Newly released White House papers show Hillary Clinton's obsessive streak

White House aide's files remind Americans of Hillary's obsessive bent

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 April, 2014, 5:39am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 April, 2014, 5:39am


A cache of newly released documents underscore the combative fashion in which the Clinton White House drove its agenda, and its obsession with what the former first lady branded the "vast right-wing conspiracy".

Hillary Rodham Clinton has been basking in the glow of good news for months, with poll after poll shows her towering over the 2016 Republican field.

But the release of roughly 7,000 documents that were sealed under the Presidential Records Act serve as a reminder that her husband's White House often took on the tone of war zone.

One unsigned and undated document contained in the files of Jane Sherburne, a special counsel to the White House between 1994 and 1996, details theories about how the right wing, with the help of think tanks and conservative publications, was funnelling "fringe" stories to the media. It also expounds on the financial powers and connections of billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, who was referred to as "The Wizard of Oz".

The right wing has seized upon the internet [to] communicate its ideas to people
Unsigned memo

Part of the problem, the memo suggested, was the fact that the internet "allows an extraordinary amount of unregulated data and information to be located in one area and available to all".

"The right wing has seized upon the internet as a means of communicating its ideas to people," the unsigned memo continues. "Moreover evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the internet interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information."

It's unclear what importance the memo held (or who even read it). But White House concerns about Scaife and his allies during those years are well documented.

And during a more combative phase of her career in January 1998, Clinton famously defended her husband by suggesting on NBC that a "vast right-wing conspiracy" had been plotting against Bill Clinton since he first announced his desire to run for the presidency.

The fierce advocacy for the Clinton agenda and war-like tone of some of the administration's advisers crops up throughout many of the advisory memos to the president in the archive collection.

Among the most intensive of the administration's battles was Hillary Clinton's effort to pass health care legislation, which ultimately collapsed.

There are reams of memos and charts detailing the concerns of each lawmaker the White House was targeting to support the legislation.

Another memo in the first lady's files outlined the political strategy for passing health reform. The administration would have to hold all liberal and moderate Democrats, and attract eight to 10 moderate Republicans in the Senate and between 15 to 20 in the House.

They planned to negotiate member by member, offering policy changes "which the member can claim to have won".

In the process, they would directly take on the health care legislation's foes, the unsigned memo said in all-capital letters: "We should not attack Republican members, with the exception of the far right members, like Senator (Phil) Gramm, but we should attack their principles and supporters. We must and can discredit the conservative Republican philosophy which says there is no problem and proposes no solution."