Hillary Clinton campaign issues online rebuttal of Clinton Cash criticisms


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Hillary Clinton campaign issues online rebuttal of Clinton Cash criticisms” was written by Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 6th May 2015 16.22 UTC

Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign team have launched a digital drive to rebut the new book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer and to discredit its author.

To coincide with the book’s release on Tuesday, the former secretary of state’s team launched a new section on the Clinton campaign website called “The Briefing”, which the campaign chairman, John Podesta, introduced as a “one-stop shop to provide the facts about Hillary Clinton’s positions and her record”.

In a post on Medium, Podesta said the campaign would use new media tools such as Twitter, Vine, YouTube and Facebook to challenge attacks on Clinton’s record and share with the public the Clinton Foundation’s work in its own words. Brian Fallon, the Clinton campaign’s spokesman, also appears in a nearly three-minute YouTube video questioning Schweizer’s credibility, pointing out that he was an adviser to former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and is a friend of the billionaire Koch brothers.

The campaign website’s “The Briefing” section similarly fact-checks Clinton Cash, citing reports that dispute some of its most contentious claims, such as allegations that a Clinton Foundation donor benefited from the sale of a uranium company and that former president Bill Clinton was paid for speeches by a contractor seeking Haiti relief contracts.

The manner in which Clinton’s campaign has gone after Schweizer and his book reflects a targeted effort by Clinton’s team to reach voters directly rather than by trying to push their message through media outlets and hoping readers take note.

The book has already been seized on by some Republican presidential candidates, who have sought to portray Clinton as plagued by conflicts of interest through her nonprofit while serving as secretary of state. Thus far, no evidence has shown that Clinton granted favors for governments that donated to the foundation, which fights obesity around the world, combats climate change, and helps people with HIV/Aids obtain antiretroviral drugs at affordable prices.

Bill Clinton defended the group’s work on Wednesday in his first comments on the issue, telling CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the charges “won’t fly”.

“We had a policy when she was secretary of state that we would only continue accepting money from people that were already giving us money, and I’ve tried to recreate that policy as nearly as I can now during the campaign with minor exceptions for the healthcare work,” the former president said, adding that people understand that a large percentage of global health and development work is funded by governments and multinational organizations.

“They fund us because they think we are good at solving problems and taking advantage of opportunities, but we also have 300,000 other donors and 90% of them give 0 or less,” Bill Clinton said. “So there’s just no evidence – even the guy that wrote the book, apparently, had to admit under questioning that he didn’t have a shred of evidence and he thought he would just throw it out there and see if it’d fly. And it won’t fly. It won’t fly.”

Hillary Clinton has largely kept quiet about the allegations, dismissing them as a distraction and choosing instead to focus on her low-key tour of early voting states. The strategy appears to be paying dividends, as polls continue to show that Americans believe Clinton would be a strong leader.

A New York Times/CBS poll released on Wednesday found that although Americans are split in their views of Clinton, her favorability has sharply risen after taking a hit in March when it was discovered that she used a private email server as secretary of state. A separate NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, also from this week, found that Clinton’s disapproval rating had gone up since March, but even so she continues to lead her Republican opponents in hypothetical match-ups.

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