Republicans are serving notice that if Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, it won't be an easy ride.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says his party will have a "truckload" of negatives to use against her. "I think everything's on the table," Priebus told MSNBC. "....I think we're going to have a truckload of opposition research on Hillary Clinton, and some things may be old, and some things might be new. But I think everything is at stake when you're talking about the leader of the free world."
Priebus said newly revealed files from the late Diane Blair, a close friend of Hillary Clinton, are relevant to her potential campaign. "I think it's important," the GOP chairman said. "It illustrates that Hillary Clinton was for single payer for a long time....Hillary Clinton will present many opposition research opportunities for us to set the record straight on what she believes and what her history is on a lot of topics."
Among the disclosures is information suggesting that Clinton supported "single payer," shorthand for government-paid health care and opposed by many conservatives, during her time as first lady, when she was in charge of her husband's health-care initiative. Another part of the Blair files is information about Hillary Clinton's assessment of her husband's philandering. Blair said the then-first lady criticized Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern who had an affair with President Bill Clinton, as a "narcissistic loony toon."
The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative web site, ran a story on the Blair files Sunday night, describing the papers as "correspondence, diaries, interviews, strategy memos, and contemporaneous accounts of conversations with the Clintons ranging from the mid-1970s to the turn of the millennium." Those files were donated to the University of Arkansas and are stored there.
Most of the information seems familiar to anyone who has followed the Clintons' careers. But it has renewed a national discussion of the sordid parts of their saga, notably the president's affair and the lies that Bill Clinton told about the episode that led to his impeachment by the House and acquittal by the Senate.
The disclosures have given the GOP an opportunity to serve notice that Hillary Clinton's potential march to the White House won't be a smooth one and that old wounds will be reopened, and to remind voters that she and her husband have plenty of baggage. Clinton, former secretary of state and ex-senator from New York, is considered the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination if she runs.
Prior to the disclosure of the Blair files, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said former President Clinton's affair with Lewinsky would be relevant to a presidential campaign by his wife. Paul is considered a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016. He told NBC, "I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that and that is predatory behavior." The senator added that the issue is relevant to an evaluation of Hillary Clinton's record because "it's hard enough to separate one from the other. I would say that with regards to his place in history that it certainly is a discussion."Hillary Clinton's defenders immediately went on the attack. "It's clear now that the Republicans have nothing of substance to say about Secretary Clinton," Clinton ally David Brock told Politico. "That's why they're running a retro-channel, an endless feedback loop of dreck."