The Top 50 People Hillary Clinton Name-Drops in <em>Hard Choices</em>

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National Journal
Emma Roller
June 11, 2014, 1 a.m.

In her book Hard Choices, Hil­lary Clin­ton does a lot of name-drop­ping. And it’s not just U.S. dip­lo­mats and for­eign dis­sid­ents — she squeezes in room for U2’s Bono, A-Rod, and Art of War au­thor Sun Tzu.

But in terms of sheer quant­ity of name-drops, no one can com­pete with Barack Obama — not even Bill Clin­ton. Over the course of her book, Clin­ton ref­er­ences Obama (or some­times just “Barack”) more than 300 times. It’s worth not­ing that many of these men­tions are re­fer­ring to the gen­er­al “Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion” which she was a part of.

The rest of the list reads like a Who’s Who of Amer­ic­an in­ter­na­tion­al re­la­tions — both good and bad — over the past five years:

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Com­ing in second was Clin­ton’s hus­band, with 167 men­tions, fol­lowed by Richard Hol­brooke, a close ad­viser and friend of Clin­ton’s. Hol­brooke served as Clin­ton’s lead for­eign policy ad­visor dur­ing her 2008 pres­id­en­tial run. Had Clin­ton won, Hol­brooke would have been her sec­ret­ary of State. In­stead, he served as en­voy to Afgh­anistan and Pakistan un­til his death in 2010 (Hol­brooke was ac­tu­ally in a meet­ing with Clin­ton at the State De­part­ment when he suffered a fatal tear to his aorta).

Hol­brooke had served as con­sigliere to Demo­crat­ic pres­id­ents since the 1960s, but Clin­ton writes that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s treat­ment of Hol­brooke frus­trated her:

Hol­brooke’s old-school style of dip­lomacy — that mix of im­pro­visa­tion, flat­tery, and bluster that had out­man­euvered [Slobodan] Mi­lo­sevic — was a bad fit in a White House in­tent on run­ning an or­derly policy pro­cess with as little drama as pos­sible. It was pain­ful to watch such an ac­com­plished dip­lo­mat mar­gin­al­ized and un­der­cut. I de­fen­ded him whenev­er I could, in­clud­ing from sev­er­al at­tempts to force him out of the job.

The book also sticks to its title, ref­er­en­cing vari­ous “hard choices” 14 times, and the more gen­er­ic “choices” 95 times. Of course, this kind of #data­journ­al­ism doesn’t say much about the ac­tu­al con­tent of the book. What it does do, however, is give a good sense of the people Clin­ton finds truly im­port­ant in her life. Hol­brooke was one of them.

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