Clinton Ruled Out
Nukes in 2006
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has implicitly admonished Sen. Barack Obama for ruling out the use of nuclear weapons in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But in a 2006 interview during her Senate re-election campaign, Clinton herself ruled out using nuclear weapons against Iran -- albeit in a specific situation that was being publicly discussed.
After a New Yorker article raised the possibility that the Bush adminstration would strike Iran, Clinton said she would "certainly take nuclear weapons off the table."
"This administration has been very willing to talk about using nuclear weapons in a way we haven't seen since the dawn of a nuclear age. I think that's a terrible mistake," Clinton said in the 2006 interview. But earlier this week, in a Democratic debate, Clinton had refined her approach to exclude talking about hypothetical situations of any kind. A Clinton spokesman, Phil Singer, said there is no comparison between what Clinton was discussing in 2006 and what Obama said earlier this month, when he ruled out the use of nuclear force against terrorist cells in the border region of Pakistan.
"Sen. Clinton was asked to respond to specific reports that the Bush-Cheney administration was actively considering nuclear strikes on Iran even as it refused to engage diplomatically. She wasn't talking about a broad hypothetical nor was she speaking as a presidential candidate. Given the saber-rattling that was coming from the Bush White House at the time, it was totally appropriate and necessary to respond to that report and call it the wrong policy," Singer said.
-- Anne E. Kornblut
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