Blumenthal Email to Clinton: ‘Paul Ryan (R-Weird),’ ‘Michelle Bachmann (R-Fringe)’

By Patrick Goodenough | October 1, 2015 | 4:29 AM EDT

( – Some of the advice Hillary Clinton was receiving via private email during her tenure as secretary of state was deeply political – and sometimes verged on juvenile as her close confidante Sidney Blumenthal mocked Republican lawmakers.

In a January 24, 2011 email – among the latest batch released by the State Department on Wednesday night – Blumenthal advised Clinton on how the Democrats should respond to the GOP response to the State of the Union address due to be delivered the following day.

That year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) presented the official Republican reaction to President Obama’s speech, while Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) gave what was viewed as a Tea Party reaction.

“The Republicans have designated Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Weird) to give their formal televised response, but La Pasionaria of the Tea Party, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Fringe) is also giving a response at the same time,” Blumenthal wrote to Clinton.

“Therefore, the Democratic talking points should be to characterize the President's SOTU as the program to meet the challenges the nation is facing while characterizing the GOP response as politically divisive cond [sic] confused.”

“In other words, the President is proposing policies, substance, solutions; the Republicans are embroiled in their own political mess and thus overshadowing whatever confusing policy prescriptions they might have,” Blumenthal wrote.


“The way to do this: The Republicans are a politically divided party delivering two responses. The Republicans are divided and can't agree on a position. Speaker Boehner can't control his Republican members to deliver a single response. After Tucson, the Republicans have become even more divided and unable to control their extreme elements. Etc.”

The reference to “Tucson” is not explained, but two weeks earlier, then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was injured and six of her constituents were killed by a deranged gunman in that city.

Some liberals at the time blamed the Tea Party and specifically Sarah Palin for the shooting.

The email released by the State Department gave no indication Clinton replied to Blumenthal’s advice on this occasion.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow