GOP is­su­ing ‘Clin­ton li­brary cards’ to spot­light records flap

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Christina Bellantoni

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.hil­, 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.clin­ton­li­, 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.”

Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee

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.

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