When it comes to Hillary Clinton, the question no longer seems to be will she run for president but when will she announce. But as the insistent chatter grows louder about an assumed presidential campaign, so too have the echoes from the scandals of the Clintons’ past.
The authors of the new book “HRC,” which traces Clinton’s ascendance from defeated 2008 candidate to the presumptive Democratic frontrunner, told “Top Line” that the skeletons of the Clintons’ past, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal in particular, are unlikely to pose a true obstacle to Hillary if she does in fact run in 2016.
“President Clinton's and Hillary Clinton's approval ratings shot up during the Monica Lewinsky affair,” co-author Jonathan Allen said. “I think it's one of the reasons you see Karl Rove and some of the other folks in the establishment to stay away from that, because it didn't help Republicans in the 1990s.”
Allen said that Clinton will focus her campaign on the future, and that includes a strategy of making nice with enemies of the past. He and co-author Amie Parnes reveal in the book that Clinton has an “enemy list,” which ranks Democratic members of Congress based on their loyalty to the 2008 Clinton campaign.
“If you owed them some loyalty or they believed you did, and you didn't give it, even some people who remained neutral ended up as sevens,” Allen said, explaining that seven was least loyal and one was most loyal. “John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Chris Van Hollen were on the seven list.”
But those previous lapses in loyalty can be forgiven in a new Clinton era, said Allen, who described “an open-door policy to people who want to come back into the fold.”
Just as the Clintons will shed with the enemy list that no longer serves their interests going into a fresh election cycle, Parnes said, so too will they part ways with former senior aides who have fallen from grace in their eyes since reviewing the mistakes of 2008.
“She learned that there was a certain arrogance at the top from her people in terms of Patti Solis Doyle and Mark Penn,” Parnes said. “I think you're not going to see any of those players obviously play a role in her campaign this time around.”
For more of the interview, including how Allen and Parnes say Clinton has changed on a personal level since the 2008 election, check out this episode of “Top Line.”
ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Gary Westphalen, John Bullard, and Mary Quinn contributed to this episode.