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Sweet: Clinton calls Obama's Greg Craig memo a "false attack." Memo.


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.

Northern Ireland:

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.



Since 1970 Hillary has been active working for children's and women's causes, working on political campaigns, and providing free legal advice for the poor. She was also a member of the Nixon impeachment inquiry staff in l974. She taught law at the Fayette University. Her record is documented in her biography in the National First Ladies Library. As first lady she was also active and involved as seen in the memo above.

Her claim to 35 years experience is irrefutable and began when Obama was 13 years old. It is arrogant of him to belittle her accomplishments as he does.

I read the memo from Craig. In it he listed dates and actual quotes from those respective governments. I just read your comments her defending Clinton in the suntimes. Your comments are not based on specifics, but more on generalizations. I think it's about time Obama and his camp started challenging HRC on all her foreign policy experience claims. Sounds like she has experience, THE WRONG EXPERIENCE.


With the recent Spitzer blowout, it reminded us of the 1990's. Bill was impeached as President but if history repeats itself, YOU CAN'T IMPEACH A FIRST GENTLEMAN. So, instead of being able to focus on the most important issues that confront the country , we will be diverted again to another round of soap opera. CAN WE REALLY AFFORD ANOTHER SEX SCANDAL IN THE WHITE HOUSE?

Enough people closer to the Irish situation, from the Ireland itself stated clearly Hilary was not that involved, all the Clinton campaign do is get friends and supporters to back them!

Why not more media coverage about the comments made by Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale's vice-presidential pick in 1984 and now a top Hillary Clinton ally. "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any colour) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept." - will Hilary say anything about this, I doubt it.

Once again the Rules have to be for Hilary's self interest!

shes going to lose. get over it.

Obama is trying very hard to discredit Hillary's actions, but has difficulty doing so because they are correct. There is info to back up her statements. Obama has no experiences in foreign affairs, except when he lived in Indonesia as a child. His visit to Kenya in 2006, had one of there school named after him for monetary reasons. He does have family there. He appears to be unhappy with his father nationality, for he doesn't like to be seen in his fathers country clothing.

I find it very suspicious and very disturbing that the Clinton campaign has made theses assertions of Senator Clinton's foreign policy experience that was for the most part totally unknown to the rest of the nation.

I find it compelling and awkard that the American people who elected President Bill Clinton to a second term who cited the political climates of Bosnia, Kosovo and Ruwanda as parts of his foreign policy agenda, never ever stated to the American people that the First Lady of the United States was acting as an ad hoc special envoy for the Clinton Administration.

To think that the American public is that stupid and gullible to swallow dumbed down politics is an insult to me. Why don't we say that Bill Clinton was not qualified and Al Gore was not qualified because Hillary was up at 3AM fixing the whole damned world as President, Vice-President and Secretary of State. I wish that the Clinton dynasty had the moral compass back then to tell the American people that our First Lady had such a prominat role in framing and executing our foreign policy. But then again, the truth is oxymoronic with the Clinton's. For God's sake, when will she stop lying to the American people?

I casted my votes in 1992 and 1998 for Bill Clinton for his talent, vision and capability as the leader for the free world. I will cast my vote for Senator Obama for the same reasons.

By the way Mrs. Clinton, please release your tax returns for the years of 2000-2007, have the Clinton Libray release all records of your activities as First Lsdy, and most importantly please tell us about you role in your husband's fraud case that has been purposely delayed for EIGHT YEARS the the media has seemed to not want to look at or discuss. It would be a shame to be indicted on Federal Election Commission charges as you try to win a geneeral election...

So, as first lady she was pressuring and negotiating with foreign governments? That's scary. Was she elected to do that?




Let’s forget Greg Craig’s memo. Let’s take a look at what Hillary said about her foreign policy experience in her own autobiography:

Northern Ireland:

Hillary’s main claim now is that she helped bring women together, but in her biography she notes that the small group of nine women she had tea with in Belfast had already come together: “Because they were willing to work across the religious divide, they had found common ground.”

The next day she gave a speech in Dublin, praising Irish women. That’s it.


Helping Macedonian refugees cross the border? Hillary mentions in passing a “trip to a Kosovar refugee camp along the Macedonian border”


Was Hillary’s trip to the front lines as dangerous as she says? Let’s point out that it evidently wasn’t too dangerous to take her beloved daughter. Here’s her description:

“Bill and I discussed whether Chelsea should skip the Bosnia leg of the trip. We weighed the security risks and decided that if we take appropriate precautions, she and I would be fine. She was mature enough to grow from the experience. Besides, we’d be traveling with a USO troupe….’


In her biography Hillary says this of Rwanda when she meets with victims of the genocide: “I regret deeply the failure of the world, including my husband’s administration, to act to end the genocide.”

Later in the book she says: ”It would have been difficult for the United States to send troops so soon after the loss of American soldiers in Somalia and when the Administration was trying to end ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. But Bill publicly expressed regret that our country and the international community had not done more to sop the horror.”

Greg Craig does not say speeches are meaningless. It’s the Clinton campaign that makes that claim.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 11, 2008 10:19 AM.

Sweet: Analysis of Obama/Clinton media coverage was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: Obama team calls for Clinton camp to repudiate Geraldine Ferraro in wake "white" comment. UPDATE is the next entry in this blog.

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