CHERYL MILLS GUSH TO HILLARY: 'At the foot of the master I learned'...
Image was a paramount concern to Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, and her aides went to great lengths to warn their boss of potentially damaging reports, devise strategies to fight unflattering portrayals, and ply her with compliments after successful media appearances.
Clinton’s symbiotic, love-hate relationship with the press is hardly unique among power brokers in Washington, but dozens of her emails released this week portray an inner circle that was highly skilled at image control and ready to play the long game, building relationships with journalists and crafting a public persona that might serve her well beyond the secretary’s seat. Many of the same advisers from that era are now part of Clinton’s presidential campaign.
In an email from October 2009, top Clinton aide Philippe Reines sounded ecstatic about her appearance on the cover of Parade magazine – “photo is gorgeous” . . . “a homerun” – and reassured her that the tedium of nonstop media appearances served a greater goal.
“In the end, I firmly believe it will be the totality all these in-depth projects like Vogue, National Geographic, Nightline, Time – which I know are annoying – that are going to create a collage documenting your success,” Reines wrote, “especially in terms of style and work ethic, which I believe is what people are most interested when it comes to their perception and approval of you.”
The emails were released in response to a court order stemming from a lawsuit over Clinton’s decision to eschew an official government account and instead use a personal email account, routed through a private server at her New York home, for all four years she led the State Department.
Mills shared positive feedback she received about her own performance in an NPR interview on Haiti.
Clinton shot back: “And well-deserved. You’re a rock star!”
“At the foot of the master I learned,” Mills replied.