The Shrill One Under a Microscope?
Et, tu, Time? You know she's sinking when one of the ringleaders of the MSM calls her record into question:
Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008 By KAREN TUMULTY, MICHAEL DUFFY AND MASSIMO CALABRESI
In her race to win the democratic nomination against a first-term Senator from Illinois, Hillary Clinton has put the criterion of experience front and center. She often references what she says is 35 years of work that qualifies her to run the country. And the most important achievements Clinton cites are the ones she claims from her years as First Lady — a job that carries no portfolio but can wield enormous influence.
The nature of Hillary Clinton's involvement was always a matter of great sensitivity in her husband's White House. After her disastrous 1994 foray into health-care reform, Bill Clinton's aides went out of their way to downplay her role in Administration decision making. She rarely appeared at meetings in which officials hashed out important policy trade-offs, but when the discussion centered on issues that were among her priorities, she sent her aides — much the way Vice President Al Gore did. "There were certain issues they kind of owned," recalls Gene Sperling, who headed economic policy in the Clinton White House. The First Lady's top concerns, he says, were children's issues, health care, and foster-care and adoption policies.
Now the former First Lady claims at least a share of the credit for a wide range of the Clinton Administration's signature accomplishments, both domestic and overseas. Does she deserve it? The Clinton and Obama campaigns spent this week arguing that question with dueling memos and talking points.
TIME decided to cut through the spin with a series that will take a closer look at the claims candidates make. As Senator Clinton is fond of saying, It's time to get real. We kick off the series by evaluating three of the achievements she mentions most often:
Children's Health Care
WHAT SHE SAYS
One of her biggest achievements, Clinton often tells voters, is the multibillion-dollar health-care program that provides coverage for children whose parents are too rich for Medicaid but unable to afford health insurance on their own. As one of her campaign ads puts it, "She changed the lives of 6 million kids when she championed the bill that gave them health insurance."
THE BOTTOM LINE: The record suggests Clinton did indeed lobby for children's health coverage but that many others were responsible as well. And it also shows that her husband nearly killed the idea before it ever got off the ground.
WHAT SHE SAYS
On the campaign trail, Clinton has claimed she "helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland" in the 1990s.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Clinton played a role in hearing the concerns of Irish women left out of the peace process, and in encouraging them to put pressure on their countrymen to pursue negotiations. But that does not mean she rolled up her sleeves and conducted or led the talks that resulted in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
WHAT SHE SAYS
"I negotiated open borders to let fleeing refugees into safety from Kosovo," Clinton has asserted when asked to identify an example of her foreign policy experience.
THE BOTTOM LINE: In the case of Macedonia, Clinton engaged in personal diplomacy that brought about change. But securing the return of American business partners is not the same as the opening of borders to thousands of refugees. That accomplishment was a result of broader U.S. and European efforts during the war.