Opinion Extra

Hillary Clinton: praise and criticism from friends, foes, pundits

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during their final debate on Wednesday.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during their final debate on Wednesday. AP

With less than three weeks before Election Day, we’ve compiled this quick read with highlights of commentary from across the country on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Click here to read our companion package on Donald Trump, and other commentary on the election

I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time.

Hillary Clinton

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of the classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

FBI Director James Comey

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.: “Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her emails either sent or received. Was that true?”

FBI Director James Comey: “That’s not true.”

Gowdy: “Secretary Clinton said, ‘I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.’ Was that true?”

Comey: “There was classified material emailed.”

You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.

Hillary Clinton

Ms. Clinton, in other words, is dogged, resilient, purposeful and smart. Unlike Mr. Clinton or Mr. Bush when they ascended, she knows Washington; unlike Mr. Obama when he ascended, she has executive experience. She does not let her feelings get in the way of the job at hand. She is well positioned to get something done. …

Ms. Clinton also understands the importance of U.S. leadership in the world, her campaign-year anti-trade epiphany notwithstanding. Inside the Obama administration, Ms. Clinton was a voice for engagement on behalf of democracy, human rights and stability. At times (the surge in Afghanistan), Mr. Obama listened. At times (Syrian intervention), he did not — and the world is far more dangerous because of that. Ms. Clinton can be faulted, perhaps, for excessive loyalty; though the hyper-investigated Benghazi affair proved to be no scandal at all, Ms. Clinton should have argued more persistently to help stabilize Libya after its dictator fell.

But her foreign-policy inclinations were sounder than her president’s. It is telling that, even as she tacked left to survive the primaries, she did not give ground to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on the core value of American engagement in the world. Allies would find her more reliable than the incumbent and far more dependable than her opponent. The world would be more secure as a result.

Washington Post endorsement

Ms. Clinton is inclined to circle the wagons and withhold information, from the closed meetings of her health-care panel in 1993 to the Whitewater affair, from the ostensibly personal emails she destroyed on her own say-so after leaving the State Department to her reluctance to disclose her pneumonia last month. Further, she and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, are not the first to cash in on the speech circuit, but they have done so on an unprecedented and unseemly scale. And no one will accuse Ms. Clinton of an excess of charisma: She has neither the eloquence of President Obama nor the folksy charm of former president George W. Bush or, for that matter, her husband.

Washington Post endorsement

She is an FBI-certified liar and has now been outed for her public vs. private positions on issues. I wouldn’t invite either to dinner with my family, but for president, I’ll take the boor anytime over the proven liar.

Bill Barlow, letter to the editor in The State

Can you imagine how much money Hillary will be able to steal in eight years as president? At least Trump’s not a thief.

Rusty DePass, letter to the editor in

The art of compromise, which once was respected by Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and which allowed for progress rather than gridlock, is one that Clinton understands and practices. She demonstrated that not only in the Senate, but as the nation’s chief diplomat.

She is well-known to foreign leaders and understands that world order depends upon a U.S. foreign policy that is committed to its international obligations. The United States is the most stabilizing force in a world prone to chaos, and she knows that role is not something to be trifled with on a whim, as Trump’s reckless pronouncements would do.

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch endorsement

No one will suggest Trump is without flaws and a personal history that is best left in the past. … But these matters do not rise to the point of disqualifying him in a race against a candidate who has done so much over the last 30 years to abuse the public’s trust.

Clinton’s dismal record includes her early advocacy and continuing defense of government-mandated health insurance — a version of socialized medicine that helps some while harming others. This includes the accompanying restrictions on personal choice and the cost shifts that are hitting many working-class Americans.

This list also encompasses her State Department’s failure to protect U.S. consulate personnel who repeatedly asked for additional security support before dying during an attack from Islamic militants in 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. For a time, the government falsely contended this attack was not predictable.

St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, endorsing Donald Trump

She’s a very strong person, and she’s been politically abused by all 17 Republicans who ran for president, especially Donald Trump. But the idea that she’s dishonest, I’ve never known her to be dishonest.

Former S.C. Gov. Dick Riley

If Hillary Clinton gets the opportunity to replace Antonin Scalia with an anti-gun Supreme Court justice, we will lose the individual right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. Mrs. Clinton has said that the Supreme Court got it wrong on the Second Amendment.

Chris W. Cox, chairman of the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund

During the Cold War, the Russians mastered the use of slow-acting poisons to kill victims long after they were stabbed with an umbrella tip. Fittingly, the WikiLeaks emails may act like ricin or anthrax, wreaking havoc on Clinton’s presidency long after they’re released. In a normal election year with a normal GOP nominee, the WikiLeaks revelations might prove fatal to Clinton’s candidacy. Instead, it seems almost a sure thing that they will poison Clinton’s presidency for years to come. The allegations of pay-for-play between her foundation and the State Department, her speeches to Wall Street, the animosity of some of her closest advisors for Catholics: All of these things will have a long half-life. As will her manifest lies about the use of her private server.

Jonah Goldberg. editor-at-large of National Review Online

In a speech not long before she launched her 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton made a stunning declaration of war on religious Americans. Speaking to the 2015 Women in the World Summit, Clinton declared that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

Religious beliefs have to be changed? This is perhaps the most radical statement against religious liberty ever uttered by someone seeking the presidency. It is also deeply revealing. Clinton believes that, as president, it is her job not to respect the views of religious conservatives but to force them to change their beliefs and bend to her radical agenda favoring taxpayer-funded abortion on demand.

This is the context in which we must read a recently released trove of emails — which, according to WikiLeaks, come from the accounts of Clinton staff — showing the rampant anti-Catholic bigotry that permeates Clinton World.

Marc A. Thiessen, former chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush and Washington Post columnist

That Hillary Clinton would make a better president than Donald Trump should be evident to any mammal. …

Clinton does not challenge freedom of the press or threaten her political opponents with jail time. She is not a sociopath. She does not call for banning members of an entire religion from entering the country, or killing the families of terrorists, or any number of other blatantly unconstitutional measures. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has since endorsed Trump, previously said that the Republican nominee was an “erratic individual” who could not be trusted with the nuclear codes. Whatever one thinks about Clinton, launching a nuclear strike against another country out of pure spite is difficult to imagine.

The case for Clinton, then, boils down to one’s appreciation for the democratic values to which all of our elected officials, from city councilor on up, are expected to adhere. Clinton respects those principles, and Trump does not. The case for Clinton transcends ideology because Trump’s strongest convictions have nothing to do with standard political principles and everything to do with sheer self-aggrandizement. What’s most important to Trump is Trump.

James Kirchick, fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative, writing “The conservative case for Clinton” in the Los Angeles Times

Hillary Clinton has long been a centrist. Despite her tack left to woo Bernie Sanders supporters, Clinton retains her centrist roots. Her justices might not be in the mold of Antonin Scalia, but they will be accomplished individuals with the experience, education and intelligence to handle the job.

They will be competent. Just as she is competent.

Arizona Republic, first endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate in its 126-year history

Maybe she never called anyone a pig, but she did call millions of Americans racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic. Her husband Bill ruined women’s lives for the sake of sexual fun, and he is her top surrogate on the campaign trail.

WikiLeaks is meanwhile having at her. This Julian Assange creation gathers information from hacking, maybe getting help from the Russians, and releases it to the public. There has been a lot coming out, such as speeches she gave to adored corporate donors, telling them on one occasion that her public views are not always the same as her private views.

In other words, when she curses fat cats, please understand that she secretly likes to scratch them behind the ears, too. She also once said she was for open borders, a position even more extreme than Trump’s wish for a Mexico border wall. New information shows coziness with the press, to its shame, and gives still more credence about pay-to-play misuse of the Clinton Foundation.

Jay Ambrose, Tribune News Service columnist