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A Record Document Dump


The National Archives in Washington, Wednesday, March 19, 2008, where the Archives released more than 11,000 pages from Hillary Rodham Clinton's schedule as first lady. (AP.)

By Peter Baker
The release of more than 11,000 pages of Hillary Rodham Clinton's schedules from her time as first lady has a certain déjà vu quality to it, reminiscent of the many "document dumps," as officials and reporters called them, through the 1990s. The first fight typically is over whether or when the documents should be released. The second fight is over how to interpret them once they are.

To be sure, the calendars from 2,888 of her days in the White House are fairly antiseptic, certainly more so than the campaign finance documents or the Starr report that were eventually made public during the Clinton presidency. But they give further guideposts as political operatives, activists and journalists try to define what Hillary Clinton's time as first lady meant in terms of her own potential presidency.

The Clinton campaign this morning tried to shape the way the papers will be read, issuing a "Myths and Facts" guide to rebut contrary assessments of the documents. For instance, the Clinton statement rebuts Sen. Barack Obama's camp on the question of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The Obama folks have pointed to her attendance at meetings intended to sell the trade pact to Congress as undercutting her current criticism of the agreement. The Clinton camp responded by saying: "It is no secret that passing NAFTA was a priority of the Clinton administration, but numerous contemporary accounts make clear that Hillary Clinton was personally opposed to NAFTA, and her position on NAFTA was and remains consistent."

The Clinton campaign also fired back at those who read the records and noted that they showed an extremely packed substantive schedule in the early part of the administration as she tried to craft and pass a major health care reform package, then evolved into more traditional first lady events later in the presidency. (Not to be paranoid, but we think she means us with that one; see "In Hillary Clinton's Datebook, A Shift.") "The schedules show no such thing," the Clinton campaign statement said. "They demonstrate that Hillary remained an active participant and contributor to the work of the Clinton administration in addition to fulfilling her ceremonial duties as first lady."

The problem with the schedules is that they give clues and hints but are hardly definitive. Her itineraries in the later years did focus more heavily on school and hospital visits and the like, showing fewer meetings with senators and policy development sessions. But there's no question she played an active role in carefully chosen issues such as adoption, Gulf War syndrome and health care. And the schedules do not give any indication of who she called on the telephone, what spontaneous conversations she may have had in the West Wing during the course of a day, what positions she conveyed through her chief of staff who attended the president's senior staff meetings or certainly what she told her husband in the privacy of their living quarters. The schedules do not show her attending many National Security Council meetings, but she had other ways to make her voice heard if she chose to. Part of what she learned from health care was to control her profile and keep her fingerprints off many issues.

What the schedules do show are broad patterns. She often boasts of visiting 82 countries while first lady, and it is true she traveled places where presidential spouses almost never went before. The itineraries remind those of us who were there that she spent little time with heads of state on these trips and did not negotiate treaties or push major policy agendas. Instead, she visited villages or clinics, held roundtables with community or business leaders and gave speeches promoting women's rights or other priorities. She traveled to the Davos conference on her own and talked with the world's economic titans, but at summits she attended with her husband, she was often relegated to the "spousal bus" and teas with other first ladies. So she was not exactly the secretary of state solving crises every day, but, on the other hand, she gained extensive exposure to issues and people in every corner of the world in a way that a state senator, say, typically does not.

The other problem with the schedules is that rather than solving the mysteries of Hillary Clinton's time in office, they tend to raise more. What were all these "Private Meetings" that she had with people whose names were blanked out by federal archivists on privacy grounds? On Dec 1, 2000, for instance, the schedules list seven such private meetings between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. with no further information about them. And what was she really doing during some of the most dramatic days of the Clinton presidency when her schedule has her sticking to receptions and speeches and drop-by meetings? Her various interviews under oath by prosecutors never show up, nor do the major events of the impeachment battle.

In fact, to read the schedules cold, without having lived through the Clinton presidency, you would never have any sense that the Travel Office firings, the mishandling of FBI files, the Whitewater investigation, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment ever took place. Likewise, a crude search of the documents turned up no mentions of Johnny Chung, John Huang or other Democratic fundraisers who would later stir such controversy and multiple investigations. And yet we know from contemporaneous accounts that she was heavily involved in forming strategy through many of those political battles.

In the end, the schedules provide a starting point but hardly the definitive account of her time as first lady. The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and the National Archives and Records Administration released the documents in response to six requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that also sued; its former head, Larry Klayman, who now has a new organization; journalists Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, veterans of the New York Times and authors of a book on Hillary Clinton called "Her Way"; Frances Craft, filing as an individual; Jim Popkin of NBC News; and Fred Lucas of CNSNews, a branch of the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group.

More FOI requests are pending for her telephone logs and other such documents. But the archivists move at, let's say, a deliberate pace as they review requested records line-by-line, making it unclear how many more papers will be released while Clinton is campaigning for the president. An incomplete picture may be the only one to come out of the documentary record before the final votes are cast.

Posted at 1:01 PM ET on Mar 20, 2008  | Category:  Morning Cheat Sheet
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Michelle Obama should be ashamed.

"GLORK" Michelle Obama should be ashamed of her separatist-racist connection to Farrakhan and Chicago's Trinity United Church trumpeting Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama as the second coming of the messiah. If Michelle Obama new what her husband -- the Hope-A-Dope, Fonster Monster -- Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama did in Harlem, she would wash her wide-open, Hus-suey loving MUSILM mouth out, with twenty-four (24) mule-team double-cross X-boX-BorraX. He is a MUSLIM "Glork" It's time to introduce this false, fake "GLORK" Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek. He's MAD!!!

http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/

THE SPEECH --

The Apologia has arrived and once again the self-indicting, separatist-racist Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama, promises to heal the wounds of the world. The speech is the rude awakening of mass messianism of his campaign. Apologetically, Obama the MUSLIM double-cross X-boX-BorraX has an astonishingly empty two-prawn echelon explanation of his misjudgment.
In the first prawn: with regard to his connection to separatist-racist Rev. Wright; Obama summons voodoo and juju to express slavery as beginning and ending with the Rev. Wright.
In the second prawn: Obama's speech takes credit for Ashley's dream. A dream of unity Martin Luther King, Jr. borrowed from Ashley for his historic "I Have A Dream" speech. In Obama's speech, the connective bond Ashley, the elderly black man and Obama's grandmother share; represents Obama's self-indicting rise to the Harvard Yard. For Obama, the grand flag of language is the semi-fore of words, bestowed upon our nation by the messiah-alumni from Harvard. Obama's Swoon-Song Apologia to the nation represents a failed hymn -- a hymn that fails to heal the nation, repair the world, or make this time different than all the rest. Obama's speech is a brilliant failure.

http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/

Posted by: jreno16 | March 22, 2008 4:23 PM

friendlyfire -- yes I read it and am passing it on, too. I also marvel that the conservative talk meisters seem to conveniently forget that both Jerry Falell and Pat Robertson said 9/11 served as God's retribution for homosexuality in America. Not the 1st time somebody's used that canard.

Posted by: Omyobama | March 20, 2008 3:57 PM

Hillary Clinton supports the dirtiest and most destructive form of coal mining - mountain top removal.
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/19/105837/690
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/20/13199/9820/211/480824
And that's only the beginning of her problems:
http://unitedagainsthillary.wordpress.com

Posted by: sunwolf78 | March 20, 2008 3:56 PM

"In fact, to read the schedules cold, without having lived through the Clinton presidency, you would never have any sense that the Travel Office firings, the mishandling of FBI files, the Whitewater investigation, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment ever took place. Likewise, a crude search of the documents turned up no mentions of Johnny Chung, John Huang or other Democratic fundraisers who would later stir such controversy and multiple investigations"
====================

If only our current controversies were so trivial and baseless. Those were good times for this nation.

Posted by: zukermand | March 20, 2008 2:54 PM

!!!!!!!!Judgment!!!!!!!!!!


1995: Lonely woman scared in hospital room in Hwawaii. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

Ann Soetoro, will die without having her son beside her bed NOT ONE DAY!!!!! where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

Everybody has come by to visit, but pearl of her eye has not been able to make it yet. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

But still a dying mother wants to see her son for the last time. Unfortunately it is not going to happen. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

He was spending crepy time with
his "MENTOR"

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 20, 2008 2:43 PM

I'm 100% behind Hillary because...of Bill!! He' is to be treasured, he has one of the finest political minds since FDR! Wake up Democrats, he's our best asset to fight the GOP, and you want to throw him/her under the bus! You have fallen for Obama/ right-wing propaganda! I want these gifted people on my side. Udercutting the Clintons only serves the competition! Stop trashing Bill Clinton!





T. Barr
Scottsdale, AZ


Posted by: twistbar67 | March 20, 2008 2:34 PM

Delaying the phone records is a tactical move. In the mean time, Barack and Hillary battle it out on the WWW;

Pennsylvania Primary- Hillary vs. Barack:
The Google Factor...

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=57

Posted by: davidmwe | March 20, 2008 2:21 PM

Can you imagine the uproar if the Clintons tried to claim the same sort of "executive privilege" that Bush has consistently claimed? Come on Press, where are the Bush documents ??

Posted by: thebobbob | March 20, 2008 2:11 PM

Hillary's "private meetings" in 2000 could have been people interviewing for jobs on her staff, which we don't need to know about. Or, they could have been with campaign fundraisers, lobbyists, or other people, in which case we should know just who she met with.

Posted by: ericp331 | March 20, 2008 1:49 PM

ebubuk and rat,

you guys are doing a great job at spewing ignorance for the sake of ignorance. that will get you far in life i'm pretty sure.

Posted by: jkallen001 | March 20, 2008 1:37 PM

!!!!!!!!Judgment!!!!!!!!!!


1995: Lonely woman scared in hospital room in Hwawaii. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

Ann Soetoro, will die without having her son beside her bed NOT ONE DAY!!!!! where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

Everybody has come by to visit, but pearl of her eye has not been able to make it yet. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

But still a dying mother wants to see her son for the last time. Unfortunately it is not going to happen. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

He was spending crepy time with
his "MENTOR"

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 20, 2008 1:29 PM

LOL! jkallen- the Country could go on a Diet by just having a Photo of Barack and Billary "Kissing" while Making Up!

Picture it! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | March 20, 2008 1:28 PM

1995: Lonely woman scared in hospital room in Hwawaii. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

Ann Soetoro, will die without having her son beside her bed NOT ONE DAY!!!!! where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

Everybody has come by to visit, but pearl of her eye has not been able to make it yet. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

But still a dying mother wants to see her son for the last time. Unfortunately it is not going to happen. where was her son? With his "MENTOR"

He was spending crepy time with
his "MENTOR"

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 20, 2008 1:28 PM

lunch break at WORK...almost makes me lose my appetite when i read your idiotic posts but i usually just laugh and shrug it off.

Posted by: jkallen001 | March 20, 2008 1:22 PM

jkallen000-Bad news.

I am returning the favor to some of these people who destroyed my life, in hopes that with them gone, the replacements might have a clue!

BTW-What is your excuse for being here? ;-)

Posted by: rat-the | March 20, 2008 1:18 PM

rat-the,

get a life or a job or a girlfriend or something. being the first to comment on recent blog postings doesn't make you any cooler. it just shows you have NOTHING better to do...go read a book or do something to educate your ignorant self.

Posted by: jkallen001 | March 20, 2008 1:13 PM

HAS ANYONE READ THIS NEWS ARTICLE ??????


Hillary's Nasty Pastorate
By Barbara Ehrenreich

There's a reason why Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she's a lot more vulnerable than Obama.

You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that "through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the "Fellowship," aka The Family. But it won't be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet's shocking exposé, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.

Sean Hannity has called Obama's church a "cult," but that term applies far more aptly to Clinton's "Family," which is organized into "cells" -- their term -- and operates sex-segregated group homes for young people in northern Virginia. In 2002, writer Jeff Sharlet joined the Family's home for young men, foreswearing sex, drugs, and alcohol, and participating in endless discussions of Jesus and power. He wasn't undercover; he used his own name and admitted to being a writer. But he wasn't completely out of danger either. When he went outdoors one night to make a cell phone call, he was followed. He still gets calls from Family associates asking him to meet them in diners -- alone.

The Family's most visible activity is its blandly innocuous National Prayer Breakfast, held every February in Washington. But almost all its real work goes on behind the scenes -- knitting together international networks of rightwing leaders, most of them ostensibly Christian. In the 1940s, The Family reached out to former and not-so-former Nazis, and its fascination with that exemplary leader, Adolph Hitler, has continued, along with ties to a whole bestiary of murderous thugs. As Sharlet reported in Harper's in 2003:


During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africa's postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand "Communists" killed marks him as one of the century's most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise.


At the heart of the Family's American branch is a collection of powerful rightwing politicos, who include, or have included, Sam Brownback, Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, James Inhofe, and Rick Santorum. They get to use the Family's spacious estate on the Potomac, the Cedars, which is maintained by young men in Family group homes and where meals are served by the Family's young women's group. And, at the Family's frequent prayer gatherings, they get powerful jolts of spiritual refreshment, tailored to the already-powerful.

Clinton fell in with the Family in 1993, when she joined a Bible study group composed of wives of conservative leaders like Jack Kemp and James Baker. When she ascended to the senate, she was promoted to what Sharlet calls the Family's "most elite cell," the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, which included, until his downfall, Virginia's notoriously racist Senator George Allen. This has not been a casual connection for Clinton. She has written of Doug Coe, the Family's publicity-averse leader, that he is "a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God."

Furthermore, the Family takes credit for some of Clinton's rightward legislative tendencies, including her support for a law guaranteeing "religious freedom" in the workplace, such as for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and police officers who refuse to guard abortion clinics.

What drew Clinton into the sinister heart of the international right? Maybe it was just a phase in her tormented search for identity, marked by ever-changing hairstyles and names: Hillary Rodham, Mrs. Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and now Hillary Clinton. She reached out to many potential spiritual mentors during her White House days, including new age guru Marianne Williamson and the liberal Rabbi Michael Lerner. But it was the Family association that stuck.

Sharlet generously attributes Clinton's involvement to the underappreciated depth of her religiosity, but he himself struggles to define the Family's theological underpinnings. The Family avoids the word Christian but worship Jesus, though not the Jesus who promised the earth to the "meek." They believe that, in mass societies, it's only the elites who matter, the political leaders who can build God's "dominion" on earth. Insofar as the Family has a consistent philosophy, it's all about power -- cultivating it, building it, and networking it together into ever-stronger units, or "cells." "We work with power where we can," Doug Coe has said, and "build new power where we can't."

Obama has given a beautiful speech on race and his affiliation with the Trinity Unity Church of Christ. Now it's up to Clinton to explain -- or, better yet, renounce -- her longstanding connection with the fascist-leaning Family.

Posted by: friendlyfire | March 20, 2008 1:09 PM

Golly Gee, sounds like it supports my argument, that the Presidency of Slick's was a PARTNERSHIP, and Hence, Billary has already had it's two Terms!

Thanks! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | March 20, 2008 1:07 PM

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