And excerpt from an upcoming book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes at the Politico:
Hillary’s Hit List
The Clintons keep a favor file of saints and sinners, according to this excerpt from HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton.
By JONATHAN ALLEN and AMIE PARNES | January 12, 2014
Inside a cramped third-floor office of Hillary Clinton’s once-bustling presidential campaign headquarters in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Va., Kris Balderston and Adrienne Elrod put the finishing touches on a political hit list. It was late June 2008, and Hillary had dropped her bid for the presidency earlier that month..
For months they had meticulously updated a wall-size dry-erase board with color-coded symbols, letters and arrows to track which lawmakers were leaning toward endorsing Hillary and which were headed in Obama’s direction. For example, the letters “LO” indicated that a lawmaker was “leaning Obama,” while “BD” in blue denoted that he or she was a member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition on Capitol Hill.
As one of the last orders of business for a losing campaign, they recorded in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet the names and deeds of members of Congress. They carefully noted who had endorsed Hillary, who had backed Obama, and who had stayed on the sidelines—standard operating procedure for any high-end political organization. But the data went into much more nuanced detail. “We wanted to have a record of who endorsed us and who didn’t,” a member of Hillary’s campaign team said, “and of those who endorsed us, who went the extra mile and who was just kind of there. And of those who didn’t endorse us, those who understandably didn’t endorse us because they are [Congressional Black Caucus] members or Illinois members. And then, of course, those who endorsed him but really should have been with her … that burned her.”
For Hillary, whose loss was of course not the end of her political career, the spreadsheet was a necessity of modern political warfare, an improvement on what old-school politicians called a “favor file.” It meant that when asks rolled in, she and Bill would have at their fingertips all the information needed to make a quick decision—including extenuating, mitigating and amplifying factors—so that friends could be rewarded and enemies punished.
Hillary’s Clinton’s staffers made a list of Democratic members of Congress, rating them from 1 (most helpful) to 7 (most treacherous). Here are some of the 7s—those whose support of Barack Obama was particularly galling to the Clinton team.
Their spreadsheet formalized the deep knowledge of those involved in building it. Like so many of the Clinton help, Balderston and Elrod were walking favor files. They remembered nearly every bit of assistance the Clintons had given and every slight made against them. Almost six years later, most Clinton aides can still rattle off the names of traitors and the favors that had been done for them, then provide details of just how each of the guilty had gone on to betray the Clintons—as if it all had happened just a few hours before. The data project ensured that the acts of the sinners and saints would never be forgotten.
There was a special circle of Clinton hell reserved for people who had endorsed Obama or stayed on the fence after Bill and Hillary had raised money for them, appointed them to a political post or written a recommendation to ice their kid’s application to an elite school. On one early draft of the hit list, each Democratic member of Congress was assigned a numerical grade from 1 to 7, with the most helpful to Hillary earning 1s and the most treacherous drawing 7s. The set of 7s included Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), as well as Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Baron Hill (D-Ind.) and Rob Andrews (D-N.J.).
Yet even a 7 didn’t seem strong enough to quantify the betrayal of some onetime allies.
When the Clintons sat in judgment, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) got the seat closest to the fire. Bill and Hillary had gone all out for her when she ran for Senate in 2006, as had Obama. But McCaskill seemed to forget that favor when NBC’s Tim Russert asked her whether Bill had been a great president, during a Meet the Press debate against then-Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) in October 2006. “He’s been a great leader,” McCaskill said of Bill, “but I don’t want my daughter near him.”
McCaskill regretted her remark instantly; the anguish brought her “to the point of epic tears,” according to a friend. She knew the comment had sounded much more deliberate than a forgivable slip of the tongue. So did Hillary, who immediately canceled a planned fundraiser for McCaskill. A few days later, McCaskill called Bill Clinton to offer a tearful apology. Bill He was gracious, which just made McCaskill feel worse. After winning the seat, she was terrified of running into Hillary Clinton in the Capitol. “I really don’t want to be in an elevator alone with her,” McCaskill confided to the friend…
Of course, in order to protect himself from the Clintons, the authors downplay this list:
It would be political malpractice for the Clintons not to keep track of their friends and enemies. Politicians do that everywhere.
Except Nixon, who never knew about the so-called ‘enemies list’ that he is so famous for.
The difference is the Clintons, because of their popularity and the positions they’ve held, retain more power to reward and punish than anyone else in modern politics. And while their aides have long and detailed memories, the sheer volume of the political figures they interact with makes a cheat sheet indispensable…
Uh huh. But lest we forget, it was the Hillary’s pal, Vince Foster, who lamented that in Washington "ruining people is considered [a blood] sport."