- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2001

It wasn't supposed to be this way, not the shiny, new political career of U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat. No, it was supposed to be the "modern fairy tale" NBC's Andrea Mitchell dubbed it back when Mrs. Clinton was a mere senator-elect with just a measly $8 million book advance from a corporate conglomerate (with a slew of issues before the Senate) to explain away. That was in the good old days, before Giftgate had reared its ugly Limoges platter not to mention the great White House Furniture Heist and Pardongate had made the buxom Denise Rich the figurehead on the (thankfully) receding Clinton ship of state.
While waving goodbye from the dry land of Capitol Hill, Mrs. Clinton has insisted she be judged "not by the past administration, but by what I do in the Senate." Okay, folks. Now she's done something in the Senate, something fit for the front page, by holding one of those fascinating exercises in amnesia of hers, also known as a press conference. It just goes to show that you can take the Clinton out of the past administration, but you can't take the past administration out of the Clinton.
What Mrs. Clinton did, of course, was speak out or, rather, speak on the subject of the more sordid among Bill Clinton's pardons. Thanks to the folks at, yes, the National Enquirer, these are now known to include a pair of seamy pardons which implicate Mrs. Clinton's brother Hugh Rodham in the Clinton pay-per-pardon scheme that, looking on the bright side, has finally provided the 42nd president with his long-sought legacy. Mr. Rodham, to the utter, total and complete shock and consternation of his loved ones (and loved-ones-in-law), pocketed a hefty $400,000, including what was described as a $200,000 "success fee," to ensure that a pair of reprobates, convicted cocaine dealer Carlos Vignali and convicted scam artist Almon Glenn Braswell, got their presidentially guaranteed pardons from Bill Clinton on his (thankfully) last day in office.
In the understatement of her new career to date, Mrs. Clinton added, "It is certainly not how I would've preferred to or planned to start my Senate career." She could say that again. A recent Zogby poll shows that 58 percent of New Yorkers don't believe Mrs. Clinton is telling the truth about what she didn't know or when she didn't know it. Her protestations of pure innocence or, rather, ignorance don't fool the kind of people who would never buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
A few weeks ago, Mrs. Clinton told the New York Daily News, "I don't think it ever is useful to, you know, sort of look back and say, 'What if?' " Federal prosecutors clearly disagree. Last Friday, the Associated Press reported that U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White had expanded her probe into the pardon of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich to investigate whether Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of four convicted swindlers in exchange for a solid bloc of votes Mrs. Clinton received from the Hasidic community of New Square, New York. "I did not play any role whatsoever," Mrs. Clinton said last month. "I had no opinion about it." Maybe she should get one and soon.

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