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Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday rejected charges she’s being secretive about her role as first lady in trying to overhaul the nation’s health care system.
“There’s been some misunderstanding and some misrepresentation about what the facts are,” said Clinton, the front-runner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
Reporters asked Clinton about a series of charges that have been made about her since last Tuesday’s Democratic debate. She shrugged off the attacks.
“I don’t think they piled onto me the other night because I’m a woman, I think they piled on to me because I’m winning,” said Clinton. “That’s what happens.”
The New York senator accepted the endorsement of former Vice President Walter “Fritz” Mondale, who won the party’s presidential nomination in 1984.
“Fritz and I were just talking about what it’s like to be leading and I’m very grateful to be earning the support of a lot of people around the country,” said Clinton.
Mondale recalled the attacks he took from rivals in the primary season. “People know the only chance they have is to tear you down,” he said.
Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have been accused of withholding documents from the period when, as first lady, she worked on health care reform.
“The National Archive controls and administers presidential records, that’s what they do for every president,” she said.
“My husband has not withheld a single document,” said Clinton. “We have hundreds of requests that are being dealt with and are being processed as quickly as the archives can.”
Clinton was also asked Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s declaration of a state of emergency in Pakistan this weekend. Clinton said the crisis was caused in part by a “fundamentally incoherent” U.S. policy.
The Bush administration, she said, has “diverted resources, time and attention away from Afghanistan and the volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan border. They have sent mixed messages over several years now.”
Republicans quickly seized on Mondale’s support of Clinton, coupling it with an earlier endorsement from 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern. Calling the former candidates “landslide losers,” the Republican National Committee pointed out that Mondale won only 13 electoral votes in 1984, while McGovern scored just 17 in 1972.
“Hillary Clinton’s endorsement from yet another failed Democratic presidential candidate underscores concerns the American people have with her candidacy,” said RNC spokesman Danny Diaz.