- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2015

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump is rebutting charges of sexism from Hillary Clinton by pointing to her husband, as Republicans try to make the former president and his past peccadilloes an issue in next year’s election.

“His presidency was really considered to be very troubled, to put it mildly, because of all of the things that’s she talking to me about,” Mr. Trump said this week on “Fox and Friends.”

Mrs. Clinton on Monday announced former President Clinton will head to New Hampshire next week to campaign for her, as she seeks to tap his residual good will among Democratic base voters.

But Mr. Trump, stung by Mrs. Clinton’s comment last week that the billionaire businessman has a “penchant for sexism,” said she’s got to be careful what charges she’s tossing around.

“If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!” Mr. Trump tweeted Monday.

Though Mr. Clinton still remains a popular figure within the Democratic Party, Mr. Trump’s campaign and other Republicans have made it clear that things like his sexual escapades in the White House, for which he was impeached but not removed from office, are fair game for the 2016 campaign.

Hillary Clinton has some nerve to talk about the war on women and the bigotry toward women when she has a serious problem in her husband,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said recently on CNN. “I can think of quite of a few women that have been bullied by Hillary Clinton to hide her husband’s misogynist, sexist secrets.”

Clinton campaign spokeswoman Christina Reynolds fired back in a statement Monday saying that Mrs. Clinton “won’t be bullied” by Mr. Trump.

“While she won’t be distracted by the slings he throws at her and former President Clinton, when his insults are directed at women, immigrants, Asian-Americans, Muslims and the disabled, to name a few — Hillary Clinton will stand up to him, as she has from the beginning of his campaign,” the statement said.

Republicans have grappled with just how much to go after the former president, who has remained an effective campaigner, including delivering a well-received speech at the 2012 Democratic convention.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, one of Mr. Trump’s 2016 primary rivals, signaled Mr. Clinton would be a target for at least some Republicans when he referred to the former president as a “sexual predator” last year.

Speaking on CNN Monday, Mr. Paul said he doesn’t think it’s Mrs. Clinton’s fault her husband had “serial infidelities.”

“I do think, though, that there is some question that has to do with the law,” he said. “The law is pretty specific on how you treat women in the workplace, and I think if you have an intern and you have a much older man who is their superior and they are having a liaison at the workplace, I think most people in any corporation in America would be fired.”

“So I think what Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky, even though it was consensual, it would have caused him to be fired from any major corporation in the country,” Mr. Paul said.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, another presidential contender, said Monday that, as a former president, Mr. Clinton is “fair game” but that such a line of attack wouldn’t necessarily be effective.

“Yes, Bill Clinton is fair game, but my point is attacking Bill Clinton won’t defeat Hillary Clinton,” Mrs. Fiorina said on “Fox and Friends.” “The only way to defeat Hillary Clinton is to attack Hillary Clinton’s track record.”

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said this week that Mr. Trump or any Republican who brings up Mr. Clinton in a negative way does so at their own peril.

“I think every poll I’ve ever seen shows that if President Clinton were a candidate tomorrow, he’d be re-elected,” Mrs. Wasserman Schultz said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He presided at that time over the longest period of prosperity, sustained up to that point, finished his term very popular and continues to be one of the most admired elected officials and former elected officials and men in the world.”

Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, said Monday that such a line of attack from Mr. Trump might be somewhat of a boon in the GOP primary contest, but that Americans in general might not want to relitigate past battles.

“This may work … with the Republican base in a primary, but if you go to the general election, people want to see more than that,” Mr. King said on MSNBC. “Yeah, Bill Clinton is popular, but again, he’s not invulnerable. But again, the side issues to me are not relevant.”

 

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