What I Learned Covering Hillary Clinton

She’s a magnet for controversy — and a savvy survivor.

Hillary Clinton is interviewed and photographed in Chicago on March 16, 1992, during the presidential campaign for her husband, Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton served on Wal-Mart's board of directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas, resigning in May 1992 two months after this photo was taken, and now is feeling political heat over her deep ties to Wal-Mart. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
AP
Ron Fournier
Add to Briefcase
Ron Fournier
Feb. 1, 2013, midnight

I stopped bet­ting against Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton 23 years ago when I watched her crush one man’s am­bi­tions to pre­serve her hus­band’s ca­reer.

Summoned to a Cap­it­ol ro­tunda news con­fer­ence by Tom McRae, an earn­est Demo­crat chal­len­ging then-Gov. Bill Clin­ton for re-elec­tion, I heard the click, clack, click of the first lady’s low-heeled shoes ap­proach from a hid­den marble hall­way.

“Tom!” the first lady of Arkan­sas shouted. “I think we oughta get the re­cord straight!”

Wav­ing a sheaf of pa­pers, Hil­lary Clin­ton un­der­cut McRae’s cri­ti­cism of the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion by point­ing to his past praise of the gov­ernor. It was a bru­tal sand­bag­ging.

“Many of the re­ports you is­sued not only praise the gov­ernor on his en­vir­on­ment­al re­cord,” she said, “but his edu­ca­tion and his eco­nom­ic re­cord!”

McRae’s primary cam­paign was toast. Bill Clin­ton was one step closer to the White House.

The story is rel­ev­ant today, Clin­ton’s last as sec­ret­ary of state, be­cause it serves as a re­mind­er of her im­mense tal­ent and am­bi­tion. Will she seek the pres­id­ency in 2016? Clin­ton doesn’t know. Friends ex­pect her to rest a year or so be­fore tak­ing a fi­nal meas­ure of her health and her pro­spects.

But if you don’t think she wants to be pres­id­ent, you don’t know her. If you don’t think she’s a de­term­ined policy wonk and pub­lic ser­vant, you haven’t been pay­ing at­ten­tion. And if you don’t think she has what it takes to win, you haven’t met Tom McRae.

Clin­ton is a sur­viv­or. She has weathered more peaks and val­leys than the Alps: Her cul­tur­ally dis­par­aging re­marks dur­ing the 1992 pres­id­en­tial race; White­wa­ter, health care re­form, and the Mon­ica Lew­in­sky af­fair in the White House; as a U.S. sen­at­or, re­spect and pop­ular­ity; in her 2008 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign, fail­ure and fam­ily in­trigue; and at the State De­part­ment, glob­al ac­claim, soar­ing ap­prov­al rat­ings and, tra­gic­ally, Benghazi.    

If you won­der wheth­er Clin­ton would be will­ing to risk her leg­acy for an­oth­er White House bid, let me tell you an­oth­er story. In late 1998 or early 1999, people close to Clin­ton told me she was mulling a U.S. Sen­ate cam­paign. I was stunned: No sit­ting first lady had ever con­tem­plated such a move, much less one whose hus­band had been im­peached for ly­ing about an af­fair.

It took me sev­er­al days to over­come my doubts. When I fi­nally re­por­ted that she was seek­ing the va­cant U.S. Sen­ate seat in New York, an­oth­er news or­gan­iz­a­tion quoted sev­er­al au­thor­it­at­ive sources in­sist­ing that she was not.

The com­pet­i­tion didn’t know what I did: Nev­er bet against Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton.

What We're Following See More »
AMDIST TRUMP’S CRITICISM
Session to Annouce Leak Investigations
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

The stand off between President Trump and A.G. Sessions is escalating. But Sessions is standing his ground and getting work done. "Officials said Sessions is due to announce in coming days a number of criminal leak investigations based on news accounts of sensitive intelligence information. And within hours of Trump’s public broadside, the Justice Department announced it would change a police funding program to add new requirements that cities help federal agents find undocumented immigrants to receive grants."

Source:
“DIALOGUE IMPOSSIBLE”
Russia Ready to Retaliate for New Sanctions
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Russia threatened to retaliate against new sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they made it all but impossible to achieve the Trump administration’s goal of improved relations." Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said hope “is dying” for improved relations because the scale of “the anti-Russian consensus in Congress makes dialogue impossible and for a long time." The bill passed with only three "no" votes.

Source:
TRUMP ANNOUNCES VIA TWEETS
Transgender Individuals to be Ban from Military
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
NEW ASSESSMENT SHRINKS TIMELINE
N. Korea Could Strike U.S. with ICBM by Next Year
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"North Korea will be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile as early as next year, U.S. officials have concluded in a confidential assessment that dramatically shrinks the timeline for when Pyongyang could strike North American cities with atomic weapons. The new assessment by the ­Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which shaves a full two years off the consensus forecast for North Korea’s ICBM program, was prompted by recent missile tests showing surprising technical advances by the country’s weapons scientists, at a pace beyond what many analysts believed was possible for the isolated communist regime."

Source:
ONLY THREE NO VOTES
House Sends Sanctions Bill to Senate
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login