Hillary Clinton's future as the 2016 Democratic nominee may be inevitable, but a little-known archive of old confidential documents kept by Clinton’s friend and former adviser Diane Blair — published by the Washington Free Beacon Sunday — may give her detractors some ammunition.
The documents published total 40 pages and portray a strong but "ruthless" first lady.
In a May 12, 1992 memo titled “Research on Hillary Clinton," a pair of pollsters for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign wrote that while Arkansas voters admired her, “they also fear that only someone too politically ambitious, too strong, and too ruthless could survive such controversy so well.”
“What voters find slick in Bill Clinton," the pollsters wrote, "they find ruthless in Hillary.”
The archive includes confidential memos, strategy documents and accounts of conversations with the Clintons kept by Blair, a political science professor Clinton once described as her “closest friend."
Blair died in 2000. Her husband donated the papers to the University of Arkansas library after her death. They were made public in 2010.
Other memos suggest the former first lady let her opinions on policy and presidential appointments be known while she was a White House resident.
“[Hillary] adamant; [Bill] must devise new outside strategy; we’re getting killed," Blair wrote in a memo dated Feb. 23, 1993. "Congress a bunch of whiners; no courage. Her health care plan will save billions in long run but will cost big $ up front. [Members of Congress] don’t work; only 3 days a week; only care for re-election. [Bill] clearly not very happy w. his own crew and advisors. [Hillary] urging hard ball.”
“HC says press has big egos and no brains,” Blair wrote in a May 19, 1993. “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.”
By 1994, though, Hillary had apparently lost patience with Bill's staff, and was “furious” at him for “ruining himself and the Presidency."
“She keeps trying to shape things up, knows what’s wrong, but [Bill] can’t fire people, exert discipline, punish leakers,” Blair wrote on May 17, 1994. “Never had strategy for Whitewater, troopers, Paula [Jones]. … Inability to organize, make tough choices, drives her nuts.”
Another memo documented a phone call Blair had with Hillary shortly after Bill Clinton's impeachment.
“[Hillary] sounded very up, almost jolly,” Blair wrote. “Told me how she and Bill and Chelsea had been to church, to a Chinese restaurant, to a Shakespeare play, greeted everywhere with wild applause and cheers — this, she said is what drives their adversaries totally nuts, that they don’t bend, do not appear to be suffering.”
“Most people in this town have no pain threshold," Clinton told Blair, according to Blair's account.
The publication of the files came on the same day leaked quotes from a forthcoming book about Clinton appeared to reveal former U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus' unlikely support of her candidacy.
“She’d make a tremendous President,” Petraeus, the former commander and CIA director, is quoted as saying in the book, “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton."
“Like a lot of great leaders," Petraeus added. "Her most impressive qualities were most visible during tough times."