National Archives to release more Clinton records

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FILE - In this Jan. 19, 1999 file-pool photo, President Bill Clinton gestures while giving his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington. Is “strong” losing its strength? Presidents of both parties have long felt compelled to sum up the state of the union with a descriptive word or two in their State of the Union addresses. Mostly the same word. For many years now, “strong” has been the go-to adjective. Vice President Gore, left, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill. listen. (AP Photo/Win McNamee, File-Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bill Clinton's top aides began debating how to build a presidential legacy within days of his winning re-election in 1996.

Newly released documents from Clinton's White House include an internal memo that explored criteria for legacy-building.

The memo urged aides to choose topics carefully. It said some topics might be rejected even if the administration had addressed them successfully.

It said the White House obviously would address a "major banking crisis." But the memo said that issue might not be stressed "if it has no connection to a memorable legacy."

The memo was written by key adviser Gene Sperling, who also served President Barack Obama until recently.

Clinton's hopes for a sterling legacy were hurt in January 1998 when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The National Archives is set to release 2,500 pages of documents from former President Bill Clinton's White House, including records from two aides, the ex-president's farewell address and other topics.

Documents released since February have covered the Clinton administration's unsuccessful health care overhaul plan, Republicans' sweeping victories during the 1994 midterm elections and other issues.

The papers being released Friday were to include records from Clinton speechwriter Michael Waldman and domestic policy adviser Ira Magaziner and documents from Clinton's farewell address to the nation. Other topics include Native American policy and Serbia.

The records are being closely scrutinized by reporters and others Clinton's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, contemplates a second presidential campaign.

About 8,000 pages of records have been released so far, part of roughly 30,000 pages of records to be disseminated from the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark.

The Clinton records were previously withheld by the National Archives because they were exempt from disclosure under restrictions related to appointments to federal office and confidential advice among the president and his advisers.

Once the restrictions expired in January 2013, Archives officials notified President Barack Obama and Clinton's offices that they intended to release the records so both offices could decide whether to invoke executive privilege on some records.

Both offices recently signed off on the release of the documents.