Daily Blog Buzz: Pencil Me In...
2:18 PM, Mar 20, 2008 • By SAMANTHA SAULT
Yesterday, the Clinton Presidential Library released, to much fanfare, 11,000+ pages of Hillary's schedules from her time as First Lady. Journalists were eager to dig up dirt on the presidential candidate, hoping the schedules would reveal truths about Hillary's proclaimed executive and foreign policy experience. Unfortunately, it seems the "dirt" uncovered so far isn't particularly new or interesting.
Do the documents tell us whether or not Hillary has real foreign policy experience? According to the Politico, the schedules "offer only the skeleton of her life as first lady and neither confirm nor rebut her claims that her White House experience prepared her to one day hold the office of president." Obama supporter Andrew Sullivan points us to a Guardian report that Hillary was far from the White House during "key foreign policy moments": For example, Hillary was touring Egyptian ruins while the United States was bombing Serbia. But, as the WSJ Washington Wire blog reports, the documents don't settle the dispute between Hillary and Sinbad, who both "have offered differing accounts of what happened during a March 1996 trip to Bosnia -- a trip that Clinton has listed as part of her foreign-policy credentials in her bid for the Democratic nomination." Useless!
Other bloggers say we just get more of the same Hillary tactics. The American Spectator's Philip Klein agrees that she exaggerated her experience, at least from what he can see in the choppy schedules: "There is, of course, one thing Hillary gained a lot of experience in during the 1990s -- secrecy. So it should come as no surprise to anybody who has been following the Clintons that the much hyped release of her schedules as first lady have become a farce, omitting her private calendar, and deleting key parts that would have been of interest to journalists and historians." And the Swamp's Jim Tankersley reports Clinton campaign "talking points" about the schedules, noting that we see the expected Clinton Spin.
Other journalists and bloggers note the "non-stories" found in the schedules. The Washington Post reports that "after the collapse of her health-care plan in 1994, she largely retreated to a more traditional first lady's calendar of school visits, hospital tours, photo ops and speeches on a narrower set of issues." Hasn't that been reported before? Hot Air's Ed Morrissey points us to another non-story: a WSJ headline "Clinton's Calendar and Vince Foster," the former Clinton adviser who committed suicide. But Morrissey says, "I searched in vain for anything newsworthy in this post, but found absolutely nothing. There are no connections to Foster's death. Hillary was not in town when he committed suicide, and hadn't had a scheduled contact with Foster for over a month." Boring.
Some journalists went straight to the days of the Lewinsky scandal, discovering that Hillary was in the White House the day of the infamous "Blue Dress Incident." Glenn Greenwald is outraged by this reporting tactic, and TNR's Jason Zengerle says, "I don't blame Hillary for wanting to keep this stuff under lock and key if this is what investigative reporters are going to use it for." But as Mary Katharine Ham reminds us, this factoid just tells us that Bill is "even trashier than previously thought." No surprise, given his numerous affairs and his slimy campaigning for his wife.
Hotline's Jennifer Skalka calls this reporting a "lousy shameful shortcut. Why not take a closer look at her work in the Northern Ireland peace process, which she's claimed on the trail of late without much support. Or examine her work around the president's failed health care plan. She's said she was instrumental in crafting SCHIP? Yeah, well, prove it." Given the uselessness of the schedules so far, it seems that Hillary will have to try a little harder to prove that she has the experience she claims.