Bill and Hillary Clinton have a long list of shady associates: Frank Giustra, Denis O'Brien, Sidney Blumenthal, Norman Hsu, Hassan Nemazee, Jon Corzine, Jeffrey Epstein, Ron Burkle, Marc Rich, Webb Hubbell, Sant Chatwal, Sheldon Silver, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, David Brock, and the Qatari government, to name a few.
These days, the Clintons don't think shady associations should have any bearing on a candidates qualifications for office. When we learned, for example, that shady Clinton associate Sidney Blumenthal was running a private intelligence operation in Libya—while employed by the Clinton Foundation—and sending memos to Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State, Hillary insisted that she didn't see anything wrong with keeping in touch with an "old friend." Whenever the Clinton Foundation is tied to questionable figures, we are reminded that the foundation does a lot of great work in places like Haiti, where it recently helped finance the construction of a luxury hotel.
It wasn't long ago that Hillary Clinton was attacking Barack Obama for associating with certain unsavory individuals, such as the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who, as Hillary alleged during a 2008 debate, had ties to Louis Farrakhan and the terrorist group Hamas.
Here's what Clinton had to say on the subject of Reverend Wright during an April 2008 Democratic primary debate sponsored by ABC News, less than two months before she conceded the nomination. It's worth noting that the debate moderator gave her the opportunity to skip to the next question, but Hillary felt compelled to weigh in further (emphasis added):
CHARLES GIBSON (ABC ANCHOR): I'm getting a little out of balance here. Do you want to take a few seconds or do you want to go to the next question?
HILLARY CLINTON: I think in addition to the questions about Reverend Wright and what he said and when he said it, and for whatever reason he might have said these things, there were so many different variations on the explanations that we heard.
And it is something that I think deserves further exploration because clearly, what we've got to figure out is how we're going to bring people together in a way that overcomes the anger, overcomes the divisiveness and whatever bitterness there may be out there. You know?
It is clear that, as leaders, we have a choice who we associate with and who we apparently give some kind of seal of approval to. And I think that it wasn't only the specific remarks but some of the relationships with Reverend Farrakhan, with giving the church bulletin over to the leader of Hamas, to put a message in.
You know, these are problems. And they raise questions in people's minds. And, so, this is a legitimate area, as everything is, when we run for office, for people to be exploring and trying to find answers.
It's pretty amazing to look back on these remarks, especially given the prevailing narrative regarding the Reverend Wright attacks—a vast, right-wing conspiracy, if you will—and the Clintons' prevailing tendency to shrug off questions about their uniquely insidious circle of friends.
The video from that debate is painful to watch, if only because it shows a person who, on the brink of defeat, is so desperate to be president that she'll say anything to achieve that goal.