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Hillary Clinton Schedules Show Drop in Policy Role

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20080319/pl_bloomberg/apxk2pxqjqgo;_ylt=AgyFr_55_1f7p3QYTigv9YBh24cA Hillary Clinton Schedules Show Drop in Policy Role James
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 19, 2008

      Hillary Clinton Schedules Show Drop in Policy Role

      James Rowley and Edwin Chen Wed Mar 19, 3:35 PM ET

      March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Hillary Clinton's daily
      schedules show that her formal policy role in the
      presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton, shrunk once
      Congress shelved the health- care plan she helped
      craft in the administration's first two years.

      The 11,046 pages of daily schedules released by the
      Clinton Presidential Library show that her days became
      filled with the more traditional, ceremonial events
      attended by first ladies instead of policy meetings
      after Congress in 1994 killed her plan to guarantee
      every American access to health insurance.

      In campaigning for the Democratic presidential
      nomination, Clinton says the experience she gained in
      her husband's administration prepared her to be
      president on ``day one.'' Clinton, a New York senator,
      argues that her travel and meetings with foreign
      leaders give her a deeper foreign-policy resume than
      Democratic rival Barack Obama. She has questioned the
      Illinois senator's fitness to be commander in chief.

      The schedules were made public today in response to a
      lawsuit by the advocacy group Judicial Watch.

      During 1993 and much of 1994, Clinton met almost every
      weekday with health-care advisers or key lawmakers.
      Her schedules document a grueling itinerary of trips
      to hospitals and health- care conferences around the
      U.S. where she met with elected officials and spoke
      with patients and doctors.

      ``Nothing matched health care in terms of intensity --
      it was meeting, meeting, meeting -- sometimes two,
      three, four a day,'' said Chris Jennings, a private
      consultant who was a top staffer on Clinton's
      health-care task force.

      `A Guide'

      The schedule is ``only a guide for her service as
      first lady and is far from an exhaustive compendium of
      her work,'' Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said today.
      ``Phone calls, impromptu meetings, conversations with
      staff or officials, strategy sessions and other events
      are not a part of the schedules, and much of the work
      in the White House is done in these ways.''

      The schedules contain numerous references to private
      meetings, and they don't disclose the instances in
      which she advised her husband.

      Clinton deliberately lowered her profile after the
      health- care debate ended because ``she didn't want to
      detract'' from other health initiatives after ``things
      had gotten so personalized,'' Jennings said. The
      health-care industry attacked her plan, which critics
      called ``Hillarycare.''

      Her behind-the-scenes efforts led to President
      Clinton's letter to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich
      proposing that they work together to expand medical
      insurance coverage for children, Jennings said.

      During the first two years of her husband's
      presidency, Clinton mixed her traditional first lady
      duties with her work on health-care reform.

      Queen Noor

      On Jan. 21, 1994, she met privately with Queen Noor of
      Jordan, went to the Healthcare Leadership Council at
      the Madison Hotel, and then returned to the White
      House to join a meeting that staff aides were
      conducting with health-care executives including Roy
      Vagelos, chief executive officer of drugmaker Merck &

      With the death of her health-care plan in September
      1994 and the election that gave Republicans control of
      Congress, Clinton's daily activities became more
      social and ceremonial.

      The schedule shows her days were taken up by
      receptions for new members of Congress, a luncheon
      with the National Federation of Black Women Business
      Owners and visits to high schools and hospitals.

      When Helmut Kohl, then German chancellor, visited the
      White House in January 1995, Clinton played a
      ceremonial role, according to the schedules.

      No Formal Meetings

      ``Upon conclusion of the receiving line, Mrs. Clinton
      departs,'' the schedule reads. Later she met up with
      the chancellor again for an official photo, receiving
      line and black- tie dinner. The schedule doesn't
      indicate Clinton held any formal meetings with Kohl or
      his senior advisers.

      During a February 1996 visit to Washington of French
      President Jacques Chirac, Clinton participated in the
      state arrival ceremony and a state dinner. She took
      Chirac's wife, Bernadette, on a tour of an AIDS

      To be sure, Clinton carried out an important
      foreign-policy mission for her husband in 1995 when
      she traveled to the Chinese capital of Beijing to
      speak to an international conference on women. She
      used the occasion to speak out forcefully on human
      rights, cataloguing a litany of abuse that has harmed
      women around the world and criticizing China for
      trying to limit an open discussion on women's issues.

      Private Meetings

      During a March 1996 trip to Europe, Clinton met
      privately with the acting president of Bosnia, Ejup
      Ganic; Turkish President Suleyman Demirel; Turkish
      Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz; Greek President
      Konstantinos Stephanopoulos and Greek Prime Minister
      Costas Simitis.

      At the start of her husband's second term in January
      1997, schedules show her attending programs honoring
      the arts and humanities. In early February of that
      year, she led a White House conference on extending
      so-called microcredit to women trying to start small
      businesses in poor nations. The summit was attended by
      leaders from underdeveloped nations.

      The calendar for Jan. 26, 1996, said ``no public
      schedule'' and didn't mention her testimony that day
      before a federal grand jury investigating the
      Whitewater scandal.

      To contact the reporter on this story: James Rowley in
      Washington at jarowley@... ; Edwin Chen in
      Washington at EChen32@...
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