Politics

Friend’s Papers Give Insight Into Rise of the Clintons

Bill Clinton as Arkansas governor officiated Jim and Diane Blair's 1979 wedding and Hillary Clinton was "best person." (Courtesy of CNN)
Bill Clinton as Arkansas governor officiated Jim and Diane Blair’s 1979 wedding and Hillary Clinton was “best person.” (Courtesy of CNN)

Fayetteville, Arkansas (CNN) — Only a few people would feel at ease to send Hillary Clinton cartoon clippings. Diane Blair was one of them.

Throughout much of Bill Clinton’s eight years in the White House, Blair — a political science professor and longtime Clinton friend — exchanged political and humor cartoons with the first lady. Nothing, it seemed, was too small or inconsequential to send back and forth.

In May 1996, Hillary Clinton clipped a “Mixed Media” cartoon and sent it to Blair and her husband, Jim, with a note that read, “It is rare that I can send you a comic strip you and Jim haven’t seen — but this one is too good not to share.”

It showed a cow lying on a psychologist’s chair with a thought bubble reading, “I’m not a mad cow. … I just have issues …” — a reference to the mad cow scare at the time and the criticism of Hillary Clinton’s role in her husband’s failed health care reform effort in his first term.

In the reliably loyal and closely protective Clinton inner circle, Blair was a power center for most of the former first lady’s life. She counseled Clinton — her friend since 1972 — during the failed push for health care reform and was there for her through her husband’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

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