USA: Documents reveal Clinton image problem

Bill Clinton spins wife Hillary in this file photo taken in 1993. Picture: Getty
Bill Clinton spins wife Hillary in this file photo taken in 1993. Picture: Getty
Share this article
Have your say

AIDES in former president Bill Clinton’s White House devised a strategy to “humanise” then-first lady Hillary Clinton and work around her “aversion” to the US national media, according to newly-released documents.

The documents also detail the first lady’s struggles in the early 1990s with her healthcare task force, including worries about resistance on Capitol Hill.

The release of nearly 4,000 pages of previously secret documents by the Clinton Presidential Library served to revisit Hillary Clinton’s record and early struggles with her image as she gears up for a potential 2016 run for the presidency.

The documents shed light on efforts to overcome the perception that the first lady was aloof and calculating, detailing her attempts to win positive press coverage around the time she gave a speech at a UN conference in China in 1995 and ahead of her successful run for the US Senate in 2000.

A memo dated 31 August 1995 by Clinton’s press secretary Lisa Caputo suggested she do interviews with “regional media”.

“Hillary is comfortable with the local reporters and enjoys speaking with them,” the memo states. “This will help us get around her aversion to the national Washington media and serve to counter the tone of the national media.”

The memo recommended a “Hillaryland Staff Outreach to Media” and urged her aides to “socialise more” with reporters.

“I believe it would create enormous good will for Hillary since we can all tell wonderful Hillary anecdotes that humanise her and show the press the good person that she is,” it said.

Such an effort would also correct the picture of her “being in a bunker mentality,” the memo stated. It further suggested the “wild idea” of having the first lady make a guest appearance on the then-popular ABC sitcom Home Improvement, starring Tim Allen.