The Clinton family favor factory.
As Bill Clinton entered the final year of his presidency, his aides put together a legacy-building trip to South Asia—the first visit to the region by a U.S. president since Jimmy Carter's in 1978. Early drafts of the itinerary featured a notable exclusion: The president would visit India, an emerging ally, but had no plans to stop in neighboring Pakistan.
There were good reasons for this. Pervez Musharraf had seized power there in a military coup six months earlier. His regime was regarded as tolerant of Islamic radicals, perhaps even complicit in their attacks, and unhelpful on nuclear talks with India. Whatever the potential benefits to regional stability, a visit would be seen as legitimizing a troublemaker. Clinton had the support of many in the foreign policy establishment and his decision was popular among liberals in his party. In an editorial published February 18, 2000, the New York Times noted, "Pakistan has been lobbying hard in Washington"; the paper urged Clinton to stand firm, absent a return to civilian rule in the country and "concrete progress" on nukes and terror.
Four days later, Hillary Clinton weighed in. At a gathering in a private home on Staten Island, Clinton said she hoped her husband would be able to find time to visit Pakistan on his trip. That she spoke up on a matter of public controversy was interesting; where she did it was noteworthy.