Meet the Press   |  February 09, 2014

Book Offers Glimpse Into Clinton's Political Tactics

Authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes visit Meet the Press to discuss their new book on Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a hit list kept about her enemies and a fight with husband bill over her 2008 convention speech. new revelations about former first lady hillary clinton in a book not out until tuesday. we're going to have an exclusive interview with the authors here in just a minute. first the key question. hj affect how will her past hillary 's future if she runs in 2016 ?

>> what are your plans for 2016 ?

>> i'm not thinking about it. i've tried to get other people not to think about it. i'll think about, you know, in the future sometime.

>> she says she's not thinking about it but others definitely are. polls show hillary clinton with a commanding lead over other potential democrats. "time" magazine asks, can anyone stop hillary ? "the new york times" magazine portrays her as planet hillary along with an interplanetary web of her political contacts. but her political opponents on the right blame her for benghazi and kentucky senator rand paul is now repeatedly criticizing bill clinton as a " sexual predator for his relationship with intern monica lewinsky in the late '90s." and now a new book hrc state secrets and the rebirth of hillary clinton " offers an inside glimpse into clinton 's evolution in recent years and her inner circle . one of the revelations making headlines, her staff put together a hit list of so-called sinners and saints that measured their support and opposition for her during the 2008 presidential campaign . almost six years later, most clinton aides can still rattle off the names of traitors and the favors that had been done for them as if it all had happened just a few hours before. among those rated the most disloyal, senator claire mccaskill of missouri, senator john kerry now secretary of state, and the late ted kennedy whose endorsement of barack obama was a crucial moment in the 2008 campaign.

>> and joining moo now the authors of the book hrc, amie parnes and bloomberg news jonathan allen . welcome to "meet the press."

>> thank you, david.

>> it's great to talk to you before the book comes out. one of the things that's already made news is the concept of the darker part of the world of the clintons, the hit lists, the idea that bill clinton , the former president sort of settling scores, clearing field before there might be a run, jonathan.

>> yeah, so the clinton aides during the 2008 campaign kept a list of the people who had been treacherous and over the course of the 2010 - 2012 election cycles bill clinton went out on the campaign trail and knocked some of these guys out that they didn't like.

>> how so?

>> so he went and supported other democrats in primaries against them and we go through a series of stories in the book as part of the big narrative, one of the light motifs that i like of him knocking out her opponents, people that didn't like her endorsing, raising money for, and this is really part of the story of the clintons, this loyalty.

>> almost and having a chilling effect on anybody else who may not be with her down the line, right?

>> totally. i think that's why you saw senator claire mccaskill come out very early for her. she was a seven on the hit list . i don't think she was worried. she knew the hatred from the clintons still exists. so i think she tried to get out early and say i am supporting you guys.

>> it's interesting when eg we talk about, you talking about this book in terms of the rebirth but also state secrets . in other words the job of secretary of state is so crucial to a potential 2016 run. you write in the book about her approach to the job, and this will be instructive when you debate whether she's a hawk or a dove but also the issues like benghazi . here's what you write about a bias for action. hillary also harbors a related trait that one source calls a bias for action which influences her decision making process . it can be seen in her approach to going after bin laden , her building of a coalition to 0 intervene in libya and she encourages her aides to innovate and improvise. she also felt in benghazi , the state department had to be there whatever the risks. that's going to be real fodder for her opponents.

>> absolutely. we've talked to republicans. there's a quote in the book from shaun spicer is, the republican national committee chairman about an add the rnc cut and release in 2013 about benghazi . you should get used to seeing that ad. so this is something that's going to be an issue. republicans haven't yet made it something that's beyond partisan. they haven't influenced democrats and independents on it but they're going to try to do that. she's got to come up with an answer for that.

>> republicans said it's part of an mind-set, an expeditionary foreign policy belief that she has that's certainly going to be a hard thing for her dealing with progressives in the primaries. there are going to be people who come at her from her left.

>> certainly. the whole bias fraction thing is yu her. good for leon pa at the time ta saw the her out early on the bin laden raid. he wanted her buy-in because he knew she would be a hawk. i think that's a big plus for her going in.

>> big factor here is the bill factor. how large does he loom? you've heard rand paul in an interview today talking about lewinsky, talking about the past, calling bill clinton a sexual predator . so that issue is there. but it's also to what extent does he play in a campaign which he did so large before in a potential administration. here's a moment from her 2008 campaign convention speech you right about. while stheel had been on a mock stage at the convention center , but with her there's a blind spot . you see this visceral reaction to what's going on with her that he has. it's a problem for him. look, there's been the al gore method, distance yourself from bill clinton . that didn't work. there was the 2008 hillary clinton method, you know, sort of of let him do what he's doing, he's a good strategist. barack obama is the one that figure the out how to use him. put him out as a surrogate but don't let him do a lot of interviews with the press. if she can get him to do what he did on the 2012 campaign trail and we go deep into that in the book, she will serve herself well.

>> interesting nuggeting about david petraeus , former head of the cia, commander in afghanistan hog had to resign because of his extramarital affair. he says she would be a tremendous president. that's a real endorsement for somebody that she showed a lot of the kindness to actually when he went through his own disgrace.

>> yes, she wrote him a note actually and she said, i've had a little experience with this which we thought was a really interesting moment. she tends to warm up to people. she might not be as geg grayerious as her husband but very much a politician in her own way.

>> bottom line here, is there anything that says she doesn't run? is it just a matter of time?

>> watching the olympics it's like the ski jumper. she's headed down the hill. there's little that's going to stop her from launching. we talk about the preparation going on on, her top aide has been doing interviews about the 2016 campaign in particular. guy cecil most often mentioned as a possible campaign manager sat down with her june, they talked who should be the campaign manager . he's made up his mind if he's asked he's going to do it. this is a campaign in full swing. it's more a question of whether she stops running than whether she starts.

>> nice olympic tie-in there. very