#1 new York time BestsellerIn this very anticipated follow-up to his blockbuster The Amateur, former new York times Magazine editor-in-chief Edward Klein delves into the rocky relationship between the Obamas and also the Clintons. One old-school reporter through incredible insider contacts, Klein reveals just just how deep the rivalry between the Obamas and also the Clintons runs, through details ~ above closed-door meetings buttressed by hundreds of interviews. Blood Feud is a stunning exposé of the animosity, jealousy, and competition in between America’s two most powerful political couples.

You are watching: Blood feud: the clintons v the obamas

Regnery publishing
Jun 23, 2014

About the author


Edward Klein

Edward Klein is the author of the brand-new York times bestsellers All as well Human: The Love Story of Jack and also Jackie Kennedy and also Just Jackie: Her exclusive Years. He covered John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, served as a international correspondent in Asia, and was foreign editor the Newsweek. During his eleven years together editor in cook of The brand-new York times Magazine, it winner the very first Pulitzer compensation in its history. His posts have showed up in new York, Manhattan, inc., Vanity Fair, and Parade, for which he also writes "Walter Scott's Personality Parade." he is the writer of the novel The Parachutists. He stays in new York City and also Bridgehampton, long Island.

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Blood Feud - Edward Klein


I ’m not sure what Bill and I intended from the Obamas, asserted Hillary Clinton, but there was bad blood between us native the start.

It was a clear afternoon in might 2013, and Hillary was in a edge booth in Le Jardin du Roi, a French bistro in Chappaqua, brand-new York, wherein the Clintons have actually a home. She was dishing the dirt v a half-dozen women, all of them members the the Wellesley College class of 1969.

Forty-four year ago, these women had chosen Hillary Diane Rodham to be the very first student graduation speaker in Wellesley’s history—a speech the won her a write-up in Life magazine and her very first brush through fame. Currently her classmates were still dreaming of the work she would satisfy her destiny and also become the first woman president of the unified States.

Surrounded by this trusted band of sisters, and liberated from the limit of being a member the the Obama administration, Hillary remained in her comfort zone. She felt totally free to speak her mind.

I still wonder if i should have joined Obama as his secretary of state, she said, follow to the recollection of one of the women at the table, that spoke on the condition of anonymity. History will be the referee of that. Long after ns gone, historians who are currently babies, or that haven’t even been born yet, will dispute it in ~ my presidential library.

The next race because that the White home wouldn’t start in earnest for another year and a half, not until after the 2014 midterm elections—an forever in politics—and Hillary insisted in public the she hadn’t consisted of her mind yet whether she to be going to run. However, her referral to mine presidential library struck the females as a revealing on slide of the tongue, and it set off a ring of applause and also clinked wineglasses amongst her classmates.

They were drinking Château Hyot Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux and Croix de Basson rosé. The wines had been very closely chosen by Roi, the owner that the restaurant, to complement the scallops in one orange vanilla sauce, paté and also sausage, mussels, and also linguini through bacon and also cream. Hillary’s friend shared and also tasted every other’s dishes, while Roi waited top top Hillary personally and prepared a special vegan food for her after the former very first lady called him the she was trying to lose weight. A waiter stood nearby, refilling their wineglasses, and soon the room to be filled through the sounds of mildly intoxicated woman laughter.

The women had been plan this reunion for rather some time, yet they had actually been can not to set a day until now, due to the fact that of Hillary’s relentless travel schedule together secretary the state. They to be in a festive mood and turned the end for the chance in their best jewelry and also handbags. Castle basked in the reflected glory of their most famous classmate.

For a woman who had actually recently experienced a concussion and also a blood gerean on her brain, Hillary looked amazingly well. Gone to be the second set that bags under her eyes; gone, too, were few of the extra pounds she had actually packed on during her million-mile sprint together secretary of state. She had actually been working out, jogging, and watching what she ate, all of which explained why her pantsuit appeared to it is in a dimension too big. She to be no longer the haggard, bloated, and burned-out number who had actually resigned indigenous office just four months before.

The transformation was for this reason striking that one of her classmates alluded come it when she spoke later in one interview because that this book. It had actually looked to her together though Hillary had some work done.

And that wasn’t the just thing that puzzled this woman. She naturally sought to portray Hillary in the best feasible light. She mentioned exactly how Hillary remembered her classmates’ birthdays and the name of their loved ones; how much fun Hillary was to it is in with; just how she caught a hoax instantly and also laughed before anyone else. And also yet, in ~ the exact same time and without an interpretation to, this source described a mrs who might be hard to like; a woman that was as coarse as lindon Johnson and also as paranoid together Richard Nixon; someone who frequently came across as disingenuous; one irascible woman who found it virtually impossible come contain she feelings that resentment and anger.

When she friends inquiry Hillary come tell them what she thought—really thought—about the chairman she had served for 4 draining years, she lit right into Obama through a passion that surprised castle all.

Obama has actually turned right into a joke, she claimed sharply. The IRS targeting the Tea Party, the justice Department’s seizure that AP phone call records and James Rosen’s emails—all these scandals. Obama’s permitted his hate for his opponents to screw him the way Nixon did. During the time I worked on the Watergate case, I obtained into Nixon’s head and understood why he to be so paranoid and also angry through his enemies. Bill and also I learned native that and also didn’t permit ourselves to walk crazy bashing people who had actually anti-Clinton dementia, ruining ourselves in the process.

This critical statement prompted a moment of awkward silence approximately the table. No one of the women had the ship to challenge Hillary’s claim that she never ever let her enemies get under her skin. Because that as lengthy as she friends had known her, Hillary had actually been driven insane by her enemies. She preserved an enemies list the those who had actually crossed the Clintons. The roll contact of ingrates and also traitors included civilization who sold out Hillary and also supported Barack Obama in 2008—Governor invoice Richardson of brand-new Mexico, councilor Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Representative James Clyburn of southern Carolina, David Axelrod, and, worst that all, the so late Ted Kennedy, whom the Clintons had actually once treated together an icon until that turned ~ above them. Vanity fair writer Todd S. Purdum made the list after he wrote a scathing file of bill Clinton, together did i after I published a book titled The Truth about Hillary.

When we were in the White House, bill was on peak of every department, Hillary said. He can have been guilty the micromanaging, and yes, the true, I assisted him micromanage, and I’m quiet proud of that.

She go on to define that bill was a natural leader and good executive, unlike Obama, that was, in her words, incompetent and feckless. Bill never respected the chain that command the means Obama did. If something to be going on at the inner Revenue organization or at the justice Department that Bill no think to be kosher, he would speak to somebody way down the chain and find out what was going on, and he didn’t treatment who gained offended.

The point with Obama is that he can not be bothered, and there is no hand on the tiller half the time, she said. It is the story that the Obama presidency. No hand on the fucking tiller.

She took another sip of wine, thought for a moment, and then continued: and you can’t trust the motherfucker. Obama has treated Bill and also me extremely shabbily. And also we’re angry. We tried to strike a resolve him. Us promised to support him when he ran for reelection and, in return, he’d assistance me in 2016. That agreed to the arrangement, however then that reneged on the deal. His word isn’t worth shit. The bad blood between us is just too much to overcome.

Over dessert the fruit and cheese, who steered the conversation come the duty Bill Clinton would play in Hillary’s presidential campaign.

Bill’s been acquiring weight on his doctor’s recommendation, and also he looks far better than he has actually in years, one of the ladies recalled Hillary saying. He is dead set and determined to wrest the Hollywood civilization away from Obama. He wishes he had actually done that years ago, throughout the 2008 autonomous Party primary fight. But now he’s earlier in the fight and also that makes him strong.

Hillary rolled she eyes, threw back her head, and also cackled with her signature laughter together she go on to define some the Bill’s current antics. That would soon celebrate his sixty-seventh birthday, and also he was having one more of his middle-age crises. When he saw Los Angeles, that rented Corvettes and also Ferraris and also drove approximately Hollywood in a brand-new fedora, i beg your pardon she thought looked an extremely snappy on him.

The previous week, Bill had actually been on among his magical secret tours, she said. He began off in Hollywood with Charlize Theron at an event for GLAAD, the gay and also lesbian advocacy group. Climate he checked out Peru through Scarlett Johansson; jetted off to Madrid to invest a few days v Juan Carlos, the playboy king of Spain; went next to London to meet Elton John and his husband, David Furnish; then was off come Vienna because that an AIDS benefit with his new best girlfriend Eva Longoria and also Carmen Electra.

The guy is unstoppable, Hillary said. The guy’s obtained a hell the a most life left in him. I’ve told that that once we are ago in the White House, he’ll have to behave. He laugh hysterically. We space at that suggest when we can joke about it. You have to love him. Ns do.

But climate the expression top top her face turned unexpectedly somber, as if she had thought of other else, and also she became an ext serious.

For the past four years, she said, "Bill has actually been mostly out of my life. He to be in small Rock or brand-new York or traveling, and also I was in D.C. Or traveling roughly the world. We talked every day on the phone but didn’t invest a the majority of time together. And we’ve been gaining along great.

"Now we space going come be together on the project trail, and also it’s going to be complicated. Plus, there is the dynamic that once I run for president i’m going to be the boss, and also I’m not certain Bill will have the ability to handle that. He claims he’ll it is in my adviser and loving husband, but I’m afraid the if ns elected, he’ll think he’s president again and also I’m first lady. If he starts that shit, I’ll have actually his ass thrown the end of the White House."

When the dessert dishes and also coffee cups were clearing from the table, Hillary said that she would prefer to get some new air. Castle left the restaurant and started walking increase King Street in the direction of her home. Mystery Service agents complied with in 2 black SUVs, and also a state police car trailed behind, a light flashing ~ above its roof. V Hillary, a casual so late afternoon stroll in the suburbs turned into a royal procession.

As lock trudged increase the winding hill, one of the women claimed she had a question that she had been reluctant to ask till now.

What about Benghazi? she asked. What about you and Benghazi?

I wish i hadn’t flailed around at the Senate committee listening on Benghazi and also said, ‘What difference does it make,’ Hillary replied. But I claimed it, and also Bill was very disappointed in mine performance. In fact, he was shattered. But we nothing fight anymore. We’ve acquired past that years ago. We accept each various other as us are and chase our cumulative dream. All that shit the throwing points at him and also yelling is in the remote past.

As because that Benghazi, she continued, it to be going to fade from memory; that would have actually no impact on her choice prospects. The Clinton Brand, together she dubbed it, could overcome Benghazi, simply as it could overcome the floundering of the Obama administration and the farming unpopularity that the Democrats. The Clinton Brand was standing on its own.

We to be the leaders of peace and also prosperity because that eight years when we were in the White House, she said. "And as soon as I run, Bill will make speeches because that me that’ll make the speeches he’s produced Obama seem like those in a small high school debate. I’ll run for chairman on that record, no Obama’s record. And we’ll win back the White House. You just wait and also see."


THE deal



Barack Obama remained in a funk.

He to be slouched in a huge leather chair, one knee propped against the leaf of the conference table, a sullen expression ~ above his face. Because that the past half hour, he’d been listening through mounting exasperation as two of his the next advisers—David Plouffe and Valerie Jarrett—indulged in a heated debate over exactly how to save him from politics calamity.

It was August 2011, and in less than fifteen month Obama would face the American civilization in a bid for a 2nd term in the White House. Because FDR, only one democratic president—Bill Clinton—had controlled that feat, and according come Plouffe, who had replaced David Axelrod together Obama’s chef in-house project strategist, the president’s prospects looked iffy in ~ best. The recent Gallup poll had Obama at the shortest monthly job approval rating the his presidency, with just 41 percent of adults granting of his performance.

The spare and wiry Plouffe (pronounced pluff) to be an intense male of few words, a numbers genius, and a formidable competitor. Though Obama’s reelection headquarters to be officially based seven hundred miles away in Chicago, Plouffe rule the campaign from inside the West Wing.

We have to play hardball, Plouffe said, follow to a person who took part in the meeting. We have to bury our Republican foe with assault ads. And also we need a renowned figure, a allude man in the campaign, someone who’ll excite the base and also independents and also be the president’s cook surrogate. In mine opinion, the ideal person because that that task is invoice Clinton.

Normally, in meetings choose this, no one wondered about Plouffe’s authority. But as he spoke in favor of enlisting invoice Clinton in the campaign, Plouffe showed up uncharacteristically nervous. He retained glancing down the table in ~ Valerie Jarrett, that sat a few feet away.

Jarrett’s eye were ablaze with defiance.

Before castle gathered because that this pivotal project strategy meeting, Plouffe had met privately with Jarrett and also given she a heads-up. The told her the he plan to urge Obama to approach Bill Clinton, who was widely despised by members that Obama’s within circle, and ask the former president for assist in the comes electoral struggle.

As Plouffe expected, his proposal did not go under well with Jarrett. She dislike that the Clintons, particularly Bill, appeared boundless. Instead, Jarrett argued that the point person in the campaign should be Oprah Winfrey, whose legendary persuasive powers, especially amongst women and minorities, was known amongst opinion poll researchers as the Oprah Effect. Jarrett believed that Oprah was much more likely to stay on message and be much an ext controllable than Bill Clinton.

During the 2008 presidential election, Oprah had actually taken a huge gamble through her TV ratings by shedding she nonpartisan reputation and also going all-out because that Barack Obama. She headlined huge rallies and also raised hundreds of thousands the dollars because that his campaign. And she to be widely attributed with pulling in much more than a million votes.

In return for her support, Oprah had actually been promised unique access to the White home by Obama if he won. She would get constant briefings on management initiatives and also advance notice on programs, i beg your pardon would give her invaluable product for her fledgling cable venture, OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Oprah intended to make her unique White House access a component of her new network, a source close to Oprah said in an interview for this book. "There were large plans, and a team was put together come come up v proposals that would have been support beneficial. Yet none that that ever before happened. Oprah sent out notes and also a rep to speak to Valerie Jarrett, but nothing came of it. It gradually dawned on Oprah the the Obamas had absolutely no intentionally of maintaining their word and bringing her right into their confidence. In a snit, Oprah prohibition the Obamas from her O, The Oprah Magazine, and rumors persisted the she would sit the end the 2012 election.

Clearly, Oprah thought she was being rebuffed at the level the Michelle and also Valerie, this resource continued. And just together obviously, chairman Obama didn’t interfere on Oprah’s behalf. It appeared to Oprah the Michelle was jealous of her, furious the Barack was seeking she advice rather of Michelle’s. For she part, Oprah didn’t like being through Michelle, since the first lady was constantly one-upping the president and anybody else around her. Oprah to be hurt and angry and will never make up with the Obamas. She knows exactly how to organize a grudge.

David Plouffe reminded Valerie Jarrett about the ill feelings in between Oprah and the Obamas.

Oprah has actually turned her ago on us, that said.

Don’t believe it, Jarrett replied. The president and also Michelle think that Oprah will certainly come to run as quickly as she asked to help.

But things didn’t rotate out the means Jarrett predicted. Instead, Oprah refused to help. Late one night ~ dinner in the family quarters of the White House, Jarrett broke the poor news to the chairman and very first lady.

Oprah no going to do shit for united state in 2012, Jarrett said. She refuses to lift a hand. She going come announce publicly that she isn’t going to project for united state this time around.

Stunned, the president emitted a concerned laugh.

Michelle no say a word.

With Oprah the end of the picture, David Plouffe was counting ~ above Valerie Jarrett come reconsider her hostile mindset toward invoice Clinton. In this, he was sorely disappointed. Because that no sooner had Plouffe finished his presentation to the president, ballyhooing the virtues of bill Clinton as his chief project surrogate, 보다 Jarrett spoke her mind.

I don’t trust that guy Clinton, she said. We have the right to win there is no him.

There was a moment of silence roughly the table. World became aware that that was hot in the room. Despite it to be the center of August, Obama had ordered the air-conditioning rotate down.

He’s from Hawaii, okay? David Axelrod once noted. The likes it warm. You might grow orchids in there.

Obama had actually removed his custom-tailored Hart Schaffner Marx suit jacket and rolled up his shirtsleeves come mid-forearm. The hated messy confrontations, and the spectacle the David Plouffe, the architect that his 2008 electoral victory, brawling v Valerie Jarrett, his reliable consigliere, make Obama cross and was responsible for his sullen pout.

Usually as soon as he met v his advisers, Obama did many of the talking. However this time to be different. He maintained silent, though his initial advertise must have actually been come side through Jarrett. He common her strong an unfavorable feelings about Bill Clinton. In past meetings through his advisers, he had actually routinely permit his scorn for Clinton pour out over.

Obama’s animosity towards Clinton sprang from several sources. To start with, though he and also Clinton i agree on plenty of social issues, such together gay marriage and also gun control, they came from the contrary economic wings that the autonomous Party—Obama native the much left, Clinton indigenous the center. Obama believed in the intrinsic goodness of huge government, and also he could never forgive Clinton for his State of the Union speech in i m sorry he had famously declared, The era of large government is over.

Then, too, the two men embodied a different collection of ethical values. Clinton was the can be fried pragmatist: to victory a 2nd term in the White House, that had emerged a politics theory recognized as triangulation, which allowed him to distance himself from traditional Democratic plans and embrace some that the concepts of his Republican opponents, such together deregulation and a well balanced budget. Obama, ~ above the other hand, to be so thoroughly encouraged of his own rectitude and also virtue that he frequently thought that his opponents as immoral and didn’t desire to have actually anything to execute with them.