News that Hillary Clinton called Monica Lewinsky a "narcissistic loony toon" does not reveal a great deal about the former first lady.
But the reception to the news, and other tidbits garnered from the same trove of documents in which it was discovered, reveals much about how some Republicans plan to tackle the overwhelming favourite to be the Democratic Party's next presidential candidate.
Clinton made the ''loony toon'' comment at the height of the sex scandal that engulfed her husband during his presidency, and it was recorded in notes by a friend, the political science professor Diane Blair. Those notes, part of an archive that includes correspondence, diaries, interviews and strategy memos concerning the Clintons going back to the mid-1970s, have surfaced this week after they were accessed by the conservative online publication the Washington Free Beacon.
The story was amplified by the Drudge Report and Fox News, both outlets that made themselves part of the conservative media firmament with relentless attacks on the Clintons during the Lewinsky scandal.
Conservatives have found in the archive evidence of Mrs Clinton's alleged ruthlessness and of her support of a government-funded healthcare system. "'Ruthless' Hillary Clinton returns as the '90s make a comeback", read the headline of a column by the conservative Cathleen Decker.
Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency in 2016 has seemed likely since she lost the nomination to Barack Obama and inevitable since she stepped down as secretary of state.
Since then the Republican Party has been rightly concerned about her relentlessly high approval rating.
It is almost three years until the next presidential election but Clinton holds formidable leads over all rivals in her party and the country. Some polls give her almost three-quarters of Democratic support for the party's nomination and so far she leads the apparent Republican candidates. She holds a 20-point lead in a CNN poll over Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor and brother and son of two presidents. Against scandal-plagued New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Clinton leads by 16 points. Other rivals - former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky senator Rand Paul and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who ran for vice-president on Mitt Romney's ticket in 2012 - trail Mrs Clinton by 17, 18 and 15 percentage points respectively.
Republican opponents have concentrated criticism on her role as secretary of state when four Americans, including an ambassador, died in the attack on the diplomatic and CIA compounds in Benghazi. This has failed to seriously undermine her.
Meanwhile, polls show the Republican Party is trailing among minorities and among women voters.
According to a CNN/ORC International poll released on Friday, 55 per cent of respondents said the Republican Party does not understand women. In this context it is perhaps not surprising that Paul has begun attacking the Clintons over the Lewinsky affair; reminding voters of the original scandal while tarnishing Clinton's status as a feminist icon. He has cast Bill Clinton as the predator who took advantage of the 22-year old-intern and Hillary as his cold-blooded defender.
It is hard to see Paul's tactic working. Despite years of Republican assault - including claims the Clintons were guilty of drug running and murder - Clinton left office with the highest approval rating of a president in US history of near 70 per cent.
Republican strategist Karl Rove has chastised Paul saying: "Frankly, Rand Paul spending a lot of time talking about the mistakes of Bill Clinton does not look like a big agenda for the future of the country."
If nothing else, the echoes of the Lewinsky years might remind Americans that the visceral hatred of the President by some opponents is not unique to the Obama era.
Nick O'Malley is US Correspondent.