CHICAGO — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for president on her husband's White House record, and it's a strategy that cuts both ways.
"Yesterday's news was pretty good," Bill Clinton said last month in Iowa while campaigning with his wife.
But yesterday's news isn't always easy to explain today.
A San Francisco blogger made that clear during the Yearly Kos Convention, when he asked the senator if she would support or repeal four major pieces of legislation enacted during the Clinton administration: the Defense of Marriage Act, the Telecommunications Act, the North American Free Trade Agreement and welfare reform.
All four laws are unpopular with liberal voters who historically dominate Democratic primaries and caucuses.
So she hedged and dodged in a complicated set of answers.
The Defense of Marriage Act "served a very important purpose," she replied. The law staved off Republican efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage, Clinton said. On the Telecommunications Act, which many liberals believe has led to rampant media consolidation, Clinton siad, "You'd have to ask Al Gore," referring to the former vice president who spearheaded Bill Clinton's telecommunications policies.
Clinton won't commit to repealing NAFTA, as some other Democrats do, but puts some distance between herself and her husband by saying one of the cornerstone's of his presidency "did not realize the benefits it ... promised."
His decision to sign the 1996 welfare reform law angered many of his advisers.
"The positives," she told the blogger, "far outweigh the negatives."
She hopes the same can be said about the strategy to run on her husband's record.