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A few weeks ago, I wrote a diary that showed that Hillary Clinton hyped her role in passing the Family and Medical Leave Act.

As the chronology and evidence laid out in that diary demonstrated, the bill had been passed twice by Congress and vetoed by the first President Bush. Congress decided to pass it once Bill Clinton was sworn in.  Two weeks before Clinton became president, congressional leaders announced their intention to pass it. It was HR1 and S1, the first bills introduced by Congress.  They were passed quickly and Clinton signed the bill into law sixteen days after taking office.

If anyone thought there might be any doubt that Hillary was involved in its passage, well, now come along the White House papers.  

And what do they show?

Hillary never held or attended any meetings on the Family Medical Leave Act.


One notable absence in the 11,000 pages of the former First Lady's schedule from the National Archives released today  -- any mention on her schedules of the Family and Medical Leave Act before her husband signed the bill into law.


So, there's another Hillary claim debunked.  And how does the campaign react?

Asked for substantiation for her claiming credit, the Clinton campaign provided little evidence except for feminist organizations praising her for the bill becoming law and Bill Clinton writing in his autobiography: "Hillary and I talked often about how fortunate we were to have had that critical time to bond with Chelsea. Hillary told me that most other advanced countries provided paid parental leave to all citizens, and we believed that other parents should have the same priceless opportunity we'd had. I thought about those first few moths with Chelsea in February 1993, when I signed my first bill into law as President, the Family and Medical Leave Act."

Tapper of ABC calls the response "odd."  I might use a different characterization.  

Originally posted to maineiac on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 09:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, we knew FMLA had already passed. (4+ / 0-)

    All Bill had to do was sign it, which he promised to do in the campaign.

    We knew HRC's claims were bullshit on FMLA from the get go.

    She voted for the war.

    by Inland on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 09:42:11 AM PDT

    •  yup, inauguration date is the only proof we need (0+ / 0-)

      to villify Hillary again.

      Don't bother to check out verifiable facts, just assume lies an dresume padding.

      poverty,poverty,poverty...the real enemy the democratic party should be fighting

      by Lisactal on Sat Mar 22, 2008 at 02:44:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Someone Should Tell Teddy (0+ / 0-)

    Courtesy of an AP story on this late last year:

    "The children's health program wouldn't be in existence today if we didn't have Hillary pushing for it from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue," [Senator] Kennedy told The Associated Press.

    President Clinton signed the bill in August 1997.

    While Kennedy is widely viewed as the driving force behind the program, by all accounts the former first lady's pressure was crucial.

    "She wasn't a legislator, she didn't write the law, and she wasn't the president, so she didn't make the decisions," says Nick Littlefield, then a senior health adviser to Kennedy. "But we relied on her, worked with her and she was pivotal in encouraging the White House to do it."

    •  uhh, different bills (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      biscobosco, jhutson, Empower Ink

      FMLA vs. SCHIP

      •  Doesn't matter to a Hillary supporters (0+ / 0-)

        anything to obfuscate the issues.

      •  Here is the SCHIP info according to (0+ / 0-)

        Giving Hillary Credit for SCHIP
        March 18, 2008
        Despite disparagement from political rivals, we find she deserves ample credit for expanding children's health insurance.
        One of Clinton's signature claims has come under fire from political foes, quoted by the Boston Globe, who say she doesn't deserve credit for expanding federal health insurance for millions of children.

        We review the record and conclude that she deserves plenty of credit, both for the passage of the SCHIP legislation and for pushing outreach efforts to translate the law into reality.
        Hillary Clinton has made the claim literally thousands of times, repeating it constantly in her ads, debate appearances and stump speeches. She "got health insurance for six million kids," according to one ad. (The version shown here ran in Texas, but a similar ad also ran heavily in Wisconsin.)

        Clinton Ad: "Obligation"

        Narrator: She fought for universal health care long before it was popular. Got health insurance for six million kids, and expanded access to health care to the National Guard. Now she’s the only candidate for president with a plan to provide health care for every American. A top economist calls Hillary’s plan the difference between achieving universal health coverage – and falling far short. If you believe health care is America’s moral obligation, join her, Tuesday. Hillary Clinton.
        Clinton: I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.
        What the Globe Said

        We had not previously had reason to question her role in the creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) during her husband's administration, but last week the Boston Globe ran a story with the headline, "Clinton role in health programs disputed."

        The Globe said Clinton "had little to do with crafting the landmark legislation or ushering it through Congress, according to several lawmakers, staffers, and healthcare advocates involved in the issue."

        This was quickly picked up and amplified in various political blogs accusing her of exaggeration and even "lying."

        So, we've reviewed the Globe story, and the record. The newspaper account quotes a political foe, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, as saying she doesn't deserve credit for the legislation. Hatch cosponsored the legislation and has endorsed the GOP's presumptive nominee, John McCain. The newspaper also said that "privately, some lawmakers and staff members are fuming" over Clinton's claim but didn't name any of them. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who cosponsored the 1997 legislation that eventually led to the creation of SCHIP, was asked whether Clinton was exaggerating her role. The Globe said he wouldn't criticize Clinton "directly" but said: "Facts are stubborn things ... I think we ought to stay with the facts."

        What the Record Shows

        Kennedy, of course, is now backing Clinton's rival, Barack Obama, for the nomination. But last year, before that endorsement, he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying something quite different, which the Globe did not note in its story:

        Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Oct. 6, 2007: The children's health program wouldn't be in existence today if we didn't have Hillary pushing for it from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

        In that same story, The AP's Beth Fouhy concluded, "While Kennedy is widely viewed as the driving force behind the program, by all accounts the former first lady's pressure was crucial." She quoted Nick Littlefield, who had been a senior health adviser to Kennedy, as saying, "we relied on her, worked with her and she was pivotal in encouraging the White House to do it."

        The AP's assessment is backed up by others we consulted. Adam Clymer, former chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, covered the legislative maneuvering and also wrote about it in a 1999 book, "Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography." Clymer wrote that Kennedy "worked with" Hillary Clinton to get White House support for a Senate measure to grant $24 billion for the new program, rather than the $16 billion approved by the House. "With strong administration support, the $24 billion stayed in," he wrote. Then, when the bill finally passed, Kennedy "credited the President, the First Lady, [Senate Democratic Leader Tom] Daschle, Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children's Defense Fun, and Hatch. ..."

        Clymer, in an exchange of e-mails, told

        Adam Clymer: On balance, I would say of course Kennedy and Hatch deserve most of the credit, but Hillary helped by making sure the Administration stuck with the $24 billion in [the Senate-House] conference. She didn't write the legislation but she played a significant role in getting it passed.
        Other accounts at the time the legislation was passed and since give Clinton substantial credit. The pro-Republican Washington Times newspaper credited (or perhaps more accurately, blamed) Hillary Clinton for the program in a 1997 article. The paper said it had obtained documents from 1993 showing that the White House "plotted" to push a "Kids First" insurance program if Mrs. Clinton's universal health care proposal failed.

        Washington Times, Aug. 6, 1997: The plan signed into law yesterday by Mr. Clinton and pushed by the first lady is a duplicate of the 4-year-old health care task force idea, except that it is paid for by a 15-cent tax on cigarettes.

        One of the co-authors of the plan, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, credited Mrs. Clinton for her "invaluable help, both in the fashioning and the shaping of the program."

        Years later, when Clinton was first running for the Senate, Kennedy's aide Littlefield was still giving her credit. The New York Times quoted him as saying, ''She was a one-woman army inside the White House to get this done.'' He said that when President Clinton himself was showing reluctance to back the new legislation out of fear it would upset a budget deal with Republicans, "We went to Mrs. Clinton and said, 'You've got to get the president to come around on this thing,' " and she did.

        More Than Just Legislating

        Moreover, Hillary Clinton took a major role in translating the new law into action. The program leaves to the states the job of setting up coverage and getting children enrolled, a task that continues to be a struggle to this day. In February 1999, after 47 states had set up SCHIP programs, the Clintons launched a drive to "Insure Kids Now." Hillary took the lead, speaking first before her husband in an East Room event at the White House.

        Hillary Clinton, Feb. 23, 1999: At least half of all uninsured children are eligible for federal-state health insurance programs, but too often their parents don't know or don't believe they qualify. As successful, for example, as Medicaid has been, an estimated 4 million eligible children are still not enrolled.

        In April that year the first lady gave a speech saying nearly 1 million children had been enrolled during the previous year, but that increasing the figure was "one of the highest priorities" of her husband's administration. She said the president would seek $1 billion to fund a five-year "outreach" effort, with a goal of increasing enrollment to 5 million by 2000.

        Our conclusion: Clinton is right on this one.

        – by Brooks Jackson
        Milligan, Susan. "Clinton role in health program disputed." The Boston Globe, 14 March 2008.

        Gray, Jerry. "Through Senate Alchemy, Tobacco Is Turned Into Gold for Children's Health." The New York Times, 11 Aug. 1997.

        Bedard, Paul. "Budget a back door to 'Clintoncare'; Children's health insurance is similar to coverage pushed by Hillary in '93. Washington Times, 6 Aug. 1997.

        Fouhy, Beth. "Clinton claims credit for child program." The Associated Press, 6 Oct. 2007.

        Bumiller, Elisabeth. "In Shift, Mrs. Clinton Stresses Behind-the-Scenes Influence." The New York Times, 11 Aug. 2000.

        The White House. "President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton launch the Insure Kids Now campaign promoting children's health insurance outreach." news release, 23 Feb. 1999.

        The White House. "Remarks by the President and the First Lady at children's health outreach event." transcript, 23 Feb. 1999.

        The White House. "First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announces that almost one million children are enrolled in the children's health insurance program." news release, 20 April 1999.

        poverty,poverty,poverty...the real enemy the democratic party should be fighting

        by Lisactal on Sat Mar 22, 2008 at 02:51:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Someone should get their bills straight (0+ / 0-)

      Clinton hyped her role in the Family Medical Leave Act. Rimjob's link talks about a completely different bill.

  •  and that explains this poll result (0+ / 0-)
  •  Shorter story is: OHIO, YOU DONE BEEN HAD nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buffalo Girl, elie, Shhs, Muzikal203

    Sarcasm: It beats killing people...

    by Dreggas on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 09:54:07 AM PDT

  •  This goes beyond hype (0+ / 0-)

    To have hyped it the way the Clinton campaign has, knowing full well it was bunk, turns it into an outright falsehood, a lie.

    Spin and distortion against your opponent is one thing, but to puff yourself up based on utter falsity is a character trait to be abhored.

    Bush lied, millions have died.  HRC is an exposed liar.  I fear the consequences should she gain the White House.

  •  Kossacks really grasping for straws (0+ / 0-)

    I guess race baiting on Ferraro didn't work out so well for Obamaniacs, so now we're going after the former First Lady's schedule! sinister!

    Hillary Clinton actively campaigned for the Family and Medical Leave Act in her many appearances on the trail for Bill in 1992. It was a big issue that helped Bill achieve a gender gap in his favor in that year's election.  Hillary was a big reason why that became an election issue and why Democrats in Congress were motivated to make the bill a priority and pass it for Bill to sign.

    The bill was passed early in Clinton's first year in office so it is not likely that she had much to do on that bill because the work was done previously by the Democratic Congress and by the Clintons (and Gores) on the campaign trail.  The success of the FMLA was that it was possible to highlight an issue affecting middle class americans and successfully use popular will to move roadblocks in Washington.  Hillary helped represent the interests of the people over the powerful special interests that had previously kept that bill from becoming law.  

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 11:11:39 AM PDT

  •  So Bill is saying that thanks to Hillary... (0+ / 0-)

    the celestial choirs sang, the skies opened up, and he signed the legislation?  Well then words can make a difference, especially when words accompany hard work?  Thanks, Bill.

    Sheesh.  She's such a fraud.

  •  FMLA and Hillary (0+ / 0-)

    Obama campaign memo: There are no mentions of the Family and Medical Leave Act on Clinton’s schedule before bill signing it into law even though she gives herself credit for "helping to pass" the bill. "One notable absence in the 11,000 pages of the former First Lady’s schedule from the National Archives released today — any mention on her schedules of the Family and Medical Leave Act before her husband signed the bill into law. That’s interesting, because in speeches and on her website, the Clinton campaign repeatedly gives Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, credit for "helping to pass" the Family and Medical Leave Act."
    [ABC News, 3/19/08]

    The Obama campaign is wrong. Hillary was a longtime supporter of the legislation. The Family and Medical Leave Act was the first law that President Clinton signed; it was enacted less than a month after his inauguration. Hillary hosted a conference promoting FMLA in 1988, advocated for it on the campaign trail in 1992, and lobbied lawmakers in her first month as First Lady. Days after she met with Members of Congress about the bill, it passed by both houses of Congress and was signed by the President, and Hillary attended the Rose Garden ceremony. Since its passage, she has called for its expansion and as President will continue to expand it. Today, more than 60 million working Americans benefit from the Family and Medical Leave Act.

    Testimonials of Hillary’s work on the Family and Medical Leave Act:

    Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women and Families:

    "Hillary was instrumental in getting the Family and Medical Leave Act signed into law. We at the National Partnership for Women & Families as well as other family and labor groups had been pushing for the law for nearly 10 years. Hillary brought her work and experience on behalf of children and working families to the campaign trail in 1991 and 1992 and knew the importance of getting this legislation passed immediately. Two weeks after President Clinton was inaugurated, it was done."

    Judy Lichtman, former president of the National Partnership for Women and Families and chair of coalition that worked for 9 long years for FMLA passage: "Spawned by the release of Senator Hillary Clinton's White House schedule, there have been a number of negative and erroneous comments about Hillary's leadership role in securing passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). I have unique and specific recollections about the Senator's important role in securing FMLA's enactment into law, stemming from my central leadership in the bill's development and strategy for passage. In early 1992, I approached Hillary Clinton, seeking her help in convincing her husband to adopt FMLA passage as a campaign issue and priority. She immediately saw the importance of enacting a public policy that would allow working men and women to be responsible workers and responsible family members. She talked to him, and got back to me very promptly with an affirmative response. I can say unequivocally that without her advocacy, this would not have been a priority. In 1993, barely two weeks elapsed between the inaugural and President Clinton's Rose Garden ceremony, evidencing the strong commitment of both Clintons in enacting a public policy that truly reflects family values. I am such a strong advocate for Hillary's candidacy and am working for the campaign, in large measure, because of her ongoing and continuous leadership on issues important to the well being of women and families. All Americans can trust that their struggles are her agenda, and as President, she will work hard every day to make this world a better place, ensuring that their concerns are addressed by their Commander-in-Chief."

    News Reports of Hillary’s work on the Family and Medical Leave Act:

    In 1988, Hillary headed the host committee for Pat Schroeder’s Great American Family Tour, which advocated for FMLA. "Presidential candidates are ignoring family problems in their rush to address ‘power issues’ like arms control and the budget deficit, Representative Patricia Schroeder said Wednesday...Schroeder, who considered entering the presidential race last year, spoke at a news conference marking the final stop of the Great American Family Tour, which seeks to gather support for family and medical leave, child care, equal pay, housing and health care. ... Governor Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, welcomed the tour to Little Rock at the First United Methodist Church Day Care Center at Eighth Avenue and Center Street. Mrs. Clinton, who is chairman of the Children's Defense Fund, headed the host committee."

    [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 2/25/88]

    Hillary called passage of Family and Medical Leave Act on the campaign trail in 1992.

    "Taking a swipe at the Bush administration, [Hillary] Clinton told the audience that ‘we need policies that go beyond rhetoric about family values.’ Working mothers ‘have a 24-hour-a-day job at home and an 8-hour-a-day job,’ she said. ‘We ought to consider actually implementing policies like the Family and Medical Leave Act, which sends a very clear signal that we're not just giving lip service to supporting families.’"
    [Chicago Tribune, 9/25/92]

    As First Lady, Hillary lobbied for the Family and Medical Leave Act.

    "Despite another round of consultations that Thursday brought President Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Al Gore to Capitol Hill on three separate lobbying missions, the Democrats couldn't win speedy enactment of a relatively simple bill that has overwhelming bipartisan support. Senate passage Thursday night of the Family and Medical Leave bill came only after three days of delaying tactics by the Republicans who succeeded in forcing reluctant Democrats to vote on whether to block Mr. Clinton from lifting the ban on homosexuals in the military... But Mr. Clinton, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. Gore all demonstrated Thursday how concerned they are about keeping the Democratic troops in line with an extraordinary display of White House lobbying that kept the Secret Service motorcade crews busy all day."

    [Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 2/5/93]

    Hillary spoke about the importance of extending the Family Medical Leave Act at the 1996 Democratic Convention.

    "President Clinton, she said in her address to the Democratic National Convention, would seek legislation guaranteeing six months of health insurance for parents who lose their jobs and longer hospital stays for new mothers, as well as an extension of the Family and Medical Leave Law so parents could take time off from jobs for children's doctor appointments and teacher conferences. [Times-Picayune, 8/28/96]

    As Senator, Hillary has worked to build on the Family and Medical Leave Act. Earlier this year, Hillary successfully expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act to families of wounded soldiers. Hillary cosponsored the Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Healthy Families Act. She has also introduced legislation to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act to flight attendants and pilots. [Clinton Senate Office press release, 1/29/08; Vote #1, 1/22/08; S. 1898, 7/30/07; S. 2059, 9/18/07; HR4986; S. 282, 2/3/05; S. 304, 2/5/03; S. 18, 1/7/03; S. 448, 2/26/03]

    Hillary proposed to expand FMLA as president. On October 16th, Hillary unveiled a plan to help working parents balance work and family by expanding access to paid leave through a State Family Leave Innovation Fund, expanding FMLA to cover employees working in businesses with 25 employees or more, down from 50, providing 7 sick days for every full-time worker, and more. [Hillary for President release, 10/16/07]

    poverty,poverty,poverty...the real enemy the democratic party should be fighting

    by Lisactal on Sat Mar 22, 2008 at 02:39:36 PM PDT

  •  I guess one feminist's word is all the evidence (0+ / 0-)

    that is available.

    And the newspaper accts of lobbying by her are all media fabrications.

    And the legislation introduced is faked.

    poverty,poverty,poverty...the real enemy the democratic party should be fighting

    by Lisactal on Sat Mar 22, 2008 at 02:41:30 PM PDT

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