[THE FOUNTAIN] Managing One's Family

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[THE FOUNTAIN] Managing One's Family

It is awkward to see the former U.S. presidential couple, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, suffering from the reckless decisions on pardons during his presidency. Little more than a month has passed since Mr. Clinton stepped out of the White House, but the couple is having a hard time coping with the mistakes of their family members and relatives. Seeing them puzzled about what to do next, we are reminded again of the importance of managing the family and relatives of a president.

Mr. Clinton, who already stood trial while in office, now has to worry about the possibility of another trial by public opinion on charges of granting inappropriate pardons. The political ambitions of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton may be dashed before they begin. Support for the former first lady is reportedly plunging after news of the scandal involving her brother.

The pardon scandal was triggered by Mr. Clinton's decision to pardon Marc Rich, a tax evader. As more connections with the former president's brother-in-law were revealed, the scandal spread. Hugh Rodham, a younger brother of the former first lady, reportedly accepted a fee of $400,000 in return for his help in securing a pardon and a prison term commutation for two convicted felons. The former presidential couple denied their involvement and said they told Mr. Rodham to return the money. However, if they had managed their relatives appropriately in earlier days, such scandals would have not happened.

An unknown public defender in Florida before his sister became the first lady, Mr. Rodham joined a group of lawyers in high-stake tobacco litigation a few years ago and pocketed an enormous amount of fees. He also ran for the Senate. He used to wear a sweater with the White House logo and brag to his friends to contact him at the White House if they needed him for anything, according to international news reports. In 1999, Mr. Rodham and Tony, his younger brother, were involved in a venture to grow hazelnuts with an opposition leader of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, stirring a diplomatic problem.

A recent issue of Newsweek reported that the Rodham brothers presented a letter and a gift from then-first lady Hillary Clinton to Lee Hee-ho, first lady of Korea, in May 1999. The Blue House released a press statement saying that the brothers paid a courtesy call on the Korean presidential couple at the Blue House and delivered a small gift and a letter from Mrs. Clinton. Newsweek reported that Sen. Clinton's spokesman responded that the former first lady does not recall such an event. It may be either that the brothers were using their sister's name without permission or that she does not remember because there have been so many similar incidents.

May we call such an event a bolt from the blue?

by Bae Myung-bok

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