‘Be more Golda than Maggie,’ Bill Clinton tells Hillary

New book reveals presidential hopeful’s concerns about likeability, and how Bill suggested bringing in Spielberg

File: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to supporters as her husband former president Bill Clinton, second from right, Chelsea Clinton, second from left, and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, join on stage Saturday, June 13, 2015, on Roosevelt Island in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
File: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to supporters as her husband former president Bill Clinton, second from right, Chelsea Clinton, second from left, and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, join on stage Saturday, June 13, 2015, on Roosevelt Island in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Seeking to assuage his wife’s concerns about her public appeal, former president Bill Clinton had words of wisdom for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she fretted over her appeal during her new run for the highest political office in the United States.

According to a new book by journalist Edward Klein, Bill (who left office in January 2001 with a 66% approval rating) told Hillary to be “more Golda than Maggie,” a reference to the iconic Israeli and British women prime ministers Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher.

Klein writes in his book, an excerpt of which was featured in the New York Post, that Bill Clinton told his wife that while her “policies and talking points are solid,” she should seek “to emphasize how you’re all about women and children. Now the challenge is to ­repackage you in 2016 as a strong but lovable older woman — more Golda than Maggie.”

Both Meir and Thatcher were noted for their toughness in a male-dominated world, and admiration and respect for the late Israeli leader, who died in 1978, lingers to this day.

Klein also claimed that Bill suggested Hillary seek assistance from director Steven Spielberg for lessons in her speech delivery.

Prime minister Golda Meir and defense minister Moshe Dayan meeting with troops on the Golan Heights, on November 21, 1973. (photo credit: Ron Frenkel/GPO)
Prime minister Golda Meir and defense minister Moshe Dayan meeting with troops on the Golan Heights, on November 21, 1973. (photo credit: Ron Frenkel/GPO)

But, Klein wrote, Hillary failed to see any similarities with Meir or Thatcher. “I’m not going to pretend to be somebody I’m not,” she said.

Meanwhile, the former president has blamed Republicans and the media for the controversy surrounding Hillary’s use of a private email server during her stint as secretary of state, arguing that GOP rivals want to focus on political hype to undercut her presidential campaign.

“I have never seen so much expended on so little,” he said in a CNN interview to be aired in full Sunday, describing the email furor as resulting largely from the GOP’s “full-scale frontal assault” on his wife.

Prime minister Shimon Peres with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, during Thatcher's official visit to Jerusalem on May 26, 1986. (Photo credit: Sa'ar Yaacov/GPO/FLASH90)
Prime minister Shimon Peres with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, during Thatcher’s official visit to Jerusalem on May 26, 1986. (Photo credit: Sa’ar Yaacov/GPO/FLASH90)

“The other party doesn’t want to run against her. And if they do, they’d like her as mangled up as possible,” Clinton said.

Republicans have raised questions about thousands of emails that she has deleted on grounds that they were private in nature, as well as other messages that have surfaced independently of Hillary Clinton and the State Department.

Bill Clinton likened the email controversy to questions over the Whitewater land deal that he faced during his 1992 presidential campaign. Saying the furor was more politics than substance, he argued that his wife has been open in answering questions and will bounce back from a decline in the polls.

“She said she was sorry that her personal email caused all this confusion. And she’d like to give the election back to the American people. And I trust the people. I think it will be all right,” he said.

The former leader added that the news media also played an inappropriate role in his wife’s troubles.

“You know, at the beginning of the year, she was the most admired person in public life,” he said. “What happened? The presidential campaign happened. And the nature of the coverage shifted from issue-based to political.”

 

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