In late August 1960, well into the presidential race between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy, this exchange occurred during President Eisenhower’s press conference:
Q. We understand that the power of decision is entirely yours, Mr. President. I just wondered if you could give us an example of a major idea of [Nixon’s] that you had adopted in that role, as the decider and final–
THE PRESIDENT. If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don’t remember.
This answer became an anti-Nixon theme during the remainder of the campaign and well beyond (President Johnson publicly chided Nixon about it). Yet, in his preceding answer, Eisenhower made it clear that Nixon “has taken a full part in every principal discussion” of policy, an answer that supported Nixon’s case that he had substantial experience Kennedy lacked.
Golly, I forget what bills she’s been part of or authored. . . She was never there long enough to achieve the degree of seniority that affords her the ability to do more.
Feinstein added: “But she’s been a good senator. There are things outside of bills that you can do, and I know that she’s done them for her state.”
After some prompting from an aide, Feinstein mentioned that Clinton helped start a health insurance program for children during her tenure as first lady. “I should have a list,” she said. “Get on Google.”
It is absurd to claim that eight years in the Senate is insufficient time to do something memorable. Admittedly, it’s not easy to accomplish much when one’s party is in the minority. However, the Democrats had a majority in the Senate during four of Clinton’s eight years — time enough for her to have left a mark.
Clinton herself has been hard pressed to name anything notable she accomplished even as Secretary of State. Politico notes that “when ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked her about her ‘marquee achievement,’ Clinton changed the subject and she fumbled over a similar question during a women’s forum in Manhattan last year.”
Politico gave Clinton’s leading supporters (e.g., Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid), in essence, “a week to think of” something major she accomplished. The responses, insofar as they pertain to her time in the Senate, make it easy to understand why Feinstein couldn’t think of anything.