Shaheen says Clinton endorsement not tied to envoy role
SOURCE: Associated Press
By Philip Elliott
Posted: March 28, 2007
Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is applauded in Washington, Wednesday, March 28, 2007, prior to addressing the Building and Construction Trades Department's AFL-CIO's candidate forum. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
CONCORD, N.H. - One of Hillary Rodham Clintonís top supporters says if the Democrat wins the White House, he wants to be part of her team negotiating peace in the Middle East.
Bill Shaheen, a second-generation Lebanese American, last week joined Clinton as co-chairman of her national and state campaigns. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that reports that he withheld his endorsement until he was promised an ambassadorship were wrong.
"Did she promise (an ambassadorship)? No," Shaheen said. "Thatís not how I work. I donít think Senator Clinton is thinking that far down the road and I would be disappointed if she was."
Shaheen met with bloggers after a news conference announcing his endorsement last week. One blog, GreenMountainPolitics1, quoted Shaheen as saying Clinton promised to make him her Middle East envoy.
"The only thing I made Hillary promise in return for helping on her campaign is that she will send me over to the Middle East to help her work for peace in the region," blogger Chris Stewart quoted Shaheen as saying.
In an interview Tuesday, Stewart said Shaheen never used the word "ambassador."
The blog BlueHampshire quoted Shaheen as saying: "I said if I do all this for you, I only want one thing: I want to be on that team that brings peace to the Middle East. I believe in it. I donít need to get paid. I just want to be on that team."
Mike Caulfield, who posted the BlueHampshire entry, said his quotes are accurate and Shaheen did not say Clinton had made any promises.
"My impression is that he was not presenting it as a quid pro quo," Caulfield said in an interview. "He never said anything about what Hillary said back to that."
Caulfield later wrote a follow-up blog post Tuesday: "People on this site know that I am not a huge fan of Hillary. And lord knows Iíd love to have a scoop. But this is not a scoop. This is the politics of word games and gotchas."
Shaheen helped run Jimmy Carterís presidential campaign in 1976 and went to the Palestinian territories last year as an election monitor for the Carter Center. Shaheen, whose wife served three terms as governor, is considered one of New Hampshireís political kingmakers and helped run the New Hampshire campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry.