Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Factcheck.org meets The Washington Post Fact Check

Factcheck.org and Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post are criticized separately below, now they meet.

FactCheck.org acknowledges that they were wrong and Hillary Clinton was right about her husband and archival records of their communications while he was President (they do claim they know that "we" must refer to the health care task force and not the health care working group so something she said was false)

They note (my emphasis)

Bruce Lindsey, who is Bill Clinton’s designated representative for dealing with the National Archives, issued a statement that said, in part, “Contrary to recent reports, Bill Clinton has not asked that records related to communications with Senator Clinton be withheld.” It also said that “Currently, none of the FOIA requests [the Archives] has processed and provided for my review involve Senator Clinton.

Ah so those 26,000 pages have nothing to do with Hillary Clinton

Now let's go back to the Washington Post Fact Checker Michael Dobbs who argues

But the Clintons are themselves taking advantage of a clause in a November 2001 Bush presidential order that permits former presidents to take all the time they need to review FOIA requests.

According to National Archives officials, 26,000 pages of Clinton presidential records are being held for release to researchers after being submitted to Clinton lawyer Bruce Lindsey for review. The records have been screened and processed by Archives officials under the Freedom of Information Act, but cannot be released to the public until Lindsey signs off on them as President Clinton's designated representative.

Lindsey did not respond to telephone calls. An associate, who asked not to be named, said Lindsey processed 4,000 out of the outstanding pages last week. The associate said Lindsey was going through the documents himself one by one at the presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas, but he is "just one person" and can not delegate the work to other people. He blamed any delays on the new bureaucratic procedures ordered by Bush under Executive Order 13233.

A Clinton campaign spokesman, Jay Carson, said the former president had "consistently been an advocate for releasing his presidential records as quickly as possible" and had opposed the Bush administration order that placed new restrictions on their release.

There is, however, nothing in Executive Order 13233 that obliges a former president, or his representative, to go through the records one by one. If former President Clinton is so opposed to the Bush administration order, he could simply instruct Lindsey to approve the documents wholesale.

So both Clintons are taking advantage of something which does not "involve" Senator Clinton according to the person who actually knows the facts. A huge discussion follows about something which is not the topic addressed by Clinton.

The relevant transcript from factceck.org

Russert: [W]ould you allow the National Archives to release the documents about your communications with the president, the advice you gave, because, as you well know, President Clinton has asked the National Archives not to do anything until 2012?
Clinton: Well, actually, Tim, the Archives is moving as rapidly as the Archives moves. There's about 20 million pieces of paper there and they are moving, and they are releasing as they do their process. And I am fully in favor of that……
Russert: But there was a letter written by President Clinton specifically asking that any communication between you and the president not be made available to the public until 2012. Would you lift that ban?
Clinton: Well, that's not my decision to make. And I don't believe that any president or first lady has. But certainly we'll move as quickly as our circumstances and the processes of the National Archives permits.

Dobbs's extract

"Well actually, Tim, the Archives is moving as rapidly as the Archives moves. There's about 20 million pieces of paper there...I think that, you know, the Archives will continue to move as rapidly as its circumstances and processes demand."

--Hillary Clinton, Democratic debate, October 30, 2007, in response to a question from Tim Russert on delays in the release of Clinton presidential papers.

The 26,000 pages have nothing to do with Hillary Clinton's communications with Bill Clinton and have nothing to do with the question Clinton answered. Dobbs didn't know this for sure, but he did know that all he had against Clinton was a fact related to Clinton administration records and not specifically her communications with Bill. He chose to suppress the fact that the question concerned exactly that in his summary of the question, thus making it appear that possibly irrelevant information (which is in fact irrelevant) proved Clinton to be dishonest.

He has proven that Dobbs is dishonest. The assumption that in 26,000 pages there must be a pony, is just reckless, the effort to make it appear that Russert's question must have been related to those 26,000 pages earns at least 3 Pinocchios.

And this is supposed to be a fact checker !

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