How Bad Spin Works: A Handy Lesson from the Clinton/Blumenthal E-Mails

The sort of intra-Washington chicanery that is not scandalous, but not often revealed.

WASHINGTON, : White House Aide Sidney Blumenthal(R) arrives at US District Court to testify before the grand jury 26 February in Washington DC. Blumenthal was subpoenaed by Independent Council investigator Kenneth Starr to testify about the alleged relationship between US President Bill Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. AFP PHOTO/Tim SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Photographer: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

The just-released batch of e-mails from Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state is full of sausage-making. It's the sort of intra-Washington chicanery that is not scandalous, but not often revealed, because human beings are capable of embarrassment. One of the more excruciating exchanges comes when Sidney Blumenthal, the journalist turned Clinton confidant, offered up pro bono spin work during the weeks before the 2012 election when Republicans started to ask why the attack on America's consulate in Benghazi had not been stopped.

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