“It’s a huge hit to your psyche and emotions. And then a layer on top of that to be replaced. Yeah, I don’t know what stronger word to use than devastated. I was devastated,” Solis Doyle said, adding that she understood that “the campaign needed to be shaken up, and I got shook up and I take responsibility.”
After a controversial stint on the Obama general election campaign (“I needed to prove that I wasn’t incompetent”), Solis Doyle joined the law firm of the campaign’s counsel as a lobbyist in 2009. She said she helped bring in some clients but had no taste for the business. She set up Solis Strategies, though she no longer has any clients there and uses the outfit mostly as a way to get paid for a dozen or so speaking engagements a year. She said they bring between $5,000 and $10,000 a pop, and occasionally $20,000. She joked about the fees she might have attracted if things had gone better for Clinton: “I’d be making $50,000 for speeches instead of $10,000 for speeches.”
Two years ago she co-founded a financial firm called Vendor Assistance Program, which advances businesses money owed to them by struggling state governments; VAP then profits from late fees when the businesses are reimbursed. “I’m the president of a finance company. You know, what the hell!” she said. “I had no idea I’d ever be a successful entrepreneur, but it seems to be happening.”
She said she remains close to Tanden and Wolfson, and occasionally bumps into Penn and Grunwald at Sidwell Friends, where their children go to school. She says they are polite to one another. Solis Doyle said that she received a note from Hillary Clinton when her mother died and that she sent a note when Clinton’s mother died.
“I haven’t seen her since, wow, February of ’08, maybe?” she said. “I think this is true of everybody who worked on that campaign, including her. You learn from your mistakes. If she should run again — and again I don’t know — I hope she does. I think she would learn from her mistakes.”
Solis Doyle said that she found the prospect of another Clinton presidential run “even more exciting” this time around. But she expects to be otherwise occupied with her new business ventures. Working for Clinton is not in the picture, she said. “I’m just not doing that.”
She did, however, offer her former mentor one bit of advice.
“She shouldn’t run as a front-runner.”