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Politics

Bill Clinton rejects archive delay accusations

Democratic Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, smile to supporters during the 4th of July parade in Clear Lake, Iowa, July 4, 2007. Bill Clinton on Friday called accusations that he and his wife Sen. Hillary Clinton are delaying the release of records from his administration as "breathtakingly misleading." REUTERS/Joshua Lott

REDMOND, Washington (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Friday called accusations that he and his wife Sen. Hillary Clinton are delaying the release of records from his administration as “breathtakingly misleading.”

In the most recent Democratic presidential candidate debate, Sen. Clinton’s rivals criticized the front-runner for a 2002 letter written by her husband to the National Archives requesting certain documents from his administration be withheld.

The former president said the letter was, in fact, asking the archives to speed up the release of his records with a provision that he be allowed to review any documents being released to ensure they do not disclose certain sensitive or private information.

Those parameters, according to Clinton, included information about national security, passed-over candidates for presidential appointments, private correspondence between him and his family and other personal conversations.

“I signed a routine letter to the archives five years ago to accelerate the release of my records, which five years later in a different context is misrepresented as an attempt to block information on my wife,” Clinton told reporters after a speech to Microsoft Corp employees.

“The whole thing was a total canard,” he said. “It was breathtakingly misleading.”

Clinton said the archives already have released more than 1 million documents from his presidency including many from his wife’s failed attempts at health-care reform.

To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/

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