April 17th, 2008
02:06 PM ET

So Where Are Barack's Prior Tax Returns...double standard?

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Lanny J. Davis
Editor’s Note: Lanny J. Davis, a Washington attorney, is a supporter of and fundraiser for Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. From 1996 to 1998, he served as Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton. He is the author of “Scandal: How ‘Gotcha’ Politics is Destroying America.”

So after all the huffing and puffing about President and Senator Clinton releasing their 2000-2007 tax returns, she did — meaning all returns for the last 30 years have now been released.  And what happened?  A lot more huffing and puffing about the nine-figure income President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton made in the last eight years, most of it from their books.  And lots of “questions raised” — innuendo there — but no sign of hard evidence of anything wrong or bad.  Surprise.

And then the big omission from every story written or commented on by anti-Clinton journalists and pundits:  The undisputed fact that when President Clinton left office in 2000, after more than 20 years in public office starting with his service as Arkansas Attorney General in 1978, he left the White House with virtually no money in the bank and owing millions of dollars of legal fees. A negative net worth.  Unusual for a politician? Shows he didn’t exploit public office for private gain after all those years?   Funny how so few reporters reported that.  Wonder why.  Sign of bias? Shocking suggestion.

But remember all those headlines and words written about the Clintons’ penchant for “secrecy,” and “non-transparency,” and all the charges made by the Obama campaign on conference calls and by their surrogates on TV (including Jamal Simmons on CNN many times) challenging the Clintons to release their tax returns?

So now…when Senator Obama (so far) has been reported to have "declined to release his 1998-99 tax returns" (or, for that matter, the years before):

Message to the Great Media Machine out there — Hello? Are you there?  Why not ask Senator Obama why he is “declining” (at last as of now) to release his tax returns prior to 2000? Why? Possibly a double standard here?  Possibly?

Message to the Obama Conference Callers and the Obama Talking Points Surrogates — Hello? Are you there?  After demanding “transparency” from the Clintons, any conference calls planned to explain why there is — at least as of now — non-transparency by Senator Obama?  Possibly a double standard here?  Possibly?

Anyone out there who wants to answer these questions honestly — without applying a double standard?

I am patient.  I can wait for answers from Chris Matthews and others who don’t mind beating up on the Clintons, but somehow apply different standards when it comes to Senator Obama.

Filed under: Raw Politics
April 17th, 2008
01:56 PM ET

Aga Khan – My Grandma’s Dream

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Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva
CNN International Assignment Editor

(Dedicated To All Grandmas in Pamir, Tajikistan)

Editor's Note: Pope Benedict XVI is not the only religious leader visiting America. Also touring the country, the Aga Khan. To about 20-million people around the world who practice the Ismaili branch of Islam, he is their imam, or spiritual guide. He has a worldly mission, as well, overseeing a large, nondenominational foundation dedicated to easing global poverty.

The Aga Khan's tour of Ismaili communities in the United States and around the world has unleashed an outpouring of affection among Ismaili Muslims. In the case of CNN journalist Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva, his visit also brings back memories of his impact on her small town, in the Tajik province of Pamir, in a poor corner of the former Soviet Union.

Zarifmo begins her story by saying:

If only my Grandmother could hear this.

When I was growing up, my grandma and her friends in my tiny Boziqala, and villages nearby, knew little about the world. They didn’t have much education and never traveled beyond their province, Pamir.

Their children and grandchildren, though, were well educated. It made them proud, but the pain of longing for their faraway imam never left their hearts. My grandma said, before the Soviet Union, it was easier to get messages from the imam, but now we are disconnected. She used to blame the government, sometimes. But most of the time she blamed people for not remembering God...

Filed under: Aga Khan
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