Hillary and Mississippi, part deux

By Jennifer Parker

Oct 25, 2007 11:53am

After Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, had some less-than-flattering things to say about the state of Mississippi earlier in the week, (READ MORE ABOUT THAT HERE), she called Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., to apologize.

Lott was about to rip her for her comments when his phone rang, the Washington Post reports.

"’To her credit, she called me and apologized,’" Lott said, noting that the last two lieutenant governors of Mississippi have been women. "Having lived in Arkansas, which is something of a whipping boy, too, she knows better than that."

Interestingly, there’s a passage in Sally Bedell Smith’s new book on the Clintons’ marriage, "For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years," that may be relevant to this all.

Smith tells of the Clintons attending a 1995 retreat called the "Camp David Seminar on the Future of Democracy," where a dozen scholars — half liberals, half centrist "New Democrats" — were there to "replicate the stresses and strains inside the Democratic party."

Hillary Clinton seemed to play the role of liberal conscience to Bill Clinton’s master conciliator.
"I think we can do both," Bill Clinton would say.

Writes Smith: "Somewhat surprisingly, Hillary also attacked working-class white southerners who had forsaken the Democratic party, and in an oblique way she took on her husband as well. ‘Screw ‘em,’ she said, ‘you don’t owe them a thing, Bill, they’re doing nothing for you.’ Bill rose to their defense, ‘as if rehearsing an old but honorable debate he had been having with his wife for decades,’" as one attendee recalled.

"’I know these boys,’ Bill said. ‘I grew up with them. Hardworking poor white boys who feel left out.’ He pointed out that liberal reforms had often ‘come at their expense’ and that the Democrats had to ‘find a way to include these boys in our programs.’ Hillary had no rejoinder, but during cocktails after the seminar she stood apart, ‘opaque and unsmiling.’"

Today’s discussion point: When one runs for president, one runs for president of all 50 states. Not just the ones that one can win electorally.

Thoughts?

- jpt

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