Falling in Line? Dem Congressman on ‘Hillary’s Hit List’ Now Endorses Her for 2016

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who according to a forthcoming book is on Hillary Clinton’s “hit list,” offered his support for the former secretary of State, senator and first lady if she runs for president again in 2016.

“I’m a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton. I hope she will run for president, and I’ve indicated I would be a supporter of Hillary Clinton if she runs, but again, I’m trying to figure out this last one,” Van Hollen said on MSNBC. “As I say, it’s an unsolved mystery. Maybe someone will pick up the phone and tell me. Again, this assumes this is a true report.”

See the interview starting at 3:30:

The book, “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton,” by reporters Jonathan Allen of Politico and Amie Parnes of The Hill newspaper, talks about a spreadsheet prepared as one of the last orders of business by the 2008 campaign staff, “so that friends could be rewarded and enemies punished.”

Members of Congress were ranked on a scale of 1 to 7 in her run against Barack Obama, with 1 being wholehearted supporters of Clinoton’s 2008 bid and 7 being people “those who endorsed him but really should have been with her.”

Van Hollen was among the sevens. Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, who in 2008 was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and was in charge of recruiting and raising money for Democratic House candidates.

MSNBC’s Chris Jansing asked Van Hollen Monday, “Before I let you go, I have to ask you about that excerpt from the new Hillary Clinton book. It says her staff has a hit list that essentially ranks people that didn’t endorse her in 2008 for president. You’re on it. Your reaction?”

Van Hollen said he just heard about the report.

“I have to say, it’s a total mystery to me,” Van Hollen said. “I was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2008, trying to elect candidates all over the country. I didn’t get involved in the primary, the Democratic primary that year. I was focused on supporting all our candidates and trying to make sure that whoever emerged as the presidential nominee for the Democrats would support our efforts. So if this is true, and again, I have just read the reports, it’s a mystery to me and I’d be interested in hearing what the basis of it would be.”

FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2013 file photo, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, center, takes at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Van Hollen, top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said he signed off on the $6 billion increase for new federal employees hired beginning in January after Obama assured him he would propose no new retirement benefit cuts in next year’s budget. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The published excerpt quoted Van Hollen as having endorsed Obama on June 4, 2008, before Clinton had conceded, but at a time when Obama had clearly clinched the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I enthusiastically support Senator Obama. He will be our nominee, and now it’s very important that we all unite behind his candidacy,” Van Hollen said. “He has energized millions of new voters, and if we can sustain that momentum by coming together, he will be the next president of the United States.”

Jansing followed in the Monday interview, “Would you like to endorse her now in case she decides to run for 2016?”

That’s when Van Hollen offered the new endorsement.

The book states that at the end of the 2008 Clinton campaign, Hillary’s staff put together the list.

“They carefully noted who had endorsed Hillary, who backed Barack Obama, and who stayed on the sidelines—standard operating procedure for any high-end political organization,” the book excerpt says. “But the data went into much more nuanced detail.”

“We wanted to have a record of who endorsed us and who didn’t,” a member of Hillary’s campaign team told the authors, “and of those who endorsed us, who went the extra mile and who was just kind of there. And of those who didn’t endorse us, those who understandably didn’t endorse us because they are [Congressional Black Caucus] members or Illinois members. And then, of course, those who endorsed him but really should have been with her … that burned her.”

It went on to say, “It meant that when asks rolled in, she and Bill would have at their fingertips all the information needed to make a quick decision—including extenuating, mitigating, and amplifying factors—so that friends could be rewarded and enemies punished.”

The others on the list with a rank if seven are then-Sen. John Kerry, who in 2013 would be Clinton’s successor as secretary of State; the late Sen. Ted Kennedy; Sen. Jay Rockerfeller; Sen. Claire McCaskill; Sen. Bob Casey; Sen. Patrick Leahy; Rep. Baron Hill and Rep. Rob Andrews.