The Clinton White House Memos From 1993 and 1995 That Obama Could Use

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 14 2014 6:02 PM

The Clinton White House Memos From 1993 and 1995 That Obama Could Use

Another tranche of documents from the Clinton years has been released by the former president's library. As was the case last time, for anyone seeking grand or damaging insights into Hillary Clinton, it's mostly a wash. The fun is in finding unknowing foreshadowing of events that would hurt Clinton and Barack Obama, in different measures.

First this: In a January 1993 memo to Hillary Clinton, she was given this background about a congressional leader she'd have to deal with.

Screen shot 2014-03-14 at 5.15.23 PM

Now, of course, the failure of 24 states to expand Medicaid, holdups instigated by Republican legislators, is a problem that benefits the GOP. The party is not getting blamed in any real way, by voters, for not expanding Medicaid. The Chamber of Commerce still spends to elect its candidates.

Next, in this March 1995 memo to pollsters and speechwriters, an aide brainstormed and came up with these ideas for rebutting Republican attacks.

Screen shot 2014-03-14 at 5.29.30 PM

That seems to have worked, on the margins, for the Obama White House—Republicans have helped by being easily diverted from story to story.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.