- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 9, 2014

An increasingly aggressive Republican National Committee has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Archives and Records Administration to determine exactly who “improperly withheld” some 3,500 documents at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library for many months.

The memos and assorted records revealed that then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton played a pivotal role in policy discussions back in the day, a phenomenon of interest to her fans and critics alike as the 2016 presidential election season looms. The lawful withholding period for the documents expired in January 2013. Nothing was released for 13 months. The Grand Old Party wants to know why.

The Clinton Library now has announced yet another delay in document releases, prompting Republicans to ponder the “political pressure” that could be at work.

“The Clintons have a history of trying to keep their past secret from the American people. Americans deserve to know who was responsible for keeping on lockdown documents that should have been released over a year ago,” says RNC chairman Reince Priebus.

“Keeping these documents secret doesn’t uphold the principles of accountability or transparency. But it’s easy to see why Democrats would want them hidden. Among other things, they have revealed that even in the Clinton years, liberals knew that it was a deliberate lie to tell Americans they could keep their insurance plans and their doctors under Hillarycare/Obamacare-style laws,” he observes.

A BENGHAZI ANNIVERSARY

The terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi took place exactly 18 months ago on Tuesday — which is also the publication date for a new book parsing the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report that reviewed the events that led to the deaths of four Americans.

In “The Benghazi Report,” Roger Stone, a veteran Republican strategist, reviews the Senate report itself and ultimately concludes that then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Obama should be held “personally accountable” in the matter. The terse book from Skyhorse Publishing is 96 pages long.

“Americans need to know the truly story of the attacks in Benghazi because they show that Hillary Clinton does not have the judgment, experience or honesty to be president,” Mr. Stone tells Inside the Beltway. “This is the report Hillary Clinton doesn’t want you to read.”

But there is an account she wants everybody to read. Mrs. Clinton has a yet-to-be titled memoir of her own due from Simon & Schuster on June 1, described by the publisher as her “candid reflections about the key moments during her time as Secretary of State, as well as her thoughts about how to navigate the 21st century.”

GOOD GUY WITH A NUKE

Cavalier talk of a possible “nuclear war” between the U.S. and Russia has become fashionable in the mainstream media as the Ukraine matter continues without a neat and convenient ending. Some of that coverage adds a couple of kilotons of agenda as well.

“That very real threat of nuclear war seems a long time ago. But watching developments this week, it was hard not to think about those bad old days of the Cold War,” ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz declared in a special video segment that aired Sunday during “This Week.” She was intent on some drama while profiling Air Force officers who man intercontinental ballistic missile silos.

“Across the frozen plains of our country are scattered 450 of them — nuclear-tipped missiles that could destroy the world, still manned every hour of every day,” Ms. Raddatz said. “Each missile silo is connected, along with nine others, to a control capsule nearby, buried 60 feet underground. Behind blast doors, inside five foot thick concrete walls, launch officers have their fingers on the nuclear trigger.”

She added, “The young officers are on alert duty eight times a month, all alone, underground for 24 hours. It’s not the most exciting job in the military, even though it comes with an unbelievable responsibility. That pressure has been overwhelming for some. The nuclear force has been plagued with scandals: cheating, drugs, alcohol abuse, gambling. But the mission goes on.”

Yes, well.

Someone else had a different take on it all. Sarah Palin had a message for the White House regarding America’s stature on the planet during her speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.

“Mr. President, The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke,” she told the enthusiastic crowd, who obviously recalled National Rifle Association president Wayne La Pierre’s statement following the Newtown shootings in 2012: “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

BUSY BUSY BUSY

President Obama returned from his nice mini-vacation in Key Largo, Fla., on Sunday afternoon. Now it’s on to other things. From an official White House dispatch:

“Schedule for the week of March 10, 2014: On Monday, the President will host a reception for the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s champions. On Tuesday, the President will travel to New York, N.Y. to attend Democratic National Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee events. On Wednesday, the President will attend meetings at the White House. On Thursday and Friday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.”

Mr. Obama, incidentally, has committed to appearing at 18 upcoming fundraisers, including a repeat visit to the Sunshine State for a fundraiser at the Miami home of former basketball great Alonzo Mourning.

HEALTH OF THE WEALTH

“While Americans’ average daily self-reported spending increased in 2013, many Americans nonetheless expressed anxiety about how much money they had to spend. Less than half (45 percent) said they felt ‘pretty good’ about it,” reports Gallup analyst Andrew Dugan.

“Lower-income Americans were least likely to feel good about their amount of disposable income, but even wealthier Americans — who were more likely to feel good — were not immune to money worries,” he continues, citing findings from a tracking poll of 178,527 U.S. adults conducted throughout 2013. They appear to have money jitters.

“No amount of income appears to spare Americans from common financial worries. Four in 10 of the highest-income Americans say they are not feeling better about their financial situations, and more than a quarter of them say they would not be able to handle a major purchase or home repair,” Mr. Dugan notes.

He’s talking about households with annual incomes of more than $250,000 here.

“All in all, the economic recovery struggled on in 2013, but many Americans, regardless of income, weren’t feeling better,” Mr. Dugan adds.

POLL DU JOUR

62 percent of Americans say they support Social Security “a great deal”; 56 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

61 percent overall support Medicare a great deal; 55 percent to Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent overall support federal aid for schools a great deal; 30 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

42 percent overall support national defense a great deal; 58 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

39 percent overall support Medicaid a great deal; 21 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

36 percent overall support environmental protection a great deal; 19 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

35 percent overall support unemployment benefits a great deal; 20 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

6 percent overall support foreign aid a great deal; 3 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,266 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 12-17 and released Thursday.

Dispatches, complaints, prose to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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