. He owed them – and by then she didn’t matter. But what if she runs again in 2016, and wins?
It’s not certain yet. But take the cover of the latest Time magazine, with a woman’s trouser-suited leg and a miniature man clinging to her heel. “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?” it asks. Still, if she does end up in the highest office in the land all that will be a distant memory, won’t it? Well, no, possibly not. She keeps records.
A new book due out next month alleges that in 2008 Clinton campaign aides compiled a record of all those who had distinguished themselves in her eyes either by staying with her through the whole frantic primary season or by doing the opposite and endorsing Mr Obama over her. It even measures degrees of treachery, scoring members of Congress from one for the most loyal to her cause to seven for the ones who publicly forsook her.
“We wanted to have a record of who endorsed us and who didn’t and of those who endorsed us, who went the extra mile and who was just kind of there,” a member of the 2008 team told Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, who co-wrote HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton.
It is a “for-me and against-me” database that both she and the former President Bill Clinton have had to hand ever since. And they will have it still if she runs in two years.
“The spreadsheet was a necessity of modern political warfare,” the authors write. “It meant that when asks rolled in, she and Bill would have at their fingertips all the information needed to make a quick decision – including extenuating, mitigating and amplifying factors – so that friends could be rewarded and enemies punished.”
The seven-point, outright treachery scorers include the late Ted Kennedy, whose endorsement of Mr Obama just before Super Tuesday in 2008 did so much to propel him forward. Another is John Kerry, now Secretary of State, who also embraced Mr Obama at a pivotal moment in the primaries, declaring it was time to “turn a new page in American politics” – a statement that seemed to imply Mrs Clinton was already beyond her sell-by date.
The point of keeping tally was to ensure “that the acts of the sinners and saints would never be forgotten,” the authors say in the book. “There was a special circle of Clinton hell reserved for people who had endorsed Obama or stayed on the fence after Bill and Hillary had raised money for them, appointed them to a political post or written a recommendation to ice their kid’s application to an elite school.”
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