On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton has boasted about the work she supposedly did as first lady to help create Early Head Start, the federal government's early childhood program.
"Let's double our investment in programs I helped develop as first lady: Early Head Start and the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program," Clinton said in a May 2016 Washington Post op-ed. She made a similar claim in 2008.
How accurate is that claim? Andrew Ujifusa and Christina Samuels at Education Week investigated.
The pair spoke with Jennifer Klein, who was Clinton's domestic policy adviser from 1993 to 1999 and is now a senior adviser on Clinton's campaign. Klein admitted, "I wouldn't say it was her idea and it wouldn't have happened without her." But she still called Clinton a "driving force" behind the program in "very much a behind-the-scenes-role," which is likely why there isn't much of a paper trail detailing Clinton's involvement.
At the time, there was an Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion with 45 members. Clinton wasn't on the committee, but it would have been odd to have had a politician on the commitee, according to Doug Besharov, who was then at the American Enterprise Institute.
"In a review of the Education Week archives, we found no coverage indicating that Clinton worked closely with committee members on the nuts and bolts of what would become Early Head Start," Ujifusa and Samuels write.
Another member of the committee, Helen Blank, told Education Week that it's fair for Clinton to say she helped build the program because she "had a history of being supportive of infants and toddlers and very young children."
Overall, there doesn't seem to be clear evidence Clinton helped develop Early Head Start. It is possible she had an active behind-the-scenes role as Klein says, but as an adviser to the Clinton campaign, Klein isn't exactly an unbiased source of information. At the same time, no one has come out and said Clinton had no role in creating Early Head Start.
Early Head Start was created in 1994 during President Bill Clinton's first term when Democrats had unified control of the federal government. From pregnancy to age three, the program gives various child-development support to low-income families through both home visits and access to child care centers.
Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.