- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2013

There was considerable hubbub over The New York Times’ decision this week to investigate the finances of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation; the news organization accused the feel-good, globally minded organization of mismanagement, among many things. Analysts swooned. Oh, the shock. Surely the account will mar Hillary Rodham Clinton’s potential presidential campaign, they agreed.

Right? Wrong. The Times story could be one of the most clever bits of media bias that has appeared this decade. Fox News analyst Monica Crowley has connected the dots.

“The question is, ‘How damaging could this be to possible presidential run?’” she asks. “I think the reason you saw this on The New York Times is not because The New York Times somehow wants to hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances, but to help her. In other words, they’re trying to get the negative stuff out early, so then they can claim it’s all been covered and that it’s old news by the time she announces.”

It will be old news next week, but no matter.

“Secondly, and this is really important point, they can say, ‘If there are dirty dealings going on at the Clinton Foundation, it was all going on before she joined.’ Remember, her name was just plastered onto the title of the Foundation. They could say, ‘It was all going on before she came onboard, and she’s there to help clean it up,’” Ms. Crowley concludes.

HILLARY‘S FAMILY EDGE

The aforementioned Clinton Foundation, meanwhile, is being manned by the Clinton triumvirate: former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton, who already has given at least two delicate signals that she too would be interested in running for office if the calling was right. But wait. What about Vice President Joseph R. Biden?

Consider that Douglas Schoen — Mr. Clinton’s former political strategist — has stepped forward to announce that, hey, Joe Biden is a viable candidate for 2016 for myriad reasons, and he predicts that a “Biden-Hillary battle may be brewing” in an op-ed for Newsmax Magazine. History could be on Mr. Biden’s side, the author says, noting that five vice presidents have gone on to win the White House.

The former first lady/senator/secretary of state may still have the edge, though.

“Technically, Mrs. Clinton is not an incumbent, but the Clintons’ dynastic strategizing has given her the advantages of incumbency and then some,” points out Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto.

PRIEBUS ON PATROL

And part three of today’s Hillary Trilogy: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus may very well ask for a binding vote during the finale of the Republicans’ big summer meeting Friday, asking his peers to bar the committee from partnering with CNN and NBC during upcoming 2016 presidential debates.

This all goes back to the networks’ plans to each produce Hillary Clinton-themed programming; Mr. Priebus is convinced that both productions will recast Mrs. Clinton’s personal story in a most flattering light, and just in time for the 2016 presidential election. The chairman has become a producer in his own right, however, issuing four short, snappy videos this week to get his point across.

The titles say all: “Will the Hillary Films Include ‘What Difference Does It Make?’” “Will the Hillary Films Include the McAuliffe-Rodham Scandal?” “Will the Hillary Films Include the Norman Hsu Scandal?” “Will the Hillary Films Include the Pardon & Clemency Scandals?” See them at GOP.com, under the “video” heading.

DRAWING THE LINE

Among 18 assorted demographics, evangelical Christians and conservatives are the staunchest believers that the decision to have an abortion is “morally wrong.” Three-fourths of evangelicals and 67 percent of conservatives say so, compared to 25 percent of those unaffiliated with any church, and 31 percent of liberals.

So says a Pew Research Center analysis, which found that 49 percent of Americans overall also agree that abortion is morally wrong.

“About two-thirds of Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party consider having an abortion morally wrong (64 percent), compared with 38 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents,” the analysis said.

MERRY LIKE PERRY

Inspired by a new Texas law that allows schools to acknowledge Christmas, Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield, a Republican, has introduced a “Merry Christmas bill” in his state, modeled after legislation Gov. Rick Perry recently signed into law.

“As introduced, allows local education authorities to teach the history of traditional winter celebrations; allows students and staff to use traditional greetings of such celebrations; and allows local education authorities to display winter celebration scenes or symbols under certain conditions,” summarizes SB1425, which will be considered before the Tennessee General Assembly in 2014.

BUMPER PATROL

“I’ll pay for your contraception when you pay for my ammo.”

— Bumper sticker spotted in Fredericksburg, Va.

THE NEXT BIG THING

Magna Carta fever: It’s already here, though the big day won’t arrive until June 15, 2015. The Library of Congress has joined forces with the American Bar Association to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the first issue of the Magna Carta; the unusual alliance is poised to create a traveling exhibit “that will journey to England and beyond.” Things are getting downright dramatic.

“In 1215, in a grassy meadow at Runnymede, the English barons prevailed upon King John to grant them a number of rights and liberties. This document, Magna Carta, or ‘Great Charter,’ one of the lasting treasures of human history, is one of the world’s most enduring symbols of the rule of law, providing the basis for the concept that no one is above the law, not even the king,” library organizers say.

There must be something in the air.

George Washington’s personal copy of the Laws of the United States, First Session 1789, also known as the “Acts of Congress,” goes on display Aug. 26 at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University.

POLL DU JOUR

18 percent of Americans would live in the 1950s if they could go back in time; 20 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

15 percent of Americans overall would chose to live in the 1960s; 16 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

13 percent overall would close to live in the 1980s; 17 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

12 percent overall would live in the 1970s; 14 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

11 percent overall would live in the 1920s; 9 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

10 percent overall would live in the 1990s; 5 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

9 percent overall would live in the 1940s; 10 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov/Economist poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 9-10.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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