Isaac Stanley-Becker, in the Washington Post:
Hillary Clinton was first lady when an influential legal journal featured her in its spring volume, drawing tributes from such luminaries as Elie Wiesel, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and the Queen of Jordan.
But the most intimate portrait came from Diane Blair, a woman Clinton befriended in Arkansas who was not a Nobel laureate or legal scholar and never held elected office. Through 30 years of friendship, Blair knew more than perhaps anyone about Clinton’s private struggles as she became the governor’s wife, moved to the White House and transformed herself into the most famous woman in American politics.
In her tribute to Clinton in the 1995 Annual Survey of American Law, Blair portrayed her friend as a female crusader, setting an example at great personal cost.
“When I was a schoolchild I was both fascinated and horrified by stories of the canaries who were carried down into the mines as early warning systems for the miners; if poisonous gases started seeping into the mine-shafts, the canaries would quickly expire, thereby giving warning to the men in the mines. I wonder now whether Hillary is playing the risky part of national canary for the women of America,” Blair wrote.
Clinton wrote back to Blair in the summer of 1995, calling her a “fellow canary.”
“We flap our little wings harder and harder, while chirping as loudly as our voices permit about what’s happening around us,” she said. “Sometimes we even are heard outside our cages!”
Blair never sought the limelight, but she became one of Clinton’s closest confidantes as the first lady wrestled with what she saw as a legion of political detractors and a hostile press. Clinton turned to Blair with her fears that her husband was “ruining himself” and the presidency because he had no strategy to fight back at his enemies.