Bill Clinton: my death would mean 2M votes for Hillary
By Edward Klein
June 28, 2014 | 10:40pmEdward Klein’s book about the animosity between the Clintons and Obamas, “Blood Feud” (Regnery Publishing), rocketed up the best-seller charts since it was featured in The Post last Sunday. Here, in another exclusive excerpt, Klein describes how Bill’s health is a preoccupation of the Clintons.
A pair of black, armor-plated SUVs swung into a suburban cul-de-sac and crunched to a stop in the driveway of the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York.
A wall of burly Secret Service agents jumped out and surrounded the man who emerged from the lead vehicle.
It was mid-summer 2013, and Bill Clinton looked shrunken and weary. He was returning from a routine visit with his doctors at New York–Presbyterian Hospital, where he had received some grave news.
His cardiologist, Dr. Allan Schwartz, had given the former president a thorough checkup. The tests showed that there had been a further deterioration in the function of Bill’s heart, Schwartz said. The doctor made the former president promise to cut back on his schedule and get more rest.
Once home, Bill went upstairs to his bedroom and lay down on a daybed. He was exhausted. He used to be a man of many hobbies: He collected old cars and 1950s rock memorabilia, and he loved to watch sports, especially college basketball.
These were his lifelong distractions; they helped him unwind during his downtime.
Modal TriggerBut now he was uninterested in anything but the 2016 presidential election. It was all he cared about. He was obsessed with it. That and his health.
Later that day, Bill, Hillary, and two of her friends gathered in the converted red barn that served as Bill’s home office. The women drank Chardonnay; Bill favored a Pinot Noir.
It wasn’t long before Bill brought the conversation around to politics.
“We started too damn late last time,” he said, referring to the 2008 campaign. “That’s why I’ve been working on this thing for the past five years, since that one ended. We’re on course to raise the money, well over a billion dollars, and we’re getting our people in place everywhere.”
He said that he was writing what he called “playbooks” — thick notebooks outlining positions for Hillary to take on the major issues of the day — everything from immigration reform to gun control and education.
He felt strongly that Hillary was going to have to distance herself from Barack Obama and his amateurish handling of domestic and foreign policy.
“You’ve got to hit hard at the Obama record,” he continued, getting up from his chair and circling the barn while he spoke. “Your administration would be a third Clinton term, not a third Obama term. We have to be very harsh, because the voters are turning on him like a bad dog, and we have to do the same.”
The conversation continued in that vein for some time, and then, quite unexpectedly, Bill changed the subject and began talking about his health.
“I’m worried how my health will affect your campaign,” he said. “I have to do all I can to prepare the campaign playbooks, but I also have to accept the fact that if I fall by the wayside, you have to continue without me and make a positive thing out of it.”
“A positive thing?” Hillary said. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Obviously, you have to have a big state funeral for me, with as much pomp and circumstance as possible,” he said. “I’m thinking maybe I should be buried at Arlington [National Cemetery] rather than at my library in Little Rock. After all, I was commander in chief for eight years and have every right to be buried at Arlington.”
“Bill!” Hillary said, trying to interrupt his train of thought.
“I’m going to plan this thing out in detail,” he said.
“I don’t want to hear this!” Hillary said.
“Wear your widow’s weeds, so people will feel sympathy for you. Wear black for a decent mourning period and make my death an asset. The images on television of the funeral and the grieving widow in black will be priceless.
“When I’m gone, people will think only of my good points and forgive, if not forget, the bad. I’ll be remembered in a positive light more in death than I was in life. That always happens. Everybody knows that. So you’ll have to take maximum advantage of my death.”
“Bill…,” Hillary said.
“It should be worth a couple of million votes,” he said.