November 23, 2007

Clinton Wins Support From Another Ethics-Challenged Administration

This story challenges the boundaries of satire. Hillary Clinton captured the vital corrupt-foreign-leader constituency with Bernadette Chirac's endorsement yesterday. The wife of the French ex-president said that she thought Hillary had the makings of a president, although her personal experience at that may not play too well on the campaign trail (via Memeorandum):

U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won surprise backing from the wife of former French President Jacques Chirac on Thursday, together with a pledge to join her on the campaign trail.

The Chiracs' political affiliations are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Clintons', but the former French first lady said she had always thought Democratic candidate Clinton had the makings of a U.S. president.

"She's a woman who is not liked by everybody. But she's strong and she has convictions," Bernadette Chirac, well-known for a forceful character of her own, told the weekly Le Figaro magazine.

Mme. Chirac even offered to appear on Hillary's behalf at the Democratic National Convention in Denver next year. She wants to hit the campaign trail with Hillary, and told Le Figaro that she will call the frontrunner for the nomination to suggest it. Mme. Chirac should not expect that call to get answered any time soon.

Why wouldn't Hillary want to get linked to Jacques Chirac? After all, he epitomized European resistance to the Bush administration, didn't he? He did a lot more than that, however. He also epitomized French undermining of sanctions against Iraq. Chirac's administration not only demanded an end to sanctions, they actively undermined them for years, stuffing billions of dollars into the pocket of Saddam Hussein and selling him dual-use technology forbidden by the UN. Rather than have that exposed, Chirac sided with Russia (who had committed the same kinds of acts) and Saddam.

Nor is that the only example of Chirac's corruption. A French judge took the unprecedented step Tuesday of opening a formal investigation of Chirac for embezzlement of public funds -- a first for the French. These charges have floated for years after Chirac's term as mayor of Paris, but he had immunity from prosecution as long as he remained President. A fake-jobs scam enabled Chirac to redirect money to his political party in a scheme reminiscent of the Canadian Adscam scandal. Prosecutors think that the equivalent of millions of euros disappeared over the years from Paris into the RPR, all managed by Chirac.

With Hillary in the middle of the Norman Hsu investigation, the Fujian money controversy, and an SEC investigation into her husband's employer InfoUSA, the last endorsement she needs is from the wife of a corrupt French politician. The Republicans can't wait to see Bernadette and Hillary on the same stage together. The ads will write themselves.

UPDATE: Fausta reviews more of Jacques Chirac's track record on ethics in government, while Curt at Flopping Aces wonders why criminals keep getting attracted to Hillary Clinton.


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