Daniel Nasaw in Washington
Wednesday March 19 2008
On the day that dozens of US cruise missiles rained down on Serbia in an attempt to punish Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic for the country's onslaught against ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo, first lady Hillary Clinton was far from the White House war room: instead she was touring ancient Egyptian ruins, including King Tut's tomb and the temple of Hatshepsut. And on the day before the signing of the Good Friday agreement in Belfast she was at an event called "Hats on for Bella" in Washington.
In her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton has touted her experience in the Clinton White House as preparation to lead the nation in a time of crisis. "Ready on day one" has been her slogan.
But an initial reading of some of the more than 11,000 pages of Clinton's schedules from her days as first lady, released today by the National Archives and the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library, shows that she was often far from the site of decision-making during some of the most pivotal events of Bill Clinton's presidency.
Clinton, who was an accomplished attorney and first lady of Arkansas before moving to the White House, frequently claims more than 30 years experience in public life, contrasting herself with Barack Obama's slimmer resume - he served several years in the Illinois legislature and was elected to the US Senate in 2004.
The Clinton campaign claimed on Wednesday that the release of the papers would show Clinton to have been an influential advocate at home and around the world on behalf of the US. But the documents from her office in the White House threaten to undermine her claim to have played a major role in Clinton's foreign policy decisions.