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Clinton's '35 years of experience' cover, gasp, lawyering!

February 7, 2008 | 10:48 pm

Lost in the surprising news about Hillary Clinton's admission that she had to loan her own campaign $5 million was an exchange with reporters over a part of her personal past that she seldom discusses.

Out on the campaign trail, Clinton likes to talk about her work with children and families. But The Times' Peter Nicholas notes that she seldom mentions the years she spent as a partner in the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Ark.

That's a touchier subject, of course, because some of her work for that firm figured in the famous Whitewater investigation, which proved a headache for her and her husband's White House.

At a news conference this week at Clinton's campaign headquarters near Washington, a reporter mentioned that the would-be president was once a top-flight lawyer in her day and asked why she doesn't bring it up more often.

"Thanks for the compliment,'' said Clinton.

She countered that she often mentions the "35 years of experience I had in the public, private and nonprofit sector.''

As popular as lawyers are in American society, she slides over the law firm part. According to her interpretation of that phrase, the Rose Law Firm years would fall under the "private'' part of that resume.

-- Andrew Malcolm