Today marks the release of a tell-on book on Hillary Clinton, and in it, some telling narrative on Florida’s Jason Altmire — formerly a congressman from Pennsylvania and now the Senior Vice President at Florida Blue.
The book, titled “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton“, is a stark depiction of revenge, strategy and political warfare carried out by the Clintons following Hillary’s 2008 defeat to Barack Obama. But it also seems expressly intended to foster or substantiate the dialogue of Hillary as a phoenix rising; of Hillary as the next and rightful United States President.
Authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes — both White House correspondents and journalists — pieced the 448-page book together following more than 200 interviews with Hillary’s inner circle, supporters and enemies.
Florida had a fair amount of coverage in this winding tale. It detailed Sen. Marco Rubio’s approach to Benghazi hearings; Bill Clinton’s attempts to edge Kendrick Meek out of his 2010 Senate race against Rubio and Charlie Crist; early efforts by Debbie Wasserman Schultz to play matchmaker between the Clintons and Obamas leading up to 2008; and then-Rep. Allen West’s dubbing of Hillary’s pre-Benghazi hearing affliction as “Benghazi flu”.
But more than any other, it is Altmire’s story that “HRC” digs into.
“If there was a poster boy for the betrayal-and-revenge narrative, it was Altmire, a tall, broad-shouldered former Florida State University football player who had won his western Pennsylania House seat in the midterm Democratic landslide of 2006,” wrote Allen and Parnes. They continued by describing how Altimire had earned some early stripes as a congressional aide when selected to work on Hillary’s health care reform task in 1993.
Regardless of the time lapse and Altmire’s success in his own right since then, Hillary felt pretty sure that Altmire owed her one. Hillary saw Altmire as one of her prime targets as she courted superdelegates in 2008.
But things didn’t go that way. She didn’t get around to meeting with Altmire and others “in earnest until after Super Tuesday in February” at which point she had assumed the nomination would be hers. Obama, for his part, had reached out to Altmire in the summer if 2007, and he and Michelle continued to court him.
From there, Altmire was heavily lobbied by both of the Clintons and Obama for his endorsement as a superdelegate.
While Altmire came to the point where he wanted Obama to win, he felt it would be right and best to keep his thoughts to himself. He never did endorse her, and stayed neutral throughout.
The details of Altmire’s many exchanges with both Clintons are extensively portrayed in the book — fascinating details and relatable ones for those who have felt similar tensions. Likewise for Altmire’s exchanges with Obama.
But as popular knowledge and this book make clear, the Clintons keep a list of those they consider traitors.
“The bill for Altmire’s neutrality would come due nearly four years later, to the day, in the 2012 Pennsylvania Democratic primary,” the book reads. “A full presidential cycle later, Bill was still determined to get payback.”
Altmire was heavily favored to win his primary against Democratic representative Mark Critz — at least before Bill got involved.
Needless to say, there’s a reason why Jason Altmire today leads Florida Blue. Altmire is a sure gain for Florida, a loss to the people of his Pennsylvania district, and a warning to others who dare cross the Clintons, even if all they do is remain silent and neutral.