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Obama Says Clinton Giving 'Revisionist History' on Iraq

Barack Obama, who in the last two months has cast Hillary Clinton as divisive, a candidate whose time has passed and lacking in judgment for voting for the Iraq War, now has a different critique: Clinton as a flip-flopper.

"What's clear when you look at her statements [on Iraq] and her approach to the problem, she was too willing to give the president a blank check," he told the Associated Press in New Hampshire in a interview. "There's been a little bit of revisionist history since that time, where she indicates she was only authorizing only inspectors or additional diplomacy."

He also criticized Clinton's position on whether it is acceptable for the U.S. to torture terrorist suspects in so-called ticking time bomb situations, which the New York Senator had once said she supported before last month declaring she opposed torture in all situations.

"I think it's very important for any Democratic nominee to be very clear on this issue and not waffle," Obama said.

In the interview, Obama continued to attack Clinton for her vote for the war, saying "I think it's important for voters in New Hampshire, as they look forward, to see who got the most important foreign policy discussion since the Cold War right and who got it wrong."

Responding to the interview, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said "Senator Obama is well aware that Senator Clinton will end the war in Iraq, opposes torture and has made clear that George Bush does not have the authority to attack Iran. Attacks on other Democrats wont bring about the change we need, but electing Senator Clinton will."

--Perry Bacon Jr.

By Washington Post editors  |  October 10, 2007; 2:48 PM ET
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Oh, how I would love to vote for a woman candidate for President. But I cannot in good conscience support Sen. Clinton.

We demanded change when we voted in a Democratic legislative majority. Did we get what we asked for? I haven't seen it.
We get ridiculous resolutions about the actions of Turkey during ancient history. While I don't condone genocide, why are we alienating one of the only moderate secular Muslim nations who have traditionally identified with the goals of western nations? Don't we have anything better to do?
Like maybe ending the war we started in Iraq?

Posted by: speedymarie | October 12, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Well said washingtonpost and prithimp in the comments , I agree completely with your remarks here.

Posted by: rdklingus | October 11, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

The biggest problem I have with Clinton is that she acts as if her vote was without consequence. What everyone seems to miss often (because the MSM does not really report it) is that men and women are being killed daily. There are thousands of families who are destroyed because of this war. It's not about the money, it's not about oil, it's about people dying. Obama and everyone needs to highlight that this is why it is telling of someone's judgment. Political calculation should never be a consideration when you are lives are at risks. If the country saw the caskets and the wounded like we did during Vietnam, there is no way any Democrat who voted for the war would be running for President.

Posted by: adrobinson | October 11, 2007 2:40 AM | Report abuse

I really believe Obama is a leader who comes maybe once in a generation. He has the judgment and temperament to be president, and was right on the most important foreign policy decision in modern history, which has turned out to be the worst foreign policy blunder in our entire history. THAT's the kind of judgment we need in the White House. Obama gets my vote.

Senator Obama has shown the courage of his convictions that Hillary has not exhibited. On the contrary, we see triangulating, time and again. She flip flopped on her support for the war, to cite the most egregious example. Further, her most recent biographer stated that she is like Nixon in that she is very vengeful and never forgets a slight, even a perceived one, such as many of her husband's former senior aides and policy experts flocking to the Obama campaign. Some have been put on notice that the Clintons will NOT forgive and forget. We can't have someone like that in the White House again!

FACT: Hillary is a hawk. Even in the last debate, when Tim Russert recalled that her vote to authorize war, the most important vote of her life, SHE GOT WRONG, and then asked her WHY WE SHOULD TRUST HER JUDGMENT to be president, she gave her standard 'non-answer'... "I take responsibility for my vote."

Zbignew Brzezinski, one of the most distinguished foreign policy experts in America, recently endorsed Obama because of his judgment. He noted how President Kennedy was advised by those around him to use nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And yet, this young, wise president said no to them, using a naval blockade instead. He saved us from nuclear war...THAT is the good judgment Brzezinski's talking about.

Obama spoke out against this "rash, dumb ideological war of choice". He did it in 2002 and every year since then. Everything he predicted came true. He said we'd be in a quagmire that would drain our treasury and cost too many lives. He said it would destroy our moral standing in the world. All this, sadly, has happened.

The wisdom that Senator Obama has shown is what our country needs. In contrast, Senators Clinton, Biden, Edwards and Dodd all voted for the war and Sen. Clinton didn't even take the time to read the 90 page NIE (National Intelligence Estimate), even with 10 days to read it, before casting her vote to go to war.

To send other people's kids to war without reading that critically important report is nothing less than dereliction of duty. Already planning her run for the presidency, and fearing looking weak, she made a POLITICAL CALCULATION.

Also, if being first lady in the governor's mansion for 8 years and another 8 years in the White House qualifies as relevant 'experience' to be president, then why not Laura Bush for president? How preposterous is that? This is how the Clinton Machine spins and manipulates perceptions, with Bill Clinton going around calling her 'the most qualified non-incumbent in all his years of voting'.

Prior to being elected to the Senate in 2000, Hillary's only recent professional employment had been as a lawyer in Little Rock, Arkansas while her husband, coincidentally, was governor of that state. She represented clients who sometimes had an interest in getting to know her husband better. She has never managed anything larger than a Senate office, and while First Lady, her international activities were more in line with the ceremonial responsibilities of a Pat Nixon or Laura Bush, than with the actual interventions of Eleanor Roosevelt. In other words, she doesn't have the government management experience of a Reagan, Carter or Bill Clinton. Nor does she have the international or military experience of an Eisenhower or a Franklin Roosevelt. And that apparently makes her the best 'qualified' candidate......

Time served in Washington does not equate with good judgment.

In Obama, we have someone who will unite our country and yes, the world. The moment he is inaugurated, the healing begins. If the world could vote, he would win a resounding victory.

Posted by: pacifica1 | October 11, 2007 1:31 AM | Report abuse

We have definitely heard ad nauseam that Obama would have voted against the Iraq war had he been in the senate.. He cites his anti war speech as proof of his intentions.
Of course when he finally did enter the seanate and actually had the chance to act on his anti war rhetoric .. he voted repeatedly to fund in effect supporting and perpetuating this war.
His voting record is in identical to Hilary .
Given an opportunity to demonstarte his anti war credentials the second time around on the Iran issue he declines to vote!!
And then has the nerve to criticise Hilary on her vote . At the least she bother to show up and committed one way or the other. Obama continues to intellectualise and pretend that he has the high moral ground!!
Give me a break.. As for the "polictics of hope ..he and Edwards are constantlly making snide innuendos about Hilary's record ..the latest is the vote on taxing Hedge funds.
Hilary has in fact already voted to tax these funds a couple of years back when this issuee was brought up. The resolution was defeated... And guess who voted for it Edwards

Posted by: prithimp | October 11, 2007 12:50 AM | Report abuse

about time. now i might actually send another check. I had thought my money was going to be completely wasted.

I think every candidate who voted in any way for that war should not be voted back into office. period. republican or democrat, fire them all.

there are really only a few moments in life that are truly revealing about an individual's true character, and having no spine when that war was voted on is one of them.

I think that the vast proportion of Americans believe the same actually, even though many of them supported the war initially. I think one reason why so many people found Bush 43 refreshing when compared to Clinton 42 (get used to it), was his refusal to be driven by polls in decision-making. While I think GWB has taken it to a fascist extreme, the reality is that the decision to send innocent people to their deaths can never be made under the influence of the mob, manipulated as it was by Cheney et al.

Our representative are elected to have the moral courage to ask tough questions even when those around them refuse to do so because it is politically unpopular. The disconnect from the general population results from having been 'deceived', not because of "faulty intelligence" (although Kerry, Clinton, Edwards et al may revise history to justify their now politically popular positions, the intelligence was never there for a threat that was deterrable).

Rather, the general population felt deceived because the public trust that we had placed in our elected representatives was violated because those individuals to whom we entrust to exercise this moral judgment failed absolutely to do so.

Why would they vote for a candidate who has failed this fundamental test of character?

Unless Obama continues to highlight this most basic insight (and some might say the crux of his entire campaign) he will lose to Clinton 44(?) in the primaries. Obama's 'message of change' is one of the few that is not entirely fabricated on stilts. Obama must make explicit the reason why change is necessary, it is because GWB and his democratic and republican allies have violated the public trust in sending our country into this war. The reason so much antipathy exists in government is because so many of our representatives lack the moral courage and judgment that he has shown. This is what change means and he must begin to make this explicit.

If his fear is of being seen as coming off as too negative for the sake of keeping open a possible VP run for Clinton 44, he needs to come off it, because this is what makes him an appealing candidate to begin with, his membership in that rarest of rare species, the democrat with a backbone.

Posted by: muaddib_7 | October 10, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

The terms "flip-flopper" and "revisionist history" are right out of the Republican play book, and the use of it in this journal makes me very suspicious. It's a Fox news style technique for hyping what is actually a rather mundane story.

It's not even accurate. Hillary hasn't truly changed her position at all, and putting a pretty face on history isn't flip-flopping. It's just spinning, which is nothing unusual in politics.

A more accurate way to say it is that Obama criticised Hillary for trying to spin her pro-war actions of the past. Not exactly "man bites dog."

Posted by: washingtonpostcom | October 10, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: lee.justin.t | October 10, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Every time Obama astutely points out the blatant hypocrisy of many of HRC's positions, a spokesperson for her campaign laments the fact that Obama is "abandoning the politics of hope." Isn't everyone getting entirely sick of this?

Posted by: literate1 | October 10, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I wish someone would just one time say how is discussing a candidate's POLICY position attacking them? Just one time for someone to call her out on that while she can apparently go around calling candidate's differences' with her naive and inexperienced (despite the fact that she herself claimed to hold the same views a year earlier).

Good for Obama for finally taking off the gloves.

Posted by: Rhoda | October 10, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Does Senator Clinton's campaign have a substantive response? Or do they only know the politics of the counter-attack?

Posted by: bsimon | October 10, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Pointing out a candidates flip-flopping is not attacking a candidate. Any time anyone says anything about Hillary Clinton...her supporters call it "attacking her". All the time she's spent in the Senate and Whitehouse Bedroom (Wife) she should have a much more solid game plan than she does. I am not impressed. I'd vote for a Republican first. As for her thinking she'd be able to unite the country...She can't even unite the Democrats. I know several who will stay home and watch reruns rather than be complicit in the annointing and selection of Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: tjfrmla | October 10, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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