Senator Hillary Versus Hillary for President

Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) has the star power and the solid anti-war credentials to be the liberal’s golden child through the 2008 election. So, when he announced he would seek the White House in 2008 on January 15, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) panicked and declared she was "in it to win it" five days later.

She immediately drove her campaign far left to entice any supporters who might be attracted to Obama or the likes of John Edwards, who announced his bid on December 27, 2006 and has been publicly opposed to the war since November 2005.

Hillary has carefully articulated a hawkish persona in the Senate that began when she committed her support to President Bush by voting in favor of the 2002 Iraq War Resolution.

She kept the image up until late 2005. Then, Hillary began to moderate her war position by saying she only voted for the war because she was told President Bush was going to conduct it through the United Nations.

The progression Hillary made toward the anti-war base had been subtle, but after her campaign announcement it instantly accelerated hard left.

In a press conference as late as January 17, Hillary said she would not support a timetable to get out of Iraq. Seven days after her presidential announcement, on January 27, she demanded that President Bush "extricate the country before he leaves office."

After that, she took her leftward march to Iowa. At a January 29 campaign stop in Des Moines Hillary said President Bush had "misused" her vote. Then, she marched left at the Democrat National Committee’s Winter Meeting on February 5. Standing alongside the other 2008 Democrat candidates she said, “If I hd been president in 2002, I would not have started this war."

Hillary’s contradictions on the war are too numerous and complicated to summarize in single slogan about footwear, as Republicans did against John Kerry in 2004. Her flip-flop collection rivals anything from Imelda Marco’s closet.

In classic Clinton fashion, Hillary’s strategy for the White House will rely on triangulation and obfuscation.   

But the difference between Senator Hillary and Hillary for President on the Iraq war is dramatic. Below are public statements she before and after her official declaration she would to pursue the Democratic nomination for President.

Senator Hillary Hillary for President
"In the 4 years since the inspectors, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001….It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capability to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East which, as we know all too well, affects American security.

October 10, 2002 Senate floor before her vote in favor of authorizing the president to go to war in Iraq.

"If we had known then what we knew now, there never would have been a vote and I never would have voted to give this President that authority…. the President took my vote and other votes and basically misused the authority we gave him."

— Campaigning in Iowa, January 27, 2007

" I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force against Saddam Hussein. I believe that that was the right vote."

December 15, 2003 before the Council on Foreign Relations

"The consensus was the same, from the Clinton Administration to the Bush Administration. It was the same intelligence belief that our allies and friends around the world shared about weapons of mass destruction."

–In response to a question from Larry King that asked if she was “fooled” about Saddam’s possession of WMD, April 20, 2004

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

—  DNC Winter meeting, February 2, 2007

"I don’t regret giving the President the authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade."

Larry King Live April 20, 2004

"I said that we should not go to war unless we have allies, so he took the authority that I and others gave him, and he misused it. And I regret that deeply."

Des Moines High School in Iowa, January 28, 2007 

"I’m not going to support a specific deadline."

Hillary responding to a question from a reporter that asked if she would support withdrawing all troops by early 2008. Press conference January 17, 2007

"The President is determined to move forward on a plan that won’t succeed. He should extricate the country before he leaves office.

— Campaigning in Iowa, January 28, 2007