What did NYT reporters who read the oral histories of the Clinton years find most interesting?

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tags: oral history, Hillary



In a front-page article last weekend, Amy Chozick and Peter Baker delved into an oral history of the Clinton White House, conducted by the Miller Center. As Hillary Clinton prepares for her own possible presidential run, the series of interviews with Clinton administration players “bears on the future as much as the past,” the reporters wrote. Here, Ms. Chozick talks about what she found most fascinating in the trove of recently released transcripts....


Q.What surprised you most?


A.As we look towards the 2016 presidential campaign, a lot has been made about whether Mrs. Clinton can appeal to the left wing of the Democratic Party. Some people in the party and liberal media outlets have said she is too centrist. What surprised me was to see what a liberal firebrand she used to be. The West Wing nicknamed her health care team “the Bolsheviks,” and she was the one whispering in her husband’s ear against policies like Nafta that are so unpopular with the liberal wing of the party.


Q.Were there any great anecdotes that you’d never heard before?


A.Most people know that Mrs. Clinton was the first first lady to have an office in the West Wing, but hearing Roy M. Neel, who was Al Gore’s 1992 campaign manager and who went on to serve as the vice president’s chief of staff, describe how that went down stood out for me. Shortly after Mr. Clinton won the 1992 election, Mr. Neel said Mrs. Clinton’s friend Susan Thomases was in the West Wing checking out where everyone would sit. “The rumor,” Mr. Neel said, “was that Susan had decided that Gore wouldn’t have the traditional vice president’s office in the West Wing, that that would go to Hillary.”



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