More on Clinton camp infighting

The New York Times depicts Hillary Clinton as a detached manager and her staff as demoralized and divided.


Alex Koppelman
March 10, 2008 7:12PM (UTC)

Monday morning brought the latest installment in what's practically an ongoing serial now, the chronicling of infighting in Hillary Clinton's campaign. This edition comes courtesy of the New York Times and three of its reporters, Adam Nagourney, Patrick Healy and Kate Zernike.

What the trio depicts is not a happy picture of or for Clinton. "Associates and friends suggest that Mrs. Clinton, at least until February, was a detached manager," they write. "Juggling the demands of being a candidate, she paid little attention to detail, delegated decisions large and small and deferred to advisers on critical questions. Mrs. Clinton accepted or seemed unaware of the intense factionalism and feuding that often paralyzed her campaign and that prevented her aides from reaching consensus on basic questions like what states to fight in and how to go after Mr. Obama.

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"Mrs. Clinton showed a tendency toward an insular management style, relying on a coterie of aides who have worked for her for years, her aides and associates said. Her choice of lieutenants, and her insistence on staying with them even when friends urged her to shake things up, was blamed by some associates for the campaign’s woes. Again and again, the senator was portrayed as a manager who valued loyalty and familiarity over experience and expertise."

The Times also reports that Clinton had been talking daily with only a few people, and was less hands-on than her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had been in running his campaign. "This approach, many of her associates said, had the effect of breeding resentment at campaign headquarters. Since there was no one person in charge, they said, it was hard to make decisions, and Mr. Penn would frequently use his personal connection with Mrs. Clinton to block the campaign from moving in directions he opposed, like putting an increased emphasis on trying to present a human side of Mrs. Clinton," the Times says.

And the Times reveals that when Clinton brought Maggie Williams -- who is now campaign manager -- into the campaign the day of the New Hampshire primary, then campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle took offense and tried to resign, only to be talked out of it. Doyle was eventually replaced by Williams, in early February.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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