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Women Voters and Hillary in 2016

Boston Herald Joe Battenfeld column By Joe Battenfeld Boston Herald

Welcome back, Monica. Hello, Hillarycare.

The release of potentially damaging papers from a close friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton is resurrecting a string of hits from the '90s, from Gennifer to Whitewater. And this is just the beginning of an onslaught of old scandals greeting the former First Lady as she begins her expected 2016 White House campaign.

But Hillary's enemies should not be gloating just yet. It will take more than a few nasty comments about Monica Lewinsky being a "narcissistic loony toon" to make much of a dent in Hillary's political armor, according to experts.

"Her favorability might take a bit of a hit in the short term but it could inoculate her in the long term," says Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos.

In 2010, Paleologos polled 10 states and found that Hillary Clinton was 8 to 10 points more popular than President Obama. And that was when voters actually liked Obama. "That shows you how popular she was," Paleologos says.

In states like New Hampshire, Clinton is still the undisputed front-runner. The Granite State pulled Hillary's campaign out of the graveyard in 2008 when women voters went to the polls in droves and dealt an unexpected blow to Obama's campaign.

And women voters will once again make or break Hillary in 2016.

The question is how much damage will be done by revelations like the ones in Clinton friend Diane Blair's old papers that portray the former secretary of state as a "ruthless" political animal who wasn't always kind to other women.

According to Blair's newly released papers, Clinton was more concerned about getting her health care reform plan passed than with the allegations of women who charged then-Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood with sexual harassment.

Packwood, a Republican, was key to getting Hillary's health care ideas approved and Blair wrote that Hillary was "tired of all these whiny women" making complaints against the senator. So much for sisterhood.

There are also potentially damaging quotes from Blair's papers that call into question Clinton's claims about never supporting a single-payer health care system.

But overall the papers back Hillary's infamous quote that a vast right wing conspiracy was out to get her husband. Apparently she actually believed that. And Hillary really was standing by Bill during much of his impeachment trial, even blaming herself for his infidelities.

You'd think women's rights groups would be fuming at Hillary's position -- especially the "whiny women" quote -- but the reality is they will support her campaign for president no matter what.

If Hillary Clinton was more popular than Obama in 2010, you can imagine how voters see her now.

Clinton is more likely to get tripped up by Benghazi than Monica Lewinsky. But it's not going to be pretty. Even CNN was going big with Monica all day yesterday. It's just too irresistible.

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