How Hillary Clinton tamed her friends

Infighting among senior campaign operatives wasn’t the only debilitating aspect of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Her friends undid her too.

The vast landscape of “FOHs” (“Friends of Hillary”) and “FOBs” (“Friends of Bill”) — a network the Clintons have cultivated since their 20s — was excluded from the campaign, but its members were driven to act like insiders, talking without the benefit of insight and creating trouble for her campaign.
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“We were kind of swimming on our own. We didn’t know who to call, we rarely got briefed, and didn’t have access to the facts,” recalled Lanny Davis, a friend of the Clintons from their Yale Law School days. Davis, an attorney and a ubiquitous television talking head, admitted that he “sometimes screwed up” when appearing on TV to discuss Clinton’s candidacy “because I wasn’t quite sure of her position on an issue.”

Bringing those freelancing friends back into the fold — while keeping them far from the daily 7:30 a.m. senior staff strategy conference call — was one of the changes Clinton vowed to make after taking stock of everything that went wrong in 2008.

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