Margaret Carlson falsely claimed, "Everyone responsible for bringing peace to Northern Ireland is on the record saying [Clinton's] claim to involvement there is complete fiction"

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

Margaret Carlson falsely claimed of Sen. Hillary Clinton, "Everyone responsible for bringing peace to Northern Ireland is on the record saying her claim to involvement there is complete fiction." In fact, several figures involved in "bringing peace to Northern Ireland" -- including former Sen. George Mitchell, U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland and former Social Democratic and Labour Party leader John Hume -- have reportedly stated that Clinton played a role in the peace process.

In her March 13 Bloomberg News column, Margaret Carlson falsely claimed of Sen. Hillary Clinton, "Everyone responsible for bringing peace to Northern Ireland is on the record saying her claim to involvement there is complete fiction. But question that, or her '35 years of experience' and you'll be accused of sexism." In fact, former Sen. George Mitchell (D-ME), who served as a U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland and chaired the talks leading up to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, said in a March 10 interview with CBS' Katie Couric that he thought the statements Clinton made regarding her role in the peace process "are generally accurate to the extent that they have been relayed to me." Mitchell, who has not endorsed a candidate for president, also said: "She was helpful and supportive, very much involved in the issues, knew all of the delegates."

From Couric's March 10 interview of Mitchell:

COURIC: There has been a lot of controversy about Hillary Clinton's foreign policy credentials, and some of the claims she's made. She's talked about being active in the Good Friday Agreement, the agreement in Northern Ireland which you, of course, spearheaded. Can you describe her role in that process?

MITCHELL: She was helpful and supportive, very much involved in the issues, knew all of the delegates. She accompanied President Clinton on each visit he made to Northern Ireland, made several visits of her own. Her greatest focus was on encouraging women in Northern Ireland to get into and stay in the political process and the peace process. And I have said publicly many times and wrote in my book, the role of women in the peace process in Northern Ireland was significant. It did have a -- make a difference in the process, so as I said I think it was a helpful and supportive role.

COURIC: Her claims to be involve, then, you believe are not exaggerated?

MITCHELL: Well, I haven't seen the exact words that she has used to describe it. I've gotten a lot of calls from reporters who've told me what she said, but I think her statements are generally accurate to the extent that they've been relayed to me.

Additionally, the March 12 edition (subscription required) of The Irish Times reported that Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said, "Senator Clinton played an important role in the peace process," and former Social Democratic and Labour Party leader John Hume said, "I can state from first-hand experience that she played a positive role for over a decade in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland." From The Irish Times report, accessed via the Nexis database:

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams told The Irish Times that, although he admires all three remaining US presidential candidates and is not endorsing any of them, Mrs. Clinton is justified in claiming a role in the peace process. "David Trimble is reported as saying Senator Hillary Clinton played no part in the Irish peace process. That is not true. Senator Clinton played an important role in the peace process," he said. "I met the senator on many occasions when she was First Lady, and subsequently when she became a senator for New York State. I always found her to be extremely well informed on the issues."

Former SDLP leader John Hume has also come to Mrs. Clinton's defense, expressing surprise that anyone should doubt the importance of her contribution.

"I can state from first-hand experience that she played a positive role for over a decade in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland," he said in a statement posted on Mrs. Clinton's website.

"There is no doubt that the people of Northern Ireland think very positively of Hillary Clinton's support for our peace process, due to her visits to Northern Ireland and her meetings with so many people. In private she made countless calls and contacts, speaking to leaders and opinion makers on all sides, urging them to keep moving forward."

From Carlson's March 13 column:

Hillary's Fiction

Everyone responsible for bringing peace to Northern Ireland is on the record saying her claim to involvement there is complete fiction. But question that, or her "35 years of experience,'' and you'll be accused of sexism.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
Bloomberg
Person
Margaret Carlson
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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