Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton kept a “political hit list” following her failed 2008 presidential campaign, according to an excerpt from “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton,” a forthcoming book by The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Politico’s Jonathan Allen.
The authors allege that Sens. Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Claire McCaskill were all on the list, along with many other Democratic lawmakers who either endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama or remained on the sidelines during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.
While most political organizations keep track of endorsements, Clinton’s record-keeping was significantly more “nuanced” and detailed than most, according to the book.
A former Clinton campaign staffer told the authors, “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. And of those who didn’t endorse us, those who understandably didn’t endorse us because they are [Congressional Black Caucus] members or Illinois [delegation] members. And then, of course, those who endorsed him but really should have been with her. … That burned her.”
The writers claim that “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.”
The Clintons kept a list with grades from one to seven, with the most disloyal politicians earning the highest number. “The set of sevens included Sens. John Kerry, Jay Rockefeller, Bob Casey, and Patrick Leahy, as well as Reps. Chris Van Hollen, Baron Hill, and Rob Andrews.” Other “traitors” included: Rep. John Lewis, Gov. Bill Richardson, and Sens. Chris Dodd and John Edwards.
“Bill and Hillary were shocked at how many Democrats had abandoned them to hook up with the fresh brand of Barack Obama,” the excerpt says. “The injuries and insults were endless, and each blow hurt more than the last, the cumulative effect of months and months of defections. During the spring and summer, the Clinton campaign went days on end without a single endorsement.”
But the “hit list” wasn’t about punishing those on it, according to the book, so much as not rewarding them with future appearances at campaign events or other favors that the Clintons could have delivered.
“It would be political malpractice for the Clintons not to keep track of their friends and enemies. Politicians do that everywhere,” write Parnes and Allen. “The difference is the Clintons, because of their popularity and the positions they’ve held, retain more power to reward and punish than anyone else in modern politics. And while their aides have long and detailed memories, the sheer volume of the political figures they interact with makes a cheat sheet indispensable.”
Hillary Clinton has not yet publicly commented on the allegations.
SOURCE: Adam O’Neal