Expected to announce her presidential run Sunday, Hillary Clinton has been attempting to rebrand herself: She’s Hillary 2.0, campaigning out of Brooklyn, a more accessible, relatable candidate who learned the lessons of her bruising, failed 2008 bid: From now on, no equivocating, no entitlement, no dubious financial dealings.
How much has changed?
The Shady Foundation
Founded in 2001 as The Clinton Foundation and renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation in 2013, this ostensible philanthropic concern has become a liability.
As reported by the International Business Times last week, while serving as secretary of state, Clinton was lobbied by human-rights groups and union leaders to address the Colombian government’s abuse of striking oil workers, some of whom had been threatened at gunpoint by the military. Meanwhile, the oil company in question, Pacific Rubiales, was promising millions to the Clinton Foundation.
Hillary’s State Department wound up publicly hailing Colombia’s commitment to human-rights reform — and that statement allowed the United States to continue funding the Colombian military.
Today, the founder of Pacific Rubiales is a board member of the Clinton Foundation.
And as Politico reported last week, a major phosphate company owned by the Moroccan government has just pledged at least $1 million to the foundation. In 2011, Clinton’s State Department assailed Morocco as a corrupt state guilty of “arbitrary arrests and corruption in all branches of government.” Women in Morocco are still subjugated by Islamic rule, yet last September, Hillary Clinton’s public stance on the government had changed.
“A vital hub for economic and cultural exchange,” she called it, one that was “in the midst of dramatic changes.”
The foundation had stopped accepting money from foreign governments in 2009, when Hillary became secretary of state. When she resigned in 2013, the foundation changed this policy, and it has since taken money from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The Spotty Resume
Hillary served as US senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, but her accomplishments are thin. No piece of legislation bears her name. Her tenure came to be defined in the 2008 presidential primaries by her vote for the war in Iraq — which Obama, who had opposed the war, used to chip away at her foreign-policy bona fides.
Her accomplishments as secretary of state are as unclear. She traveled to 112 countries, but again, she has nothing of consequence to her name: no peace treaty, no accord, no summit of consequence. Her defenders say that she helped restore America’s reputation in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; critics say she was too afraid to make a mistake that would affect her presidential run in 2016.
When asked in 2014 by Diane Sawyer to name her greatest achievement or “signature doctrine,” Hillary could not. “We haven’t had a doctrine since containment worked with the Soviet Union,” she said. “But we’ve had presidents who’ve made some tough calls and some hard choices, some of which have worked, and some of which have not.”
The Suspicious Finances
Without ever breaking any laws, the Clinton’s have long appeared to be reaping ill-gotten gains. Right before Bill was elected governor of Arkansas, family friend James Blair, who also worked as a lawyer for Tyson Foods, helped her turn $12,000 worth of stock.
Hillary only had $1,000 in her account at the time — into a near-immediate $100,000 profit. She did not disclose this until her husband’s second year in office.It was during Bill’s first run for president, in 1992, that the Whitewater scandal surfaced.
In the 1970s and ’80s, the Clinton’s and their friends Jim and Susan McDougal had invested in the Whitewater Development Corp.; it was alleged that Clinton, as governor, had pressured a local S&L to loan Susan McDougal $300,000 for real-estate investments with the company, and that transactions between an Arkansas bank and Bill Clinton had been concealed.
Neither Clinton was charged, though both McDougal’s and Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who served as governor after Clinton, were convicted of fraud.
The Spectacular Greed
Clinton will likely position herself as the champion of the middle class. Yet in 2014, it was revealed that Clinton, who charges a minimum of $300,000 per speech, also had an extensive list of demands.
Most anyone who hires Hillary to speak must also provide a private jet — a $39 million Gulfstream G450 or better — and put her up in presidential suites. Her standard agreement requires her presence for only 90 minutes, and 50 photos with 100 attendees — no more.
Hillary has defended her enormous speaking fees by saying she and Bill were “not only dead broke, but in debt” when they left the White House.
In 1999, Bill and Hillary bought their house in Chappaqua for $1.7 million, and in 2000 purchased a seven-bedroom in Washington, DC, for $2.85 million. Hillary’s Senate financial disclosure form that year listed their assets at $1.8 million.
In Clintonian fashion, Hillary backed off the “dead broke” statement — sort of. “I regret it. It was inartful,” she said. “But it was accurate.”
The Other Women
One of the great lessons of 2008, say Hillary’s aides, is that she has learned to run toward history, not from it: Instead of downplaying her gender, she’ll amplify it, running not just as the potential first female president but as a proud feminist.
If so, she may create a new problem for herself: How to explain her decades-long defense of her womanizing husband — a philanderer at best, a predator at worst? In 2014, the papers of Hillary’s late friend Diane Blair were made public; in them, Blair wrote that Hillary dismissed Monica Lewinksy, then a 22-year-old White House intern, as a “narcissistic loony-toon” and insisted that Bill had not abused his power.
As for Bill’s other women — including Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey, who alleged sexual harassment, and Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape — the Clintons often embarked on a “nuts and sluts” campaign, denigrating the accusers.
According to Carl Bernstein’s “A Woman in Charge,” Hillary called Bill’s longtime mistress Gennifer Flowers “trailer trash”; she also encouraged his team to get signed statements from all of Bill’s other women, swearing they’d never had sex with him.
Willey later said that Hillary spearheaded a “terror campaign” against her. “She is the war on women, as far as I’m concerned,” Willey said.
The Secret E-Mails
In March, we learned that during her four-year stint as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton conducted all business — political, public, and private — solely through her personal e-mail account, on a server in her house.When asked why she didn’t use two e-mails, one for official business and one for personal use, Hillary said: “I thought it would be easier to just carry one device for my work and for my personal e-mails instead of two.”
Then an e-mail surfaced that was sent from her iPad, undermining that excuse.
In a press conference to address the controversy, Clinton answered questions with all-too-familiar arrogance, contempt and incredulity that her word should be questioned.
“She came off as defensive and artificially put-off,” one Democratic strategist told New York magazine.
“I’m a huge Hillary Clinton fan,” said another. “But after that press conference, I do have major concerns about her ability as a campaigner and to get elected.”