Monday 18 December 2017

US First Lady Michelle Obama 'looks down on Clinton and her family'

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
Hillary Clinton

Robert Tait in Los Angeles

RELATIONS between Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama are "fraught with hurt feelings and resentment", with America's First Lady "looking down" on the Democratic presidential frontrunner and her family, a newly published book has claimed.

Tensions between the two women date from the 2008 presidential campaign, when Ms Obama's husband, Barack, defeated Ms Clinton for the Democratic nomination and subsequently took the White House, writes author Kate Andersen Brower in 'First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies'.

"The 2008 presidential campaign left deep and lasting scars on both the Clinton and the Obama camps, and they are still shockingly fresh," says the book, which was published yesterday by Collins.

Mrs Obama (52) has never forgotten how Mrs Clinton ridiculed her husband's "hope and change" message in patronising tones.

So antagonistic has Ms Obama become towards her husband's former adversary that she hoped the vice-president, Joe Biden, would stand against Mrs Clinton in this year's Democratic primaries and win the party's nomination. After consideration, Mr Biden decided against doing so.

"When Michelle Obama views the Clintons, I don't want to say she's looking down her nose at them - but she kind of is," a former Obama adviser is quoted as saying. Her disdain has been fuelled by suggestions of misconduct levelled at the Clinton Global Initiative, established in 2005 by Ms Clinton's husband.

"It fits into the narrative about the Clintons that they come off as just trying to claw their way towards success and money," the book says.

In response to suggestions of misconduct and irregularities at the foundation, Bill Clinton in 2013 published an open letter stating that financial deficits reported in the media were misleading and due to the unique tax reporting requirements placed on such bodies.

The book portrays Mrs Obama as loathing her role and reveals her testy relations with her husband's closet aides, including Rahm Emanuel, his first chief of staff, whom she accused of bullying her into campaigning.

Unlike Mrs Clinton, who was politically active during her husband's presidency, she has no interest in receiving policy briefings. In 2010, she allegedly told Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of the visiting then French President, on the subject of being First Lady: "Don't ask. It's hell. I hate it."

However, Mrs Obama - who earned $275,000 a year as vice-president of external affairs at Chicago University's medical centre before her husband's election - hopes to emulate Mrs Clinton in one respect, by writing her own books after leaving the White House.

Her aides say she looks forward to the day when she leaves "a really nice prison" to earn money through book deals and public speaking fees, Andersen Brower writes.

Meanwhile, back on the stumps, Mrs Clinton isn't leaving any line of attack untested in the final week before New York's Democratic primary, aware that anything short of a big win may breathe new life into rival Bernie Sanders' campaign.

Her all-out approach and rebuttals by Mr Sanders seemed to end a brief truce that took hold in the campaign at the end of last week after increasingly bitter exchanges in which each questioned the other's fitness for office. While continuing to jab at Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, Mrs Clinton has criticised Mr Sanders's record on guns and immigration and questioned whether he's thought through his positions.

"I have noticed under the bright spotlight and the scrutiny here in New York, Senator Sanders has had trouble answering questions," she told reporters at a restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Backtracked "He's had trouble answering questions about his core issue, namely dealing with the banks. He's had trouble answering foreign policy questions."

While Mr Sanders has backtracked from saying Mrs Clinton isn't qualified to be president, he's kept up an aggressive criticism of Mrs Clinton's ties to Wall Street and other special interests.

"In terms of her judgment, something is clearly lacking," he said on Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press'.

The back-and-forth leads up to a debate tomorrow night in Brooklyn, with both candidates digging in for a fight they may have to carry on until the final primary ballot is cast in June.

While Mrs Clinton is looking to next Tuesday's primary in New York and a slate of five northeast primaries the following week to seal the nomination, Mr Sanders has been raising enough money to carry on his campaign into the Democratic National Convention in July. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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