Main Page RSS
Thursday, September 21
Senator Clinton Doesn't Answer Questions
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 07:17 PM EDT
Scott Sala of Urban Elephants noted FOX News host Bill O'Reilly's observations on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton -- and the Art of the Dodge.
"My problem with Senator Clinton is, that she doesn't answer questions," he said.
O'Reilly says he's asked her key questions like, "What would you do in Iraq? What would you do with al Qaeda?"
Currently, he said, she does not give a clear answer for those questions.
"If you don't answer the questions, I am against you," he said.
Sala, who moderates the Republican blog he founded over a year ago, had his own observations on Clinton's "verbal bouncer" Howard Wolfson.
"Our media simply give her way too many passes. It's time they start brandishing a little Fallaci. Pursue her. Brush Wolfson aside. Go to the source. Get the public the answers they deserve. Stop showing up just for prepared speeches. Stop rehashing press releases. Stop parroting Howie."
Tonight, John Spencer's Communications Director, Rob Ryan, faced off against Wolfson on NY1.
However, most observers are waiting for the main bout on this political boxing card between John Spencer and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Glover Park Lobbyists: Clinton's "White House In Exile"
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 06:12 PM EDT
Glover Park Lobbyists
"...It underscores the awkwardness of Clinton's political kitchen cabinet being housed inside a firm that features one of Washington's most aggressive and fast-growing lobbying operations."
Clinton aides had hand in Dubai deal
BY GLENN THRUSH
Newsday Washington Bureau
September 14, 2006
WASHINGTON -- In the spring, when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was denouncing the Dubai Ports World deal, a consulting firm run by her top advisers was quietly lobbying for a Dubai takeover of two U.S. defense plants, Newsday has learned.
The Glover Park Group, whose principals include Clinton insiders Howard Wolfson, Joe Lockhart and Gigi Georges, was paid about $100,000 to help the government-owned Dubai International Capital Corp. in its acquisition of the British engineering firm Doncasters Group Ltd.
The four-month lobbying effort apparently didn't include any contact with Clinton's office. "They [Glover Park] didn't have contact with us on either" of the Dubai deals, said Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines.
But it underscores the awkwardness of Clinton's political kitchen cabinet being housed inside a firm that features one of Washington's most aggressive and fast-growing lobbying operations.
Clinton and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who helped to sink the takeover of port operations by a Dubai company, supported the Doncasters acquisition, saying it didn't pose nearly as significant a security threat.
Glover Park's contract with Dubai was channeled through the Los Angeles law office of Raj Tanden, the brother of longtime Hillary Clinton policy adviser Neera Tanden, according to people familiar with the situation.
Raj Tanden, who represented the emirate's royal family in its 2005 acquisition of $1 billion in U.S. real estate holdings, declined to comment. His sister didn't return a message left at her office yesterday.
Neera Tanden served as a congressional liaison for Bill Clinton before moving on to become a key Hillary Clinton campaign aide and the senator's legislative director.
The Doncasters takeover was much less controversial than the ports deal, mainly because Dubai officials submitted to a full review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The Bush administration infuriated Congress by forgoing a review for the ports takeover, provoking a powerful bipartisan backlash that doomed the deal.
Doncasters, which makes tank and aircraft turbines in its Connecticut and Georgia plants, was approved by the government foreign investment committee in May. Some critics, including Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), argued that Mideast officials shouldn't be allowed to control factories used by defense contractors.
Considering the firestorm that surrounded the Dubai Ports World proposal, it's surprising that the controversy-allergic Clinton team agreed to lobby for Dubai at all.
The contract was signed April 13, only a month after the ports deal went down in flames over concerns the emirate was a breeding ground for some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.
It also came on the heels of columnist Robert Novak's report that Bill Clinton unsuccessfully urged Dubai officials to hire Glover partner Lockhart as their spokesman. A Clinton spokesman didn't deny the account.
Glover Park's lobbying team, led by former Clinton White House staffer Joel Johnson, met with Schumer's staff, House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-Seaford) and Senate Democrats, including Carl Levin of Michigan.
Johnson said his goal was to assure skeptical legislators that Doncasters was no reprise of the ports debacle.
"We wanted to ... respond to any concern in order to assure members that this was consistent with our national security interests," he said.
Who was involved
The Glover Park Group - known as the "White House in Exile" - was founded five years ago by a group of top advisers to Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, including former White House communications director Joe Lockhart and key Hillary Clinton advisers Gigi Georges and Howard Wolfson, who don't engage in lobbying but are apprised of the firm's lobbying efforts
Staff who lobbied on behalf of Dubai:
Joel Johnson: former senior adviser for policy and communications, Clinton White House.
Susan Brophy: former deputy director of legislative affairs, Clinton White House. Married to Gerald McGowan, Clinton's ambassador to Portugal.
Brett O'Brien: foreign policy adviser to former Senate Democratic Majority Leader George Mitchell.
- U.S. Senate lobbying reports/Glover Park Group Web site
Clinton and Dubai: Glover Park Lobbying Nets $100,000
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 05:17 PM EDT
Columnist and former Clinton political surrogate Dick Morris and Eileen McGann detailed today -- in The New York Post -- what could be millions of dollars in conflicted lobbying dollars from the emir of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The column is partly drawn from an Associated Press story that ran last week in Newsday.
From today's New York Post (9/21/06):
Emir's a Gusher For Bill and Hillary
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
With each new disclosure, Bill and Hillary Clinton's connection between the emir of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, seems ever more intimate.
Last February, Sen. Clinton was out front in condemning DP World, a Dubai government owned company seeking to take over key operations at American ports. But, at the same time, Bill was advising the emir to hire his former press secretary, Joe Lockhart, to get the deal approved.
Back then, Lockhart denied working for the emir. And when Bill's role became public, Hillary claimed that she had no idea that he had any involvement in DP World issue.
Now, it turns out that the emir's Dubai International Capital Corp. hired Lockhart's company, Glover Park group, by last April to help with another U.S. deal -- a takeover of two defense firms (Besides Lockhart, Glover Park's partners also include Hillary's chief political gurus, Howard Wolfson and Gigi Georges. Dubai paid the firm $100,000 for its services.)
Oddly, the lobbying came through a California law firm -- Morrison, Foerster. One of that firm's partners is Raj Tanden -- whose sister is Neera Tanden, Sen. Clinton's former legislative director and still a top Hillary advisor.
No six degrees of separation here.
Did Hillary know about the lucrative lobbying contract that her husband's patron and friend, the emir, gave (via her aide's brother's law firm) to her chief campaign consultants?
Did her own top consultants tell her about their Dubai deal? Did they ask her permission? We don't know.
Hillary's office claims that Glover Park never lobbied her on either Dubai issue. But Newsday reports that it did contact other New York critics of the port deal: Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Peter King. Why wouldn't they contact Sen. Clinton, too, given her objections? Maybe they don't have to because Bill delivers on those issues at home.
The relationship between the Clintons and the emir has long been too close to avoid scrutiny.
Something is driving up Bill and Hillary's net worth pretty dramatically. In 2003, Sen. Clinton disclosed assets of at least $352,000 but less than $3.8 million. By 2005, she was declaring assets in the $10 million to $50 million rane.
What caused the jump? It might have been Dubai.
* Clinton is a top advisor to Yucaipa, an investment company run by billionaire Ron Burkle, which, through a subsidiary, got to manage the emir's investment portfolio shortly after Clinton joined the firm.
* Clinton gets a flat fee from Yucaipa and a share of the profits on the foreign investment fund it manages. (Hillary's Senate disclosure form notes only that Bill gets more than a $1,000 a year in compensation from this.)
* The emir gave an undisclosed donation to the Clinton Presidential Library -- but it must have been hefty: The library set up a Clinton Scholars program for young people from the Arab nation, the only such program it runs.
* Bill Clinton has twice given speeches in Dubai for close to $500,000.
The close ties to the emir may cause problems for the Clintons. The sheik turns out to be not such a nice guy. Just last week, a group of parents filed a class action lawsuit against him and his brother in federal court in Miami, claiming that they conspired in a scheme that "abducted and trafficked thousands of small boys from South Asia and Africa to the United Arab Emirates and other Arab states and enslaved them to work as camel jockeys, camel trainers and camel tenders."
The suit says that "boys as young as two years old were stolen from their parents, trafficked to foreign lands, and put under the watch of brutal overseers in camel camps throughout the region."
It's time for the financial relationship between the Clintons and the emir to be fully disclosed. There are too many questions and conflicts here that need to be sorted out.
John Spencer Defends The Pope
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 01:49 PM EDT
SPENCER: STAND UP FOR THE POPE
CALLS ON CLINTON TO DEFEND FREE SPEECH
John Spencer, the Republican-Conservative candidate for U.S. Senate, today called for Senator Hillary Clinton to publicly defend Pope Benedict’s right to free speech. Spencer’s comments, initially made this morning on Fred Dicker’s radio show on WROW-AM in Albany, were made in reaction to continued attacks on Christian churches, the murder of a nun in Somalia, and calls for the Pope’s “execution” by Islamic Fascists.
John Spencer said:
“Senator Clinton should speak out publicly and denounce the words and actions of Islamic Fascists through-out the world. She has an obligation, as a United States Senator, to stand up for free speech. Pope Benedict, or a leader of any religion, should have the right to speak their mind without fear of death threats or attacks on places of worship. Pope Benedict is a man of peace. Free speech should be the cornerstone of any civilized society no matter what religion they follow. Hardly a day goes by when someone does not make comments that could be viewed as negative about the Catholic or Jewish faiths. Yet, you don’t see rioting; you don’t see religious leaders threatened. It is times like this when the Senator from New York should speak out, but, once again, Senator Clinton is silent. Is it because of her husband’s connection to Dubai or the fact that key advisors to her campaign are members of a firm that has lobbyists working on behalf of Islamic nations? Before she runs for President she must learn to stand-up for what is right. Senator Clinton needs to speak up now…New Yorkers of all faiths deserve to know where she stands.”
Why Won't Clinton Debate?, Volume III
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 01:48 PM EDT
WHY WON’T CLINTON DEBATE, VOL. III
THREE QUESTIONS: WHERE, WHEN, HOW MANY??
Spencer for Senate today released a third letter to Howard Wolfson regarding its effort to confirm the times and locations of a series of debates in this years contest for the United States Senate. The full text of the letter is below.
|Mr. Howard Wolfson
Friends of Hillary
420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 350
New York, NY 10170
|September 21, 2006|
From reports circulating on the blogs, it appears as if you received my letter. I hope it found you in good health.
I do have to say that I was rather surprised by the tone of your response. Your press releases last week almost had me convinced that we were the ones running a negative campaign.
Your recent words set me straight. Your rant about Mayor Spencer on The New York Observer’s blog THE POLITICKER was a text book example of going negative. Your comments were chock full of half truths and innuendoes. Your motives were obvious; the Clinton campaign is attempting to marginalize John Spencer as a less than serious candidate. Throwing mud won’t work. The voters are smarter than that.
Senator Clinton knows that John Spencer is a serious candidate, just like she knows he was a great Mayor. When he was Mayor of Yonkers, Senator Clinton met with John Spencer twice. One time was in his office at City Hall. It was a congenial meeting that lasted well over an hour. John Spencer remembers it well. He also remembers how later that day, Senator Clinton praised him for doing a good job as mayor when she spoke at the Nepperhan Community Center.
Howard, why don’t you stop the name calling and the gutter politics and simply tell us how many times Senator Clinton will debate? We know you would rather “run down the clock” but -- the people of New York deserve numerous debates.
Tuesday, the Clinton campaign received invitations for debates from WABC, WNBC and NY1 (on behalf of the various Time Warner news affiliates in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester). There have also been invitations from News 12, RNN, The League of Women Voters, NYPIRG Albany, and a host of other organizations and media outlets.
John Spencer isn’t afraid to debate. He’ll debate numerous times in a variety of locations so as many voters as possible can make an educated decision on Election Day.
In 2000, when Senator Clinton ran the first time, she was merely the former First Lady. She had never run for office, in a primary or general election. She had never held office yet she demanded the right to debate Rick Lazio numerous times. Now, as an incumbent she is attempting to avoid them… That’s cynical and it’s wrong!
Let’s debate 5, 6, 7, or 8, times -- and try to do it in every region of the State. Look at it this way; it will be great practice for those debates in Iowa and New Hampshire, when Mrs. Clinton is running for President.
I sincerely hope to hear from you or someone from the campaign before the end of business on Friday. Once again my phone number is 914-909-2685.
Robert H. Ryan
P.S. -- I was glad to see that Senator Clinton finally joined with John Spencer in support of Pope Benedict. I know it must have upset your clients in Dubai and Turkey, not to mention the politically correct crowd that Senator Clinton usually panders to. If we come across issues like this in the future, we will be sure to issue a news release.
Second Letter To Howard Wolfson Requesting Debates
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 01:46 PM EDT
WHY WON’T CLINTON DEBATE, VOL II
SECOND LETTER TO WOLFSON REQUESTING DEBATE
Spencer for Senate today released a letter to Clinton campaign aide Howard Wolfson. The letter from Rob Ryan, Spencer’s Communications Director is a follow-up to a letter sent last week requesting a meeting to set-up debates. Copies of today’s letter were sent to the Clinton Campaign, the Democratic State Committee Office in Albany, the Lamont Campaign in Connecticut, and the Glover Park Group’s Washington Office in the hopes that one would reach the elusive Mr. Wolfson. The full text of the letter can be found below.
I wrote you last week hoping to set up a series of debates between Senator Clinton and John Spencer. To date, I have not heard a word from you or the Clinton campaign.
I understand how busy you are, so I’m sending this letter to a number of addresses. Hopefully it reaches you at one of them.
I know that Senator Clinton has “loaned” you to the Lamont campaign and their effort to defeat Senator Lieberman. I guess that’s because Senator Clinton supports his strong anti-war statements and believes that it’s a liability to have a colleague in the Senate who supports the global war on terror and believes that we must stand with Israel and support its basic right to exist.
I sent a copy to the Glover Park Group at their Washington address. I thought perhaps you were down there helping the government of Dubai purchase defense contractors or attain the rights to operate American ports. It must be hard to explain to a client that, while President Clinton might support such deals, his wife, Senator Clinton, must oppose them because she is intent on running for President and is comfortable taking the most expedient route to get there.
I sent a copy to the Democratic State Committee in Albany in the belief that perhaps you were up there with Denny Farrell, Shelly Silver and their tax and spend liberal colleagues who walk lock-step with Senator Clinton in their opposition to the Bush tax cuts.
And finally I am sending a copy to the Clinton campaign offices. Maybe you are there helping their press office draft another one of those cynical and silly news release that charge us with running a “negative campaign”. Come on Howard, you know, I know, and the majority of Americans know that Senator Clinton is a “left wing, anti defense, liberal” that isn’t a “negative” statement…..where I come from that is called a fact.
Why is Senator Clinton and her campaign afraid of debates? Is it because they might destroy your carefully cultivated image that she is a moderate and thus injure her chances of returning to the White House? Or could it be that the preparation would wreak havoc with the cross country jaunts that she goes on to raise money and lay the groundwork for her presidential campaign.
With the nation at war, the Middle East in turmoil, high energy prices and the threat of renewed terror attacks, New Yorkers want numerous debates so that both Senator Clinton and Mayor Spencer can explain where they stand on theses and other important issues.
Hopefully, one of these letters will reach you and you will be kind enough to call me to schedule the debates.
Robert H. Ryan
Dear Howard Letter -- "Let's Debate"
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 01:44 PM EDT
LETTER TO WOLFSON—SCHEDULE DEBATES
SPENCER CAMPAIGN: AS MANY DEBATES AS POSSIBLE!
September 14, 2006 -- Spencer for Senate today released a letter to the Clinton campaign calling for “as many debates as possible” and requesting face to face meetings to schedule the debates.
The text of the letter, which is addressed to Clinton strategist Howard Wolfson and signed by Communications Director Rob Ryan, follows below:
I was happy to read that Senator Clinton has agreed to debate John Spencer.
Since Election Day is only 54 days away, I feel it is imperative that we meet right away so we can discuss where and when the debates will take place.
I am sure you and Senator Clinton agree that it will be the voters of New York that will benefit by having as many debates as possible between now and November 7th. To date NY 1, “Meet the Press” and the League of Women Voters have all expressed interest in hosting debates and I am sure a number of other organizations and media outlets plan to do the same.
John Spencer firmly believes that debates of this nature are the basis of a healthy democratic process and he would be happy to rearrange his schedule to accommodate as many debates as possible in the weeks ahead.
Please call me at 914-909-2684, so that we can work together to make these debates a reality.
Robert H. Ryan
Spencer's Debate Challenges Ignored By Clinton
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 01:42 PM EDT
SPENCER TO CLINTON - LET’S DEBATE
GOP VICTOR CALLS FOR SERIES OF DEBATES ACROSS NEW YORK STATE
September 13, 2006 -- John Spencer, the Republican and Conservative nominee for U.S. Senate, today called for a series of debates with Senator Hillary Clinton. Spencer, fresh from his victory in the GOP Primary, called for the debates at a noon news conference held at the Women’s National Republican Club in mid-town Manhattan.
Spencer, the former Mayor of Yonkers, said:
“In a day and age when our state and nation are faced with so many problems, I believe that it is imperative that Senator Clinton and I take part in numerous debates across New York. We have a responsibility to the people of this state and this nation to meet in open debate. The voters of New York deserve to see the contrast between the ideals and beliefs of myself and Senator Clinton. I’m a common sense conservative who believes in lower taxes, less spending and a strong national defense. Senator Clinton on the other hand is hard to pin down. She tries to be on both sides of numerous issues as she pursues her quest to become President. In this age of terror, New Yorkers need to know why she fought against the Patriot Act, NSA wiretaps, and stronger sanctions on Iran. I’m ready to debate; any time, any place …the question is… will she? I’ve instructed my campaign staff to schedule as many debates as possible and this morning we notified NBC News that we would accept an offer to debate on “Meet the Press”.
Spencer Rouses Reaction From Hillary Camp -- But No Debate
on Thu 21 Sep 2006 01:35 PM EDT
The magazine Human Events noted on its blog, Hillary Watch, that John Spencer has become a running topic of discussion within Senator Clinton's campaign.
"During her Democratic primary campaign against Jonathan Tasini, Hillary did not mention him by name once. But here we are, immediately following Spencer’s ascension to the GOP nomination, and she can’t stop talking about Spencer."
John Spencer has continued to call for debates throughout New York State.
Still no firm reply from Clinton's camp.
Senator Clinton's staff promised to debate Spencer but has yet to commit.