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Michael Barone: Bad Impressions Hurt 'Above the Law' Hillary

By    |   Wednesday, 15 April 2015 08:15 PM

A report that Hillary Clinton stonewalled Congress about using personal email as secretary of state proves again that the Democratic favorite for president in 2016 "regards herself as above the law and above the constraints that the law imposes on everybody else," political analyst and scholar Michael Barone told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

The impression among voters of Clinton as untrustworthy is beginning to stick, Barone told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Clinton ignored a lawmaker who wrote to ask her point-blank in 2012, while she was still in office, whether she used personal email to conduct official government business, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

"I don't think there's any legitimate excuse" for refusing to answer the question, said Barone, an editor of the Almanac of American Politics, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and senior political analyst with the Washington Examiner.

Clinton, in fact, was using personal email exclusively for work and routing it through a server kept at her house in New York, the Times reported in March. She said the private setup for government correspondence, which is subject to federal record-keeping and subpoenas, was purely for convenience.

"It's perfectly obvious … that her purpose was concealment," said Barone. "She was trying to conceal information from those who had a right to see it."

Barone said this is the same Hillary Clinton who, as a candidate, plans to raise $2.5 billion while promising to rid political campaigns of "unaccountable" money.

But he questioned the perception that Clinton is getting away with questionable behavior.

"It does stick to some considerable extent," he said. "If you look at the recent Quinnipiac polls in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, you'll note that well under 50 percent of the respondents say that she's honest and trustworthy — something on the order of 41 percent or thereabouts.

"That's a devastating number for somebody going into a political campaign," said Barone.

Clinton's second presidential run kicked off this week with a low-key introductory video and a cross-country van ride, a populist gesture that Barone said also serves as a protective buffer.

"How does she avoid scrutiny? She says that she's transparent and wants to meet ordinary people, and she avoids all questions from the press," he said.

Because a large majority of journalists vote Democrat and want her to win, Clinton can keep up the gambit for a while, said Barone.

"As I like to tell my conservative friends, the Constitution guarantees us a free press, not a fair one," he said.

But even her fans in the political press corps will eventually get impatient, he said.

"Other candidates get peppered with questions — they respond to them in varying ways with varying effectiveness," said Barone. "Hillary Clinton at some point is going to have to face that, or her reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, and probity will decline further."

Barone also discussed President Barack Obama's retreating this week in his fight with Congress over nuclear talks with Iran.

Obama on Tuesday agreed to sign a bill he had criticized that would give Congress review power over any finalized agreement intended to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

"Obviously he didn't have much choice," said Barone, noting the veto-proof Senate majority that was coalescing around the bill after the Foreign Relations Committee stunned the White House by voting unanimously to send it to the floor.

But the bill ultimately favors the White House over opponents of an Iran deal, thanks to concessions extracted by Democrats that force the Senate to muster another veto-proof, two-thirds majority to block the president from lifting economic sanctions on Iran, he said.

Barone said history in 20 to 30 years' time is more likely than not to judge Obama as having been reckless in his pursuit of a nuclear nonproliferation deal with Iran despite majorities opposing it at home.

"He's doing that on the supposition, or the hope, that this will change the behavior of a regime which has been unremittingly hostile to the United States," said Barone. "I hope that works out."

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A report that Hillary Clinton stonewalled Congress about using personal email as secretary of state proves again that the Democratic favorite for president in 2016 "regards herself as above the law and above the constraints that the law imposes on everybody else" ...
Michael Barone, Hillary Clinton, stonewalled, Congress, private emails, constraints
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 08:15 PM
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