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Sweet: Obama team leveraging Clinton's made-up sniper story. MEMO

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WASHINGTON--Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has no one to blame but herself for the latest mess she is in: giving the Obama campaign the opportunity to portray her as an embellisher with a weaker than ever claim to creditionals as a commander-in-chief.

FROM THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN...

TO: Interested Parties

FR: Obama Campaign

RE: Clinton’s Exaggerations: The Domestic Record

DA: March 26, 2008

Senator Clinton’s claims about her visit to Tuzla, Bosnia—and the footage disproving her account—have created quite a stir. And with good reason. As the Associated Press wrote yesterday: “What makes Clinton's situation unique—and the Bosnia embellishments so damaging—is the fact that the New York senator has built her candidacy on the illusion of experience. Any attack on her credentials is a potential Achilles heel.”

Unfortunately, Clinton’s fantastic invention of a sniper-raked landing is only one in a growing list of instances in which she has exaggerated her role as First Lady, particularly with respect to domestic policy.

Clinton has credited herself with “creating” the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and “helping to pass” the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Like the Tuzla story, both of these claims turn out to false—raising serious questions not just about the rationale for Senator Clinton’s campaign, but about her willingness to adhere to the truth.

“Creating” the State Children’s Health Insurance Program?

Ø Question: Did Hillary Clinton “create” SCHIP as First Lady? That’s what her web site says. But it’s not what the program’s congressional sponsors say.

On her website, Senator Clinton goes so far as to laud what she calls “her successful effort to create the SCHIP Children’s Health Insurance program.”

“Create” SCHIP? Once again, Senator Clinton’s claim simply doesn’t hold up.

The Boston Globe recently conducted an investigation into Clinton’s purported role in the legislation, concluding that: “Hillary Clinton, who has frequently described herself on the campaign trail as playing a pivotal role in forging a children’s health insurance plan, had little to do with crafting the landmark legislation or ushering it through Congress, according to several lawmakers, staffers, and healthcare advocates involved in the issue.”

Not only is Senator Clinton’s claim of authorship false, but the White House actually opposed SCHIP during it’s creation: “But the Clinton White House, while supportive of the idea of expanding children’s health, fought the first SCHIP effort, spearheaded by Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah…”

Representative Henry Waxman, a leader on the bill who remains unaffiliated in the race, said he has no memory of any involvement by Clinton: “It was a bipartisan bill. I don’t remember the role of the White House,” said Representative Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who has not endorsed a candidate in the presidential race and who was the chief Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which deals with health matters. “It did not originate at the White House.”

And Senator Kennedy, the Senate’s undisputed leader on universal health care and one of the actual creators of SCHIP, does not agree with Clinton’s assessment: “Asked whether Clinton was exaggerating her role in creating SCHIP, Kennedy, stopped in the hallway as he was entering the chamber to vote, half-shrugged. ‘Facts are stubborn things,’ he said, declining to criticize Clinton directly. ‘I think we ought to stay with the facts.’”

Leadership on the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Ø Question: Did Senator Clinton “help to pass” FMLA? Her White House schedules and the timeline of the bill’s passage call that claim into question.

Clinton claims on the trail and on her website that she played a significant role in “helping to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to enable new parents to take time off without losing their jobs…” But there is no evidence that this is the case.

For starters, the bill was signed into law only 16 days after Bill Clinton took office—not much time for the new First Lady to play much of a role. On top of that, the Associated Press reported that an existing version of the bill that had already been passed “by majorities in the last Congress” was altered only slightly and “recycled for enactment” [AP, 2/9/93].

In addition, Senator Clinton’s recently released White House schedules show that she didn’t have a single meeting on the bill she now touts. And in her own autobiography she discusses FMLA without making any mention of having a role in its passage.

Now that she’s running for President, however, the facts seem to have changed. Or at least her allegiance to them has.

Experience: Foundation of the Clinton Candidacy

The refrain that Senator Clinton “has the experience to lead on Day One” has been repeated endlessly since she entered the race. On closer inspection, the claims Senator Clinton makes turn out to be little more than stories.

With the next primary less than a month away, it’s time for Senator Clinton to finally face the “vetting” she’s so fond of discussing. Badly trailing in delegates, votes, and states won, she’s going to need more than a new script to win the nomination. But if she wants to regain the trust of the American people, it would be a good place to start.


15 Comments

News Flash--Press release attacks from partisan hacks hoping to parlay a campaign position into a white house gig do NOT qualify as 'vetting' from the news media.
You can ask Fox News if they'll count that in the Fall against McCain. I'm guessing that's a no.
Things we're still waiting for 'vetting' on re: Obama include some answers about well he'll address (and how well voters will receive) questions concerning such things as:
Rezko--See yesterday's post from YRM on this blog yesterday at: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/03/sweet_obama_at_suntimes_reques.html#comments
"When the Chicago prress reported on the revelation in the Rezko trial that Obama helped craft legislation to rework the Illinois Health Planning Facilities Board to steer contracts to Rezko, the national media didn't breathe a word about it."
Tuzla is explainable as sleep dep about a very scary event that didn't end up being scary but somehow got stored that way in her brain during a stupid, overly long campaign season. And it's overly long because the candidate who can't win in the fall won't concede and become Hilary's veep. Wake up and smell the sexism.

Why are you surprised that a Clinton lied???? Where were you in the 90s???

Obama isn't any better, oh I never heard "Rev" Wright say that, sure, you went to his church for 20 years. Either Obama doesn't go to church very often or he lied.

These two are both bozos and have no morals whatsoever.

Clinton lies anytime it benefits her. On Lewinsky - vast right wing conspiracy, no your husband hasn't seen a woman he wouldn't have sex with.

Clinton on real estate: Whitewater, Castle Grande, yet she wants to fix the housing crisis.

Obama on real estate: Tony Rezco, yet he wants to fix the housing crisis also.

These two are elitests. They are the richest of the rich, they have benefited from political connections as much as anyone. Neither one is worthy of being a presidential candidate.

Devastatingly breaking news for Hillary, and deadly news for Obama. A new poll just out says that 19% of Obama supporters say they will vote for McCain if Hillary is the nominee. While 28% of Hillary supporters say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee. Now I know those numbers can go down by November, but even if they are half of what they are now, McCain wins in a walk. Which is good for the country because McCain is a man of honor, while the other two, especially Fidel Obama, are people of very low morality. Although what do I know, I'm just a typical white person.

If Hillary was going to travel to war-torn Bosnia, what good judgement was she using to take along her daughter? Why would a mother put her child in harms' way?
OK, she may have been sleep-deprived, but she is not to be excused. IF elected President, she WILL be sleep-deprived... what kind of judgement will be displayed then???
She is burying herself with her coverups. She really thinks the American people are stupid, and we are not!!!
She can not be trusted. She really scares many of us.

Oh my!!!! Obama and his "new kind of politics".

Why is Lynn Sweet publishing a memo from the Obama campaign as if it were news and fact? Some of us expect more from her. And if Clinton misspoke or God forbid exaggerated about Tuzla, okay call it that, but also call Obama on grossly exaggerating his role in the immigration bill, and his position as a 'law professor' (he was not). As for S-Chips, Ted Kennedy had a lot of praise for Clinton when it was enacted. He said that without her support it would not have happened, as did many others in Congress.

This typifies the judgement of Hillary and that is why she is not fit for this High Office as President.

The polling who would vote or not vote for the other Democrat is trivial, we know that many independent and Republican voters who have doubts about McCain will never vote for Clinton and I don't think all the new voters energized by the Barack Obama will support her!

The more important polling is that all Democrats in daily polling gave Hillary a 7 point lead over Obama before he made his speech, by weekend Barack Obama was back in the lead! that is the one that counts!

Although the flap over the Rev W. may pass, there will be others when folks dig in and take a look at Obama's Chicago political history and his past support of Dorothy "Reparations" Tillman, and Todd Stroger.

Do we really want our federal government to be run like Cook County?

It is not surprising that Obama's association with this racist, anti-american reverend has not hurt Obama much among democrats. Because the democratic party is by and large an anti-american party, so this type of hate speech is pretty typical language in liberal circles. As I said from the beginning of this issue, the good reverend will hurt Obama in the general election. BTW, news broke last night with more racist rants from Obama's mentor. This time he specifically went after Italians, and he also said this country has always been, and is still run by white supremacists.

I agree--printing a press release verbatim isn't necessarily what I'd expect. Perhaps Lynn was too busy (she had quite a full day on and off the blog and the paper assignments-does she get extra pay for the blog management-she oughta) to put an analysis out about it.
Clinton and Obama are pretty much tied with misstatements, I'd say, but the substance of Obama's misstatements are more disturbing, I'd say. You can't say you're against the war when you vote for it. And he's exaggerated circumstances surrounding that speech even while attacking Hilary for an inconsequential statement about SCHIPS. His attendance record as a junior senator shows very little work in understanding and perfecting how to perform there. He needs to fold under the Clintons' wings and learn statesmanship. Meeting with Bloomberg and co-opting Ronald Reaganisms is NOT going to help him with Democrats in the fall, and NEWS FLASH--Republicans ain't a gonna vote for him in the Fall. I will. But my little old vote won't be enough.
The vitriol toward Hilary needs to end, folks. It ain't helping!

Since Celested9 Has a valid point that a memo from any campaign should not be taken as pure fact. I decided to look into both claims about SCHIP and Family Leave Act. Both are true. While Hillary may have been a supporter she had no role. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/03/14/clinton_role_in_health_program_disputed/

Clinton gets a gross exaggeration on this one.

As to the Family Leave Act she had zero role as to it would have been impossible. The Clintons came into office on January 20th, 1993 and the bill was signed into law on February 5th, 1993

Clinton gets a pure fabrication on this claim.

This is interesting debate whether Hillary lied about where Chelsea was on 911.
Chelsea Clinton's September 11th experience
June 07, 2004
On our show last Friday, Dick Morris said Hillary Clinton is lying in saying her daughter Chelsea was near the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Senator Clinton made the comments in an interview she gave a week after the attacks and Morris says Chelsea contradicted her mother in her own article five months later. The former aide to President Clinton and now syndicated columnist uses this to attack the Senator’s credibility.

But on closer inspection of both Clinton’s accounts, the truth is a little more nuanced. Chelsea wrote that she was watching television in a Union Square apartment when the planes hit, but was in the World Trade Center’s vicinity when they actually collapsed. Senator Clinton seemed to indicate Chelsea was there “when the planes hit,” seemingly confusing this with the event that happened an hour later.

On September 17th 2001, Hillary told Jane Pauley on NBC’s dateline that Chelsea had gone on “what she thought would be a great jog” and that she was going to go around the towers. She followed this with, “and then the plane hit,” leaving the impression that Chelsea was jogging downtown at the time of the collision.

In November, 2001, Chelsea wrote an article in the now-defunct Talk magazine about the day’s experience, and this is where the contradiction arises. Based on press reports of the article, Chelsea doesn’t mention anything about a jog, but she talks about seeing the plane hit the tower on television in the apartment.

Morris took this to mean that Chelsea’s story turns Hillary’s on its head, making Hillary an outright liar and on our show last Friday (and in his book), Morris characterized Hillary’s comments like this:

‘Chelsea decided it would be a great day for a morning jog and she jogged around the towers of the world trade center. She heard the airplane hit, she heard it she did. And she was saved because she had ducked into a coffee shop.’ Now we know that’s a lie. Chelsea 5 months later wrote an article for Talk magazine saying she was home in her apartment.

With these comments, Morris says you get the impression that Hillary’s account puts Chelsea downtown when the planes hit. Here are Hillary’s comments as quoted from a transcript of the Dateline piece he refers to:

Senator HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: She'd gone what she thought would be a great jog. She was going down to the Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She went to get a cup of coffee and--and that's when the plane hit.

PAULEY: She was close enough to hear the rumble.

Sen. CLINTON: She did hear it. She did.

PAULEY: And to see the smoke...

Hillary doesn’t mention anything about Chelsea being “saved” by the coffee shop, but the mention of jogging so close to the planes being hit, might suggest Chelsea was in more danger than she actually was.

Also, Morris says Hillary is referring to the planes hitting when Hillary says, “she did hear it,” but the rumble they refer to is more likely to be the towers collapsing than a planes’ collision. (and there is always the possibility that NBC edited out comments in between).

At the time of Chelsea’s article, Matt Drudge made a big deal of this by quoting Chelsea as saying she was “miles from Ground Zero -- when she learned of the attacks!”

But Chelsea did write that she was downtown when the towers actually collapsed (“12 blocks away”). She had over an hour to get from Union Square (where she saw the – presumably second – collision at 9:03 AM ) to lower Manhattan (where she was when the towers collapsed at 10:05 AM). Mapquest estimates the distance at 2.1 miles. Here’s a quote from the Talk magazine article (as reported by The Chicago Tribune):

I remember very little about how I got so far downtown…I do remember standing in line at a phone somewhere and hearing a deafening rumble.

On the show, Morris used this as a reason that Hillary Clinton would not make a good President:

Take that as an index of character and personality. Do you want a president who completely and utterly, makes out of whole cloth, not an exaggeration, fabrication, makes something like that up in order to bond more closely with the rescue workers, the cops, the firemen who booed her offstage?

Posted by leboheme at 06:13 PM From WYNC/org/blog

Mine was the Oh my, comment. Not the one about the memos.

But I do believe the family leave act was broadened not created under Bill Clinton. Check it out.

I really think those of you who accuse Hillary of lying are living in Obama's glass house. Careful!!! Document, document, document.

I don't think Hillary and Obama are tied in lies, lets call them what they are.

Obama has her beat big time. And I can provide the links. I count at least 5 not counting the multiple lies about Wright.

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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 26, 2008 2:19 PM.

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