By Michelle Koepp
The more things change, the more they stay the same? On Friday, The William J. Clinton Presidential Library released more than 3,500 previously secret documents offering an insider’s look into the internal politics of the Clinton years. With the former First Lady and Secretary of State now the favorite to nab the Democratic nomination for 2016, the rush to access the documents temporarily crashed the Library’s website due to overwhelming demand.
Although a few of the memos seem almost amusingly dated - aides suggest that Hillary might want to try the Internet for outreach because “it has become very popular” - others detail Washington politics in ways that read like today’s news; in particular a 1994 memo on healthcare seems particularly prescient.
CNN’s John King says: "There's never been a candidate that we think we know so well, but yet there's this huge resource of information where we still might learn things”. Predictably, groups in support of, and in opposition to, a potential Hillary 2016 ballot have made it clear that they have already started mining through the documents for politically sensitive or otherwise revealing information. The pro-Republican opposition group America Rising has assured CNN they will be "pouring through" the docs, even sending someone to Arkansas for that purpose.
The Secretary wrapped up her week in the critical swing state of Florida, with a speech at the University of Miami before a group of students – a demographic that launched Barack Obama to the White House in 2008. She remarked on the situations abroad in Syria and Venezuela, and at home, praising Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to veto controversial anti-gay legislation and calling for students to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. However, Hillary played coy when a student inquired about the cryptic last word in her Twitter bio, “TBD…” Could you tell us if it suggest a Presidential run? Clinton responded with a nod to the young social media-savvy audience, referencing Twitter’s 140-character limit per Tweet: “I would love to” she said, “but I’m out of characters.”
Next Wednesday, Clinton will continue with her theme of engaging the youth demographic with an upcoming speaking engagement at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she will deliver a keynote address and accept the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor. Following her lecture, Clinton will participate in a Q and A session moderated by UCLA political science professor Lynn Vavreck. UCLA students described scenes of chaos in the rush to obtain tickets through a lottery. So it would seem the fanfare that surrounded her speech in Miami, which seemed to have all the makings of a campaign appearance, seems inevitable next week in Los Angeles, the next stop in Clinton’s very public speaking tour that has kept her in the spotlight as the presumed Democratic front-runner.