Forgive and forget? Not Bill and Hillary.
A system of political rewards and punishments devised by the political power couple set aside “a special circle of Clinton hell . . . for people who had endorsed [President] Obama,” according to “HRC,” a new book by Politico former White House bureau chief Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes of The Hill
The most helpful Clintonistas were rated “1” under the Clintons’ rating system, while turncoat former allies, such as John Kerry
, received “7’s.”
The Clinton camp would later “joke about the fates of the folks they felt had betrayed them,” the book said.
“Bill Richardson: investigated; John Edwards: disgraced by scandal; Chris Dodd: stepped down; . . . Ted Kennedy: dead,” an aide quipped, according to the book.
Kennedy “had slashed Hillary worst of all, delivering a pivotal endorsement speech for Obama just before the Super Tuesday primaries [in 2008] that cast her as yesterday’s news and Obama as the rightful heir to Camelot,” the authors wrote. “Bill Clinton had pleaded with Kennedy to hold off, but to no avail.”
The couple’s political hardball — and groundwork for a potential Hillary presidential run in 2016 — began behind the scenes in 2008 after she lost the Democratic presidential primary to Obama, and it ramped up in 2012 as the president struggled to defeat Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Bill Clinton applied his own version of the “friend in need” adage, offering letters of recommendation, endorsements and advice to potential and established allies — with the expectation the chits will be cashed in for the 2016 race.Immediately after her 2008 defeat, Hillary aides made a spreadsheet of those who burned her
“She and Bill would have at their fingertips all the information needed to make a quick decision,” the authors reported. “So that friends could be rewarded and enemies punished.”
Punishment came in the form of Bill backing the opponents of Obama backers — even four years after his wife’s bitter 2008 campaign.
In New Jersey, Clinton supported Rep. Bill Pascrell against early Obama supporter Rep. Steve Rothman in their 2012 primary fight for a congressional seat that had been consolidated from two districts. Pascrell handily defeated Rothman.
In Pennsylvania, both Clintons courted Rep. Jason Altmire for his endorsement in the 2008 primary. Altmire went with Obama, and in 2012, Bill went with Altmire’s opponent Mark Critz, who won the primary.
Even when Bill Clinton famously campaigned for Obama in 2012, he would draw the line at anything that could hurt his wife’s 2016 chances.
Bubba refused Obama’s request to appear with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a first-term Democrat from Massachusetts, because she was viewed as a potential primary rival in 2016.Michael Gartland, New York Post