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Words from Winterbilt

The candidates - perceptions and choice

Shannon Bohrer

(11/3) Much of the news coverage about the presidential election has been about the dislike of both candidates. There has been coverage of what the candidates have proposed, but, most of the news is about weird things that Donald says and the cloud that follows Hillary. According to the news, Hillary Clinton has a perception and trust problem which is directly related to her likeability.

I think Hillary’s issue of likeability goes back for some time. If you are in public service for over 30 years, you are bound to have some history. Some trust issues started with the Whitewater investigation - that according to many still clouds Hillary’s image. The investigation was started after a news article in the New York Times, reporting on the Clinton’s real-estate investments. They were from the 1970’s and 1980’s and the article was published during the presidential campaign in 1992. Initially a special prosecutor, Robert Fisk, was appointed to investigate the matter, but he was replaced by Kenneth Starr in 1994.

In 1996, Hillary Clinton testified before a grand jury concerning her investments in Whitewater. She was and has been the only first lady ever summons to testify to a grand jury. The grand jury did produce indictments and trials that resulted in convictions, but the Clintons were not among the indictments. What the investigation did reveal was that the Clinton’s lost money with their investment in Whitewater and President Bill Clinton had committed adultery. The special prosecutor examined everything for over five years and found nothing on Hillary and found an adultery case against her husband. It really doesn’t sound like much of a scandal.

While Hillary was not charged with anything, her husband; President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representative in December 1998. He had lied about his adultery. He was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999. However, being acquitted did not mean that the Clintons were off the hook. We also had "Travel gate", "File gate" and "Vince Foster’s death." The "gates" and "Forster’s death" were all side issues investigated by Kenneth Starr and the grand jury, but again nothing was found. In fact Kenneth Starr withheld the lack of evidence in these matters during the 1998 congressional elections and he was criticized for doing so. It was believed that the investigations were politically motivated. While nothing was found, the cloud of uncertainty remained. Sound familiar?

When Hillary Clinton was a Senator from New York, she had positive likeability numbers, over 67 percent at one time. In 2008 when she ran for President, she also had positive numbers. As Secretary of State her numbers were also positive but during that time they stated to turn. It is my belief her numbers turned for several reasons. One was that she was working for the first black person in the White House. The second being that Congressional leaders made it clear that their priority during President Obama’s first term, was to see he did not have a second term. And third, after his reelection the same leaders made it clear their priority was to see him fail. Hillary was viewed in ways very similar to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie was vilified by the GOP leaders just for shaking President Obama’s hand, so I can only assume that it must be bad luck to shake the president’s hand.

After Hillary’s position as Secretary of State, it was widely expected that she would run for president. To deal with that possible threat the opposition created the Benghazi investigation committee. A few facts about the committee:

• The estimated cost of the investigation to the taxpayers is over 23 million.

• The State Department reported that it has spent over 14 million responding to the EIGHT congressional investigations of Benghazi. This include turning over tens of thousands of pages, interviews, witnesses and briefings.

In late 2015, republican and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarty said, "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she is un-trustable. But no one would have known any of that happened, had we not fought." After this admission there was a scramble to downplay the Majority Leader’s words. However three additional republicans admitted to the committee’s goals of "clouding" Hillary’s image. Republican congressman, Rep. Richard Hanna said the committee was "designed to go after" Hillary.

The House Intelligence Committee, which is Republican controlled, said that the CIA and the U.S. Military responded appropriately in the 2012 attack at Benghazi. They also said there was no wrongdoing by the Obama administration appointees. The investigation showed that no Military was close enough to send and the CIA was not sending arms from Libya to Syria. They did find that the Intelligence analysts made the wrong calls, but not the political appointees.

There was also the Accountably Review Board investigation by the State Department. That investigation held over 30 hearings with over 50 senior level staff and disclosed over 100,000 pages of documents. According to this report, Hillary did nothing wrong.

Of course, during the committee investigation it was learned that Hillary had a private email server and we all know how that turned out. Hillary was accused of hiding something because 30,000 private emails were erased. The fact is that a contractor that managed the server deleted the emails.

When the FBI did their investigation they said they found 15,000 missing emails that Hillary did not turn over. And, possibly 30 of those were related to Benghazi. What did not make headlines, but it was reported, was that the State Department came back and said only 3 of the emails were new, all of the others were duplicates. 15,000 duplicates - and this was the FBI. It was also reported that altogether there were hundreds of lawyers working on the emails, which include emails from the State Department, other federal agencies and her home server. While sorting them for request and summonses, I guess they missed a few.

I don’t think there are too many people that could withstand the numerous investigations without bringing something to light, but she has. As a committee members said, the investigation was "designed to go after" Hillary Clinton and it worked, they did a good job. How do we know, because she is stuck with Benghazi – even after being cleared by three different investigations? People still bring up white water, as if she was charged and found guilty.

Hillary Clinton has served in the public forum for over 30 years and through all of those investigations they found she sent some emails and she still has that perception and trust problem. But, if you don’t like her, then vote for Trump, he has no cloud around him. Well, there are the six bankruptcies, the hundreds of civil suits and the fact that, says he was the most untruthful candidate in the election. There is also the issue of his charity scam, but I am sure that will be cleared up with the release of his tax returns. And to be safe I should include anything he says or does until Election Day. He has no cloud, it’s more like mud.

Read other articles by Shannon Bohrer