Clinton makes a strong promise on Iraq

Friday, February 02, 2007

Senator Hillary Clinton, under fire for her fairly weak opposition to the war in Iraq, is coming out with her strongest words yet against the war.

She says if the war's not over on inauguration day, and she's elected president, she'll end it.

As we see the war getting worse and worse, we see Hillary Clinton becoming more and more critical.

Her past support of the war may complicate things for her political future. She must defend her vote, yet at the same time, avoid the kind of indecisiveness that hurt John Kerry so much in 2004.

Last weekend on the campaign trail in Iowa, Hillary Clinton scolded President Bush for saying the war in Iraq would have to be finished long after his term in office is over. Today, Clinton went further.

"If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as president I will," she said.

Senator Clinton voted for the war in 2002. But as Iraq has tumbled toward disaster, and as public sentiment has soured on the war, Clinton has tried to distance herself from that vote.

"If I had been president in October of 2002, I would not have started this war ... I would not."

Clinton today spoke before the Democratic National Committee, as did almost every other Democrat running for president. This meeting comes on the same day as new intelligence shows the situation in Iraq getting worse.

The Washington Post reports the new national intelligence estimate says there is a "strong possibility of further deterioration."

Today Barack Obama, Clinton's strongest challenger, today reminded fellow Democrats he has always opposed the war.

"I was opposed to this invasion, publicly, frequently, before it began. I thought it was a tragic mistake," Sen. Obama said.

Former Senator John Edwards has apologized for his vote to go to war. Today he chastised Bush for his refusal to change.

"This president describes himself as the decider. I got news for you Mr. president, you're not the decider. The American people are the decider and they have decided upon you a very long time ago," he said.

At Friday's DNC meeting in Washington, a few anti-war activists heckled Senator Clinton. They have dogged her every move because of her 2002 vote. But so far, it doesn't seem to be hurting her that much. She remains the clear front runner.

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