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A fact check on Clinton's foreign policy claims

  • Story Highlights
  • Sen. Clinton highlights her foreign policy credentials in primary race
  • Sen. Obama says the media needs to hold her accountable on experience
  • CNN found some statements need clarity, others check out well
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From Brian Todd
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton, fresh off crucial wins in Tuesday's primaries, has been playing the experience card heavily, particularly in regard to her role in foreign policy.

Clinton said it's her 35 years of experience that make her the best candidate to take on presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain in November.

After losing primaries in Ohio and Texas, Sen. Barack Obama argued the media has not held Clinton's feet to the fire on foreign policy.

"Was she negotiating treaties or agreements, or was she handling crises during this period of time? My sense is the answer is no," Obama said Wednesday.

So how do Clinton's claims stack up?

In some cases, CNN found a lack of clarity on her real involvement in foreign policy affairs. But in other cases, her claims do seem to check out fairly well.

Northern Ireland

"I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland," Clinton said on CNN's American Morning on Wednesday. Video Watch more of Clinton's comments on the race »

A Washington Post blogger accused Clinton in January of exaggerating her involvement in Northern Ireland.

But former Democratic Senate majority leader George Mitchell, who was a U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, told CNN that while Clinton was not directly involved in negotiations, she did play a helpful role in bringing in women's groups that made a difference.

Mitchell is a Democratic superdelegate and has not publicly endorsed Clinton or Obama.

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, was also involved in the process. He recalls one late-night meeting with former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Clinton and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

"There was a discussion of how the IRA would decommission its weapons. And I know that Sen. Clinton was part of that meeting," King said.


"I negotiated open borders to let fleeing refugees into safety from Kosovo," she said on CNN's American Morning.

In May of 1999, she was in Macedonia visiting refugee camps near the Kosovo border and meeting with Macedonia's president and prime minister.

Sources with knowledge of her visit say she discussed the refugees' plight with those leaders. It's not clear how much she helped since CNN reported at the time that Macedonia reopened its border to Kosovar refugees before Clinton's visit.


"I've been standing up against, you know, the Chinese government over women's rights and standing up for human rights in many different places," she said on CNN's American Morning.

During a 1995 visit to Beijing, at a time when her husband's administration was trying to press China on human rights, Sen. Clinton made a speech condemning abuses.


"No one should be forced to remain silent for fear of religious or political persecution, arrest, abuse or torture," she said.

But a former National Security Council official in the Clinton administration says Clinton didn't attend NSC meetings. So while her experience is extensive, she rarely carried an official portfolio. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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