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.
Web Politics Editor
April 9, 2008; 6:19 PM ET
Categories: Hillary Rodham Clinton
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