Hillary Clinton has (correctly) excoriated the Bush administration for its excessive secrecy. I've pointed out (as have others), however, that her own record and that of her husband don't exactly scream transparency and open government.
Neither does this:
Smith was hoping to inspect records that could shed light on what role the First Lady played in her husband's administration. But Smith quickly discovered the frustrations of dealing with a library critics call "Little Rock's Fort Knox."
Could she look at memos detailing the advice Hillary gave Bill during debates over welfare reform? Smith asked. No, the archivist said, those memos were "closed" to the public because they dealt with "policy" matters. What about any records that show what advice Bill gave his wife about her 2000 U.S. Senate campaign? Those, too, were closed, the archivist said, because they dealt with "political" matters. "He essentially told me I had no chance of getting anything," says Smith, whose book, "For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton, the White House Years," hits the bookstores this week.
The lack of access is emerging as an issue in Hillary's presidential campaign: she cites her years of experience as First Lady as one of her prime qualifications to be president. Like other Democratic candidates, she has decried the "stunning record of secrecy" of the Bush administration; her campaign Web site vows to bring a "return to transparency" to government. But Clinton's appointment calendar as First Lady, her notes at strategy meetings, what advice she gave her husband and his advisers, what policy memos she wrote, even some key papers from her health-care task force—all of this, and much more documenting her years as First Lady, remains locked away, most likely through the entire campaign season.