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Fact-Checking Clinton’s ‘35 Years of Change’

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Posted on Feb 4, 2008

Hillary Clinton has made much of her “35 years” of “working to bring positive change to people’s lives,” but when McClatchy’s Washington bureau investigated the claim, it found that the “bulk of her career” was spent “at one of Arkansas’ most prestigious corporate law firms, where she represented big companies and served on corporate boards.”

That part of Clinton’s résumé gets only one sentence on her Web site biography.

McClatchy Washington Bureau:

The overall portrait is of a lifelong, selfless do-gooder. The whole story is more complicated—and less flattering.

Clinton worked at the Children’s Defense Fund for less than a year, and that’s the only full-time job in the nonprofit sector she’s ever had. She also worked briefly as a law professor.

Clinton spent the bulk of her career—15 of those 35 years—at one of Arkansas’ most prestigious corporate law firms, where she represented big companies and served on corporate boards.

Neither she nor her surrogates, however, ever mention that on the campaign trail. Her campaign Web site biography devotes six paragraphs to her pro bono legal work for the poor but sums up the bulk of her experience in one sentence: “She also continued her legal career as a partner in a law firm.”

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By Nana_1007, February 16, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On congress dot org, Hillary Clinton’s prior position is listed as “public official.” Exactly what does that mean? Is she a public official because the public knows her name? Here in D.C., a public official is one who works for the federal, state, or local government. She did not work for any government agency during, nor after her husband’s presidency. Further, there is no legislative experience listed, ZERO, (prior to being elected U.S. Senator). She, apparently, believes that her being first lady qualifies her to be president. It does not. She will not tell us how she arrived at the 35 years. I agree with the lady who said, though her husband is a surgeon we would not want her to operate on us. I myself, have volunteered with many organizations, but do not use that under “experience” on my resume. I note it as what it was.

On the other hand, Obama was a member of the Illinois Senate prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate. There he worked on numerous bills, and saw many of them voted into law. Before that, he worked helping under-privileged people with housing and other issues to better their lives.

Also, who has worked on bills that have become law since becoming U.S. Senators?

Hillary says she’s “battle-tested.” Dealing with criticism stemming from various scandals just doesn’t equip one to be president. I think that speaks to character. Why hide your finances and all info relating to correspondence etc. during the Clinton presidency. Something’s or disclosure would not be a problem.Or is that just me? The more I know, the less I trust the Clintons.

When telling a lie about Obama Bill Clinton said, “I wouldn’t make this stuff up.” He had made it up. Don’t be fooled by this tactic. For that reason alone, don’t take my word for it (nor anyone else’s) ALWAYS CHECK IT OUT (ON REPUTABLE SITE/SOURCES)FOR YOURSELF.

As for me, the math says her 35 years experience do NOT add up. It appears that Hillary thinks the nomination is, somehow her due. WRONG. She epitomizes everything wrong with America. She is negative and divisive. She makes outrageous excuses for her votes and, also, why certain states are unimportant. Every state is important. I no longer, have any respect for either of them. I only wish I could take back my votes I gave Bill each time he ran for president (smile).

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By felicity, February 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment


I have been waiting for Edelman, a highly respected member of the black community to endorse Hillary. I’m curious as hell as to why it hasn’t happened since one of Hillary’s campaign boasts is her devotion to the poor, disadvantaged children in the black community.  Do you know why?

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By Scott, February 5, 2008 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Speaking of “experience,” Here is a one question quiz:

1. is there another First Lady with more scandal in her past?

Whitewater, TravelGate, missing files found in her residence, lucky cattle futures trades, etc.  The worst you can say about Mary Todd Lincoln is that she had a hysterical belief in the occult.

If you broaden it to include her alleged co-presidency, here’s some interesting info from :

Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates.

▪ Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation.

▪ Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify.

▪ Most number of witnesses to die suddenly.

▪ First president sued for sexual harassment.

▪ First president accused of rape.

▪ First president to be held in contempt of court.

▪ First president to be impeached for personal malfeasance.

▪ First first lady to come under criminal investigation.

▪ Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign-contribution case.

▪ Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions.

▪ Number of Starr-Ray investigation convictions or guilty pleas to date: one governor, one associate attorney general and two Clinton business partners: 14.

▪ Number of Cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 5.

▪ Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine that were convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47.

▪ Number of these convictions during Clinton’s presidency: 33.

▪ Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61.

▪ Number of congressional witnesses who pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122.

▪ Guilty pleas and convictions obtained by Donald Smaltz in cases involving charges of bribery and fraud against former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and associated individuals and businesses: 15; acquitted or overturned cases (including Espy): 6.

▪ Clinton machine crimes for which convictions were obtained: drug trafficking, 3; racketeering, extortion, bribery, 4; tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement, 2; fraud, 12; conspiracy, 5; fraudulent loans, illegal gifts, 1; illegal campaign contributions, 5; money laundering, 6; perjury, et al.

▪ Number of times that Clinton figures who testified in court or before Congress said that they didn’t remember, didn’t know, or something similar: Bill Kennedy, 116; Harold Ickes, 148; Ricki Seidman, 160; Bruce Lindsey, 161; Bill Burton, 191; Mark Gearan, 221; Mack McLarty, 233; Neil Egglseston, 250; John Podesta, 264; Jennifer O’Connor, 343; Dwight Holton 348; Patsy Thomasson, 420; Jeff Eller, 697; and Hillary Clinton, 250.

Great “experience.” Is that really the best the democrats have to offer?

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By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Don’t worry, i’m more than willing to level that accusation at every politician…and the Bush family most of all.

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By desertdude, February 5, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Please anyone who believes that line, I have some Ocean Front property here in Buckeye Arizona that I will sell you.

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By DennisD, February 5, 2008 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The word “change”, this elections slogan du jour,  as used by the candidates of both parties doesn’t ring true. They would have us think that by changing the tempo of the song, and not the song, will account for “change” to a dumbed down public.

None of them other than Ron Paul have committed to removing us from Iraq which in itself is killing our economy as well as our military. It’s loaded us down with debt that will take generations to pay off if ever. NAFTA, CAFTA and all the other NWO treaties are bleeding this country of it’s jobs and standard of living.

Once Ron Paul bows out as Kucinch, Edwards and Gravel have done before him - the empty rhetoric of “change” will be all that’s left to vote for.
It will take a radical agenda and leadership to truly promote and execute the change needed in this country. None of the big four offer it. Voting for the establishment to change the establishment is not the solution.

I can only hope a viable third party candidate runs so that I don’t waste my vote. Voting D(disappointment) or R (regret) just doesn’t get it done.

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By GW=MCHammered, February 5, 2008 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These people are applying for Public Servant positions. Where are their posted resumes for our review, their complete background check, and drug test results?

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By ntc, February 5, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s pretty simple, if you are really concerned about the Democrats winning this election, then vote to nominate Obama.  He polls better against McCain - who will get the republican nomination, plus, he never voted to give Bush the power to get us involved in Iraq.  He also doesn’t need to whitewash his professional history to the same degree Clinton apparently does…

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By Conservative Yankee, February 5, 2008 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I really hope the Business-shill’s campaign is paying you well… you deserve it. Attempting to defend as a child advocate the lady who was Tyson’s Chicken’s corporate attack dog is a job even for you.

During the Clinton’s time in Arkansas the States foster-care system was constantly under attack form the same folks you claim the Business-shill was working. Although Arkansas was sued by Clinton and the minions nothing has changed, indeed the number of children in Arkansas foster care increased 50% between 1984, and 1994. The State has noe of the highest rates of “aging out of foster care into prison” of drop-out rates, and some of the lowest fostercare re-embursementa in the Nation.

SO assume for a moment I accept, that The Business-shill’s name as a board member of CDF was more than just window dressing. the other option remains she failed to change the lives of Arkansas foster children.

In fairness I must mention that the Nation’s fostercare system is no great shucks, as it eventually feeds more than 1/3 of all the Country’s prison beds..

Folks in “children’s services” have a saying (mostly in private) They say “Unfamilied children in the USA suffer no matter which party is in control.”

which means the answer to “Who cares for the children” is “individuals unnamed”

Hill is a corporate whore of course this would be good for Wall Street, thus for me… BUT I couldn’t handle the guilt….any more than I can under current (less economically astute) folks.

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By Aegrus, February 5, 2008 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

I’m glad there is finally an article displaying the stupidity of Hillary’s claim to thirty-five years of experience. It’s unfortunate the MSM won’t question this talking point of her campaign. It’s always been bunk. No one works every day of their life for the best interests of others. Not even Jesus Christ could live up to that claim.

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By Bert, February 5, 2008 at 4:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s all about the BigBuxx…so far as I can see, Paul’s not running on behalf of a corporation or corporate interests. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

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By republicanSScareme, February 4, 2008 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A headline never written:

Little Rock, Arkansas 1979

World’s richest man and known Zionist crackpot, Sam Walton, takes Hillary Clinton (and hubby Bill, too) under his wing.


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By Maani, February 4, 2008 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment

As usual, everything in this article is “spun” in the most unflattering light possible.

...“where she…served on corporate boards…including that of retail giant Wal-Mart from 1986-1992, frozen yogurt purveyor TCBY from 1985-1992 and cement manufacturer LaFarge from 1990-1992. She earned tens of thousands of dollars in fees from each.”

And this means…what?  Is it somehow “sinister” to sit on corporate boards?  Or to earn fees for doing so?  What is this supposed to mean?

“Politicians naturally want to stick to their chosen narratives, but other aspects of Clinton’s relationship with the Rose Law Firm could remind voters of the more controversial side of the Clinton legacy.”

You mean, like “other aspects” that YOU decide to bring up and SPIN in the worst possible light SO AS to “remind voters of the more controversial side…?”  Self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Clinton worked at the Children’s Defense Fund for less than a year.”

Not quite.  She served as a staff attorney from 1974-1975, but continued to consult to Edelman regularly for the few years.  In the early 1980s, she was named to its board, and served as chair from 1986 to 1992.  Is Stearns trying to suggest that the consultancy was not “work,” or, even more absurdly, that she did not “work” for CDF during the near-decade that she was on its board?

Stearns is eventually forced to provide the (hopelessly sketchy and incomplete) truth: “Clinton did a great deal of public service work during her time at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. She served on the board of the Legal Services Corp. during the Carter administration and for a time was its chair. She helped found a child advocacy system in Arkansas and took on several tasks as the state’s first lady, such as revisions of the state’s education system and rural health care delivery. She also served on the board of directors of the Children’s Defense Fund, and on the board of a children’s hospital.”

And, of course, as Doug notes, Stearns could not even hope to be seen as even SLIGHTLY fair if he had not included the closing paragraph on Obama.

The MSM (and, sadly, much of the AM) is hopelessly lacking in fairness or honesty.


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By Douglas Chalmers, February 4, 2008 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

So, lets not forget to keep this all in perspective, eh, Truthdig, even as far as Matt Stearns’ article you quoted is concerned. It ended with this qualification regarding Barack Obama’s selflessly self-serving work:-

“Clinton isn’t the only candidate downplaying less high-minded work. Rival Barack Obama cultivates a squeaky-clean image and referred to his work as a “civil rights attorney” at Thursday’s Los Angeles debate. He didn’t mention other work he did during his decade at Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, a small Chicago law firm, helping craft housing deals involving millions of dollars in public subsidies.

Among those involved in some of the deals: Obama patron Tony Rezko. He donated thousands to Obama’s campaigns, raised thousands more and was even involved in the purchase of the Obama family home in Chicago. These days, Rezko is awaiting trial in federal court on fraud charges.”  

There is something else about the fact that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are lawyers. That is not a particularly wonderful profession in itself but they do have the training and experience of negotiating and representing others’ interests.

When we get down to it, though, no lawyer can really say that they have done all that much as a lawyer except through the legal system which is itself notoriously uncompromising and unhelpful in regard to human rights and designed to make lawyers wealthy. It is only if they have significantly worked for no reward in representing unwinnable cases that it could be said that they have done much community work as a lawyer.

But actually, “to hear Hillary Clinton talk”, she speaks mainly about what she wants to do to improve heath and other long-neglected social welfare issues for citizens generally.

The trouble is that such application to pro bono work would send any lawyer broke and it is rather precious of paid journalists and others to then turn around and criticize them, and especially Hillary Clinton in this instance, for working for a living. As it turns out, not only with lawyers but with company managers and business people, the few who actually do contribute usually do most of their community work through some kind of voluntary service organization and outside of working hours and separate to their normal job.

This is alluded to in the referenced article but is not explored or even apparently quite fully understood. As it turned out, it cost her salarywise and also in professional esteem. Now you all want to slag her as well, uhh:-

Clinton did receive a smaller salary than most other Rose partners, topping out at about $200,000, in part because of her outside activities, according to several biographies. But “these were all activities on the margins of her professional life, working as a corporate lawyer, representing corporations,” biographer Smith said…..

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By jackpine savage, February 4, 2008 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

I think that the important thing to consider is that in the mind of a Clinton, benefiting themselves is the same thing as public service.  Move along, no contradictions to see here.

Besides, look at all the good jobs WalMart has given us.  That’s public service.

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