Feuding Clinton PR camps cause White House snafus

WASHINGTON, DC: The Clinton White House, which has weathered more than its share of communications crises over the last seven years, has found itself torn by an entirely unexpected one: a feud between the Bill (West Wing) and Hillary (East Wing) camps.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Clinton White House, which has weathered more than its share of communications crises over the last seven years, has found itself torn by an entirely unexpected one: a feud between the Bill (West Wing) and Hillary (East Wing) camps.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Clinton White House, which has weathered more

than its share of communications crises over the last seven years, has

found itself torn by an entirely unexpected one: a feud between the Bill

(West Wing) and Hillary (East Wing) camps.



According to insiders, managing internal communications in the White

House while the First Lady mulls her Senate run has become increasingly

difficult, with each wing operating virtually independent of the

other.



The result, of course, has been significant embarrassment for both

camps, each of whom strenuously deny rumors of dissent.



’Overall, we have a great deal of respect for one another, and I think

we work well together,’ Marsha Berry, the First Lady’s spokeswoman, told

the New York Daily News. Added deputy presidential spokesman Barry Toiv,

’The occasional glitch has not affected (the) strong relationship.’



The first major dust-up between the Bill and Hillary camps occurred over

the President’s offer of clemency to Puerto Rican terrorists. While the

First Lady initially supported the plan, she backed off upon learning

that the New York electorate strongly opposed it. When questioned about

the seeming clash, Toiv appeared to be caught off-guard, thus giving the

impression that he was not aware of Hillary’s about-face.



The President’s staff was also taken aback with the First Lady’s

controversy-generating interview in Talk magazine. Bill himself seemed

surprised to read his wife’s assertion that childhood ’abuse’ led to his

extramarital dalliances.



Then there was Hillary’s disclosure that her stepgrandfather was

Jewish.



When asked for comment on the sudden revelation - which most interpreted

as a transparent effort to reach New York’s important Jewish voting bloc

- an aide said, ’What? Where is this coming from?’



The west-wingers have been fighting back by freezing out Hillary’s

communication staffers, treating them like second-class citizens and

failing to be completely candid in sharing information. The First Lady’s

communicators were also peeved by presidential press secretary Joe

Lockhart’s offensive against NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, Hillary’s likely

opponent in the Senate race.



The problem may lie with the First Lady’s difficult task of forging a

strong, separate identity. ’Certain people see her inextricably linked

to him,’ said Rep. Lynn Rivers. ’They have worked together hand-in-hand

throughout the whole presidency. She refers to him constantly.’ However,

publicly breaking with her husband on sensitive topics, such as Mideast

policy, might not be the best way to combat this perceived problem.



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