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Bill Clinton Says He Opposed Iraq War From the Outset

Former president Bill Clinton said on Tuesday that he "opposed Iraq from the beginning," apparently glossing over the more nuanced views of the war he has expressed over time. Clinton made the remarks while campaigning for his wife in Iowa - a largely anti-war state for Democrats -- as he expressed bitterness over getting a tax cut with money that could have been spent on the military.

"Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers," Clinton said. He said he "should not have gotten" the tax cuts he received as a wealthy earner.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton voted to authorize the war in Iraq, and has never apologized for her vote, even as the Democratic nominating process has reached fever pitch and she has been drawn into a three-way tie with more ardent Iraq war foes, Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards.

Both the former president and his wife have grown increasingly critical of the war's management in recent years. Both have also pointed to their remarks, made before the invasion, in which they said they would like to see weapons inspectors finish their work in Iraq before launching an attack - a distinction that has allowed both Clintons to claim consistency on Iraq.

Sen. Clinton has, at times, even cited the experience her husband had dealing with the Iraqi regime in the 1990s as one reason she gave Pres. Bush the benefit of the doubt when she voted for the war in 2002.

Jay Carson, a spokesman for the Clintons, pointed to those comments about weapons inspections as evidence that the former president was not trying to rewrite history. "As he said from the beginning and many times since, president Clinton disagreed with taking the country to war in Iraq without allowing the weapons inspectors to finish their jobs," Carson said.

But past remarks made by the former president do leave open a question about how fervently Clinton opposed the war in real time and before it grew widely unpopular. In immediate hindsight, Clinton did not sound like a fierce critic. "I supported the president when he asked for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," Clinton said on May 18, 2003, during a commencement speech at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.

--Anne E. Kornblut

By Washington Post editors  |  November 27, 2007; 7:38 PM ET
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I think this remark will set Hillary back in Iowa...This is outrageous! ...

Posted by: nquotes | November 30, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Did Bill give advice to Hillary about the Iraq War? Considering Hillary's vote in support of Bush's War, either Hillary didn't listen to Bill or else Bill did not advised Hillary.

But based on Bill's support of the war in his op-ed column in the Guardian, Bill was for Bush's war. Thus Bill's advice to Hillary was to vote for the Iraq War. Thus, Bill gave Hillary bad advice.

If Bill did not advise Hillary on the Iraq War, then there is no two-fors in electing Hillary. That is, Hillary will be running the show. Considering Hillary's vote on Iraq was wrong, she has already proved that she does not have good judgement.

Posted by: south_philly_yank | November 29, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a pathological liar just like her husband. Bill Clinton's Administration was the most corrupt administration in the history of our country. Clinton also allowed Osama Bin Laden to run free around the world after it was learned that he was behind the 1993 WTC attacks. Clinton had numerous opportunities to capture Bin Laden--HE DIDN'T DO IT!! As a result of Bill Clinton thousands of American citizens are DEAD!!

Posted by: charko825 | November 29, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton is a liar when he says that he opposed the war from the beginning. The only former President that had the guts to clearly state his opposition to the war and to face the consequences of that decision was Jimmy Carter. Bush, Clinton and Ford said virtually nothing for fear of somehow demeaning the Presidency. Ford was such a coward that he went to his death bed and said nothing while our soldiers were being killed only to have his views against the war printed after his death. What a hero he was. Hillary is just be the same. Everything she says is poll tested and parsed. Hell will freeze over before I ever vote for another Clinton. I only wish I could take back my votes for Bill Clinton. They are both the most deceitful and dishonest human beings on the face of the earth.

Posted by: marypoppins1568 | November 28, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Both Clinton's have the experience to lie and to evade court after lying to the public. Bill will seal the last nail in Hillary's campaign bid. He is making a mockery of the American people's intelligence. His claim that he was not asked or given a chance to support the soldiers, is by far the hillarious one I heard so far. Does anybody else have to give him a chance to support the soldiers. It has to come from his heart. Nobody asked the thousands of people who show support for the soldiers with whatever they can afford. When he goes around making millions on speech engagements and selling books, he could spend that money on the soldiers. Nobody said he shouldn't. He is a private citizen like most people now. He choses whom he want to support or not to support.

Obama has been right all along. The Clinton's will tell you want you want to hear. Not what they think is right. That does it for Hillary. Shouldn't allow Hillary to waste anymore of the campaign money. She should get out of the race and return all the money back to the bundlers.

Posted by: ChunkyMonkey1 | November 28, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

"Former U.S. presidents are properly referred to by the last elected title they held (if any) before their election to president ("former president" is also OK). Accordingly, there is no "President Clinton." We have only Governor Clinton and his wife, Senator Clinton."

oh no, sorry "Underthedocec," you are wrong.

[QUOTE] Tips & Warnings
Ex-presidents get to retain their titles forever, so when you meet a past president, use the same form of address as you would with a current one.
If the president is a married man, his wife, the first lady, is addressed as Ms. or Mrs. followed by her own last name (be it her maiden or married name).
Heavy security, courtesy of the Secret Service, surrounds the president at all times.

Former Presidents are always accorded the honorary title of Mr. President. What do you call George Herbert Walker Bush, or James Earl Carter, the late Gerald R. Ford, the late Ronald Wilson Reagan? "President" is their title.

Other persons hold the title of the highest office they have achieved. Hence, Madeleine Albright is still "Secretary."

Thank for playing. Please deposit another token.

Posted by: jade7243 | November 28, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

The "Clinton Express" is being derailed. Even Bill-the-Magnificent is screwing up. Sorry Bill, there are videos of you and your wife supporting Bush's decision to attack Iraq. Although I voted for Bill twice I think America is tiring of Clintonian-style politics. I am supporting Obama.

Posted by: zb95 | November 28, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton presidency died in 2001. He is a private citizen. It does not mater what opinion he had then or now on Iraq war. He might have told Hillary to vote or not to vote (man, she is Scorpion women, she will do what she wants to do, any man is a slave to scorpion woman). Just because he is Hillary's husband, she as his wife does not have to take his advice because she is the senator. The presumption among pundits that Hillary as wife to her husband will listen to her husband or she is what Bill is, is the spin that pundits and Hillary haters are trying to put into voters mind. For me, Hillary is Hilary and Bill is Bill. Hillary is responsible for the Iraq vote, and she has owned it and taken the responsibility as senator, AND SHE IS PREPARED TO LOOSE ON THIS IF THAT HAPPENS, unlike Edward who irresponsibly voted for it and then started pleading for mercy and begging the voters to forgive him and Obama who claims have opposed the war since the beginning when he did not have the right vote (he was not the senator at the time, that is audacity), also opposed voting for declaring Iranian revolutionary guard as Terrorist when He did have the right to vote but missed it irresponsibly. It seems it is forgotten that it was Iranian parliament who first declared and passed a resolution that US is terrorist country.
One who decided only election day.

Posted by: amirkhan000 | November 28, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Enough Already

I am tired of the "got ya" press. It serves no value, other then demonstrating how much the press can manipulate what you say with semantics.

This quote was taken from the NY Times "Mr. Clinton has said several times since the war began that he would not have attacked Iraq in the manner that President Bush had done. As early as June 2004, he said, "I would not have done it until after Hans Blix finished the job," referring to the weapons inspections there before the war."

It sounds to me he was saying he would not of invaded Iraq unless they found WMDs. We know there were no WMDs. At best, he can make the same claim Hillary Clinton made: "I was fooled into giving my support to the president by faulty evidence. We know this president lied to go to Iraq. In fact the press knows this same truth.

I will take the time to express another point. I am so tired of the media flashing this one poll before the American people that shows Clinton and Barack Obama in a statistical dead heat. This is not a victory for Obama. If you wait long enough, another poll will confirm Clinton's lead. Instead of trying to make news, the media needs to just report it. The didactic nature of forcing a thought down the viewers throat as made this viewer very tired and untrusting of cable news.


Posted by: joseph_b26 | November 28, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

1. Former U.S. presidents are properly referred to by the last elected title they held (if any) before their election to president ("former president" is also OK). Accordingly, there is no "President Clinton." We have only Governor Clinton and his wife, Senator Clinton.

2. zukermand, what on earth is wrong with you? Anne Kornblut is reporting *facts,* and you slander her by saying her article is "irresponsible, unprofessional, and genuinely harmful." It's people like you who have killed political debate in America. All we have left is name-calling and knee-jerk opposition to everything the other side does.

Posted by: underthedocec | November 28, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton is full of more Bullcrap then a manure factory and twice as smelly.

He wrote an article march 18th 2003 for a British paper supporting and explaining why we should attack Iraq

Posted by: MountainStreams | November 28, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

All I keep seeing are the comments that Clintons are Liars, excuse me, Bush told the truth all the time, lets go back to the fact, are we better off now with GWB,if we win this so called war of GWB's, what do we WIN, what is the PRIZE, does the world get to respect the USA again, does the world pay the USA for all the treasure that was lost along with the brave troops lost and the prestige of our country, do you people want another mess like what was created by the corporate money and paybacks that was owed to the Father, time for you all to get a life and make the changes, no we do not need anymore Republicans running their cash registers in the country right now.

Posted by: Fjewers | November 28, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I love this plea from "zukermand": "Anne, this is irresponsible, unprofessional, and genuinely harmful to our political discourse. Please, look in the mirror, reclaim your soul, stop this."

Translation: Didn't you get the mainstream media talking points on this?

Posted by: izaraurora | November 28, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse


I AM a liberal, but I CAN'T stomach the Clintons.

And I'm not alone.

Obama '08

Posted by: keithferg | November 28, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"Clinton has been documented "on T.V."!!!!!! more than once saying of the need to get rid of Hussein-that he was a threat to his neighbors etc. etc."

So what? Anybody who said Saddam was a threat to his neighbors and to the US is "for this war" - Is that your point?

I don't think anybody can dispute that a defiant Saddam Hussain posed a threat to US interests in the Middle East, if not a direct threat to our homeland. Any discerning leader would have acknowledged it and acted on it, particularly after 9/11. Al Gore also supported a regime change in Iraq at that time, does that make him responsible for this war? But, there is a difference between the talking the talk and walking the walk. Iraq would be a different story if a smart guy was our President since 2000. Bill Clinton is a successful President who showed he can build coalitions and protect our interests across the globe. It takes a lot of special qualities to be a successful President and I think both Clinton's have in abundance what it takes for that. To me that is what matters, not their personal flaws. I am not going to vote for anybody just because they were against the Iraq war from the begining.. This is tad more serious business than a county election..

Posted by: ak_ra | November 28, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Even though many may like the policies that Senator Clinton proposes, they should also consider her record , just as Senator Clinton insists.
The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where torturing people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid its responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and protect the citizenry.
Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalker protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
Do we want a President who sends a "crime does pay" message to society?
Would you vote for a President who has signed nonagression deals with the KKK or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKK and Nazi Party.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
If you are one of the few who do not know what the above refers to, do a web search for "gang stalking" to see the tip of the dirtberg. Please do it before you decide to reply to my post.

Posted by: avraamjack | November 28, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm giving up on the media.

Posted by: BecJensen1 | November 28, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Ms Kornblut. The media continues to ignore one of the most important parts of the Iraq Resolution that was passed in 2002. The Presidential determination that was required before military force could be used. The President had to notify Congress that it was his determination that all diplomatic options had failed. Many people didn't think that he would ignore the fact that the UN Inspectors weren't finding any proof that the evidence the US had provided was valid. I don't know why the media continues to question what President and Hillary Clinton meant when they said that they wanted to get the UN Inspectors back in as a last ditch effort to stop any military action. It's not that difficult of an argument to follow yet the media continues to ignore the facts.


In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and

(2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001

Posted by: BecJensen1 | November 28, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton Says He Opposed Iraq War From the Outset
Say this man is like me I mean the way he say he opposed Iraq war. Even I never wanted anyone to go Iraq in 1930 to 2007 sir, but no one wants to listen to me???
I am sir from far
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044
East Africa

Posted by: famulla | November 28, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

re: "Check the record. In 1998, Clinton signed a bill making regime change in Iraq official U.S. policy. Public Law 105-338."
Posted by: carolmfrey | November 28, 2007 10:08 AM

What's your point?

Clinton actually DID a regime change of an evil dictator, remember?
My husband is a combat vet of both Gulf War I (Bush I's successful Gulf War) and Kosovo (Bill Clinton's successful regime change).

In both cases, our troops had a REAL coalition of the willing, and the missions were actually accomplished.

Invading Iraq without a plan for the peace?
Perhaps like George W. Bush, you are completely unable to discern the difference between successful foreign policies and abject FAILURE?

Oh, and how about those wmd's?
Did you forget those Bushie scare tactics -- weapons of MASS DESTRUCTION, not just "regime change"?

Bottomline, Clinton Haters:
When BC left office, 70% of the country thought we were going in the right direction.
Currently, 70% of America thinks we're going in the WRONG direction.

Are you better off now than you were eight years ago?

Posted by: freespeak | November 28, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone possibly believe Clinocchio and Mrs Clinocchio! How can you liberals stoamch these two incredible liars!

Posted by: Acquisano | November 28, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Why do criminals / politicians keep doing / saying what they do?
Answer: Because they get away with it!!
The MEDIA has never truly held Clinton to account for his actions or his blabber.
The best titles for this "Houdini" of politicians -
Preditor in Chief

Mendacitor in Chief.

She's not much better - she skates freely.

Posted by: cegallup | November 28, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton is back to doing one of the things he does best---"LIE" The same guys who lied before a grand jury is now once again lying on a National Level. Clinton has been documented "on T.V."!!!!!! more than once saying of the need to get rid of Hussein-that he was a threat to his neighbors etc. etc. This guys says whatever he wants and no one ever call him on it.... Where's Tim Russert!

Posted by: charko825 | November 28, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Can you imagine another 4, or god forbid 8 years, of these liars in the White House? Hillary supporters must be masochists.

Posted by: ohio4580 | November 28, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Who cares what Bill Clinton thought? What he thought is certainly a matter that historians might be interested in; but in the context of the 2008 elections - why would we be reviewing what he thought? Or should we look at which candidates agreed with his (revised) position of being against the war from the outset? In which case, the list is short - Obama & Kucinich, right?

Posted by: bsimon | November 28, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Check the record. In 1998, Clinton signed a bill making regime change in Iraq official U.S. policy. Public Law 105-338.

Posted by: carolmfrey | November 28, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The question is whether President Clinton made any public statement opposing the war at the time of the invasion in 2003, such as my letter to the New York Times dated March 17, 2003.

Posted by: comments | November 28, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

if devil in details the lincoln 4rent story makes both of them unelectable.
The true colors of this union is
exhausting Self Promotion.
aren't we talking about new pages?

Posted by: tabita | November 28, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

If you actually want the facts on this (and we all agree that the Clinton Haters DON'T want the facts -- nor does WaPo) they can be found at The Fact Hub at

On Aug, 26, 2002, Dick Cheney publicly stated that HE KNEW WHERE THE WMD'S WERE IN IRAQ.

There were no inspectors in Iraq, and the vote FIRST sent the inspectors back in.
Until Bush actually pulled the inspectors OUT, when they weren't finding wmd's, no one predicted Bush would invade Iraq if the inspectors found that Saddam did NOT have wmd's. He did. We all know him a lot better now. He's a delusional failure.

You can believe that Bush/Cheney lied to us, or you can believe that Clinton/Clinton lied to us. None of us get it both ways.

Me, I think that Bush/Cheney lied to us.

Posted by: freespeak | November 28, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

October 2, 2002. Bill Clinton on the war:

"A few words about Iraq. I support the efforts of the Prime Minister and President Bush to get tougher with Saddam Hussein. I strongly support the Prime Minister's determination if at all possible to act through the UN. We need a strong new resolution calling for unrestricted inspections. The restrictions imposed in 1998 are not acceptable and will not do the job."

"President Bush and Secretary Powell say they want a UN resolution too and are willing to give the inspectors another chance. Saddam Hussein, as usual, is bobbing and weaving. We should call his bluff. The United Nations should scrap the 1998 restrictions and call for a complete and unrestricted set of inspections with a new resolution. If the inspections go forward, and I hope they will, perhaps we can avoid a conflict. In any case the world ought to show up and say we meant it in 1991 when we said this man should not have a biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programme. And we can do that through the UN. The prospect of a resolution actually offers us the chance to integrate the world, to make the United Nations a more meaningful, more powerful, more effective institution. And that's why I appreciate what the Prime Minister is trying to do, in trying to bring America and the rest of the world to a common position. If he was not there to do this I doubt if anyone else could, so I am very very grateful."

"If the inspections go forward I believe we should still work for a regime change in Iraq in non-military ways, through support of the Iraqi opposition and in trying to strengthen it. Iraq has not always been a tyrannical dictatorship. Saddam Hussein was once a part of a government which came to power through more legitimate means"

Posted by: BecJensen1 | November 28, 2007 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Somebody needs to tell the Clintons that everything they have ever said is potentially right there next to everything they say today for comparison on the Internet. I was for Hillary Clinton in the beginning until I saw how she voted for and she and Bill supported the Bush administration in authorizing and funding the war all the way up till the time she became a presidential candidate at which time she said we must end this terrible war. He's not going to get away with a lie this time around either!

Posted by: Katy7540 | November 28, 2007 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Did Bill Clinton oppose the Iraq war from the beginning, or is he rewriting history to pave the way for Hillary's White House bid?


Posted by: PollM | November 28, 2007 12:41 AM | Report abuse

On the eve of war with Iraq, former President Clinton said we should avoid war and seek a new U.N. resolution. Here's what he said in New York on March 14, 2003, less than a week before the war began:

He's finally destroying his missiles, so let's give him a certain date in which, in this time, he has to destroy the missiles, reconcile the discrepancies in what we believe is the truth on chemical weapons, reconcile the discrepancies on biological weapons, reconcile the issue of the Drones, and offer up 150 scientists who can travel outside of Iraq with their families for interviews. If you do that, then we'll say this is really good-faith disarmament, and we'll go on without a conflict. Now if that passes, however, then you have to be willing to take yes for an answer. You see what I mean? I'm for regime change too, but there's more than one way to do it. We don't invade everybody whose regime we want to change. There's more than one way to do this, but if that passes and he actually disarms, then we have to be willing to take it, and then work for regime change by supporting the opposition to Saddam Hussein within and outside Iraq, and doing other things.

Posted by: jesuscastillon | November 28, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Anyone looking for some new Hillary video from an SC stop and an interesting commentary on how race is impacting that primary should try:

Posted by: lanefiller | November 27, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

With all her experience (and his) they both knew that the authorization vote would be used by Bush the usurper to go to war. The same Republicans who spent four years and 50 million bucks whipping the country into a blue dress stained frenzy (distracting the Clinton White House from serious work) were now whipping the country into a War frenzy. They knew it, were afraid to show some spine and stand up against, and voted for it. Well, now everyone knows. Bush was wrong and has mis-led us into a complete and total foreign policy debacle that has destroyed America's standing in the world and impoverished the nation. When it mattered, where was the tough, experienced Washington insider? When it mattered, who was willing to stand up against the neo-conmen and the right-wing smear machine?? Stay in the Senate Hilary. Let's end the culture wars and stop business as usual in Washington DC.

Posted by: thebobbob | November 27, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Well I don't really see Clintons point in bashing Bush now. Clinton seems to be a little behind the eight ball on this one, almost every democratic politician has spoken out and said they were against the war from the start and that Bush was bad so why is Clinton trying to get attention over it now? I think this is a pitty little cry for attention while his ex- wife is all over the news and is being tracked by the media every second. If Clinton wants to hit hard on why we shouldn't have gone to war he should have at least made the argument more in depth and not so generic.

Posted by: redlicorish_2 | November 27, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

If only Mr Clinton had learned to tell the truth. If only his wife had voted for the Durbin and Levin amendments to the war authorization then perhaps we could believe her and trust her judgment. Not gonna happen.

Posted by: scheide | November 27, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Do we want, as American citizens more of the same -- our politicians retiring and moving into the "private sector" as lobbyists "analysts" or worse yet future presidents? Wake up America! We can't afford stupidity. The emperor has no clothes and we're not saying it anymore. The best paying jobs in America are with the city, state or federal government -- the only bargaining units that are not being uncovered for what they truly are -- a robbery of American taxpayers. Wake up America! Speak out! It's happening.

Posted by: debluero | November 27, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Anne, this is irresponsible, unprofessional, and genuinely harmful to our political discourse. Please, look in the mirror, reclaim your soul, stop this.

Posted by: zukermand | November 27, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Do these idiot politicians realize that all their speeches and comments are available on the internet? Then when they get busted for flipflopping, they say, "I was for it before I was against it". Give me a break!

Posted by: fubaglady | November 27, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Great news! Now two Democratic candidates for president have opposed the war from the beginning!

Who cares if presidential candidate William J. Clinton was in fact NOT against the war from the start, at least he is clearly saying he was now!

Posted by: roo_P | November 27, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Okay... apparently the Clintons were against the war before they were for it, except for Bill who was against it, but didn't think to tell his wife she shouldn't vote for the resolution until the inspectors finished the job of looking for weapons that were never there in a country that didn't have anything to do with SEPT. 11.


Can't take four more years of that cr*p!


Posted by: jade7243 | November 27, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

This sound like revisionist to me, it seems the clinton campaign notice their weakness regarding this war and they are doing every thing to blur the line.

The Clintons cannot be trusted, period.

Posted by: gbuze007 | November 27, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

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