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Hillary Cites Richard Mellon Scaife Editorial

From today’s press release out of HillaryClinton.com:


HUBdate: For the Long Run

3/30/2008

If You Read One Thing Today: From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Walking into our conference room, not knowing what to expect (or even, perhaps, expecting the worst), took courage and confidence. Not many politicians have political or personal courage today, so it was refreshing to see her exhibit both.” Read more.

And here is the more of which they speak, from the erstwhile embodiment evil, Richard Mellon Scaife, owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Hillary, reassessed

By Richard M. Scaife
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hillary Clinton walked into a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review conference room last Tuesday to meet with some of the newspaper’s editors and reporters and declared, "It was so counterintuitive, I just thought it would be fun to do."

The room erupted in laughter. Her remark defused what could have been a confrontational meeting.

More than that, it said something about the New York senator and former first lady who hopes to be America’s next president.

More than most modern political figures, Sen. Clinton has been criticized regularly, often harshly, by the Trib. We disagreed with many of her policies and her actions in the past. We still disagree with some of her proposals.

The very morning that she came to the Trib, our editorial page raised questions about her campaign and criticized her on several other scores.

Reading that, a lesser politician — one less self-assured, less informed on domestic and foreign issues, less confident of her positions — might well have canceled the interview right then and there.

Sen. Clinton came to the Trib anyway and, for 90 minutes, answered questions.

Her meeting and her remarks during it changed my mind about her.

Walking into our conference room, not knowing what to expect (or even, perhaps, expecting the worst), took courage and confidence. Not many politicians have political or personal courage today, so it was refreshing to see her exhibit both.

Sen. Clinton also exhibited an impressive command of many of today’s most pressing domestic and international issues. Her answers were thoughtful, well-stated, and often dead-on.

Particularly regarding foreign policy, she identified what we consider to be the most important challenges and dangers that the next president must confront and resolve in order to guarantee our nation’s security. Those include an increasingly hostile Russia, an increasingly powerful China and increasing instability in Pakistan and South America.

Like me, she believes we must pull our troops out of Iraq, because it is time for Iraqis to handle their own destiny — and, more important, because it is past time to end the toll on our soldiers there, to begin rebuilding our military, and to refocus our attention on other threats, starting with Afghanistan.

On domestic policy, Sen. Clinton and I might find more areas on which we disagree. Yet we also agree on others. Asked about the utter failure of federal efforts to rebuild New Orleans since the Katrina disaster, for example, she called it just what it has been — "not just a national disgrace (but) an international embarrassment."

Does all this mean I’m ready to come out and recommend that our Democrat readers choose Sen. Clinton in Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary?

No — not yet, anyway. In fairness, we at the Trib want to hear Sen. Barack Obama’s answers to some of the same questions and to others before we make that decision.

But it does mean that I have a very different impression of Hillary Clinton today than before last Tuesday’s meeting — and it’s a very favorable one indeed.

Call it a "counterintuitive" impression.

Richard M. Scaife is the owner of the Tribune-Review.

And, no, your eyes are not deceiving you.

Hillary is proud of her support from the erstwhile ringmaster of the "Vast Rightwing Conspiracy."

It’s all about principles, you know.

For those with a strong constitution, here is what Mrs. Clinton had to say about Mr. Scaife in her ghostwritten autobiography, Living History:

According to [David] Brock, the success of the trooper article inspired Richard Mellon Scaife, an ultraconservative billionaire from Pittsburgh, to fund similar stories through a clandestine enterprise called “the Arkansas Project.” Through an educational foundation, Scaife also pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Spectator to support its anti-Clinton vendetta.

The plot described by Brock and others is convoluted and the cast of characters preposterous. But it is important for Americans to know what was taking place behind the scenes to understand fully the meaning of Troopergate, the tabloid scandals that preceded it and those that would follow. This was all-out political war.

“[I]n pursuit of my budding career as a right-wing muckraker,” writes Brock, “I let myself get mixed up in a bizarre and at times ludicrous attempt by well-financed right-wing operatives to tar Clinton with sleazy personal allegations. Operating in conjunction with, but outside of, official GOP or movement organizations and well below the radar of the American public and the press corps as the election campaign unfolded, the effort went far beyond the opposition research typically conducted by political campaigns―not only in its secretiveness and its single-mindedness, but also in its lack of fidelity to any standard of proof, principle or propriety. These activities … were a very early hint of how far the political right would go in the coming decade to try to destroy the Clintons.”

Along with other members of Scaife’s secret Arkansas Project, Brock took on the task of planting and nourishing seeds of doubt about Bill Clinton’s character and his fitness to govern. According to Brock’s memoir, the “country was being conditioned to see an invention made up entirely by the Republican right…. from virtually the first moment that they stepped out of Arkansas and onto the national stage, the country never again saw the Clintons.”

Neither random nor spontaneous, this protest was part of a well-organized campaign to disrupt the health care reform bus caravan and neutralize its message, according to journalists David Broder and Haynes Johnson. Everywhere the buses stopped, they were met with demonstrators. The protests were openly sponsored by a benign-sounding political interest group called Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). Reporters eventually discovered and disclosed the fact that CSE worked in concert with Newt Gingrich’s Washington office. And, as Broder and Johnson wrote in their book, The System, the generous sponsor behind the group was none other than the reclusive but increasingly active Richard Mellon Scaife, the right-wing billionaire who was also financing the Arkansas Project…

Although the presiding judge at the McDougal-Tucker trial wouldn’t admit evidence of most of Hale’s lucrative connections into court records and the full story would not come out for years, details of the secret Arkansas Project began to be aired in public for the first time. Hale was a well-paid pawn in a furtive campaign designed to discredit Bill and bring down his administration. Not only was Hale paid at least $56,000 in cash by the OIC after he agreed to testify, Hale was also secretly paid by the Arkansas Project. Journalist David Brock later disclosed that Hale was paid from the “educational” slush fund at the American Spectator financed by Richard Mellon Scaife. Brock later wrote, “At its inception … the Arkansas Project was a means of providing covert support for Hale to implicate Clinton in a crime.”

When Judge Henry Woods was shown evidence of the group’s complicity in the smear campaign against him, he demanded a federal investigation of the Arkansas Project. The federal judges of his district―who had been appointed by both Democrats and Republicans―unanimously joined in this demand. But no investigation of Judge Woods’s charges ever took place…

A month earlier, in February 1997, Kenneth Starr’s prosecutorial career took a bizarre turn when he announced that he was resigning as independent counsel to accept a position at Pepperdine University as Dean of the law school and head of its new school of public policy. But Starr’s exit strategy backfired when right-wing pundits blasted him for quitting the investigation before finding something to implicate us. At the same time, some in the media picked up a thread that directly connected the supposedly impartial independent counsel to one of his decidedly partisan patrons. It turned out that Starr’s Deanship was to be underwritten by a generous gift from Richard Mellon Scaife, a regent of Pepperdine University. Within days, Starr bowed to pressure from the right and changed his mind about taking the job. He apologetically announced that he would stay on as independent counsel until his work was done…

Sure enough, the “vast conspiracy” line got Starr’s attention. He took the unusual step of firing off a statement complaining that I had cast aspersions on his motives. He called the notion of a conspiracy “nonsense.” As they say in Arkansas, “It’s the hit dog that howls.” My comment seemed to have touched a nerve.

Looking back, I see that I might have phrased my point more artfully, but I stand by the characterization of Starr’s investigation. At that point, I didn’t know the truth about the charges against Bill, but I knew about Starr and his connection to my husband’s political opponents. I do believe there was, and still is, an interlocking network of groups and individuals who want to turn the clock back on many of the advances our country has made, from civil rights and women’s rights to consumer and environmental regulation, and they use all the tools at their disposal―money, power, influence, media and politics―to achieve their ends. In recent years, they have also mastered the politics of personal destruction. Fueled by extremists who have been fighting progressive politicians and ideas for decades, they are funded by corporations, foundations and individuals like Richard Mellon Scaife. Many of their names were already in the public record for any enterprising journalist who went looking for them. A few in the media began searching…

Bill and I were greeting our guests in the Blue Room when a moonfaced man reached out to shake hands. As the military aide announced his name and a White House photographer prepared to snap his picture, I realized it was Richard Mellon Scaife, the reactionary billionaire who had bankrolled the long-term campaign to destroy Bill’s Presidency. I had never met Scaife, but I greeted him as I would any guest in a receiving line. The moment passed unnoticed, but later, when the guest list was released, some journalists were shocked to learn that I had approved him. When asked why he had been invited, I said that Scaife had every right to attend the event because of his financial contribution to White House preservation during the Bush Administration. But I was astonished that he chose to stand in line to meet the enemy…

But that was then.

And this is now.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Sunday, March 30th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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