But read on. Healy interviewed Mrs. Clinton and various others, and I think an impressive picture of her experience emerges at some point. I am, as I've said many times here, averse to the idea that the position of First Lady is a springboard to the Presidency, but I could feel myself softening as I read this:
Friends of Mrs. Clinton say that she acted as adviser, analyst, devil’s advocate, problem-solver and gut check for her husband, and that she has an intuitive sense of how brutal the job can be. What is clear, she and others say, is that Mr. Clinton often consulted her, and that Mrs. Clinton gained experience that Mr. Obama, John Edwards and every other candidate lack — indeed, that most incoming presidents did not have.Hillary Clinton is in a very strange position where if she claims too much experience, she confesses to overstepping limits. She didn't have a security clearance or the official role of co-President, but you get the sense that, at the time, she behaved as though she did. Of course, now, she's compelled to deny it, but she also wants to let us know that it's true. Yes, I know: how Clintonesque. And yet, I'm inclined to accept the experience argument now. What next? Grill her about those decisions during the Clinton years!
“In the end, she was the last court of appeal for him when he was making a decision,” said Mickey Kantor, a close Clinton friend who served as trade representative and commerce secretary. “I would be surprised if there was any major decision he made that she didn’t weigh in on.“In the end, she was the last court of appeal for him when he was making a decision,” said Mickey Kantor, a close Clinton friend who served as trade representative and commerce secretary. “I would be surprised if there was any major decision he made that she didn’t weigh in on.”...
Mrs. Clinton said in the interview that she was careful not to overstep her bounds on national security, relying instead on informal access....
She said she did not attend National Security Council meetings, nor did she have a security clearance — though she was briefed on classified intelligence before going on some important diplomatic trips.
“I don’t recall attending anything formal like the National Security Council,” she said, “because I had direct access to all of the principals. I spent a lot of time with the national security adviser, the secretary of state, other officials on the security team for the president. I thought that was both more appropriate, but also more efficient.”
Mrs. Clinton declined to say if she ever read the President’s Daily Brief, a rundown of the latest intelligence and threats to national security provided to the president each day. “I would put that in the category of I-never-talk-about-what-I-talk-to-my-husband-about,” she said. But she indicated, and other administration officials confirmed, that Mr. Clinton would sometimes talk to her about contents of the briefing.
“Let me say generally, I’m very aware of and familiar with what the P.D.B.’s actually are, how they work, what they include,” she said. “And it wasn’t always through the Clinton administration — when I went to Bosnia, for example, I had a full briefing from the military commanders there about what the situation was like.”
Mrs. Clinton said she was “only tangentially involved” in Mr. Clinton’s first major overseas test, whether to send American soldiers after the Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid and his forces, a raid that ended in 18 American deaths. Asked if she had pressed for an invasion, she said she had acted “more as a sounding board” for Mr. Clinton....Spare me the "formal role"/"tangentially involved" niceties, and hold her to account. Make her defend Bill Clinton's decisions or tell us exactly what she thinks he did wrong. And don't let her dodge around by playing on our feelings about the marital relationship.
Asked about her role in Somalia and Haiti, [former Secretary of State Warren] Christopher said in an interview, “She wasn’t at any of the meetings in the Oval Office or cabinet room, and didn’t take any formal role that I saw.”