Hillary Clinton declares war on paperwork

April 25, 2008

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Say goodbye to the FAFSA form if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Reducing student loan paperwork may not qualify as a marquee issue like ending the Iraq war and establishing a universal health-care system. But it’s one way Clinton can portray herself as a detail-oriented policy wonk who will make voters’ lives easier.

While her rival Barack Obama delivers a broad message of hope and change, Clinton’s speeches are so laden with specifics you can almost see the bullet points.

For voters who deal with the federal bureaucracy on a regular basis, that can be an appealing proposition.

“The day I retired from the military, I became a third-class citizen,” one man told her during a question-and-answer session here. “I just wanted to thank you for what you’re doing for the veterans.”

Fayetteville is located next to the U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg, and Clinton spent much of her time discussing the difficulties faced by veterans. Surrounded by several retired military officials, Clinton promised to bolster a broad range of veterans programs from health care and tuition assistance to home loans.

She was cheered when she mentioned the shortcomings of Tricare, the military health plan.

And she promised to mothball FASFA, short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a form evidently much hated by the students forced to fill it out.

Clinton’s willingness to talk specifics was an important asset for Keith Zeigler, a Navy veteran who said Obama’s affluent, youthful supporters don’t have to worry about navigating the United States’ paltry safety net.

“They go to college to party. They have the money to pay their way out of trouble,” said Zeigler, who said he couldn’t afford to go to college and now drives a truck.

“They’re not educated in the ways of the real world,” he said.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

As one of your contributors said, they are all politians and will say what it takes to achieve power. A big factor should be, what have they contributed in the past?, as an indicator of what they might do in the future. From what I have read and can see one of the candidates has worked for more than 40 years for those who need help and as such may, if the winner of this race, do much, much more of the same.

Posted by A Pierce | Report as abusive

Hey Michelle, who read it on Obama’s website..he has copied everything shes got. He waits, every speech for her to go first, copies all good points she got, repeats them in his. During debates she always is asked to answer first. He repeats what she says. Re watch them you will see. THe one time he was asked to go first he said, no I would gladly let Hillary answer first. In the last State of the Union address, he watched her out of the corner of his eye. If she stood, he stood, if she didn’t he didn’t. Re watch it for yourself. For a guy whose platform is change, and seems to say he is the one to provide it, he certainly really cares about every step she takes.

Posted by Kris | Report as abusive

“I agree that Barack Obama should be in the white house, but as an intern. He has taken punches from everyone and never punch back. America needs a fighter.”

If by fighter you mean someone who will, when insulted, resort to simply insulting (which is different than defending) back, you’re suggesting we elect a very immature person who can only win by trying to make other people look worse than they are, not because they’re actually good. Unfortunately, people always remember the negative more than the positive so bringing to light a few small negatives has more impact than a few large positives. You may doubt this but ask yourself, what do you remember most about Obama (especially if you’re for Hilary), his main ideologies and proposals or smaller distractions such as lapel pins, “bitter words” and his pastor. Hilary has resorted to using this psychological phenomenon in order to win. It is true that this is how most politicians have succeeded. If you like this fact and all the politicians in office who got there this way, vote for Hilary. If not, don’t vote for her or anyone else who resorts to trying and show the worst in other people instead of the best in themselves.

As a last note, it is my belief that no one can intelligently state their belief that one candidate is better than another unless they can state why one’s POLICIES and PROPOSALS are better than the other’s. This is almost completely independent of the distractions which are the main focus in the media and attacks between candidates. If you really want to know important information about these (or any) candidates you have to do the work on your own by researching what each offers through media they put out about themselves, not by watching TV, reading the Newspaper, or even listening to the candidates talk about each other.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Gee the students have s-o-o-o-o much paperwork to fill out. This is an issue for the President of this counrty??
If a student is bothered by the papaerwork I wonder what they will feel like when those mid-term papers are to be completed?

Posted by SJ | Report as abusive

In most issues, probably all of them, Senator Hillary Clinton provides an answer to HOW she will deal with the issue, the problem, and HOW SHE WILL HAVE IT PAID FOR as well. She provides SOLUTIONS. At last here is a politician who is gifted with common sense and an extremely high intellect as well as the ability to see through others’ eyes and feel their concerns, to believe them and then do something about them.

Posted by Judy Loverde | Report as abusive


It’s time for everyone to face the truth. Barack Obama has no real chance of winning the national election in November at this time. His crushing defeat in Pennsylvania makes that fact crystal clear. His best, and only real chance of winning in November is on a ticket with Hillary Clinton as her VP.

Hillary Clinton seemed almost somber at her victory speech. As if part of her was hoping Obama could have defeated her. And proved he had some chance of winning against the republican attack machine, and their unlimited money, and resources. In all honesty. I felt some of that too.

But it is absolutely essential that the democrats take back the Whitehouse in November. America, and the American people are in a very desperate condition now. And the whole World has been doing all that they can to help keep us propped up.

Hillary Clinton say’s that the heat, and decisions in the Whitehouse are much tougher than the ones on the campaign trail. But I think Mr. Obama faces a test of whether he has what it takes to be a commander and chief by facing the difficult facts, and the truth before him. And by doing what is best for the American people by dropping out of the race, and offering his whole hearted assistance to Hillary Clinton to help her take back the Whitehouse for the American people, and the World.

Mr. Obama is a great speaker. And I am confident he can explain to the American people the need, and wisdom of such a personal sacrifice for them. It should be clear to everyone by now that Hillary Clinton is fighting her heart out for the American people. She has known for a long time that Mr. Obama can not win this November. You have to remember that the Clinton’s have won the Whitehouse twice before. They know what it takes.

If Mr. Obama fails his test of commander and chief we can only hope that Hillary Clinton can continue her heroic fight for the American people. And that she prevails. She will need all the continual support and help we can give her. She may fight like a superhuman. But she is only human.

Sen. Hillary Clinton: “You know, more people have now voted for me than have voted for my opponent. In fact, I now have more votes than anybody has ever had in a primary contest for a nomination. And it’s also clear that we’ve got nine more important contests to go.”


Jacksmith… Working Class :-)

Posted by jacksmith | Report as abusive

We New Yorkers are still waiting to Hillary to fulfill promises she made to us when running here! All we hear are excuses that she couldn’t create the jobs she promised because she expected Gore to be president. If you think she’ll keep the promises she’s making now, I’ve got a couple of bridges to sell you.

Posted by John Clark | Report as abusive

Just for the sake of it went to Obama’s website to see his economy ideas. Someone pointed out that Hillary stole FAFSA idea. Red it all, even searched for word FAFSA … nowhere to be found.
Guys please get your facts straight !!!

I, too, downloaded both candidates position papers to my desktop 6 months ago. I did it to compare one with the other, and also to see if positions changed during the campaign. Obama’s positions on this have been there from the beginning, the clintons arrived this AM.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

I know the internet can be hard to navigate sometimes so I’m taking the liberty of posting what can be found regarding this issue in less than 1 minute by searching for Obama and FAFSA and looking for links to Obama’s site. (If you need even more help, search the document for FAFSA). Hope this information from a relatively poor (when taking into account outstanding student loans), multiple degree, working class person who agrees that if you can’t fill out a FAFSA then college isn’t for you, helps. (If you can’t spend less than 1 hour filling out a few pages of forms, why do you deserve up to thousands of dollars of tax payer’s money that took then a lot longer than 1 hour to make and have the government take from them?)
The only thing that should be noted about this whole dilemma is that Hilary is only proposing this idea now because she’s not getting the support she wants from college students so now she’s trying to appeal to them. If she really cared and thought this was a good idea she would have proposed this idea, or even better and original ones that actually would make a difference, sooner.

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/pdf/Co llegeAffordabilityFactSheet.pdf

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

I take issue with the statement “They go to college to party. They have the money to pay their way out of trouble…” I’m a 30 year old white woman who has spent hundreds of hours in 4 states volunteering for Obama, and I got into college with a homeless father and a mother who didn’t make enough to have to pay taxes. I filled out all the forms myself, and I took on enough loans that I still have about 20 years of payments before I’m through.

Obama supporters are not all useless rich kids who don’t have to pull their own weight. I have met people from all backgrounds who support this historic campaign.

Posted by Rena | Report as abusive

I also am more than a little preturbed by that no one is calling the Obama campaign for double speak and their OWN constant use of smear tactics that they accuse the Clinton campaign of using (by applying convoluted spin to the most innocuous of Clinton statements).

I’m glad this editorial finally appeared! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/04/24/AR2008042402976_ pf.html

Posted by Linda | Report as abusive

I wouldn’t trust Hillary with any kid of war!

As to a “war on paperwork” she has a habit of “losing”

important records! Also getting rid of records and

paperwork (travel office).

Posted by Joy Deich | Report as abusive

As the writer generally does not write the headline, this is no big criticism, but I thought Obama said that for most people, those with simple tax returns, the federal government could send out the bill and the individual sign it if correct, rather than the individual do the tax calculations. This would be a nice paperwork reduction, no matter whose idea it is. Anyway, it is something to add to the paperwork reduction list.

Posted by David Rasmussen | Report as abusive

Hillary worked on getting healthcare passed for eight years and couldn’t do that. What makes me think she can pull this off?

Posted by Julie | Report as abusive

Can someone please explain to me why the media says Billary won by 10%? 9.2% to be exact; can’t even be rounded to 9.5%…it’s 9% if rounded – what’s with that. And why would that be considered a knockout when Obama reduced her lead by more than 50%? She’s had 10 years of the politio branding machine at work; the demographics on her side; 3 family serrogates; family ties to PA. The ‘win’ was reduced to single digits – what Obama was shooting for. Please tell me where the 10% comes from…is that another one of her spins?

Posted by michal | Report as abusive

Is anyone concerned about the millions in contributions that Billary is hiding on her tax return? Why hide it? Where is the transparency? If for some devastating reason she should be the nominee she won’t own the white house. Her global ‘contributors’ will run this country. And is anyone concerned about her memory. Remember the real estate deal? How many hundreds of times did she say “I don’t remember”…and with Bosnia and now the 10% spin whenm in fact she had 9.2% on Obama. Who by the way reduced her lead by more than 50%.

Posted by michal | Report as abusive