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Clinton quiet on her radical ties

Clinton Quiet About Own Radical Ties

Faulting of Obama Called Hypocritical

Candidates Campaign in Oregon and Kentucky

The battle for the Democratic party’s presidential nominee remains fierce as the Oregon and Kentucky primaries approach.

By James V. GrimaldiWashington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 19, 2008; Page A04 When Hillary Rodham Clinton questioned rival Barack Obama‘s ties to 1960s radicals, her comments baffled two retired Bay Area lawyers who knew Clinton in the summer of 1971 when she worked as an intern at a left-wing law firm in Oakland, Calif., that defended communists and Black Panthers.

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  • Clinton-Obama Grudges Linger For Some “She’s a hypocrite,” Doris B. Walker, 89, who was a member of the American Communist Party, said in an interview last week. “She had to know who we were and what kinds of cases we were handling. We had a very left-wing reputation, including civil rights, constitutional law, racist problems.”

Malcolm Burnstein, 74, a partner at the firm who worked closely with Clinton during her internship, said he was traveling in Pennsylvania in April when Clinton attacked Obama for his past interactions with William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, members of Students for a Democratic Society who went on to found the bomb-making Weather Underground.

“Given her background, it was quite hypocritical,” Burnstein said. “I almost called the Philadelphia Inquirer. I saw what she and her campaign were saying about Ayers and I thought, ‘Well, if you’re going to talk about that totally bit of irrelevant nonsense, I’ll talk about your career with us.’ ”

In her campaign for the Democratic Party‘s presidential nomination, Clinton has said little about her experiences in the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s, including her involvement with student protests and her brief internship at the law firm, Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein. She has said she worked on a child custody case, although former partners recall her likely involvement in conscientious objector cases and a legal challenge to a university loyalty oath.

But her decision to target Obama’s radical connections has spurred criticism from some former protest movement leaders who say she has opened her own associations to scrutiny.

“The very things she’s accusing Barack of could be said of her with much greater evidence,” said Tom Hayden, a leading anti-Vietnam War activist, author and self-described friend of the Clintons.  Robert Reich, who went to Yale Law School with Hillary Rodham and Bill Clinton and later served in the Clinton administration, called Hillary Clinton’s attack on Obama “absurd,” adding: “That carries guilt by association to a new level of absurdity. Where does guilt by association stop? I mean, she was a partner of Jim McDougal in the 1980s, for crying out loud.” Reich is now an Obama supporter.

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