More than 3,500 pages of previously secret Clinton White House documents made public Friday showed that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Some of the confidential memos, notes and other papers released by the National Archives referred to technological advances of the times, such as the 1995 memo that suggested then first lady Hillary Clinton use the Internet to speak to young women because it "has become very popular."
Others detailed political battles over health care reform that sounded like today's headlines.
"The Republican alternative, as it appears now to be shaping up, at least among the moderate Republicans in the Senate, is an individual mandate, we have looked at that in every way we know how to," said Hillary Clinton's notes from a 1993 meeting with Democratic leaders in Congress. "That is politically and substantively a much harder sell than the one we've got -- a much harder sell."
Health care wars of old
We now know that the Clinton plan for employers to provide health coverage for workers failed to pass back then, and the individual mandate -- requiring people to obtain health insurance -- is the foundation of the 2010 Obamacare reforms passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress with zero Republican votes.
From the same meeting with congressional Democrats, Clinton wrote that "it may be an unpleasant fact for some of us Democrats to face, but the argument is not going to (be) won on bringing in the uninsured."
President Barack Obama and Democrats now face relentless criticism from Republicans over changes in policies and costs forced on some consumers by the 2010 reforms, rather than the requirement that the previously uninsured get coverage. Clinton's words from two decades ago now sound prescient.
"The argument is going to be won," she wrote, on keeping coverage "for everybody, including those who are insured, but may not be next year or the year after."
In another memo from 1994, an aide to President Bill Clinton warned against using a line in the upcoming State of the Union address about his administration's health care proposal that said: "You'll pick the health plan and the doctor of your choice."
"This sounds great and I know that it's just what people want to hear, but can we get away with it?" wrote White House Staff Secretary Todd Stern.
Noting that the thrust of the Clinton reforms was to steer people toward "cheaper, HMO-style providers," Stern added that he worried about "getting skewered for overpromising here on something we know full well we won't deliver."
Today, Obama gets skewered for similar claims he made during the health care debate 15 years later that turned out to be exaggerated or plain wrong, such as his "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" statement that earned him "Lie of the Year" by the fact-checking website PolitiFact.
Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, faces no apparent bombshells from the 3,546 pages of archival documents made public Friday.
It was the first batch of more than 30,000 pages eligible for release after a 12-year waiting period under the Presidential Records Act, with more to be made public in March.
First digital age presidential candidate
"So far, and underlining so far because we're still going through the documents, absolutely nothing" amounting to a game-changer for Clinton, said CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. At the same time, he noted Clinton would be the first presidential candidate of the digital age with still unpublicized documentation dating back to her eight years in the White House as first lady.
"There's never been a candidate that we think we know so well, but yet there's this huge resource of information where we still might learn things," King said.
The new documents showed a first lady pushed by her aides to be more open and accessible to the public.
In the 1995 memo by Press Secretary Lisa Caputo, suggestions included a guest appearance on the ABC TV show "Home Improvement" and using the then-young Internet to connect to young women, noting that "Internet has become a very popular mode of communication."
Four years later, adviser Mandy Grunwald offered "style pointers" in a memo for listening tour Clinton did after creating an exploratory committee for her Senate campaign in New York.
"Don't be defensive. Look like you want the questions. The press is obviously watching to see if they can make you uncomfortable or testy. Even on the annoying questions, give relaxed answers," Grunwald wrote.
She also added that Clinton should "look for opportunities for humor" because "it's important that people see more sides of you, and they often see you only in very stern situations."
Adviser in 1999: Try to be funny
Grunwald also advised Clinton to avoid laying claim on the record of her husband's administration, saying "this trip is about you, and you are not an incumbent."