Clinton camp questions Obama’s transparency

Top aides for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) attacked Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Saturday in response to a new report that Obama has received $250,000 in campaign contributions from indicted fundraiser Tony Rezko since 1996.

Clinton strategist Mark Penn called on the Obama campaign to fully disclose any involvement between the Illinois Senator and Rezko following the story published in the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We tend to learn more in dribs and drabs,” Penn told reporters in a conference call, adding that the rate at which information is coming out is in “direct conflict” with the kind of “transparent candidate Obama claims to be.”

When asked why the Clinton campaign is pushing the Rezko story so hard given the controversial business relationships the Clinton’s have had, Penn cited the numerous books written on the New York senator and said “her life is an open book.”

Deputy communications director Phil Singer echoed Penn’s claims.

“Sen. Obama has not always been as straightforward as he would like the public to think he has been,” Singer said. “Obama needs to answer some basic questions including why does his story keep changing.”

Reporters jumped on the call for transparency, pointing out that the Clinton campaign has yet to release some post-White House tax returns. Addressing the returns Singer reiterated that the campaign will release the documents “on or around April 15.”

Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor called the Clinton campaign demanding the release of documents “the height of hypocrisy.”

Democrats across the country should be very concerned about Senator Clinton’s refusal to offer a full and complete accounting of what could be lurking in this financial information and what that would mean for our party when we run against Senator McCain in November,” Vietor said.

Reps. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) joined communications director Howard Wolfson on a second conference call answering charges from the Obama campaign about Clinton’s actual experience in foreign policy.

Earlier this week, the Obama campaign circulated a memo by former State Department director of policy planning Greg Craig, which said the former first lady “exaggerated” her role in foreign policy.

“There is no doubt that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Third vaccine candidate with 90% efficacy Biden won — so why did Trump's popularity hit its highest point ever? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks MORE played an important domestic policy role,” Craig wrote. “There is no reason to believe, however, that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration.”

The Clinton campaign took particular exception to a portion of the memo recalling her involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process.

“It is a gross overstatement of the facts for her to claim even partial credit for bringing peace to Northern Ireland,” Criag claimed in the memo. “At no time did she play any role in the critical negotiations that ultimately produced the peace.”

McCarthy said she was “incensed” by the claim that Hillary Clinton was not involved in the peace process as first lady, highlighting her work with Irish women’s groups and other behind the scenes work.

Crowley said, “this was an overreach on the part of the Obama campaign to question her credentials on foreign affairs,” claiming that after each Obama attack, “she is actually gaining votes in places like Pennsylvania.” 

“What was [Obama] doing to bring peace to Northern Ireland?” Crowley asked.