Wednesday, March 19, 2008
THE FIRST-LADY YEARS
Clinton Schedule to Go Public
The William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock plans to make public today more than 11,000 pages of Hillary Rodham Clinton's daily schedule for her eight years in the White House as first lady.
The documents, which could give the clearest picture yet of her role in her husband's administration, are being released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed nearly a year ago. The Clinton library, part of the National Archives and Records Administration, notified a federal court this month that it had finally completed a line-by-line review of all the daily schedules it had found and would release them before a status hearing scheduled for tomorrow.
"It is about time," Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, the watchdog group that spent much of the Clinton years probing various scandals, said in a statement. "We're pleased, thanks to Judicial Watch's lawsuit, that the American people will be able to review Hillary's daily schedule records. The Clintons slow-pedaled this process but were unsuccessful in delaying the document release any further."
The Clinton library is still reviewing another 20,000 pages of material that may be responsive to Judicial Watch's request, including telephone logs, and told the group that those may take one or two years to process. Fitton said it "would be an injustice" to not put out the telephone logs until after this year's presidential election and noted that his group went back to court Monday seeking a judge to intervene further.
The 11,046 pages to be released today include schedules of meetings, trips, speaking engagements and social activities for nearly the entire time that Clinton was first lady. The library said it initially found no schedules for 32 days in the files of Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton's scheduling director in the White House (and later her campaign manager until she departed last month after a series of primary losses). Subsequent searches found schedules for 27 of those missing days in other files, officials said. No schedules have been found for the remaining five.
Additionally, the library said it withheld schedules for the first 19 days of January 1993 before Bill Clinton's inauguration as president since she was not yet first lady.
Judicial Watch has a separate lawsuit pending against the archives seeking records related to the health-care task force that Hillary Clinton led during her husband's first term. Hillary Clinton has not released her most recent tax returns but promised to do so before the April 22 primary in Pennsylvania.
-- Peter Baker
A DRIVE FOR VOTES
Liberal Groups Plan Mobilization
A broad range of liberal interest groups yesterday announced plans for a costly independent drive to mobilize left-leaning voters for the 2008 election, much of it targeting younger and minority voters.
Leaders from the loose coalition of groups predicted a combined spending effort that will total more than $350 million.
During a news conference describing the endeavor, leaders from several of the groups made it clear that the effort is aimed at taking on presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain. McCain is already the target of an independent ad paid for by the Fund for America, a group financed by wealthy financier George Soros, and by the Service Employees International Union.
Heather Smith, executive director of Rock the Vote, said youth turnout in the primaries has proven that "the conventional wisdom" about youth apathy is false. "In every early primary contest so far, turnout has either doubled, tripled or quadrupled," she said. Young people are "paying attention to politics at rates we've never seen."
MoveOn.org also plans to engage in the effort "to get the progressive issues front and center in the debate," said Ilyse Hogue, the group's campaign director. She predicted the group would spend $30 million to identify newly registered young voters, and to track them through their e-mail, cellphone and online networking presences.
Hogue also described an effort to help Democrats capture 60 seats in the U.S. Senate.
Other groups planning the voter mobilization effort include the Campaign for America's Future; the AFL-CIO; Women's Voices, Women Vote; the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN); and the National Council of La Raza.
-- Matthew Mosk