DC at Night

DC at Night

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hillary Clinton on the Rise

First Lady of the United States for 8 years. The most successful failed female presidential nominee candidate in history. One of only 3 women to serve as Secretary of State. The most likely Democratic presidential candidate for 2016 should she choose to run.

Obviously, all these factors combined make Hillary Rodham Clinton one of the most reported on women in the world.

But Washington DC political reporters Jonathan Allen and Aimee Parnes were convinced a need still existed for a comprehensive book detailing a sense of how Clinton makes decisions and how she might govern if she were to become president of the United States in 2016.

Last night, Allen and Parnes appeared at Politics and Prose to discuss their new book HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton."

And obviously, judging by the large crowd that attended last night's presentation, there is an audience definitely interested in Clinton. In fact, Allen began the book talk this way: "I hate to disappoint all those of you who came to see Hillary Clinton," his remark eliciting loud chuckles.

The new book actually tells 2 stories - the political battles between the Clinton and Obamas camps and Clinton's tenure as Obama's Secretary of State.

"This is not a foreign policy treatise, but we wrote through the lens of her decision making and how government works." Allen said.

Parnes said she originally wanted a different book title. "I wanted to call the book The Phoenix," she said. "She (Clinton) always kinds of plunges and then rises higher than ever."

Obama had long considered Clinton for the Secretary of State job despite the brutal campaign the 2 camps waged in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary and objections from many of his advisers, Parnes noted.

"He fought and fought and fought to get her. He felt it very strongly. He knew it would help him bring her set of Democrats back and he believed she was right for the job," Allen said. "It was a shot-gun wedding, but a very close one."

However, it was clear from their reporting that the Clintons and Obamas shared a work relationship, not a deep personal friendship. "I don't expect to see them socializing together any time soon," Allen said.

Allen said Clinton's time as Secretary of State altered the perception of the American government. "The footprint of American democracy was a combat boot. But she presented a different picture of America. There was an elevation of perception, especially in Europe," he explained.

Not surprisingly, the majority of the questions from the audience dealt with the probability of a Clinton run for the White House in 2 years.

Both reporters said her time as Secretary of State had changed Clinton. "I think she is a little bit more liberated. She learned to let some people in that are outside the circle. There is willingness to try to address deficiencies," Allen said.

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