Clinton's Records -- Treasure for Opponents

Washington Matters

Clinton's Records -- Treasure for Opponents

At 11,000 pages, Hillary Clinton's just released records and daily schedules of her years as first lady is twice as long as Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace." Good literature it's not, but some may even find it more interesting. 

The voluminous and detailed records of official meetings and daily schedules will be mined for months by the media and by her opposition -- Barack Obama, John McCain -- and the whole Republican Party for that matter -- to find juicy tidbits in her schedule. It could put her on the spot periodically not just this week but for weeks or months to come, forcing her off her message about the future and having to defend what she did or who she met at meet-and-greet sessions from years past.  

Here's just one example, an ABC News report on records showing her speaking at a private pro-NAFTA session in the West Wing in 1993 aimed at building support in Congress for the trade deal that only narrowly passed and that she now says was a bad deal. Obama will jump on that in his stump speeches.

Also, records show her absent during critical moments in foreign policy decisions made by her husband, even though she claims she has broad foreign policy experience. Obama is already pointing to that -- noting the lack of 3 a.m. phone calls -- and McCain could use that in the fall campaign if she is the nominee.


Republican operatives will pore over the records to keep the issue alive. Where was she when the Bill and Monica trouble happened? they'll ask. How much time did she spend with the wife of commodities trader and fugitive from justice Marc Rich before Clinton pardoned him? Their aim will be to keep shining a bright lamp on the past.

It''ll be hard for her to turn the lamp off.