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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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April 17, 2008 7:48 AM

Clinton's new-found populism

Posted by David Postman

I wrote the other day about Hillary Clinton's new-found optimism in the United States. Well, it turns out that her love of regular folk may be something new, too. This is from the Huffington Post:

In January 1995, as the Clintons were licking their wounds from the 1994 congressional elections, a debate emerged at a retreat at Camp David. Should the administration make overtures to working class white southerners who had all but forsaken the Democratic Party? The then-first lady took a less than inclusive approach.

"Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."

The statement -- which author Benjamin Barber witnessed and wrote about in his book, "The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House" -- was prompted by another speaker raising the difficulties of reaching "Reagan Democrats." It stands in stark contrast to the attitude the New York Democrat has recently taken on the campaign trail, in which she has presented herself as the one candidate who understands the working-class needs.

The Clinton campaign says the quote was taken out of context.

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