Arkansas Business' 25 Clintonites (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

25. Betsey Wright
She was Clinton's top aide during his years as governor, loyal, protective and shrewd. A lifetime in politics had made Betsey Wright, a Texas native, tough and wary.

Wright came to Arkansas in 1980, helping Clinton salvage his political career after his defeat by Frank White, and became the governor's chief of staff. She left his employ in 1989 without much explanation, but she'd taken extended leaves before.

She was elected head of the state Democratic Party in 1990 and left in 1991, about the same time that Clinton signaled he'd be running for president. She said both she and the party were broke.

Wright moved on to a fellowship at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard but became a campaign aide when Clinton made it official, rising to deputy campaign chairman. In this role, she sought to defuse every Clinton critic, paying special attention to what she called the "bimbo eruptions."

When her man won, Wright became a Washington lobbyist, but continued to defend him. By 1997, she was back in the state, in rural northwest Arkansas, working as a political consultant.

Wright has a new cause now: abolition of the death penalty.

(Click here to see all the stories in our anniversary edition. Or click here to flip through each page of the edition in this special free electronic version.) 



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