This Clinton lovefest with Kissinger is not new. And it is not simply a product of professional courtesy or solidarity among former secretaries of state, who, after all, are part of a small club.
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There is also a strong social connection between the Clintons and the Kissingers. They pal around together. On June 3, , Hillary Clinton presented an award to de la Renta, a good friend who for years had provided her dresses and fashion advice, and then the two of them hopped over to a 90th birthday party for Kissinger. In fact, the schedule of the award ceremony had been shifted to allow Clinton and de la Renta to make it to the Kissinger bash.
Secretary of State John Kerry also attended the party. The Kissingers and the de la Rentas were longtime buddies.
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But a week and a half after the release of the redacted Mueller report, three days after Joe Biden got into the presidential race pitching a Hillary Clinton—esque campaign rooted in experience and personal offense at what Trump represents, and two blocks from the White House, the race was clearly on their minds. Someone will rise. He said he worried that if Trump can get away with asking Russia to hack emails , China might be looking to get in the game this time, and a candidate could decide to ask for another foreign attack.
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In a video made for the event, the comedian Jordan Klepper got Hillary Clinton to read selections from the report, as if for an audio book. But we have so many very exciting, energetic candidates. The first, infused with the same shock that sent Russo to the floor on the night of November 8, demand that Clinton come back. You need to be standing up to Donald Trump. You need to be in the news every day.
You need to be out there.
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The drafts are forward-looking — always with some note about keeping up the fight — but in many cases, particularly in letters to friends, there are reminders of what has ended for Clinton. It was August , his freshman year at George Washington University, the first week of classes, when he first signed up to volunteer in her Senate campaign office. That semester, three or four times a week, he stuffed envelopes at a big table in the volunteer room on K Street.
He worked with the political team to come up with a list of people, hung a large map on the wall and worked from state to state first New York, then Arkansas, then in alphabetical order , crossing each state out in red when complete.
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The makeup of their extended network has been a subject of fascination and scrutiny for almost as long as Bill and Hillary themselves. Bill Clinton, who does not use email, also has his own dedicated correspondence team. Other members of his extended network have taken on an unofficial role in its care and maintenance. Critics might attribute these efforts to a fixation with maintaining a political network that has helped power four combined presidential campaigns and a sprawling foundation. The former president, an adviser said, recently spent the better part of an afternoon fine-tuning his response to a letter from a fourth-grader.
Why not? So I literally would keep running. Russo, diligent and meticulous in that diligence, is aware that his work ethic borders at times on the ridiculous. Before college, he mapped out a course plan in an Excel spreadsheet that would allow him to graduate in three years, five classes per semester, plus summer courses.
Theater, second to Clinton, is his passion. For all his actual, rare proximity to Clinton, Russo still regards his boss and her world with the reverence and humility of the year-old amazed to have a seat at her dining room table. I would never say so myself.
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He treats his entry into Hillaryland as a series of sacred memories, still preserved in sharp, perfect detail. About a week later , on November 29, Russo packed up his apartment near the Brooklyn Heights campaign office and moved to the West Village. The next day, he and the small group of aides still working for Clinton returned to her old personal office waiting on 45th Street.
There are reminders of the loss across the office: the old campaign posters; the bins of letters waiting for replies; Russo still in black. The atmosphere, though, is not dark. At all Our daily lives are not depressing. Russo is only He has a law degree, has passed the bar.
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That mission has changed now in essential ways since the first summer he spent writing thank-you letters in , moving state by state across a map. One afternoon in the fall of , on the cusp of his second presidential campaign with his boss, Russo described the project in straightforward terms, saying that Clinton wanted to a take the time to thank the people who helped her campaign, and b give them something to remember it by — a letter to keep or frame or pass down in the family.
A campaign is intangible.
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