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It Was What It Was

Over at the Mother Jones blog, David Corn has a detailed recounting of the Clinton campaign's refusal to answer the simple question of whether Hillary Clinton approves or disapproves of the pardons her husband granted two Weather Underground radicals, even as she bashes Barack Obama for a 1995 fundraiser held in the home of another, William Ayers:

"I don't know what she said," [Clinton spokesman Howard] Wolfson replied. And in front of the dozens of reporters on the call, Wolfson promised he would get back to me. Once the call was done, I emailed Wolfson a reminder that he had promised he would provide an answer to that question. Within minutes, he responded, "It was a fair question and I know this issue does inspire a fair amount of passion." There was no answer in this email.

I waited patiently for a day and then shot Wolfson another note: "Any answer to my question from yesterday?" He replied, "turns out i actually answered this in '01." And he sent me an excerpt from a news story at the time of the pardons:

"She thinks that it was a pardon made by the president," said spokesman Howard Wolfson....
In an email to Wolfson, I noted that the quote he had sent did not answer the question. "The question is," I wrote, "does she believe the pardons were appropriate? And at the time, did she support or oppose them?" In return, there was silence. I waited a bit and sent another email: "Am I going to get a reply to my last note?" Nothing came.
On Monday morning, during a Clinton campaign conference call, I asked Wolfson once more if Clinton supported or opposed the pardons. He remarked that he had sent me that clip. I pointed out that it had said nothing. He then commented, "I'm not aware she had an opinion" at the time the pardons were granted. He next insisted that my question had only applied to that time frame. It certainly had not. In the first call, I had asked "whether she thought [the pardons] were appropriate" and "what she thinks of" the pardons. (Note the verb tenses.) I also had asked whether she would "do anything like that herself." But now I said I would amend the question to cover then, now, and any time in between. He replied, "I don't have any more for you than what I've given you." That is, more nothing.

(Via Andrew)

--Christopher Orr