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Unique Tensions, When a Former President's the Spouse

By Matthew Mosk
When Sen. Hillary Clinton's top political strategist had business dealings that ran counter to her opposition to a pending free trade deal with Colombia, the senior adviser stepped aside. But her husband's promotion of the deal in a $200,000 Bogota speech, first reported by The Huffington Post, provides a reminder of the complexities she continues to face as the wife of a former president.

Many couples disagree on issues, Sen. Clinton has responded when asked to explain their conflicting positions on the campaign trail. Yet the contrasts with her husband's financial dealings may continue to prove nettlesome.

Bill Clinton has made more than $50 million on the speaking circuit since leaving the White House and more than $15 million working for a global investment group, according to family tax returns.

In addition to the 2005 speech in Bogota, the former president traveled to Sydney in 2002 and accepted $300,000 to address the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China -- a move that appears at odds with the official U.S. policy of staying out of the conflict between China and Taiwan.

"When Clinton and his handlers got an invitation from an organization with that name, red lights should have been blinking and bells should have been ringing," said David L. Shambaugh, director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University.

Bill Clinton took a different approach to China in his work with Yucaipa, an investment firm run by longtime friend and patron Ronald Burkle, opting out of an investment Yucaipa's global fund was making in a company with ties to China's Communist government.

As for Colombia,"There has never been any connection between her views on issues and the paid speeches her husband gives, all of which are publicly disclosed on her senate financial disclosure form," said Jay Carson, a campaign spokesman.

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 9, 2008; 6:19 PM ET
Categories:  Hillary Rodham Clinton  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Where It All Began for Obama
Next: On the Stump, McCain Outlines Differences with Bush


This story is about a lot more than just whether or not Hillary actually supports free trade. This story is about whether it's acceptable in America to have someone setting policy when they just received the better part of a million dollars from an interested party.

You can talk all you want about how Hillary and Bill are different people, but they're *married*. If Michelle Obama or Laura Bush or Elizabeth Edwards or Cindy McCain had received even a few thousand dollars in direct payment from an organization lobbying for support from the White House, it would be a massive scandal -- massive!

To show that I'm not just purely speculating, we've been hearing accusations of shadiness about the time when Obama purchased a strip of land at *above market value* from Rezko. I fail to see why that's more significant than being paid massive sums by people lobbying the government.

Does the media just think nobody would be interested in another story on Clinton corruption?

Posted by: davestickler | April 10, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse


Lying about support for free trade?

That's nothing compared to the fraud plans she outlined on NPR: To steal the delegates pledged to our votes!

Vote Obama for an HONEST Whitehouse!

Posted by: JBE | April 10, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

These tensions would be exacerbated by the fact that Bill is a much more talented politician than Hillary but Hillary wants to do something other than build up approval ratings.

That is a formula for an internal blow up in the White House. How many lamps have they got in that place anyway?

Posted by: Ed | April 10, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Actually, C. G., the trade pact with Columbia IS official U.S. policy, or at least that of the executive that negotiated the treaty.

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | April 10, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Bill and Hillary are corrupted by tens of millions of dollars of special interest money. We are just scratching the surface on the numbers of conflicts of interest the Clintons now have on scores of policy issues. Bill Clinton decided to get rich after leaving politics, and he did. A key component to people paying him off, beyond his own considerable web of connections and ability to peddle influence, has been his wife's position as a U.S. Senator and, until recently, the presumed Democratic Party standard bearer for President in 2008. Their ethics are completely compromised. It is time to cleanse the party of the Clintons. I hope New Yorkers consider these things if she decides to run for reelection to the U.S. Senate.

Posted by: Chuck | April 10, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

"Should we elect a pathological liar who is married to a man who will do anything for money? What does it say about our politics when such a question has to be asked?"

Posted by: rusty 3 | April 9, 2008 7:22 PM

Over a decade ago, William Safire called Hillary Clinton a "congenital liar." It isn't necessary to go this far in order to observe a troubling pattern of dishonesty...and to worry about the possibility of Clintons again in the White House.

Posted by: FirstMouse | April 10, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

This story is huge and should be a killer of Hillary's campaign. Who with an IQ higher than 90 could believe a woman that says us:

1. She was secretaly against NAFTA, although publicly supporting it as an accomplishment of her husbanda.

2. She was against the war, but voted in favour of it.

3. She has always been against the deal with the Colombian (which by the way, is tiny, threatless for the American economy and a way to prize the closes ally of the America in a troubled South America that hate us), but has her general strategist and her husband charging the colombian government to lobby it.

4. She tries to spin and mislead the American people why comparing the massive scandal of her general strategis lobbying for Colombia, with a non-authorized minor remark of an Obama's unpaid advisor.

5. Not to mention the Tuzla fable.

Either she is a liar, or lives in another reality.

Posted by: Daniel | April 10, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

"Should we elect a pathological liar who is married to a man who will do anything for money? What does it say about our politics when such a question has to be asked?"
Cindy McCain is not the candidate, her husband is.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see a picture of Hillary with a book bag when she was in college. She says she threw hers across the room when she went into her dorm room and found out MLK was assassinated. Kids didn't carry book bags back then, they just carried their books. I don't believe her. I'd like to see a picture of her in college with books, with or without the bag?The book bag thing did not start until later . It may seem plausible to young kids, but I started at Michigan State, a campus with 46,500 students at the time, in the fall of 1968, and for all those kids on campus, I don't remember seeing any book bags.

Posted by: majorteddy | April 9, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Should we elect a pathological liar who is married to a man who will do anything for money? What does it say about our politics when such a question has to be asked?

Posted by: rusty 3 | April 9, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton earns millions of dollars speaking against US foreign policy, and promoting free trade agreements.

Sen. Clinton benefits directly from the millions of dollars her husband has earned. Indeed, their tax returns confirm that Sen. Clinton shares in Bill Clinton's astronomical earnings.

Yet, Sen. Clinton wants the voting public disregard her husband's political and lobbying activities as unrelated to her. Further, she asks the voting public to disregard the massive personal fortune she shares in as a result of her husband's political activity and lobbying.

That's a pretty tall order.

Posted by: C. G. of Houston, TX | April 9, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Furthermore, I don't think there's a particularly big difference between paying her and paying her husband. Unless, of course, her financial situation isn't at all altered by an influx of hundreds of thousands of dollars into his bank account.

Posted by: davestickler | April 9, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

See, except nobody expects her husband to not play a role in making decisions in her White House. If she was so influential in his administration just by talking with him -- without having policy meetings of any kind -- then it's hard to imagine that he, as former president, wouldn't play some role in influencing policy.

And, as far as I'm concerned, it's not acceptable to have someone in charge of making policy who's recently received literally hundreds of thousands of dollars from one of the parties involved in an issue.

Posted by: davestickler | April 9, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

It is time for someone other than a Bush or Clinton (or Barack HUSSEIN Obama) to occupy the highest office in the land.

Posted by: JakeD | April 9, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

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