GOP issuing ‘Clinton library cards’ to spotlight records flap
Republicans across the country are encouraging voters to sign up for a “Clinton library card,” a publicity stunt to highlight the dispute over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s White House records.
The Democrats have been arguing over the issue since it surfaced during an Oct. 30 debate, and former President Bill Clinton has since said the debate question about the records kept by the National Archives is “breathtakingly misleading.”
But Republicans seized on it as well, with the Republican National Committee (RNC) sending a “What’s Hillary hiding?” e-mail Nov. 13 in a push to tarnish the front-runner and suggest she is secretive.
“In 2004, Hillary claimed that all of the records at the Clinton Library would be opened,” the party wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “Nearly three years after the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library and the ensuing Freedom of Information Act Requests, less than half of one percent of the library’s documents are open for review.”
The fake “library card” promotion, being pushed by nearly 30 state Republican parties as well, included a three-year-old quote from Mrs. Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York. The former first lady said on CNN that the Clinton library in Little Rock “stands for openness with all the glass and the light.”
“But he wants it to be a place where people come and really study. And everything’s going to be available,” she added.
But many of the documents won’t be available for a few years because, by law, each of the millions of pages at the library must be reviewed by the National Archives before release. The process is further slowed by hundreds of public-records requests, including some on the Clinton administration’s knowledge of UFO records.
Bruce Lindsey said on behalf of the former president that the papers are “subject to the same rules and regulations” as other presidents elected since 1978, and that Mr. Clinton has “actively encouraged” the archives to release records.
Mrs. Clinton’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have used the issue to try and work to their advantage.
“Hillary Clinton continually chooses secrecy over disclosure, refusing to expedite the release of documents detailing her record as First Lady, refusing to release tax returns and refusing to release her earmarks request from this year,” David Plouffe, Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign manager, wrote in a memo Nov. 13.
Mr. Obama, Illinois Democrat, has released portions of his own tax returns and all of his earmark requests. However, reporters have been hounding him over records from his eight-year service in the Illinois state Senate. He said his office did not keep the records because he didn’t have staff to do so.
In response to questions seeking specifics, the Clinton campaign pointed The Washington Times to items on its “Fact Hub” campaign fact-checking Web site, facts.hillaryhub.com, and to a Nov. 13 Washington Post editorial that came to Mrs. Clinton’s defense.
But the Republicans plan to exploit the issue for their own gain, and the RNC points voters to www.clintonlibrarycard.com, where they can sign up and “print out your very own Clinton library card.”
“The heat and the interest on this is only going to increase as you get closer to Election Day,” said RNC spokesman Danny Diaz. He added the e-mail campaign might. “If they won’t listen to reason, maybe they will listen to the American people.”
The Republican Party’s Clinton library-card promotion is the latest salvo in a debate about why millions of papers from the Clinton administration have not been released to the public.