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Clinton vs. Clinton

Will Hillary Clinton listen to her own advice about how difficult it is to gain compromise in the Senate? (AP).

"Even a president has to get 60 votes in the Senate to pass a new law and that is a painstaking roll-up-your-sleeves process that involves a lot of preparation and just plain perspiration."

Hillary Clinton offered those words of wisdom in the new campaign stump speech she unveiled on Labor Day weekend. With Senate Democratic leaders now indicating they are receptive to a change in strategy to win over enough Republican votes to pass legislation calling for a major course change in Iraq, will Clinton follow her own advice?

The New York senator used her new stump speech to draw a distinction between those who talk about change and those who actually bring about change. Under attack from rivals John Edwards and Barack Obama for defending the political system and taking money from lobbyists -- they are people too, she has reminded audiences -- Clinton sought to shift the focus to results rather than hopes and dreams.

"From my time in the White House and in the Senate, I have learned that you bring change by working in the system established in our Constitution," she said. "You cannot pretend that the system doesn't exist."

The congressional "system" has been singularly unsuccessful this year in forcing President Bush to change policy in Iraq. Democrats control both houses of Congress but not with majorities large enough to send veto-proof legislation to the president's desk without the help of a dozen and a half Republicans. Nothing Democratic leaders have offered in the Iraq debate has come close.

Tonight Bush will go on national television to announce his willingness to start withdrawing some troops from Iraq -- but not at a pace that will satisfy critics of his policy. Opposition to his handling of the war has eased marginally since July, according to newly released polls, though it remains extremely high.

This week's testimony by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker may not change many minds but might give Republicans in the Senate pause before they break with Bush's policy. That means that, even with a shift in strategy by Senate Democrats toward compromise and accommodation, winning over enough Republicans to send a bipartisan signal of dissatisfaction with the president's policy could require the kind of painstaking work Clinton described.

What role Clinton will play in all this isn't yet clear, but the coming debate could pit Candidate Clinton, her eyes clearly fixed on the powerful antiwar sentiment among the Democratic base, against Senator-and-Would-Be-President Clinton, who has prided herself on working across party lines during her six-plus years as an elected official.

As the candidate who has emerged as the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Clinton has begun to talk more about the importance of bipartisan cooperation. Explaining why she has reached out to Republicans, she said "You can't be content with consensus and compromise alone or you'll lose what you're fighting for. But you can't always demand everything your own way, or you'll never get anything done."

Arguing there are neither Republican nor Democratic answers to the big problems facing the country, she noted, "I think it's time for us to start acting like Americans again and working together, rolling up our sleeves, to get where we know we need to go."

Her Democratic rivals have a different view -- at least on Iraq. Edwards, who has purchased time on MSNBC to deliver a rebuttal to Bush tonight, calls for Democrats to stand firm and resist. In that ad, he will say: "Congress must answer to the American people. Tell Congress you know the truth -- they have the power to end this war and you expect them to use it. When the president asks for more money and more time, Congress needs to tell him he only gets one choice: a firm timeline for withdrawal."

Before she officially became a candidate, Clinton worked within the system, working closely with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R-I.) on the language of amendments designed to force Bush in a new direction.

Those were days when she lagged behind other Democrats in opposing a timetable for withdrawal. Then came a period of convergence, when her political needs as a candidate forced her to catch up with the timetable advocates. She became a leading critic of the president's policy and an advocate for ever-tougher measures aimed at changing that policy.

Then came the moment when she found herself to the left of, and in a minority within, her own party (but in the same place as rivals Obama and Chris Dodd). That was on May 24, when she voted against the funding bill because the timetable for withdrawal had been stripped out after Bush had vetoed it.

Eighty senators voted in favor of it, so her opposition carried no practical consequence. What she would have done had her vote meant the difference between passage or defeat isn't known. What is known is that Candidate Clinton protected her political interests in the campaign for the Democratic nomination.

There may be another moment later this fall when she is asked to make a similar choice on a measure of disapproval when her vote might actually count. She may, at that moment, argue that nothing Congress says to the president legislatively -- short of enacting a timetable for withdrawal -- will bring about a change and therefore it is far more important to register her dissent.

That would certainly bring approval from many rank-and-file Democrats who will be voting in Iowa and New Hampshire next winter. But that is different than the kind of painstaking work she held up as the example of what a leader should be prepared to do.

If Majority Leader Harry Reid manages to find consensus on an Iraq measure in the Senate, will Clinton heed her own advice and act like the kind of president she said she would be -- and risk the wrath of the left and some of her rivals -- or will she put her needs as a candidate first?

--Dan Balz

By Post Editor  |  September 13, 2007; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Dan Balz's Take  
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I Love love love Hillary! She will most definitely win, thanks to millions of new voters (young, like me who will be voting for the first time and long for a time like childhood when another lovable Clinton was in office; and predominately single females who have rarely voted in the past (19 million to be exact) who will see this as the final frontier to women's rights!

Posted by: mcsizzlesizzle | September 16, 2007 1:03 AM | Report abuse

If Hillary thought it would help her to get elected, she'd have plastic surgery to look like Mickey Mouse. For Mickey Mouse has fewer negatives in public opinion polls, and Hillary is interested in election, not leadership or courage.

Posted by: cdc9 | September 15, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the information about the failed amendment about the war resolution. I have not yet heard Clinton did not vote for the amendment. The MSM is so busy anointing her president that most are not really doing their job, which is the provide facts to the general public about what is going on in the country, including facts about the voting records of our presidential candidates. Clinton has gotten a real pass on this issue. You truly cannot claim to have judgment when you don't read what you are voting for and you don't vote for an amendment that may have prevented this war, which has cost lives of almost 4,000 men and woman. People really don't understand the human toll this war has taken. Over 20,000 men and women have been seriously injured. These men and women have families that have been tremendously affected by either the injuries or death. Whatever your political affliation, this should be of utmost importance in this debate about the war. Thus, it is extremely important to judge candidates on how they HAVE made life and death decisions because assuredly there will be more decisions to make in the years to come. Without question, Clinton voted the way she did because of political calculation, which is the only way you can explain her votes for the resoultion and against the amendment. Frankly, I cannot support anyone who will take so lightly the issues of life and death.

Posted by: adrobinson | September 14, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

part of the reason Hillary's enemies despise her so much is simply because she is a woman, although they would never admit it. This will backfire, because alot of Republican women are going to vote for her just for that reason.
Besides, who wouldn't want Bill Clinton back in the White House? What's wrong with peace and prosperity?

Posted by: mary.redmond | September 13, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I just hope that big mouthed julie-annie dosent become our next president. Hes to old to ugly and also hes been married so many times thats proof he cant even make a relationship between two people work he would be a failure as a president and his own kids cant stand him besides.

Posted by: smorrow | September 13, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Lobbyist : Are People Too ? Tata of India ?
Big Oil , Drug Corperations ? OMG , LOL
She thinks we are as Dumb as rocks ? LOL
Lobbist are people too ? yep they are , greedy self servering creeps ! LOL LOL ? tata

Posted by: mgilfoy | September 13, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

How can normless without values (NWOV) have anything to say consistently with the previous day. It is called winging it Illinois style. We call them SH*THEADS, and that is what they are!!!!!!

Posted by: virgin12 | September 13, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Whatever Hillary Clinton does - and we don't know, because it depends on what her polls tell her to do - she will keep telling lies.

Here is the one she just told Bill Maher in the Yahoo mashup debate:

"I believed that giving the president authority to go back to the United Nations and put in inspectors was an appropriate designation of authority."

Here is the truth, as repoted by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta in The New York Times Magazine earlier this year:

"Clinton voted against an amendment to the war resolution that would have required the diplomatic emphasis that Clinton had gone on record as supporting -- and that she now says she had favored all along.

"The long-overlooked vote was on an amendment introduced by Carl Levin and several other Senate Democrats who hoped to rein in President Bush by requiring a two-step process before Congress would actually authorize the use of force. Senators knew full well the wide latitude that they were handing to Bush, which is why some tried to put the brakes on the march to war. The amendment called, first, for the U.N. to pass a new resolution explicitly approving the use of force against Iraq. It also required the president to return to Congress if his U.N. efforts failed and, in Senator Levin's words, ''urge us to authorize a going-it-alone, unilateral resolution.'' That resolution would allow the president to wage war as a last option."

Not another Liar-in-Chief, please!

Posted by: Lioness1 | September 13, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

ajain31 wrote "Not only will President Hillary Clinton be responsible in ending the war but will be instrumental in bringing about an effective truce with 50,000 to 70,000 troops."

Isn't that swell. Especially since she had no judgement when voting on the war and is culpable for the troops being there in the first place. She even voted against the Levin Amendment which would have slighly delayed invasion to allow for UN inspectors. Now she is the Anti-War candidate?
That makes so much sense. Apply wool to eyes.

Posted by: anthmroy | September 13, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another corrupt money launderer in the Klinton Kamp. Must have been another "faulty background check". Another "ooops I did it again" moment for the smartest woman in the room.

Posted by: Frommaine | September 13, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Mrs. Clinton is a centrist. She lets others promote change. She waits until the wind is blowing safefly before jumping in to support a new idea. And, then she claims how hard she as worked for it."

Truth. And the saddest thing about your analysis is that people eat up her BS on a large degree. She may currently get %46 of Democratic vote, but she won't win a single republican or independent vote.

Posted by: thegribbler1 | September 13, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Sell Out - Wide Eyed Fake - Remember it was her husband who got the Nafta Illegal Immigrant, loss of our jobs problem rolling...Not to mention China WTO mess...

Do you care about our future? She doesn't!

Posted by: US-Citizen | September 13, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton's loyalty to fascist zionist
insanity has neutured her voice as a reformer
and efficient sincere leader.
Who is enineering obscure 'civil war' in Iraq? Her double speech is 'not hot'
A jewish leader free of 'donations' scams
might be the answer.

Posted by: tabita | September 13, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Even assuming that it is guaranteed that Hillary wins the Presidency with 50%+1 or some other simple majority, I don't think I want a President that half the country hates. We have that now with Bush and it is divisive.

Posted by: aumbre | September 13, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"The powers of the covernment,being divided should be exercised each by reprentatives chosen..for such shot terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents."
Thomas Jefferson defind a republic
The question to be asked is if Ms Clinto has the persuasive political knowledge to bring the will of people to the legislative branch as a president?

Posted by: agj614 | September 13, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"The powers of the covernment,being divided should be exercised each by reprentatives chosen..for such shot terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents."
Thomas Jefferson defind a republic
The question to be asked is if Ms Clinto has the persuasive political knowledge to bring the will of people to the legislative branch as a president?

Posted by: agj614 | September 13, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

It's time we stopped blaming Bush and his neo-cronies and started blaming the DEMOCRATIC JELLY FISH -- DJF hasn't done a thing since getting the majority in '06. Bush still runs roughshod over the DJF. Why waist your vote in '08 on JELLY FISH. Are we that pathetic that we need spineless jelly fish speaking for us? I hope the DJF gets whats coming to them. They don't deserve our support. DJF just worry about the polls and getting re-elected. Forget standing up to a wounded lame duck president. He's out of your league. Pathetic!

Posted by: tylerdrew | September 13, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

this article is another perfect example of how this woman changes according to the circumstances of the moment, and I mean change not accommodation. Who knows what she really stands for. Do we really need that?

Posted by: RIVASF1 | September 13, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

As a matter of fact, listen to your own idiocy. You claim that everyone has a corporate duty to vote for the the democratic nominee no matter how repulsive she might be to the electorate at large. Perhaps you should think a little bit before you vote in the primary for someone the general electorate will not tolerate as president.

Posted by: morganja | September 13, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"look at these stupid words drom a closeted Naderite..."

Ignoring your judicious and wise use of the term 'drom', what about my saying that I am an independent in any way implies I am a 'Naderite'?

You idiots have no comprehension that there is a large independent middle that positively, absolutely does not want Hilary nominated to be President because we perceive her to be corrupt, immoral and without any agenda beyond wanting to be president, exactly what we have now in Bush.

I did not vote for Nader, and would never vote for Nader with the lone exception if he is running exclusively against Hilary.

Posted by: morganja | September 13, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

First, to clear up one posting - Bush was never directly elected in 2000. He was installed in the White House by the Supreme Court. Al Gore was elected by the American people, and won, despite the Nader campaign. The beef is not with Independents, but with the government of this country.

Second, if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, she won't win the Presidency. There are too many people, Democrat and Independent alike, who will not vote for her. I come from a family of staunch Dems, and not one of them wants to see her get the nomination. I'm sorry, but I don't think she's the best person for the job. I think that most people are interested in her because she's married to Bill and they would like to see him back in the WH in some capacity. I would like to see a Dem get the nomination and ultimately win the Presidency because they stand for something and they are not afraid to say what that something is.

Posted by: skpedersen | September 13, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I wish Democrats would listen to the independents. They won't vote for her. There are even some Democrats that won't vote for her in the general election. Those polls don't lie. She has a terrible approval rating, and she could lose the election for us. She is the worst choice we could make. I'll vote for her but I won't campaign for her. I don't want all those doors slammed in my face. Let's choose another candidate without so much baggage.

Posted by: goldie2 | September 13, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Clinton is a centrist. She lets others promote change. She waits until the wind is blowing safefly before jumping in to support a new idea. And, then she claims how hard she as worked for it.

We will never know what she really believes.

It is early, very early, in the 08 election cycle. But, at this time I might sit out the 08 election or vote for Pat Paulsen if Hillary is the nominee.

With regard to the Senate Democrats signalling a willingness to compromise on Iraq., they should compromise only if it forces President Bush to bring significant numbers of troops home during is tenure so that he can not avoid the responsibility for a failed war. This is probably a "pipe dream."

Posted by: pbarnett52 | September 13, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Not only will President Hillary Clinton be responsible in ending the war but will be instrumental in bringing about an effective truce with 50,000 to 70,000 troops. A level that will force reality to sink in with Iraqi government and leaders. Alfredo1 you better enlist to make a living and effect change in your career rather than spitting remarks online.

Posted by: ajain31 | September 13, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

look at these stupid words drom a closeted Naderite...

"there is a large portion of independent moderates like myself who will never vote for her. We loathe her and her corrupt political machine"

thanks but no thanks - your idiotic thinking in 2000 elected bush directly in 2000, we thinking americans will take a "pass" on your half thoughtful advice this gi 'round...ok?

Posted by: holdencaulfield | September 13, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hillary can talk about change all day, how are her policies with talking to hostile nations any different? How about her stand on DOMA? Cuban-American relations? Where is this Health Care plan of hers? What about less scandal in the WH, hmmm, the scandals are still showing up and if she is the nominee they will be front and center.

She is not a leader, everything in her campaign has been on the back of Obama's campaign. Going to Selma, Ala, voting against funding, changing her position on nuclear weapons, changing her position on talking to hostile nations, changing her position after one week on Pakistan. She has to bring Bill out campaigning to get attention compared to the real change candidate.

Also experience, what experience, being Wife of the President is not experience. She has One US senate term that she did little or nothing in, except to authorize a war that should of never been waged.

A Clinton nomination will lead to the downfall of the Democratic party, and the loss of Congress.

"It's our countries future, stupid"

Posted by: sjxylib | September 13, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Hilary Clinton will give the White House to the Republicans again. She won't win because there is a large portion of independent moderates like myself who will never vote for her. We loathe her and her corrupt political machine. We've just had 16 straight years of this corrupt machine politics, we can't stand another four.

Posted by: morganja | September 13, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton will be the next president. Get over it, Alfredo. Or, move to, um, Iraq!

Posted by: jp1954 | September 13, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

What, exactly, are you suggesting? That she wants the staus quo? That she is working to deceive the public? Sir, you are an idiot.

Posted by: msmellick | September 13, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Over 50 percent of Americans put Bush back in office. Hopefully they will NOT repeat their stupidity by electing Hillary Clinton. When will the American people wake up and start studying each candidate. It is time to do some deep searching and ignore the Spin. Personally I'd vote for Mickey Mouse before I'd ever vote for Hillary.

Posted by: Alfredo1 | September 13, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

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