Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy ‘Experience’ Unscheduled
Recently released schedules of Hillary Clinton’s eight years as First Lady document that she was mostly engaged in frivolous, unrelated activities during foreign policy events for which she has claimed “experience.” Or do they?
The NYT lede:
When the World Trade Center was attacked for the first time on Feb. 26, 1993, President Bill Clinton flew to New York to be briefed on the attack and the response by city, state and federal authorities. According to newly released White House calendars of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s time as first lady, Mrs. Clinton stayed behind in Washington to attend a photo shoot with Parade magazine and a performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Seven years later, in October 2000, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton were enjoying a quiet weekend at their new home in Chappaqua, N.Y., when word came that the Cole, an American destroyer, had been attacked in a Yemen port. Mr. Clinton rushed back to the White House to deal with the crisis. Mrs. Clinton returned to the campaign trail in her run for the Senate.
Her supporters argue this is unfair:
Mrs. Clinton’s aides argued that the calendars backed up her argument that her time as first lady was marked by substantial foreign policy experience, although they emphasized that the calendars only show her public events and do not reflect the wide sphere of influence she had with her husband and others. “The schedules are only a guide for Senator Clinton’s time in the White House and by their nature don’t include a lot of the very kinds of things that gave her deep experience in her eight years there — calls with world leaders, impromptu meetings and strategy sessions are all omitted from the schedule,” said Jay Carson, a Clinton campaign spokesman. “And some of her greatest influence and experience was as the president’s trusted adviser — precisely the kind of thing that is invaluable but doesn’t make it on a daily schedule.”
Melanne Verveer, Mrs. Clinton’s top aide in the White House, said that she served as “her husband’s closest adviser.” “She was the first lady,” Ms. Verveer said. “She was not the commander in chief or the director of counterterrorism. But she certainly saw what her husband was going through and had a ringside seat for all these crises. And often, as in the case of the Macedonian border issue, had an active role.”
But by this standard, Nancy Reagan won the Cold War.
And this is simply laughable:
A top White House aide said that after the terrorism episodes, Mrs. Clinton made a concerted effort to maintain her normal schedule to avoid giving the impression of panic or tip off possible targets of retaliation.
So, she helped bring peace to Northern Ireland by going to Disneyland?
Still, she has clearly had a longstanding interest in public policy and her informal position gave her tremendous access:
But a former senior Clinton White House official who supports Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy but is not authorized to speak for it, said that Mrs. Clinton routinely called top White House and administration officials to inquire about policy matters or make her views known. Top aides to Mrs. Clinton also participated in high-level policy and political sessions from the first days the Clintons moved into the White House, he said. “If there was something that she was interested in weighing in on, I don’t think she ever hesitated to go ahead and call,” the aide said. He said her interests and advocacy ranged across the entire domestic and foreign policy landscape. He said she participated in various ceremonial duties, both in the United States and abroad, but foreign leaders took her seriously as an emissary of the American government.
Surely, though, she didn’t have a Top Secret clearance? If not, anyone briefing her using classified information was committing a crime. So, any input she was giving on national security policy was that of an interested outsider.
Via Alex Massie, who gives Hillary (and the NYT) less credit than I do.