In this photo released by NBC, Meredith Vieira, left, host of the Today Show, interviews Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton , D-N.Y., on Monday, Dec. 18, 2006 in New York. Clinton said Monday she would not support a short-term increase in American troop presence in Iraq unless it was part of a more comprehensive plan to stabilize the country. Clinton also offered the broadest indication yet that she was close to a decision on whether to enter the 2008 Democratic presidential field.
As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to assess a possible presidential candidacy and the contours of a Democratic nomination fight, she has taken another step away from her 2002 vote authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq by saying that she “wouldn’t have voted that way” if she knew everything she knows now.
Clinton has often been asked if she regrets her vote authorizing military action and she usually answers that question with an artful dodge, saying that she accepts responsibility for the vote and suggesting that if the Senate had all the information it has today (no WMD, troubled post-war military planning, etc. . .), there would never have been a vote on the Senate floor.
However, she has never gone as far as some of her potential rivals for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination — who also voted for the war — and called her vote a mistake or declared that she would have cast her vote differently with all the facts presently available to her — until now.
This morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Sen. Clinton was asked about her 2002 vote and offered a slightly evolved answer. “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote,” she said in her usual refrain before adding, “and I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”
Hillary is OBVIOUSLY covering her LEFT flank from a possible challenge from Al Gore. John Kerry has self-destructed and John Edwards is a light-weight one term Senator who happened to be Kerry’s pick for the Vice Presidency.
So, why the change of heart?
To freeze out an issue on the LEFT that Gore could attack Hillary and to appease the NUTROOT LEFT activists who would be scrutinizing and gunning for her.
But, the REAL question is:
What is Hillary’s and the Democrat’s plan for the Iraq War?
Flap bets this question’s answer is NOT so forthcoming.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the media while signing copies of the her book ‘It Takes a Village’ in New York, Monday, Dec. 18, 2006. The book has recently been reissued in a 10th anniversary edition with a new introduction.
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