In the weeks before the 2012 presidential election, the spouse of a CNN anchor extended offers to Hillary Clinton to discuss "the highs and even the lows" of her State Department legacy at an off-the-record dinner with high-profile media figures, including editors and columnists from the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Jamie Rubin, whose wife Christiane Amanpour is a global affairs anchor for ABC News and CNN's chief international correspondent, made an informal dinner offer over email on Sept. 18, 2012, just one week after Islamic terrorists attacked U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and murdered four Americans.
Rubin's suggested list of invites featured an impressive who's who of media figures, including Eleanor Randolph and Carol Giacomo of the New York Times' editorial board, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, the New Yorker's David Remnick and Rick Hertzberg, former Newsweek editor Tina Brown, former New Republic editor Frank Foer and former ABC News "This Week" anchor Amanpour.
"I know it has been a while since we spoke of this, but I still think it would be good for you to have an informal setting to talk to some influential New York City writers and opinionators," Rubin, who served in the State Department under President Bill Clinton, said in an email to the former secretary of state.
"So, I would propose to host a smallish dinner when your calendar permits in the coming weeks with the following people who I know well enough to trust some level of discretion for an off-the-record dinner that would allow you to provide an account of some of the highs and even some lows of policy making on Libya, China, Iran, the Arab spring and the Israel-Palestinian issue," he added.
The list of potential invites also included "maybe one or two others like Tom Brokaw."
The offer made by Rubin, himself a former journalist and United States diplomat, came to light Monday after the State Department released yet another batch of the Democratic front-runner's emails from when she served as secretary of state.
"The point is not to create news stories, but to ensure when these people deliver their inevitable assessments of your term as secretary they have an appreciation of some of the difficulties and complexities," Rubin's Sept. 18 email to Clinton read.
Clinton responded, "I'd like to do this and am copying my folks to start looking for a time. Thanks for staying in touch."
Later, on Oct. 25, 2012, Rubin reached out again to Clinton to pitch her on the private event.
"Know things have been hectic but should be calmed about Libya after election....saw Wall Street Journal and reminded me of a dinner," he wrote.
The October 25 edition of the Wall Street Journal included a piece by Monica Langley covering Clinton's legacy at the State Department.
The former secretary of state responded to his October follow-up email with, "Thanks, Jamie. I'm looking forward to it."
However, despite her apparent interest in the event, the dinner never happened, Rubin told the Washington Examiner's media desk.
He stressed that he didn't pitch the dinner to Clinton as an opportunity for her to spin her State Department legacy to a crowd of media notables, but that he merely wanted to give her the chance to discuss "the highs and even the lows" of her time as secretary of state.
"It is more than appropriate for me to ask the Secretary of State to provide some of the most substantive reporters in the country a substantive briefing that includes failures as well as successes," Rubin told the Examiner. "Also, I specifically said it was not to create news stories."
"So no ethical dilemma, no spin, no question of objectivity," he added. "Any school of journalism would advocate administration officials providing information and history to journalists, with the specific expectation of including both the good and the bad. That is called journalism. Substantive journalism."
Amanpour did not respond to the Examiner's request for comment.
This article has been updated with comment from Rubin.