First Lady Hillary Clinton Opposed the Individual Mandate and Passed on 'Home Improvement'

As promised, the Clinton Presidential Library on Friday released 5,000 pages of previously withheld documents from the Clinton White House.

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As promised, the Clinton Presidential Library released 5,000 pages of previously withheld documents from the Clinton White House on Friday.

What would usually be an otherwise low-key affair has received heightened attention given that the documents deal heavily with Hillary Clinton. So far — no doubt, to her opponents' chagrin — the revelations are not of the sort that one might consider damning to a presidential race. They go much farther in revealing what it was like to be First Lady in the 1990s than anything: typewritten memos, feel-good events, pet projects.

In 2014, we have the internet and teams of reporters combing through the documents to find the interesting parts. For example:

The policy issues

National Journal's Seitz-Wald found details on one of the main areas of interest in this document set: Clinton's involvement and opinion on the health care reform package she was helping to coordinate. At a different point, a memo warns that members of Congress "going to their home districts for the August break are petrified about having difficult healthcare reform issues/questions thrown at them." That's precisely what happened in 2009 at the advent of the Tea Party in response to Obamacare.

There's a note of caution introduced that Clinton — and future presidents — might take to heart.

Other memos, collected by Politico, document the tension felt by Democrats on Capitol Hill. The health care proposal was never adopted.

Another memo sent to Rahm Emmanuel (eventually President Obama's chief of staff and mayor of Chicago) outlines an emerging issue for the Democratic Party to deal with: Immigration. "Though this is largely a California issue, it has significant ramifications in other key states, as well," the 1993 memo reads, eventually calling on Clinton to develop a "New Democrat" solution.

Some possible solutions are offered: Name an Immigration and Naturalization Services commissioner (preferably Latino), beef up border security, and do more enforcement on prohibitions against hiring undocumented immigrants.

The role of the First Lady

One memo outlines a number of ways for the then-First Lady to improve her profile. None are more exciting than this one, spotted by The Daily Beast's Ben Jacobs.

For those familiar with Home Improvement, it's somewhat hard to imagine what Clinton's role would have been. Probably not Tool Time Girl.

Another suggestion involved getting together with members of her fan club, started by an elderly couple by the name of Love.

Even as late as 1999, Clinton's staff was providing pointers on maximizing her press appearances.

Her staff also prepared profiles of the media traveling with her, some names of which you'll recognize.

Another opportunity for press proposed by her staff: the Clintons' 20th wedding anniversary. Pitch a magazine spread — which could then be turned into a campaign mailer. Win-win.

If Hillary is comfortable throwing a big party, we could give a wonderful photo spread to People magazine of photos from the party coupled with old photos of their honeymoon and of special moments for them over the past 20 years. It would be like creating a photo album for People magazine that could turn into a nice mail piece later on.

Clinton's priorities

During her tenure at the State Department Clinton put a focus on women's issues. That is also apparent in the new cache of documents which detail, among other things, preparations for the UN Fourth World Conference on Women. Among the issues discussed is the accreditation of pro-life groups.

Other issues

As more interesting tidbits emerge, we will update this post. If any suggest a major scandal, we'll probably break that out separately.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.