Ted Kennedy top of Clintons' 'hit list' of political foes
Hillary and Bill Clinton keep a detailed "hit list" of everyone who has crossed them during more than 20 years at the apex of American politics, a new book has claimed.
The list of so-called "sinners and saints" -- including John Kerry, now US secretary of state, and the late Ted Kennedy -- was compiled on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet in the dying days of Mrs Clinton's failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
The alleged "cheat sheet" of betrayals ranked offenders on a scale from one to seven and was compiled by aides to give the Clintons an instant database of those who deserved political favour, and those who did not.
"Almost six years later, most Clinton aides can still rattle off the names of traitors and the favours that had been done for them, then provide details of just how each of the guilty had gone on to betray the Clintons as if it all had happened just a few hours before," wrote the authors of 'HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton'.
The Clintons have a reputation in Washington for long memories but the existence of a digital "favour book" raises questions about how Mrs Clinton (66) might conduct another run at the presidency in 2016.
The book paints a picture of how wounding and dispiriting the 2008 campaign was for the Clintons as leading Democrats deserted them for Barack Obama, whose instant celebrity trumped years of hard networking and their own established pre-eminence as the most powerful double act in Democrat politics.
"The injuries and insults were endless, and each blow hurt more than the last, the cumulative effect of months and months of defections," wrote the authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.
Among those rated as a '7' for most disloyal, were Mr Kerry, who endorsed Mr Obama as a man who could "help restore our moral authority" and Mr Kennedy, who designated Mr Obama as the heir-apparent to his brother John F Kennedy.
Another huge betrayal for Mrs Clinton was the decision of Claire McCaskill, a senior Missouri senator, to become the first significant female figure to endorse Mr Obama.
Ms McCaskill, who has endorsed Mrs Clinton for 2016, gave a television interview crediting Mr Clinton as a "great leader" before adding, "I don't want my daughter near him" -- a remark that inspired rage among the Clintons and their aides.
Political strategists were divided yesterday over whether the portrayal of Mrs Clinton and her entourage as vindictive would damage her 2016 chances. (© Daily Telegraph, London)