The Washington Post

The four most notable nuggets from ‘The Hillary Papers’

Republicans are seizing Monday on a report published Sunday titled "The Hillary Papers." The lengthy piece from the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news Web site, details personal documents from one of Hillary Rodham Clinton's closest friends, Diane Blair, a political science professor who died in 2000.


Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton addresses the Center for American Progress policy forum in Washington on Oct. 24, 2013. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The report zeroes in on Hillary Clinton's time as first lady and Bill Clinton's tenure as president, all through the lens of Blair. Here's a look at the four things from the piece that you are likeliest to hear about again in the future — either anecdotally in other stories or as part of GOP criticism of the likely 2016 White House hopeful:

1. Single-payer health-care talk 

Alana Goodman reports that Blair wrote that Hillary Clinton vouched for a single payer health-care system during a family dinner in 1993. Clinton has said she never seriously thought about a single payer system. A dinner discussion is hardly evidence that she did — but look for Republicans to make hay about it nonetheless. Here's what Goodman writes:

On Feb. 23, 1993, Blair joined the Clintons for a family dinner at the White House. The subject of health care reform came up.

“At dinner, [Hillary] to [Bill] at length on the complexities of health care—thinks managed competition a crock; single-payer necessary; maybe add to Medicare,” Blair wrote.

The account is at odds with public statements by the former First Lady that she never supported the single-payer option.

2. Monica Lewinsky as a "narcissistic loony toon"

Blair recalled Hillary Clinton defending her husband in the wake of the revelation that he had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, according to Goodman's account. Hillary Clinton was also critical of Lewinsky, whom she called a "narcissistic loony toon" in a call with Blair, Goodman writes:

Blair described the contents of the Sept. 9, 1998, phone call in a journal entry.

“[Hillary] is not trying to excuse [Bill Clinton]; it was a huge personal lapse. And she is not taking responsibility for it,” Blair wrote.

“But, she does say this to put his actions in context. Ever since he took office they’ve been going thru personal tragedy ([the death of] Vince [Foster], her dad, his mom) and immediately all the ugly forces started making up hateful things about them, pounding on them.”

3. Richard Arnold 

Goodman writes that Hillary Clinton argued that passing over Arkansas Judge Richard Arnold for the Supreme Court, according to Blair, could send a message to his ally, Walter Hussman Jr. Hussman published the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a paper that had run unfavorable reports about the Clintons:

The details in Blair’s memo challenge the contemporary understanding of Hillary Clinton’s role in the debate over the 1994 appointment. The First Lady has been credited as one of the few members of the president’s inner circle who lobbied in favor of Arnold’s nomination.

4. "Big egos and no brains"

Hillary Clinton's opinion of the media was not great, according to Blair's account in the 1993:

“HC says press has big egos and no brains,” wrote Blair on May 19, 1993, during the White House travel office controversy. “That [the White House is] just going to have to work them better; that her staff has figured it out and would be glad to teach [Bill’s] staff."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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