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Clinton vs. Obama on Iran

As tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated, so has the back and forth on the campaign trail -- especially on the Democratic side.

Sen. Hillary Clinton started out sending voters in Iowa a mailer explaning her vote designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist entity. Sen. Barack Obama responded with his own mailer -- challenging Clinton's judgment and informing voters that he opposed not only the Iran vote but also the original authorization of the Iraq war.

The Obama campaign then followed up with a memo from Greg Craig -- a former Clinton official -- explaining how the most recent Senate vote differed from an earlier measure, which Obama supported, designating the Iranian Guard as a terrorist group. "The current debate about the wisdom of Senator Clinton's support for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment points up significant differences in Senator Obama's approach to the use of force in Iraq as compared with Senator Clinton's approach," Craig wrote.

The newly passed measure, Craig continued, "contains language that sets forth an entirely new rationale for keeping US troops in Iraq and, if need be, for attacking Iranian forces. The problematic language in the resolution says that it is a "critical national interest of the United States" to counter Iran's influence among the Shia population of Iraq. Without a doubt, President Bush can cite that language as authorizing him to maintain and use US troops in Iraq for the purpose of containing Iran, curtailing Iran's influence in Iraq, and, if need be, to expand our troops' activities beyond Iraq's borders to pursue and attack Iranian forces."

In other words, this was a vote for a potential war in Iran.

Not so fast, the Clinton campaign countered.

A press release from team Clinton posited the following:

"Who said this?
"Such a reduced but active presence will also send a clear message to hostile countries like Iran and Syria that we intend to remain a key player in this region." Later in the same speech, he said: "Make no mistake, if the Iranians and Syrians think they can use Iraq as another Afghanistan or a staging area from which to attack Israel or other countries, they are badly mistaken. It is in our national interest to prevent this from happening."
George Bush? Nope. The latest from Dick Cheney? Guess again.
Language from Kyl-Lieberman? Sorry.
That was Senator Obama in late 2006 making the case for why maintaining a military force in Iraq is necessary to constrain Iran's ambitions. But that was then."

The Clinton release, entitled "Obama vs Obama," went on to attack Obama for trying to revive a sagging campaign. "Stagnant in the polls and struggling to revive his once-buoyant campaign, Senator Obama has abandoned the politics of hope and embarked on a journey in search of a campaign issue to use against Senator Clinton. Never mind that he made the very argument he is now criticizing back in November 2006. Never mind that he co-sponsored a bill designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a global terrorist group back in April."
And then?

The Obama campaign replied, of course.

"All of the political explanations and contortions in the world aren't going to change the fact that, once again, Senator Clinton supported giving President Bush both the benefit of the doubt and a blank check on a critical foreign policy issue. Barack Obama just has a fundamentally different view," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

The Clinton campaign -- at least temporarily -- had no comment.

--Anne E. Kornblut

By Washington Post editors  |  October 26, 2007; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , National Security  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: For Red Arrow Patrons, December Primary Would Mean Blue Christmas
Next: A Campaign Afflicted With Debate Fatigue


When the media engages in this back and forth mudslinging about petty nuances about the Iran Policy we're missing the true substance of debates on foreign policy, health care, immigration and social security.

Posted by: nquotes | October 27, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind having a woman president. But I do want to elect someone that is competent. Hillary Clinton has been a lousy senator. She has not acheived any major successes for the American people as senator.

She has however managed to help send our troops to Iraq. She has the blood of our troops on her hands.

Hillary Clinton has also managed to get rich from filling her pockets with the money of special interest groups and lobbyists.

Plus, how can she run this country if she can not teach her husband how to keep his zipper up?

Posted by: AndreaT1 | October 26, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama has maintained a very consistent and defined position on Iran for some years. He posits, I think correctly, that it is has policies and stated intentions that are inimical to regional calm and peaceful coexistence with other states, including the United States. He has refused to take the option of military action against Iran 'off the table'. He is not, in other words, soft on Iran. At the same time he is quite justifiably concerned that the Bush administration is manouvering Congress to provide legal cover for a new, ill-conceived military adventure in Iran. He has carefully maintained a well reasoned balance between clearly opposing Iran's more imprudent ideas and opposing the Bush administration's attempts to squeeze out of Congress something that might pass as permission for cowboy antics in a new theater. I believe that this is a position that is in the best interests of us all, and I believe that Sen. Obama has good reason to question Sen. Clinton's decision to side with the administration on the issue. First, it is appears to be a politically calculated -- and dangerous -- move on her part. Second, it is evidence of this kind, repeated a number of times now, that put a sharp point on the question of Sen. Clinton's judgment.

Posted by: wojay | October 26, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Should we expect something solid from the Clinton's camapaign? The answer is NO. They are very good at blurring the facts, yet, the main stream media failed to do their job.

Shame on you MSM

Posted by: gbuze007 | October 26, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

As for him not being there Mr. Reid had adjourned the Senate for the day and then brought it back on the floor later.Mrs. Clinton is being misleading in her memo. Its sad that the media does not point that out. Here are the minutes to the Senate the day of the Iranian Guard Vote.

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. REID. Mr. Chairman, there will be no more votes tonight. We have tried to work something out on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment and the Biden amendment. We have been unable to do that.

We have been very close a few times, but we have just been informed that Senator Biden will not have a vote anytime in the near future. There will not be a vote on the other one anytime in the near future. We hope tonight will bring more clearness on the issue.

But right now, I think it is fair to say there will be no votes tonight.

Does the Senator from South Dakota have any comments?

Mr. THUNE. No, I do not. I would say to the leader, that is good for our Members to know. We have Members who have been inquiring whether they will be able to vote.

See for your self

Here is a great blog

Posted by: TennGurl | October 26, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Main Stream Media is failing America again as it did prior to war in Iraq, even though the reasons given for the war could easily be disproved by any rookie journalist who had interest in investigative journalism. Here again, the drumbeat for war in Iran has started and the media again are hand-in-glove with the administration.

Any reasonable person knows for a fact that Hilary Clinton is a danger because of her woman complex she wears on her sleeves. As President George Bush wanted to prove to the world that he could do what his father could not accomplish by deposing Saddam Hussein during the Desert Storm, is what Senator Clinton wants to prove that she can out-hawk the hawks as a woman than men.

The MSM are in bed with Hilary Clinton and fail to call her out for brazenly straddling two sides of the fence without any iota of compunction. Hilary Clinton voted for Kyl-Lieberman amendment on Iran and realizing her error, she inserted her name on the bill introduced by Senator Webb in order to amortize her brazen error of judgment. This is the character MSM are falling over themselves to anoint as the Commander-In-Chief. It is as pathetic as it is disgusting the failure of MSM to do their job diligently as expected in a democracy.

Posted by: jckckc | October 26, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Without seeing the language of the earlier bill supported by Obama that allegedly would have labelled the IRG a terrorist group, it is difficult to say who is doing more bending of the truth. Based on the excerpts above, it would appear that the Clinton campaign is attempting to paint a willingness to keep troops in Iraq for stabilization purposes with declaring the Rev Guard as a terrorist organization. Is that a fair argument to make? Not to my mind, but then I'm already biased to believe that HRC is unwilling to take a position and stick with it, if changing her position would be politically advantageous. In short, it seems her politics are based on winning elections, not on determining the best course of action for America.

Posted by: bsimon | October 26, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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