(CNN) – A fifth batch of confidential memos, notes and other papers from the Clinton White House were released Friday by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
Collectively, the documents open a window into the Clinton years and cover a variety of topics, including the office of former first lady Hillary Clinton, who's now considered the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 if she decides to run.
A total of 20,430 documents have been released since February 28.
Friday's release of 2,145 documents spans a range of other issues, including Clinton’s final year in office, White House attitudes about the press, meetings with dignitaries, and Supreme Court nominations.
Here are some highlights:
One memo from March 1999 shows how advisers coached President Bill Clinton “to dodge question about Lewinsky” in his interview with PBS, so that it would diminish the likelihood of making it into the final cut.
Curiously, another possible question–asking about the importance of Hillary Clinton to his presidency–had no answer in the memo.
‘Getting down to business’ with Putin
Ahead of Clinton’s dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putting in June 2000, the President was advised in a memo to dress in “business attire” and that the U.S. administration wanted “to convey ‘getting down to business’ and avoid the inaccurate charge that we're embracing Putin without question.”
Putin had just been elected president at the time. He and Clinton had met twice before when Putin served as prime minister of Russia. The dinner marked Clinton’s final trip to Moscow as president.
The signing of baseball star Darryl Strawberry by the New York Yankees following his second drug suspension apparently reached Clinton's desk in 1995.
Clinton adviser Rahm Emanuel, in a "daily update" memo to the president on June 13, 1995, wrote that he had been working with drug policy director Lee Brown on his statements about Strawberry and the Yankees. Emanuel told Clinton in the memo that Brown "did a very good job representing our principles and explaining why we oppose a two-time drug user being admitted back on the field.”
Emanuel wrote to Clinton that Brown would meet with Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner "to set down a series of demands at this meeting, such as (1) Strawberry doing community service with young people, (2) the Yankee franchise setting up a franchise-wide standard, and (3) have the Yankees contribute to a drug program recommended by Director Brown.”
‘Foaming at the mouth’
As he was preparing for his 1996 State of the Union address, Clinton argued to his aides that Republicans wanted to eliminate the Commerce Department because he had nominated Ron Brown, who was black, for the job.
“The reason they want to get rid of the Department of Commerce is, they are foaming at the mouth that Ron Brown is better than all of those Republican corporate executives who got those cheeky jobs because they gave big money to Republican presidential candidates. And here is this black guy who is a better Secretary of Commerce than anybody since Herbert Hoover,” Clinton said.
“I mean, that's true, they just can't stand it. They just go crazy, it just drives them nuts. So they will get rid- they're like a kid that's mad in a room, you know, a two-year-old.”
Use the Lewinsky investigations against the GOP
In a memo dated June 1, 1998, advisers recommend turning the Monica Lewinsky investigations against Republicans.
“It will be two years of non-stop investigations with little outcome or public support and huge taxpayer expenditure. The nastier they get, the more our base will want to turn out to end this,” the memo states.
“Assuming the same outcome of all the investigations from here to election day – the argument that the Republicans spent more time and taxpayer money on investigations than Medicare and Education combined is a strong reason to turn out and it is a strong motivation to vote Democratic for independent voters who are sick of partisanship,” it continues.
“The percentage of time spent on hearings, the money spent, the partisan attacks over progress, and the lack of legislation, are all evidence that these investigations are hurting the people.”
A May 1994 memo from National Security Council legal adviser Alan Kreczko to Donald Steinberg, a spokesman for the NSC, states that the U.S. is not legally obligated to intervene in the Rwanda genocide simply because it’s happening.
“Concluding that genocide has occurred/is occurring in Rwanda does not create a legal obligation to take particular action to stop it. (Human rights groups have argued to the contrary, saying failure to act makes one legally responsible as an accomplice. We would not agree.)
Of course, making such a determination will increase political pressure to do something about it.”
Clinton later said after his presidency that he regretted his decision not to send U.S. troops to the country.
“I don’t think we could have ended the violence, but I think we could have cut it down. And I regret it,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett in 2012.
‘Build a bridge to the 21st Century’
While Clinton made headlines with the famous phrase “build a bridge to the 21st Century” in his 1996 convention speech after his re-nomination, the phrase has been floated as a potential theme months earlier. But he didn’t use it.
A memo from his close friend, Al From, suggests From was promoting that phrase as a key campaign slogan in January. From says in a December 1995 memo that the State of the Union speech should be used “to lay the groundwork for making the 1996 election a campaign between our country’s future and its past."
"You’re likely to be running against a visionless septuagenarian," he writes of then Republican Sen. Bob Dole. "Whose focus—indeed his campaign theme, ‘Give my generation one last chance’ – is on the past. It seems to me that your greatest comparative advantage in that contest is to be the candidate of the future.”
The memo was one of several suggestions from associates on how to frame his all-important State of the Union address, which would serve as a template for the campaign ahead. His suggestions didn’t work initially and didn’t make it into the speech.
But after Clinton mentioned it in his convention speech later that year, the President repeated throughout the rest of the campaign—and in subsequent speeches.
He was then advised not to over-use it in the State of the Union speech for 1997. Taylor Branch, another longtime friend of Clinton and the President’s secret diarist, recommended that he not use the phrase too much in the big speech because it will remind people of the election.
“If you repeat the bridge reference, it will lose force and maybe even boomerang because it smacks too much of the campaign,” he wrote in a January 17, 1997 letter.
“To me, the bridge would be most effective if you save it until the good lick at bottom of page 5. By then, you will have sketched the substance of what you see, across the bridge, and 1isteners can say, ‘Okay, I get it. He earned that from the campaign."
‘They regularly turn on themselves’
In a March, 1994 memo, speechwriter Michael Waldman writes to advisers John Podesta and Mark Gearan about an "op-ed strategy" to counter some scandal-in-the-making:
"My otherwise brilliant nine-month-old son Benjamin is easily distracted by his image in the mirror. So too the press. After the first blood has been let in a scandal, they regularly turn on themselves. An op ed by a respected former press secretary (Powell) or a reporter (a J-school dean) could help prompt this introspection. We would need to compile the most egregious bloopers."
Clinton’s farewell address
Paul Begala, a former senior adviser to Clinton and now a CNN contributor, wrote a draft of Clinton’s farewell speech, but said in a memo to the President that he didn’t include any mention of the President’s wife—suggesting the President himself should write that portion of the speech.
"The only thing I did not take a crack at is a nod to Senator-Elect Clinton. That has to come from your pen,” he wrote in the memo dated January 2, 2000.
On the substance of the speech, he encouraged the President to “break with tradition” and “keep it short.”
“Your presidency has been a creation of the American people,” he continued. “Not the elite, ersatz aristocracy that has always hated arid feared you, but the people.”
“Perhaps more than any man who has held that office since Andrew Jackson, you have been a President of the people and for the people,” he added. “Your farewell address should reflect that.”
He advised Clinton not to list all his accomplishments but rather focus on “American character.” Begala also took a shot at then-incoming President George W. Bush.
“To reduce your Presidency to programmatic achievements is to ignore its soul,” he said. “And in light of an election in which the loser is taking office, I think we need to lay down a marker that at least someone still believes in democracy.”
While the farewell address had traditionally been delivered from the Oval Office, Begala suggested that Clinton is at his best when he’s among people and said Clinton should fill the State Dining Room with people the media has never heard of but had been inspired or helped by Clinton.
“They can’t be raucous and must be cautioned that this cannot appear to be a pep rally, but the live audience will elicit your best performance,” he wrote.
Did Clinton take his advice?
On January 18, 2001, the president delivered his farewell address from the Oval Office, with no one else in the shot.
And what did he say about his wife?
“Hillary, Chelsea, and I join all Americans in wishing our very best to the next President, George W. Bush,” he said.