RUBUTTING BILL ON HILLARY
DICK MORRIS’ ’08 PLAY-BY-PLAY ANALYSIS
Volume 1, #11
May 25, 2007
BILL CLINTON LEAVES SOME THINGS OUT OF HILLARY’S BIOGRAPHY
Go to www.hillaryclinton.com and check out Bill Clinton’s syrupy five minute ad for Hillary. He introduces the commercial by saying that wants to share some things we may not know about Hillary’s background. His version of her biography is about as reliable as if it appeared in Pravda!
So, I wanted to make a few corrections.
Bill says: Hillary never wanted to run for public office, but she did want to work at public service.
The facts are: When Clinton was considering not running for another term as Governor of Arkansas in 1990, Hillary said she would run if he didn’t. She and Bill even had me take two surveys to assess her chances of winning. The conclusion was that she couldn’t win because people would just see her as a seat warmer for when Bill came back licking his wounds after losing for president. So she didn’t run. Bill did and won. But there is no question she had her eye on public office, as opposed to service, long ago.
Bill says: In law school Hillary worked on legal services for the poor.
The facts are: Hillary’s main extra-curricular activity in law school was helping the Black Panthers, on trial in Connecticut for torturing and killing a federal agent. She went to court every day as part of a law student monitoring committee trying to spot civil rights violations and develop grounds for appeal.
Bill says: Hillary spent a year after graduation working on a children’s rights project for poor kids.
The facts are: Hillary interned with Bob Truehaft, the head of the California Communist Party. She met Bob when he represented the Panthers and traveled all the way to San Francisco to take an internship with him.
Bill says: Hillary could have written her own job ticket, but she turned down all the lucrative job offers.
The facts are: She flunked the DC bar exam and only passed the Arkansas bar. She had no job offers in Arkansas and only got hired by the University of Arkansas Law School at Fayetteville because Bill was already teaching there. She only joined the prestigious Rose Law Firm after Bill became Attorney General and made partner only after he was elected governor.
Bill says: President Carter appointed Hillary to the Legal Services Board of Directors and she became its chairman.
The facts are: The appointment was in exchange for Bill’s support for Carter in his 1980 primary against Ted Kennedy. Hillary became chairman in a coup in which she won a majority away from Carter’s choice to be chairman.
Bill says: She served on the board of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
The facts are: Yes she did. But her main board activity, not mentioned by Bill, was to sit on the Walmart board of directors, for a substantial fee. She was silent about their labor and health care practices.
Bill says: Hillary didn’t succeed at getting health care for all Americans in 1994 but she kept working at it and helped to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provides five million children with health insurance.
The facts are: Hillary had nothing to do with creating CHIP. It was included in the budget deal between Clinton and Republican Majority Leader Senator Trent Lott. I helped to negotiate the deal. The money came half from the budget deal and half from the Attorney Generals’ tobacco settlement. Hillary had nothing to do with either source of funds.
Bill says: Hillary was the face of America all over the world
The facts are: Her visits were part of a program to get her out of town so that Bill would not appear weak by feeding stories that Hillary was running the White House. Her visits abroad were entirely touristic and symbolic and there was no substantive diplomacy on any of them
Bill says: Hillary was an excellent Senator who kept fighting for children’s and women’s issues.
The facts are: Other than totally meaningless legislation like changing the names on courthouses and post offices, she passed only four substantive pieces of legislation. One set up a national park in Puerto Rico. A second provided respite care for family members helping their relatives through Alzheimer’s or other conditions. And two were routine bills to aid 9-11 victims and responders which were sponsored by the entire NY delegation.
HOW CAN RUDY GET HIS LEAD BACK?
Rudy Giuliani is slipping in the polls. Realclearpolitics.com keeps track of all the national and state presidential surveys. It reports that in six polls from April 20th through May 3rd, Rudy led by an average margin of 11 points. But in six surveys after May 3rd, his lead has dropped to an average of 6 points.
None of these polls were conducted after Rudy’s decisive win in the South Carolina Republican debate. It is quite possible that when more recent surveys come out, they will show Giuliani getting his lead back. But the long term trend – the fading of his numbers – may well set in again even if he gets a temporary respite from his strong debate showing.
What’s Rudy’s problem? How can he solve it?
His biggest problem during the early May period was his hesitant answers on abortion. Rather than just admitting his pro-choice position, as he did in the second debate, he seemed to be having it both ways when he said that it would be “OK” if Roe were overturned.
He needs to get back to his central issue of terrorism as he did in South Carolina. Rudy vs. the Right is really a battle of terrorism vs abortion for salience and relevance. By making terrorism the issue, Rudy makes himself the inevitable candidate.
But to date, he has been running a largely biographic campaign in which he speaks almost exclusively about his past record as Mayor and as the hero of 9-11. Both are good points, but he needs a proactive theme for his candidacy to attract attention and gin up support.
But he needs to do more. Here’s my suggestion –
Rudy has taken a firm stand against Iran and pledged not to allow it to acquire nuclear weapons. He has urged pension funds to disinvest in companies that do business with Iran and campaigned for tougher economic sanctions.
Rudy should go around the country meeting with State Treasurers and Governors from both parties to urge them to follow disinvestment policies in their pension fund investments, denying their investments to the 485 companies that disinvestterror.org lists as doing business in terror sponsoring countries like Iran, Sudan, Syria, and North Korea.
Rudy should hold press conferences each time announcing his progress in turning off investments in Iran. This policy of campaigning by doing good work could give his candidacy an ongoing traction and relevance which a purely biographic campaign cannot do.
Giuliani needs to lead the nation by showing how to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. An ongoing tour of the country promoting disinvestment, meeting with those who control pension investments, and testifying for legislation in key states like California, Florida, and Ohio where bills to disinvest are making their way through the legislatures.
Already Rudy seems to understand the importance of bypassing his Republican opponents and attacking Hillary Clinton. As the Republican front runner, he can go after the Democratic front runner and lift himself above his GOP competitors. And since Rudy’s biggest edge is his ability to defeat Hillary in the general election, he reminds the voters of why he should be the candidate with each lightening bolt he sends her way.
But now he can go even further. He can not only telescope the primaries but move into the realm of governance, in effect campaign by governing – use his candidacy to generate opposition to Iran and support for disinvestment strategies.
By showing his ability to generate disinvestment in Iran, he can show himself as a leader actually fighting terrorism, a notch above the politicians who can only fight one another.
But Rudy’s biggest asset is clearly John McCain —-
MCCAIN BLOWS HIS STACK…AND HIS CHANCES
The Arizona Senator’s legendary temper was on public display twice in the past few days, both times to his severe detriment. When he said “f— you” to Texas Republican Senator John Cronyn who was criticizing his immigration bill and then told Mitt Romney to get his gun and chase the Guatemalans off his property, he was presenting his unattractive side to the American people.
But his biggest problem remains immigration. Even if the legislation proposed by McCain, Ted Kennedy and Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss passes, it will leave a wake of dissatisfaction among Republican stalwarts. With Rush Limbaugh attacking the compromise and the conservative hard liners coming out against it, McCain is placing himself directly in the line of fire.
The immigration deal is actually a pretty good one for the Republican Party. It lets those who are here illegally work for many years, but postpones their day of ultimate citizenship and voting rights. If, as some say, the Democrats want illegal immigrants to vote but not work and Republicans want them to work but not vote, the compromise hues closer to the GOP priority. By making illegal immigrants return home and wait their turn on line for legal green cards, the proposal puts off the day when massive numbers of potentially Democratic voters enter the electorate.
But conservatives don’t see it that way and McCain will be badly hurt by his own temper on the one hand and his immigration positions on the other.
Ultimately, McCain’s sin is that he is too much of an insider – too happy in the ways of Washington and too used to bi-partisan compromise to make a good primary candidate. While his ability to reach across the aisle and make common cause with the likes of Ted Kennedy would serve him well in the White House, it might make it impossible to get there.
***Copyright Eileen McGann and Dick Morris 2007. Reprints with permission only***