REDMOND, Wash. – Former President Clinton said Friday that a letter he wrote to the National Archives was to expedite release of his papers, not slow the process or hide anything as rivals are suggesting in criticism of his wife.
Hillary Rodham Clinton was quizzed during this week's Democratic presidential debate as to why correspondence between her and her husband from their White House years remained bottled up at the National Archives. Barack Obama said that was a problem for her as a candidate after "we have just gone through one of the most secretive administrations in our history."
One issue is whether Bill Clinton had sent a letter to the Archives asking that the communications not be released until 2012 and whether Hillary Clinton would lift any ban, a question raised by debate moderator Tim Russert.
"She was incidental to the letter, it was done five years ago, it was a letter to speed up presidential releases, not to slow them down," the former president told reporters Friday. "And she didn't even, didn't know what he was talking about. And now that I've described to you what the letter said, you can readily understand why she didn't know what he was talking about."
Clinton said that under the presidential documents law, he is not required to release any material until 2012.
"Unlike previous presidents, I have already released 1 million pages of documents, about half of which affect Hillary — the records of the health care task force," Clinton said.
He spoke to reporters after delivering remarks to Microsoft Corp. employees about corporate giving in connection with his book, "Giving."