Documents the Clinton administration initially tried to keep from public view show the White House sorely underestimated the opposition its health care plan would face in Congress.
"There is a remarkably large reservoir of good will and receptivity," stated one undated memo prepared for Hillary Rodham Clinton. It predicted that the administration's opponents "will not have a cohesive message."The papers originally withheld from public view were released this week at the National Archives after a federal judge said he intended to penalize the administration for unspecified misconduct in the court case.
Friday, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said at a brief court hearing that he will issue a ruling next week on whether the release of the documents means a lawsuit filed by a physicians' group over the papers is moot.
The group's lawyer, Thomas Spencer Jr., said he still is not convinced all of the documents have been released.
Lamberth also said he will rule next week on issues of civil and criminal contempt. The judge said earlier this month that he would award attorneys' fees to the doctors' group.
The doctors' group has asked Lamberth to hold White House aide Ira Magaziner in contempt of court. The group contends Magaziner lied in an affidavit when he said all members of the health-care task force working group were either government employees or consultants. The government has said that was true at the time.
The physicians' group sued to open up the working group records so the public could know which private interests may have influenced the administration's development of the health-care reform plan.