- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hillary Rodham Clinton hit the ground running just days after her husband was sworn in as the nation’s 42nd president, putting together a health care task force and scheduling nearly daily meetings on the topic with her top aides and members of the Senate and House, her daily schedules show.

The demanding schedule is documented among the 11,046 pages of her daily activities released this morning by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library as part of a Freedom of Information Act request sought by Judicial Watch, a Washington-based watchdog group.

The Clintons had resisted for 15 years disclosing the records.

“These documents are outlines of the first lady’s activities and illustrate the array of substantive issues she worked on — including health care, child care, adoption, education, veterans, microenterprise and international development, women’s rights, and democracy,” the library said.

“Her daily schedules also list some of the meetings and travel she conducted to more than 80 countries in pursuit of the administration’s domestic and foreign policy goals,” it said. “They are a guide, and of course cannot reflect all of Sen. Clinton’s activities as first lady.”

The records are an accounting of her day-to-day activities from 1993 to 2001, when President Clinton left office, and include public and private meetings, speeches she made, dinners and other celebrations she attended, social engagements and numerous domestic and foreign trips.

The documents show that on Jan. 23, 1993, just three days after her husband was sworn in, Mrs. Clinton scheduled a private meeting with several of her top aides to begin their lengthy discussions about health care. She had been appointed by Mr. Clinton to head and be chairwoman of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, hoping to replicate the success she had had in leading the effort for education reform in Arkansas.

The recommendation of the task force became known as the Clinton health care plan, a proposal that would have required employers to provide health coverage to their employees through individual health maintenance organizations. The plan eventually failed to win support in either the House or the Senate, although both chambers were controlled by Democrats, and the proposal was abandoned in September 1994.

That first meeting, held in the office of Carol Rasco, the first lady’s domestic policy adviser, came on a Saturday and included the same people who would attend nearly daily meetings on the subject of health care during the next several months.

They included Ira Magaziner, a senior policy adviser; Melanne S. Verveer, a senior adviser; and Maggie Williams, a former chief of staff to Mrs. Clinton who is running her 2008 presidential campaign. They formed the core of the health care task force effort during the next several months, according to the documents.

Mr. Magaziner later was criticized within the Clinton administration for failing to win approval for the health care proposal; many cited his often blunt approach to critics. The plan was criticized widely for being too complex, and many placed blame for that on Mr. Magaziner.

The documents show that the health care meetings continued throughout January 1993 and almost daily in February 1993. Others who attended, according to the documents, included numerous elected and appointed officials, including Cabinet members and health care professionals. Mr. Clinton also frequently attended the meetings, almost all of which were described in the documents as private or closed.

The records had been sought by Judicial Watch, which was notified earlier this month that a line-by-line review of the documents had been completed.

“It is about time,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “We’re pleased, thanks to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, that the American people will be able to review Hillary’s daily schedule records. The Clintons slow-pedaled this process but were unsuccessful in delaying the document release any further.”

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