from the Clinton campaign...
To: Interested Parties
From: The Clinton Campaign
Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
RE: Obama Campaign Attacks: Just Words
Over the last few weeks, Sen. Obama has successfully undermined his credibility with a series of statements to reporters and voters that have been contradicted by the facts. Unfortunately, he’s doing it again today by having his campaign issue a fundamentally misleading attack aimed at glossing over the doubts Americans have about his readiness to be Commander-in-Chief. Once again, Senator Obama is proving the point that his campaign is about “just words.”
Despite making hard end-dates a centerpiece of his campaign, Senator Obama’s top foreign policy adviser said those plans are not anything he’ll rely on as president. Despite repeated denials and five different parsed statements by his campaign that have been called misleading by media reports, his top economic adviser did in fact dismiss Senator Obama’s NAFTA criticism to the Canadian government as just political rhetoric.
And now today, Senator Obama is at it again, sending a false attack memo from his campaign making claims that are contradicted by the facts. Still reeling from its losses in Ohio and Texas, the Obama campaign has come out swinging, taking aim at Senator Clinton's considerable foreign policy experience with false claims and baseless attacks. After last week’s defeats, the Obama campaign faced a choice: try to convince voters that Senator Obama is ready to take the 3am phone call in a positive way or try to tear down Senator Clinton's accomplishments.
Considering that his foreign policy advisor, Susan Rice, cited Senator Obama’s "legislation on ethics reform" when asked this morning about his foreign policy experience, it is clear that the Obama campaign is unable to make a positive case for its candidate’s experience. They have chosen to attack and today’s memo continues the pattern of statements contradicted by the facts. Given the credibility gap his campaign has developed over the last few weeks, these latest attacks today should not be believed.
There is a reason that thirty former Generals and Admirals have endorsed Senator Clinton -- they know she is prepared to lead this nation as Commander in Chief with strength and experience on day one. Here are the facts about Hillary’s experience.
The Obama campaign claims George Mitchell, the person in charge of the investigation, supports their view that Hillary's claims about Northern Ireland are exaggerated. John Hume, who won the Nobel Prize for Peace for his work on Northern Ireland:
I can state from firsthand experience that she played a positive role for over a decade in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland… Anyone criticizing her foreign policy involvement should look at her very active and positive approach to Northern Ireland and speak with the people of Northern Ireland who have the highest regard for her and are very grateful for her very active support for our peace process.
George Mitchell, who is cited in the Obama memo as an authoritative source, told Katie Couric last night that Hillary played "a helpful and supportive role" in Northern Ireland that ended up making "a difference in the process." He described what Hillary has said about her role as "accurate."
More on Hillary's work in Northern Ireland HERE.
Concerning Kosovo, the Obama memo – citing their own advisors and supporters -- falsely claims that Hillary played no role in the larger effort to open the border to more refugees. Richard Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton Accords, lays out the facts:
It was dire in May 1999 when Hillary Clinton arrived in Macedonia. The government of Macedonia had slowed the flow of refugees from Kosovo to a trickle. After visiting refugees and gaining a first-hand assessment of the situation, the First Lady had intense talks with President Gligorov and Prime Minister Georgievski. In these talks, one in the Presidential Palace, another in the residence of the American Ambassador, Christopher Hill, Mrs. Clinton pressed the Macedonian government to fully open the border so that Kosovar Albanian refugees could flee the war zone to safety. She also committed herself to work with the government and people of Macedonia who also faced an emergency because of the threat to their own safety and stability. Hillary Clinton promised to take action to help the Macedonian economy. Returning to Washington, she pressed hard in the administration for action to support the Macedonians. She even contacted American business executives to ensure that American textile contracts in Macedonia were not canceled. There is no doubt in my mind, nor in the minds of those people I worked with in the Balkans at the time – that her intense efforts resulted in easing a crisis of significant dimensions and contributed to saving many lives.
Hillary’s trip to Kosovo in May 1999 took place during the air war over Kosovo. Despite concerns about security, she traveled to the international border on the edge of the war zone, and visited with refugees. More, including more testimonials, HERE.
The Obama campaign has resorted to mocking Hillary's trip to Bosnia in 1996, belittling it as a U.S.O. tour and saying there was no danger. But Hillary toured the frontlines of the international peacekeeping mission. CNN reported:
At a second outpost, Camp Bedrock, Mrs. Clinton visited a M.A.S.H. unit, the only full-service U.S. Army hospital in Bosnia. The three-hour tour of the frontlines of the international peacekeeping mission were filled with the gritty reality of a military operation, a far cry from traditional first lady photo opportunities, and Mrs. Clinton seemed more than comfortable with that. [CNN, 3/25/99]
A day later, the Charleston Gazette reported that "Protected by sharpshooters, Hillary Rodham Clinton swooped into a military zone by Black Hawk helicopter Monday…This trip to Bosnia marks the first time since Roosevelt that a first lady has voyaged to a potential combat zone…"
The Obama campaign diminishes Hillary's historic speech in Bejing as meaningless. But her speech at the conference – where she famously declared "women's rights are human rights" spurred real action. The AP reported:
Brazil has promised free cancer-screening exams for women. The United States is spending $ 1.6 billion to try to end domestic violence. South African President Nelson Mandela is setting up a unit in his office to monitor the status of women. A year after 189 states pledged to make equality of the sexes a reality in the 21st century, many governments are crediting the conference for their latest steps to help women. 'The momentum is on - and this momentum is not only by women but even by governments and by men,' said Gertrude Mongella, secretary-general of the Fourth World Conference on Women that adopted a 150-page plan to achieve women's equality. Inspired by last September's U.N. conference in Beijing, five Mongolian women ran for parliament in June and won, bringing the total number of female legislators to seven out of 76. Women's groups in Zaire joined forces to try to change laws that bar women from traveling or opening bank accounts without their husbands' permission. [AP, 8/25/96]
On Rwanda, the Obama campaign is eager to diminish Hillary's advocacy. Hillary visited to Rwanda in 1998 and her forceful public statements about the administration's failings. This is how she described the trip and the administration's followup in her book, Living History:
Expressing great regret for genocide in Rwanda and our legacy of slavery sent a message of concern and respect to Africans who confront the intertwined challenges of poverty, disease, repression, starvation, illiteracy and war. But Africa needs more than words; it needs investment and trade if its economics are ever going to develop. That requires both significant changes in most governments and a partnership with the United States. That's why the African Growth and Opportunity At, which Bill proposed and Congress passed, is so critical. It creates incentives for American companies to do business in Africa." [Living History, pg. 457]
The Obama campaign spends considerable time trying to "prove" that a private conversation between Hillary and President Clinton never happened.