Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Lynn Sweet's Patti Solis Doyle profile.


This ran in the Chicago Sun-Times on June 14, 2007.--

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Growing up, Patti Solis Doyle, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, could hear the rumble of the L train running in the alley behind her home at 1726 W. 21st.

Today, Doyle is the manager of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, lives in an affluent Washington neighborhood and sends her two children to one of the best private schools in the city.

Toiling in a business where it is rare for females to pilot major campaigns and minorities in key posts are even harder to find, Doyle started in Chicago's City Hall and made it to Hillaryland, where she became a charter member of the band of loyalists devoted to Clinton for the past 16 years.

"I have complete confidence and trust in her as a person and as a professional," Clinton said. "She was the natural choice for me when it came to picking someone to run this campaign."

"She just gets the politics of everything," said Ann Stock, a Clinton administration social secretary.


Patricia Solis Doyle, 41, presides over the sprawling national Clinton operation, headquartered in this Washington suburb, from a corner office furnished with hand-me-downs from the Clinton family.

Near the Clintons' old kitchen table is daughter Chelsea's armoire and love seat. Behind Doyle's desk -- from Staples -- are drawings by her 5-year-old son, Joseph, and 9-year old daughter, Solis.

Her husband, Jim Doyle, a Harvard Law grad, worked for William Daley, Mayor Daley's brother, while he was commerce secretary during President Bill Clinton's second term. He's now at Penn, Schoen & Berland; the firm's Mark Penn is Clinton's pollster.

She stayed out of the limelight for years, working as scheduler for Clinton during the 1992 campaign, taking on that same critical job in the first lady's office and helping run two New York Senate races and Sen. Clinton's political action committee.

Now as campaign manager, she is taking on a public role and giving interviews as the campaign woos female and Hispanic votes. The bilingual Doyle is speaking at Hispanic events and has had a hand in nailing down key Hispanic endorsements.

Doyle is one of six children of Santiago and Alejandrina Solis, natives of Monterey, Mexico. In Chicago, her father, now deceased, worked in a factory and her mother at an industrial laundry.

Santiago Solis first came to the U.S. illegally, was sent back, returned with a visa and moved his family -- then four children, including Danny, now the 25th Ward alderman. Doyle was born in the U.S., attended St. Pius grammar school and was sent to Notre Dame girls' high school on the Northwest Side to get her out of their tough Pilsen neighborhood. She recalls her father saying: "You are not going to be part of this."

Northwestern graduate

Her next stop was Northwestern University, where she was a scholarship student. Northwestern was a "big culture shock," said Danny Solis. While a sophomore, Doyle married Andy Jacobson -- Jewish and from Texas -- and dropped out for a time. She was divorced by age 21.

After earning a Northwestern degree in communications, she landed in City Hall with brother Danny's clout. She moved on to work for then-city Treasurer Miriam Santos in "my first sort-of political campaign experience."

She caught David Wilhelm's eye -- he was steering Daley's re-election bid -- and when Bill Clinton tapped him to manage his 1992 campaign, Wilhelm recruited Patti Solis to join him in Little Rock. "The first day there was a Hillaryland, Patti was a part of it," said Wilhelm.

Doyle thrived for many reasons, in part because she had the political gift to "smell danger long before we encountered it," recalled Neel Lattimore, a former press secretary for the first lady.

She also was loyal and kept her mouth shut.

'A true friendship'

Doyle said her toughest time while working in the White House was not the impeachment of President Clinton but the failure of Hillary Clinton's health reform plan in 1994, "because for me that was truly her thing and it was a tough time having to regroup."

Hillary Clinton has been saying on the campaign trail she is the most famous person you don't know. What does Doyle see that the public does not? Her answer: A Clinton who "meddled" to get the Doyles married, did a reading at their wedding, called Santiago Solis when he was dying and showed up in the hospital when Doyle's children were born. "She gave me tips on breastfeeding." The two also share a passion for TV's "Grey's Anatomy."

As campaign manager, Doyle talks daily, sometimes every few hours, with Clinton. The relationship between Doyle and Clinton has evolved through the years. Said Doyle, who has devoted most of her adult life to Hillary Rodham Clinton, "We have a true friendship."


Solis-Doyle will still be my role model.

It is absolutely astounding that the Tribune, NYTimes, and others would report on the shake-up with HRC's campaign and completely fail to mention that her new campaign chief, Maggie Williams, was caught-up in the Travel-Gate scandal that rocked the Clinton White House a little over 10 years ago. Williams had to defend herself to the tune of $300,000 in legal fees and testified before Congress about the scandal and the figure at the head of it, Johnny Chung, who racked up more than 51 "visits" to the White House, and who was considered a "suspicious" serial Democratic fundraiser.

Read the rest of the story here:

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait
for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are
the change that we seek."-Obama, 2/5/08

I'm waiting for THAT book to come out. If Frank Rich is right in yesterday's Times article blasted all over on truthout and yahoo and elsewhere, then the Clintons really did not do very nice things to get the 'Hispanic' vote.

I'm Hispanic and I think people are making too much out of this campaign shake up. Sometimes one person can only get you so far and then it's time to regroup. It's not the end of the world, and I doubt Patti is sitting around crying over it.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 10, 2008 11:04 PM.

Sweet: Patti Solis Doyle out as Clinton campaign manager. Chicago native, sister of Ald. Danny Solis. was the previous entry in this blog.

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