The New York Times reports on Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch with extensive ties to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s State Department, as he tries to curry favor to win an anti-dumping dispute with American steel companies. Pinchuk’s Clinton ties won’t look good to steelworkers in critical states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, where Clinton did well with during the 2008 Democratic primaries:
Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton have built a sprawling network of powerful friends around the globe, one that could aid Mrs. Clinton’s chances were she to seek the presidency. But those relationships often come with intersecting interests and political complications; few people illustrate that more vividly than the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk.
A steel magnate and major contributor to the former president’s foundation, Mr. Pinchuk was in frequent contact with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, at meetings arranged by a Clinton political operative turned lobbyist, Douglas E. Schoen.
And now Mr. Pinchuk is at the center of a trade dispute that places him at odds with steelworkers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, precisely the kind of union workers Mrs. Clinton would need to appeal to in a presidential campaign.
The Washington Free Beacon reports on the private papers of Hillary Clinton’s now deceased Arkansas friend Diane Blair, whose files were made public at the University of Arkansas library. During the 2008 campaign, questions were raised regarding the decision to delay making Blair’s collection public until after the 2008 election. Among the top finding from the Blair documents were:
Hillary Clinton attempted to pass her own health care legislation in 1993 through the budget reconciliation process to avoid a Senate filibuster, just as the final Obamacare bill was passed through the Senate:
March 9 – HC absolutely exhausted after another day on the Hill. She’s working hard to get Byrd to let them put health care into budget reconciliation.
According to a polling memo from Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign in 1992, voters found Hillary Clinton to be “ruthless”:
On May 12, 1992, Stan Greenberg and Celinda Lake, top pollsters for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, issued a confidential memo. The memo’s subject was “Research on Hillary Clinton.”
Voters admired the strength of the Arkansas first couple, the pollsters wrote. However, “they also fear that only someone too politically ambitious, too strong, and too ruthless could survive such controversy so well.”
Their conclusion: “What voters find slick in Bill Clinton, they find ruthless in Hillary.”
Hillary Clinton originally called a single-payer health care system a necessity, a position she later denied ever having:
“At dinner, [Hillary] to [Bill] at length on the complexities of health care—thinks managed competition a crock; single-payer necessary; maybe add to Medicare,” Blair wrote.
The account is at odds with public statements by the former First Lady that she never supported the single-payer option.
In an interview with the New York Times as she ran for president in 2008, Hillary Clinton said she had never seriously considered adopting a single-payer system, in which the government, using funds appropriated from taxpayers, pays for all health care expenses.
The papers portray “a cutthroat strategist who relished revenge against her adversaries and complained in private that nobody in the White House was “tough and mean enough”:
The records paint a complex portrait of Hillary Clinton, revealing her to be a loyal friend, devoted mother, and a cutthroat strategist who relished revenge against her adversaries and complained in private that nobody in the White House was “tough and mean enough.”
Read more on the Blair papers here.
According to H.R.C., a new book by political reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, it was Hillary Clinton’s strong defense of Obamacare before wavering cabinet members that proved “pivotal” in winning their support according to a Washington Post preview:
She defended the president’s health plan against doubting Cabinet colleagues, a moment the authors describe as “pivotal, if underappreciated.”
This shouldn’t be surprising, after-all Clinton is the “Mother of Obamacare" since the bill mimicked much of what Clinton had promised during her losing 2008 presidential campaign.
The New York Post reports Hillary Clinton was spotted with an entourage of assistants and security shopping at Fifth Avenue luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman, which has been billed as the home address of fashion and featured in last year’s documentary “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s.” The Post found no sign that Hillary drove to the store herself:
Hillary Clinton went on a private shopping spree at Bergdorf Goodman early Tuesday morning …
Hillary was spotted entering the posh department store by a side entrance at 9 a.m., with a small entourage of security and assistants.
Bergdorf Goodman, which opens to the public at 10 a.m., is famed for its personal shoppers, particularly Betty Halbreich, who was the breakout star of the 2013 documentary “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s.” …
Following a week where Iowa activists expressed reservations about a top-down “ordained” candidacy, and a Clinton ally saying she’s already “earned” the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination before a single vote has been cast, BuzzFeed reports that top Obama aides have gone on the record to deliver tough criticism of Hillary’s budding inevitability strategy that failed her in 2008:
Top advisers and former aides to Barack Obama say Hillary Clinton is repeating the mistakes she made in 2008, building a machine in lieu of a message and lumbering toward the Democratic nomination with the same deep vulnerabilities that cost her the nomination eight years earlier.
The former secretary of state has offered her tacit blessing to a series of Democratic organizations, including a draft group, Ready for Hillary, which was recently taken over by a former Clinton aide; and Priorities USA Action, the Obama super PAC repositioning itself to raise huge sums for Clinton. …
“I just don’t see any strategic value in stories positioning her as inevitable or the pre-emptive nominee, and I don’t think people who are out there talking about this help her, and I think she should make that clear,” said Joel Benenson, Obama’s chief campaign pollster and now the top White House pollster. “She doesn’t need this. If she decides to run for president, everybody knows she’s going to be able to raise money, everybody knows she’s going to be extremely formidable, that she’s going to have a significant network of supporters around the country — so what’s the value of all this in 2014?” …
“The further out front the effort to elect Sec. Clinton is three years before election day, the greater the incentive is for the press, prospective opponents, and adversarial groups to scrutinize and attack her every move,” said Ben LaBolt, the national press secretary for the 2012 Obama campaign.
After months of stonewalling, the State Department finally released a list of employees that were granted a special arrangement to have private clients while working for the State Department. ProPublica noted that Clinton ally Caitlin Klevorick, whose private consulting firm advised governments and corporate clients, was among the State Department employees that had such a special arrangement. Klevorick worked for Bill Clinton and The Clinton Foundation before she was hired to work at the State Department led by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Now, after a six-month delay, the department has given us the names. The list suggests that the status is mostly used for its intended purpose: to allow outside experts to consult or work for the government on a temporary basis. But at least one person on the list appears to have had an arrangement similar to Abedin’s. Caitlin Klevorick received two one-year appointments as a special government employee beginning in January 2012. During that time, online listings show she had a private consulting firm, CBK Strategies, which advises government and corporate clients on communication and policy.”
“There is a very high potential for actual conflicts of interest in this case, and there is certainly every appearance of conflicts of interest,” said Craig Holman of the ethics watchdog Public Citizen.”
Speaking at the National Automobile Dealers Association in New Orleans today, Hillary Clinton showed just how Washington she’s gone over the past two decades, jokingly telling the audience about the fact that she hasn’t driven a car in over 17 years.
Maybe she put in a tape of The Macarena (which was on top of the charts) during her last time behind the wheel?
After the deeply flawed rollout of Maryland’s Obamacare exchange, Gov. Martin O’Malley recently declared the “website is now functional for most citizens.” But for one Baltimore Sun reporter, that was far from the case:
For a chunk of two recent days, I tried to buy insurance on the Maryland health exchange.
My editors asked me to do this because Gov. Martin O’Malley recently told a national television audience that the “website is now functional for most citizens.”
They wanted to know what “functional” meant, especially after hearing stories from consumers about a glitch-prone website created under the Affordable Care Act for the uninsured and underinsured. Marylanders have described frozen screens, lost information, error messages and even mistaken identity.
My own enrollment took 5 hours and 22 minutes over two days, two calls to the exchange’s call center, seven times entering my personal information, two computers and two web browsers. …
Exchange spokeswoman Dori Henry would not say whether 5 hours and 22 minutes was a reasonable time frame to enroll.