The Selling of Hillary Clinton: `Aversion to the National Media’

Photograph by David Cornell/AFP via Getty Images

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton responds to a gift of boxer shorts for the President from University of Colorado tri-executive president student Stephanie Ascher, left, in this March 14, 1995 file photo in Boulder, Co.

Among the nuggets from a trove of memos released by the Clinton presidential library today is this Aug. 31, 1995, memo from Lisa Caputo, speaking of the best ways of appealing to women’s media and local markets — and noting Clinton’s “aversion to the national media.”

“”It is clear to me that Hillary is most comfortable doing press that is built around a specific purpose,” Caputo, the first lady’s press secretary at the time, wrote.

On an imminent book tour and conference in Beijing, she wrote this of her boss: “As Hillary embarks on her book tour, I think it is important to for (sic) us to consider returning to our 1992 campaign press strategy and have her do local interviews in the local markets.”

“The benefit of the book tour media is that Hillary will be at home and comfortable with the topic and therefore, the good press coverage on the book tour will give her good political mileage.”

They sought out media that would “place Hillary in a positive light and make her feel comfortable.”

Those included women’s media — “Hillary should own the women’s media.”

Including meetings with editors of women’s magazines once every month or two in New York City or Washington:

— Women’s TV: Appearing on local noon TV shows that “have large female viewership.”

— Women’s pages of newspapers: Writing columns and op-eds.

— Women’s radio : “”Hillary likes to do radio interviews and has always been a fan of radio.”

The focus on regional media, including college media and senior citizens: “Hillary is comfortable with the local reporters and enjoys speaking with them. This will help us get around her aversion to the national Washington media and serve to counter the tone of the national media.”

A People magazine photo spread, was suggested, “if Hillary is comfortable throwing a big party” for the Clintons’ 20th anniversary

Also, this new thing called the Internet:

“Internet has become a very popular mode of communication. Hillary could speak to young women through Internet. I think Hillary would have fun with this, and I believe it would not be too difficult to organize.”




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