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Clinton records: Fight back hard after 1994 losses


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stung by the GOP takeover of Congress in the 1994 elections, White House advisers urged President Bill Clinton not to take the blame and make light of it in public but instead to hit back hard by casting Republicans as defenders of "wealthy special interests," according to documents released Friday.

Preparing for Clinton's 1995 State of the Union speech, adviser Paul Begala said the president should change his tone regarding Democratic losses in the midterm elections.

"I really don't like the president making fun of our ass-whipping in November, or suggesting it was because of him we got creamed," Begala wrote in a memo to speechwriters.

He said that Clinton adviser James Carville disagreed with him. "He thinks it'll be effective self-deprecation; I'm concerned it could look like a white flag of surrender."

In a separate memo to Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos, now an ABC News anchor, and to White House Counsel Jack Quinn, speechwriter Michael Waldman urged them to "portray the Republicans as advocates for wealthy special interests." He added, "The trick is how to do this without seeming to be an advocate of big government and red tape."

In another memo to Stephanopoulos, Waldman suggested the White House review how Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush "dealt with an opposition Congress - what tricks they had up their sleeves."

The papers were included in 4,000 pages of records released Friday by the National Archives covering Clinton's two terms in office. The complete set of roughly 30,000 documents, which is being released in batches, is greatly anticipated, in part because Hillary Rodham Clinton, then first lady and later a senator and secretary of state, is considering her own bid for the presidency in 2016.

The documents include edited versions of the president's remarks to the nation after the 2000 election recount and Mrs. Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention that year.

Other records show how advisers to Vice President Al Gore tried to help him win the White House before losing to George W. Bush following a 36-day recount in Florida.

In one document, Gore adviser Ron Klain tells the vice president how they planned to respond to a January 1999 poll in USA Today that showed Bush leading.

"UNDERSPIN it and downplay its significance," Klain said he advised Gore spokesman Chris Lehane.

The documents were part of a second batch of Clinton records to be released in recent weeks.

Some of the papers show the challenges the White House faced after Republicans won control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years.

In one undated memo, Clinton's counselors proposed "the elimination of one or more departments" to rebuild public trust. They suggested the Energy Department could be folded into the Defense Department, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development could be privatized, "in the name of ending public housing as we know it." The advisers suggested the Federal Aviation Administration could be privatized as well.

Clinton's advisers also suggested a 25 percent cut in congressional staff, a congressional and presidential pay freeze and a constitutional amendment that would allow states to limit members of Congress to 12 years in office.

The documents include an edited text of Hillary Rodham Clinton's convention speech in 2000 - a reference to her possibly winning the open New York Senate seat is crossed out. Clinton delivered the speech on Aug. 14, 2000, at the convention in Los Angeles.

A first wave of documents released in February provided insight into the Clinton administration's concern over the failed health care overhaul plan, which Hillary Clinton helped lead, and showed how advisers to the first lady tried to shape her public image.

The Clinton records were previously withheld by the National Archives because they were exempt from disclosure under restrictions related to appointments to federal office and confidential advice among the president and his advisers.

Once those restrictions expired in January 2013, the National Archives notified the current White House and Clinton's offices that they intended to release the records so both offices could decide whether to invoke executive privilege on some records. Both recently signed off on the release of the documents.


Associated Press writers Philip Elliott, Donna Cassata, Tom Raum and Bradley Klapper in Washington and Kelly Kissel and Jill Zeman Bleed in Little Rock, Ark., contributed to this report.

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bryanmerrittper2 March 15 2014 at 7:32 AM

Ah yes memories of the Oval office and Monica.......

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carp940 March 15 2014 at 2:21 PM

Those records are in the same place as Dubyuhs AWOL records are forget that crap time to find common ground and get this country back on track!!!

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1 reply
gopispoison666 carp940 March 15 2014 at 2:47 PM

When one party is led by criminal bloodsuckers like dick cheney, daryl issa, and the rest of the GOP gang, "common ground" is only how much they can take. There is no "common ground" in this country any more. All there is, is "gimmee now or gimmee later." Build the guillotines.

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2 replies
William gopispoison666 March 15 2014 at 3:09 PM

Your rants prove one does not need to have an intellect above 55 nor does he need to have a basic-factaul- knowledge of anything about which he rants. All he needs is an internet connection and be a card carrying member of the Anal Cavity society.

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faturism gopispoison666 March 15 2014 at 3:32 PM

Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee........the chant of the lazy, entitled, welfare mother crowd

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clubberj March 15 2014 at 9:46 AM

in other words, damn the country, how can i orosper!

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1 reply
clubberj clubberj March 15 2014 at 9:46 AM

oops! prosper.

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jiminey99 March 15 2014 at 9:46 AM

Anybody else tired of politicians "tricks"? Wouldn't honesty be a refreshing change?

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rjen164497 March 15 2014 at 9:54 AM

The Clintons are paying Monica to stay in to stay in Europe and not write her book. When Monica claimed a year and a half ago she was broke and need the book deal, the Clintons made a deal throught Monica's agent to keep her quiet. If she writes the book or returns to the U.S. they stop supporting her. Guess who is Monica's agent.

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hotspringspark March 15 2014 at 1:43 PM

I used to love the guy. I knew his mother and had met him more than once. H ecame into my store to use the phone once, way before cell phones existed. But, he turned out to be a liberal sc um bag. I cant stand him or Hillery, now.

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1 reply
antoniom52 hotspringspark March 15 2014 at 2:30 PM

Liberal Scum Bug ? it's a disgrace how this Republican's act , you should respect a President regarless of what it's your Party , no wonder this Country morals it's in such decline , Bill Clinton was a good Presiden , the economy was good , we didn''t went to War , like Mr Bush ( a phony war that send the Country in a receccion )
When the Country Prosper so are the Citizens , 1916 Hillary for PresidenT !!!!!!

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1 reply
mrwarmth51 antoniom52 March 15 2014 at 4:34 PM

just a suggestion.... spell check helps convey your message

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sco2260 March 15 2014 at 1:06 PM

They voted Clinton in because Bush Sr broke his promise (read my lips, no new taxes). Clinton raises his right hand and within 4 months gives the middle class one of the largest tax increases in american history. The american middle class slapped Clinton in the face by giving him a republican house of representatives for the remainder of his presidency. By the way Clinton takes all the credit for balancing the budget. The reality is the american middle class taxpayer did it with Clinton taxes.

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runswthscisors40 March 15 2014 at 12:54 PM

Clinton's advisers also suggested a 25 percent cut in congressional staff, a congressional and presidential pay freeze and a constitutional amendment that would allow states to limit members of Congress to 12 years in office............

20 years later, it's time to get this done...............

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cla.connie March 15 2014 at 3:09 PM

It is already starting the HP love fest with the Clintons.

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runswthscisors40 March 15 2014 at 4:56 PM

When asked what's wrong with letting local school districts decide how best to spend federal education dollars, President Clinton replied, "because it's not their money"

In a post-State of the Union speech in Buffalo, NY on January 20, 1999, Bill Clinton was asked why not a tax cut if we have a surplus. Clinton's response:
"We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right... But ... if you don't spend it right, here's what's going to happen. In 2013 -- that's just 14 years away -- taxes people pay on their payroll for Social Security will no longer cover the monthly checks... I want every parent here to look at the young people here, and ask yourself, 'Do you really want to run the risk of squandering this surplus?' "

" Every time Bush talks about trust it makes chills run up and down my spine. The way he has trampled on the truth is a travesty of the American political system."

"There's just no such thing as truth when it comes to him. He just says whatever sounds good and worries about it after the election."

Presidential candidate Bill Clinton describing his opponent, George Bush (Quoted in the American Spectator, 10/28/92)

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1 reply
fred runswthscisors40 March 15 2014 at 5:26 PM

Yet they were buddies during the Iran/Contra boondoggle (CIA would drop "unknown" packages at Mena, Arkansas)-Go figure.

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1 reply
jim fred March 15 2014 at 6:29 PM

Funny because Iran Contra was REAGANS violation of the constitution.

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