Hillary, Inc.

The women campaign staffers behind Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign are a tight-knit group that’s ready for anything.

By Ann Gerhart
Not the whole day this year, though." These days she rarely sleeps more than four hours a night. During our conversation, her cell phone blares incessantly with a ringtone from the musical Rent that could be the refrain for her life: "525,600 minutes, how do you measure, measure a year?"I tell her I’ve been thinking a lot about multitasking while researching this story, wondering whether that feminine trait of overstuffing a handbag and lugging it around — "I may need something in here!" — has broader application as a management technique."Is that ability to anticipate and foresee problems and be prepared to meet them if they actually occur… ""Absolutely!" Solis Doyle interjects." ...is something that is… ""Absolutely!" she says again. "I’ve never heard that analogy before, but absolutely, I did the same thing when my kids were little. What do I have in case she throws up? Or in case she gets really agitated at the park and needs stimulation? You pack a big diaper bag. That’s what I do here. I always try to plan for…Okay, what if A happens? What if B happens? What if C happens? And I always have contingencies, no matter what."I mean, I’ve been with the Clintons for 16 years" — her dark eyes flash with mirth — "and trust me, anything can happen. Anything!"Solis Doyle scrapped her way up from the entry-level job of scheduler for Hillary during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential run to become her de facto political director in the White House, figuring out where the first lady should campaign and for whom ("There wasn’t a political director, per se, on her staff," Solis Doyle explains. "So I sort of wore that hat too.") Then she moved to New York to help run Hillary’s Senate race. Solis Doyle is also credited for pulling in major donors when she was executive director of Hillary’s political action committee in the early 2000s. So although it is highly unusual for a presidential campaign to be led by an insider who rose through the ranks, Solis Doyle earned it, Harold Ickes, a longtime Clinton adviser, has said."I’m fiercely competitive," says Solis Doyle, the first Latina to head a major presidential campaign. "Growing up, I learned to be tough and to fight, and I bring that to the table." She learned to play poker when she was 6. "My father was in an accident at the factory where he worked and was on leave for several weeks during the summer," she explains. "He took me to the corner bar in the afternoon, and we’d watch the Cubs play." Dad ordered a beer for himself and a Coke for his girl, and taught her valuable lessons about playing her cards close to the vest.Now she’s Hillary’s decider and her enforcer. When the woes of disgraced fund-raiser Norman Hsu threatened to become one more Clinton scandal, Solis Doyle was the one who quickly decided to return the $850,000 Hsu had raised for the campaign. "I’m definitely an executor," Solis Doyle observes when I note that a great team is often composed of visionaries and those who can get the job done. "I’m also the person who says, ‘We gotta go now, time’s awasting’...I keep it moving. You have to. People can talk for days. But it’s a campaign; some decisions are made in a split second." It’s the old timekeeper in her, coming to the fore. But is it possible to schedule your boss to death?"Hillary’s not her husband, [who can] go 20 hours a day, seven days a week," Solis Doyle concedes. "But when she goes, she goes. And she is like him in that she feeds off the adrenaline and the talking to people. But once that’s over and it’s the end of the day, whew! I’m exactly the same way." The Sisterhood AppealMinyon Moore, with her cherry red lipstick and her compelling contralto voice, is a persuader in this campaign. She spent part of 2006 advising Barack Obama before returning to the fold early last year in the outreach role she played for the Clintons since she joined the White House staff in 1992.

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