The critics of her 2002 vote on Iraq continue to greet Hillary Clinton at every campaign stop and that continues to gnaw at Clinton's husband.
Former President Bill Clinton is befuddled and somewhat frosted his wife is being villified by the anti-war left for her vote to authorize President Bush to use force in Iraq while two other polticians are being feted by the left-wing blogosphere as anti-war champions.
Clinton, in a conference call with donors last night, reiterated a complaint he made in a more private setting earlier this week, that Clinton's current stance on the war isn't much different than that of Barack Obama.
As quoted in The Hill today, Clinton said:
"I don't have a problem with anything Barack Obama [has] said on this," but "to characterize Hillary and Obama's positions on the war as polar opposites is ludicrous."This dichotomy that's been set up to allow him to become the raging hero of the anti-war crowd on the Internet is just factually inaccurate." --Bill Clinton as quoted in The Hill
To be fair, Obama, in his public statements since 2002, has been steadfast in his opposition to the war. But his voting record in the Senate has been a little less radically anti-war.
This week the Illinois senator introduced a measure to begin troop withdrawals in May, with complete withdrawal set for next March. But he voted against a pullout in 2006. In explaining his change of position, Obama, quoted in The Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald, said things have changed since 2006.
"Obama (said) the 2006 bill came on the heels of popular elections in Iraq that created a new government and that he wanted to send that government a message of U.S. support. 'The Iraqi government has not used that time (since the 2006 legislation was defeated) to try to bring the parties together, but has used it to dig in to their sectarian agendas,' Obama said." -The Portsmouth Herald
Clinton, meanwhile, has in recent weeks said she'd bring the troops home in 2009 if they're not home before she would be in the White House, but also said some troops would remain in Iraq if she is in charge.
Bill Clinton also wondered aloud in last night's conference call why Republican Chuck Hagel, another possible presidential candidate, is being hailed as a hero of the anti-war left, when his justification for his vote in favor of war in 2002 is the same as Hillary Clinton's. To make his point, Clinton recalled a recent article featuring Hagel in GQ magazine.
GQ: Do you wish you’d voted differently in October of 2002, when Congress had a chance to authorize or not authorize the invasion?
Hagel: Have you read that resolution?
GQ: I have.
Hagel: It’s not quite the way it's been framed by a lot of people, as a resolution to go to war. That's not quite what the resolution said.
GQ: It said, “to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.”
Hagel: In the event that all other options failed. So it’s not as simple as “I voted for the war.” That wasn’t the resolution.
So, in his point about Hagal, former president Clinton may be on slightly firmer ground. The left's embrace of the ultra-conservative Hagel based on his anti-war stance is a bit like the right winger saying to Rudy Giulani's three marriages are fine with them and he can lock up their guns if he wants to as long as he can win an election and keep them damned terrorists from "fighting us over here."
OBAMA LEADS IN DFA POLL
Democracy For America today released results of a poll of its members and the results spotlight Clinton's trouble with the left.
- Barack Obama 28.1%
- John Edwards 24.6%
- Other 12.4%
- Dennis Kucinich 10.3%
- Hillary Clinton 8.7%
- Bill Richardson 7.6%
- Undecided 4.9%
- Joseph Biden 1.9%
- Christopher Dodd 0.5%
- Mike Gravel 0.3%
Note that Clinton, who leads most of the statewide polls and all of the national polls conducted by the professional pollsters, comes in behind "other" and Dennis Kucinich in the DFA poll.
On the other hand, Clinton got good news today from one of the few states where she's not ahead in most polls - Iowa, which has belonged to John Edwards so far.
Former Democratic presidential candidate and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack is expected to announce on Monday that he is backing Clinton, which should be a major jolt for her campaing in the state because of the local knowledge and goodwill he and his backers can bring to the Clinton campaign effort there.