When the book HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton emerged on the scene in early February, the authors took a hit. Even their own White House peers made mad fun of them for falling in love with their subject. At the time, ABC’s Jonathan Karl wrote a review for WSJ calling it a “Valentine for Hillary” and a “rapturous account,” and Politico‘s Mike Allen backed him, saying, “Sec. Clinton will be tougher on herself in her own book, due out later this year, than they were in theirs.”
OUCH! That’s not the kind of reception you want for your book, but especially not in Washington, where sucking up is supposed to be subtle not blatant.
This had to steam Bloomberg‘s Jonathan Allen and The Hill‘s Amie Parnes, the co-authors, who flatly deny any truth to it. In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor‘s book editor Marjorie Kehe, they talk about the biggest problem Clinton faces in 2016 – they say it’s winning. Being a polarized figure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Then Marjorie asks, pointedly, “One reviewer accused you authors of having fallen in love with Clinton as you reported on her. Is there any truth to this charge?”
They weren’t going to reply, ‘Yeah, we’re major ass kissers! We love her.’
Instead, this is how they handled it:
“No. We spoke to more than 200 sources, some of whom work for her, some of whom support her, some of whom are enemies on the political battlefield, some of whom are investigating her, and some of whom are disaffected former members of the Clinton circle. The book has been cited by her critics and allies alike. For example, Republicans have seized on our revelation that she engaged privately in lobbying for ‘Obamacare’ and offered strategic advice to the president’s top aides. They also have made hay over our detailed description of the way the Clinton operation tracked and punished Democrats who were seen as disloyal to Secretary Clinton in 2008. Democrats, on the other hand, have pointed to our conclusion that she was largely a competent manager of a major institution. The truth is, we set out to report on her political comeback from depths of a devastating loss to the heights of running out front again for 2016. This was a period in which her career was on the upswing and the book seeks to report and explain that recovery with never-before-told stories, fresh insights from people who interacted with her (both allies and adversaries), and the public record. The New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times book reviewers all praised the reporting and analysis. If the book read like a hit piece, it wouldn’t have reflected either the public or private reality of her tenure at State.”
Read the entire interview here.