The 2008 campaign staffers of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kept a “hit list” of Democrats who betrayed her by endorsing then Senator Barack Obama, according to a new book written by The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Politico’s Jonathan Allen. The book HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton reveals that Clinton loyalists kept a spreadsheet of names and ranked each member of Congress on a numerical scale of one to seven. The “ones” were the most loyal members to Clinton and the “sevens” were regarded as the most disloyal to Hillary Clinton.
“We wanted to have a record of who endorsed us and who didn’t,” said a member of Hillary’s campaign team, according to the authors, Parnes and Allen. “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.”
Here are five notable members of Congress that received a ranking of seven by the Clinton campaign during the Democratic primary in 2008:
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri: The Clinton campaign aggressively sought after McCaskill’s endorsement but she eventually endorsed Obama on January 13, 2008. “A lot of people talk about his ability to give a great speech. And there’s no question that he is truly gifted by God with an ability to speak to people in a way that touches them,” McCaskill said at the time. “To me, that is the whip cream in the cherry. To me, this is a man who has incredible intellectual heft, he’s a very smart guy with a wide soul who is not afraid to figure out a new and different way to tackle problems.”
Two years earlier, during a Meet the Press interview in 2006, McCaskill said Bill Clinton is a “great leader…but I don’t want my daughter near him.” That comment coupled with the Obama endorsement two years later angered the Clinton camp to the point that McCaskill’s ranking of seven did not seem strong enough to quantify the level of betrayal, the book’s authors write.
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania: Casey endorsed Obama on March 28, 2008, ahead of the April 22 Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. Polls showed that Hillary Clinton was ahead by a least 12 percentage points at the time of the endorsement, which made Casey’s endorsement even more infuriating to the Clinton campaign. “I believe in my heart that there is one person who’s uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction and that is Barack Obama.” Casey said during a rally in Pittsburgh. “I really believe that in a time of danger around the world and in division here at home, Barack Obama can lead us, he can heal us, he can help rebuild America.”
Former Senator John Kerry: Kerry endorsed Obama on January 10, 2008 during a rally at the College of Charleston, ahead of the South Carolina Democratic primary. “Martin Luther King said ‘the time is always right to do what is right,’’ Kerry said in his endorsement. “And I’m here in South Carolina because this is the right time to share with you my confidence that the next President of the United States should be, can be, and will be Barack Obama.”
Representative Rob Andrews of New Jersey: Andrews told the Newark Star-Ledger in 2008 that the Clinton campaign had “engaged in some very divisive tactics and rhetoric it should not have” during the Democratic primary. “There have been signals coming out of the Clinton campaign that have racial overtones that indeed disturb me,” Andrews said. “Frankly, I had a private conversation with a high-ranking person in the campaign … that used a racial line of argument that I found very disconcerting. It was extremely disconcerting given the rank of this person. It was very disturbing.”
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont: Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, endorsed Obama on January 17, 2008. “We need a president who can reintroduce America to the world — and actually reintroduce America to ourselves,” Leahy said in a conference call. “I believe Barack Obama is the best person to do that.”
[Image via Getty Images]