Thursday, March 05, 2009


Stop the presses! Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times has a scoop:

Hillary Rodham Clinton has not participated in any of the White House's planning sessions on health care, the issue that defined her public persona during the 1990s. Intent on establishing herself as a powerful secretary of state, she has steered clear of public statements on the topic and has not discussed it in any detail with President Obama.

Mrs. Clinton's distance from the health care initiative, figuratively and literally -- she will be in Brussels on Thursday when Mr. Obama begins his effort to overhaul the system with a high-profile gathering of experts -- underscores how the Obama White House is grappling with the cloud that still lingers over the Clinton plan 15 years after it imploded.

Mr. Obama is at once trying to distance himself from the baggage Mrs. Clinton carries as the architect of that plan, while demonstrating that he has learned from it. He is drawing on the experiences of a host of aides who are Clinton veterans, notably Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff. But he is not relying on Mrs. Clinton herself.

"I think we've got her pretty well occupied," said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's senior adviser....

Well, duh.

Didn't we kinda-sorta figure out that she wasn't going to be sitting in on health care debates when she, um, took this job? A job exclusively devoted to a foreign policy, at a time when we're still fighting two wars and dealing from risks in dozens of global hot spots? Didn't that seem like rather a complicated undertaking -- one that would commit her to long hours and wouldn't leave her a lot of free time?

I dunno, maybe that was just me. Apparently, to Stolberg, not involving her in a huge undertaking when you've put her in charge of another, all-consuming huge undertaking is a snub.

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