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Clinton Pauses to Remember Bhutto

Hillary Clinton and Benazir Bhutto met in Islamabad in March of 1995. (Reuters).

By Anne E. Kornblut
LAWTON, Iowa, Dec. 27 -- As the news of Benazir Bhutto's death reverberated through the presidential campaign, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton paused to remember a woman whom she knew personally on the world stage and who had recently offered her advice on running as a female candidate.

"Today the world once again is reminded of the dangers facing those who pursue democracy and free elections, in Pakistan and elsewhere in areas that are rife with conflict and violence and extremism and anti-democratic forces at work," Clinton said at the start of a campaign event here in western Iowa. "I have known Benazir Bhutto for a dozen years and I knew her as a leader. I knew her as someone willing to take risks."

It was not immediately clear what effect, if any, the assassination would have on the race in the United States. But it immediately played into Clinton's closing argument that she is best equipped to handle unexpected crises in global hot spots in part because she has worked with many world leaders before.

In her opening remarks, Clinton described Bhutto as someone she had known for many years. She also compared the Pakistani election to the one underway here.

"I hope that if there is any opportunity for the government and people of Pakistan to respond to this tragedy appropriately, it would be to move more steadfastly and determinately toward democracy," Clinton said. "She has given her life for that hope, and I know that the people of our country stand in solidarity with those who believe as we do in the rights of people to be heard at the ballot box."

Clinton continued: "When I think about our democracy and the intensity of feeling that people have demonstrated already in our election because we take our elections seriously, we know how important it is," she said. "The decision that will start here in Iowa in one week."

By Washington Post editors  |  December 27, 2007; 11:12 AM ET
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Next: The Bhutto Assassination and Giuliani


Sorry, messed up a sentence on Biden. I was saying that America would be in the best of hands if it was Joe Biden at the helm of our national security, in the same realm as Hillary and John McCain.


Posted by: ralphdaugherty | December 27, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

This column is sort of in the archives already, but I'll add that Matthews on Hardball and his roundtable gave Hillary and McCain high marks for their response to this tragedy.

Also, for the person who said not Biden, Joe Biden is even better prepared to deal with a tragedy like this than the eminently prepared Hillary Clinton and John McCain. America would be in the best of hands if it was Joe Biden at the helm if it was Joe Biden at the helm of our national security.

I am a Hillary Clinton supporter. Go Hillary '08!


Posted by: ralphdaugherty | December 27, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Nuts2U - Actions have consequences and both Clinton's are a threat to this country and had everything to do with the assassination of Bhutto. Ms. Bhutto was widely seen as too soft on the U.S. and India. Ms. Cliton is viewed as *in* the pocket of Indian business interests to the extent that no Pakistani politician will have a thing to do with her or her husband (Hillary Clinton received a significant amount of her Senate and presidential campaign money from Indian business interests). The Middle East is rife with rumors, but one is that the U.S. and India will attemp to seize Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Right now they are being dispersed and several have been hidden by nationalist forces in the military. A Clinton caucus pr primary victory in the next few weeks might just spark a nuclear war. At the very least, it will cost us all influence in and over Pakistan. The Pakistani's hate her.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 27, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

another reminder why we need an experienced candidate in these challenging times. obama, unfortunately, is not that candidate.

hillary or edwards '08.

Posted by: jtorres138 | December 27, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto's Reaction To Obama's Comment on Military Force

Benazir Bhutto, when asked about Barack Obama's statement that he would use military force on Pakistani soil without authorization from that government, at a Council on Foreign Relations event in August:

QUESTIONER: You may have covered that, what I was going to ask you next, but let me try it anyhow.

We had quite an interesting, and indeed still are, mini-debate here politically between two -- initially two of the Democratic aspirants for presidents, and it spread now across party lines. And Barack Obama kicked it off by saying, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will." That's a direct quote from a recent speech of his. What is your reaction to that?

BHUTTO: Well, I wouldn't like the United States to violate Pakistan's sovereignty with unauthorized military operations. But the issue that I would like to stress is that Barack Obama also said, if Pakistan won't act. And that's the critical issue, that the government has to act. And the government has to act to protect Pakistan's own serenity and integrity, its own respect, and to understand that if it creates a vacuum, then others aren't going to just twiddle their thumbs while militants freely move across the border.

I think General Musharraf did the right thing recently in admitting that militants are using our soil, but he said the army has nothing to do with it. But nonetheless, the issue for me is that we cannot cede parts of Pakistani territory to anybody; not just the Taliban, to anybody. That in Pakistan we have one army, one police, one constitution, one government. We cannot allow parallel armies, parallel militias, parallel laws and parallel command structures. Today it's not just the intelligence services, who were previously called a state within a state. Today it's the militants who are becoming yet another little state within the state, and this is leading some people to say that Pakistan is on the slippery slope of being called a failed state. But this is a crisis for Pakistan, that unless we deal with the extremists and the terrorists, our entire state could founder.

Terrorism is loathsome everywhere it strikes, but today's bombing really sticks in the craw. Someone evil in that region just silenced a voice that could have done a lot of good for that country.

Posted by: uniteusnow | December 27, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I can't agree more with the post of icheif about the media bias. The bias is even more stark if one looks at the cable TV programs and the leader is undoubtedly Chris Matthews of Hardball. Comparatively, even FOX news appears more balanced. The pity is that he didn't even care to hide his hatred for Clintons.


Posted by: thanu52 | December 27, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Have anybody forgotten who was in office when the Taliban took over Afganistan? Folks, if Pakistan become anything close to what Afganistan was with the Taliban, the World will be realy dangerous place. So, this assessination should wake every leader up to help the foster some type of democratic system in Pakistan but not one that it force, like the west usually do. Democracy can never be imposed, it should be cultivated based on the socio-economical, cultural, and polical realities of a country.

Posted by: imbrichi | December 27, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

EXCUSE me, self righteous Obamazoids. David Axelrod just made a statement trying to blame Bhutto's death on Clinton because of her Iraq vote. Now who is trying to score political points off this tragic event????????? You guys are precious & not in a good way.

Posted by: Nuts2U | December 27, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Conventional wisdom will say that heavy news coverage of the gun and bomb attack will bolster the arguments of Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), both members of the Armed Services Committee. ... That same instant will say that the candidates most damaged will be Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Will Bhutto's death kill Obama's & Huckabee's momentum in Iowa?


Posted by: PollM | December 27, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

So now America REALLY needs Hillary to save us.

The world is dangerous and she is the answer to the world's problems.

She gives us hungry americans gifts such as pre-K and healthcare.

Hillary has met with world leaders.

This is why we need Hillary and not Joe Biden in the white house.

Posted by: dcis1 | December 27, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Clinton clearly demonstrates again why she is the most qualified candidate in the 2008 Presidential race from either side. Sen. Clinton will make a great President. The unfortunate death of Benazir Bhutto is a great loss for Pakistan and the U.S. Bhutto and Clinton would have worked well together to bring stability to this region. Bush has failed again.

Posted by: TAH1 | December 27, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to Clinton and her hyserical followers to try and make politcial hay out of a catasrophy *they helped create*. If the incomparably incompetent Ms. Clinton wasn't so cozy with India and Indian corporations, who have contributed heavily to her campaign, she might have been able to exert, pressure on India to treat their Muslim minority better and force India to hold that U.N. plebicite in Kashmir. Instead, she is so far in debt to Indian and Chinese companies (and comapnies in the U.S. busy outsourcing more than 40 million jobs) that she is thought of as the devil incarnate in Pakistan.

Nutcases, like the self identified lesbian "dyck21005" could care less about morality or competence or jobs or much of anything else, so long as she can get legalized gay marriage. News flash! No self respecting Democrat will vote for Clinton. Most of us will vote Republican, even Huckabee, if it gives us a chance to stick our finger in your eye.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 27, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

ichief thank you for the links to media coverage of Clinton . Totally agree with the sentiments that you have expressed here.

Posted by: rdklingus | December 27, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Clinton once again shows what a classy Lady and leader she is! another example of how powerful woman leaders are quieted! Face it ladies its a mans world and that has been showed during this entire campagine, with every news article and news station in this country treating Hillary differently and unfairly in the media, because the good ole boys knows she can and will win! Hillarys excellent experience, drive and fight WOMAN WILL SUCCEED in 2008! CLINTON 2008

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 27, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Why do you assume I am talking about one candidate? Sadly people only call others name when they know they are losing the argument. Why is it so bad to say leave politics out of this? Are we so dysfunctional that we accept that candidates will use a tragedy to promote their candidacy ex. Guilani and 9/11? I am extremely disappointed that some here think it's ok but then I guess they are representative of their candidate who is in to win it at any cost..

Posted by: TennGurl | December 27, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Thank You Peterdc, I feel very much the same. It's nice to know their are considerate, intelligent, thinkers out there.


Posted by: sheilahowison | December 27, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

No attacks here Carlyle, Well said! Ten is simply uneducated and ignorant, or that certainly appears to be the the case. It is a very dangerous time for Pakistan, and they all need our prayers.


Posted by: sheilahowison | December 27, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

in the name of all that is holy; praise be to allah and praise to his humble servant benazir bhutto:

who gives a damn about hillary's hair at a time like this; the question is whether she's going to show some cleavage at the funeral

Posted by: shmaryahoopizzaman | December 27, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's campaign is self-serving, even in the death of a fellow female politician.

Posted by: fprmclain | December 27, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

It is sad that the anti- Clinton people are so blind as to what is at stake in the world. Of course Clinton would use more I's in her statement about Bhutto. She knew her, met with her and corresponded with her. Obama just read about her.

We are in a dangerous world and this just reminds us about that. Bhutto's death may set back the democracy movement in Pakistan and that is sad but the reality is that the US must be ready to deal with whatever happens there and around the world.

Bhutto's death not withstanding- Hillary Clinton is the only candidate ready to deal with the grave issues facing us. Her knowledge of the world and its leaders, many of whom she knows, and her incredible ability to understand the nuances of issues will allow all of us to sleep better knowing she is in the White House.

Barack Obama is just not ready to be President yet and we know that we can't afford another term of Republicans in the White House.

Posted by: peterdc | December 27, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

There's a huge difference between a candidate using fear to intimidate voters and a candidate who is urging voters to use common sense and vote for the person who is best qualified.

Incidentally, like many of Obama's dismissive remarks, some of these readers' comments are difficult to respond to since they use hints, innuendo, etc., instead of actually identifying the candidate they are targeting.

Posted by: ichief | December 27, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I regret that because of Ms. Bhutto's death we may see a candidate use fear to intimidate voters into voting for them.I look forward to voting for a president who does not use fear.

Posted by: TennGurl | December 27, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It's appalling that readers cannot refrain from the most twisted, catty, petty attacks on Hillary Clinton (and even Bhutto for that matter) in her expression of grief at the death of a woman she has known personally.

The vulgarity of some of these comments seems insurmountable, especially since I've just read an article on the extent of misogynist attacks on Clinton throughout this campaign. Here's the link:

A second article released the other day presents a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs that documents media bias against Clinton in TV news coverage of the campaign,

Posted by: ichief | December 27, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I think it's been documented already that every candidate has issued a statement on the assassination -- I suspect if any GOP candidate had not, they would have been attacked as insensitive -- is a press release using "Bhutto's death to their political advantage"?

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Grow up uniteusnow; your childishness is beyond comprehension. The reason why Hillary could, and rightfully so, use the word "I", is because she knew Ms. Bhutto. Obama did not. Were Hillary to use the more stilted pronoun "we", I am sure you would have had something else to say. The use of the impersonal "we" when speaking about someone you know or knew personally, seems to be only used by British royalty and I am sure had Hillary used it, you too, like all the others who find any reason to criticise the Clintons, would have had somethingelse to say. You guys never learn and probably never will. Best of luck however and I am sure the barrage of insults shall start now; so, bring them on.

Posted by: Carlyle_R | December 27, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

If any candidates uses Ms, Bhutto's death to their political advantage it is a sorry testament to their character.

Posted by: TennGurl | December 27, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

All candidates as well as anybody who cares for someone who has long standing ideology in life. Bhutto is agood example that women can be a good leader and stand in to their principles. Fortunately, we have a woman who is going to do that, Hillary has shown her determination for change and to rebuild our country. Hillary is right. Hillary had dealt with world leaders and still dealing with them.......Hillary's exposure and experience to world leaders gave her an edge among the other candidates. Hillary's speeches in all her campaigns, I feel all her sincereness and strong commitment to the people of the United States. That's why no wonder few people of Iowa and New Hampshire could not decided yet since as days passing by, they are seeing Hillary's devotion, sincerity and dedication towards her plans for the country and to the people of the United States. As I've always said, we are becoming smart voters if not intelligent voters. Our emotions could not help for change or for the purpose of rebuilding our country. We are facing the real world and we need to be realistic also. We cannot afford to play with our emotions now with the way our country is going on. We need someone who has the experience and determination to rule or lead our country. I am not against any candidate but I love my country and I want it rebuild. I cannot afford to have someone to lead our country from advisers but someone who can do it right then on the first day of office. So far, Hillary is the one that has all that. Bhutto will be remembered as a very strong willed woman that is determined for change in her country. Hillary will do the same. I cannot wait to show to the whole world that the United States can have a woman president also and could lead this precious country of ours.

Posted by: lianette_steele | December 27, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I could strongly suggest the Clintons be careful just how quickly they want to hook-up their Horse to that Cart! Benazir might have become a Martyr, but she definitely had baggage Obama would be more likely to want to carry!

I am saddened by the event at any rate. She was a brave Woman, who did support her cause, even if it was Socialistic and Pro-Iranian. I am very sorry to hear about her death at the hands of some evil dispicable People.

I can only say, there is a way to help Pakistan come to grips with any suspicions about it's leaders and Political figures.

Join me, in rallying for the UN, or other neutral Entity, to administer POLYGRAPH Testing of at least President Musharraf, who I believe innocent, and Nawaz Sharif, who happens to be the only one benefitting in any way from the traggic events of today!

Musharraf, Sharif, who is willing to be hooked up and asked: Were YOU involved in Bhutto's Assasination?

It just might be, Niether was!

One thing is a Fact, the Test could verify Innocence or Guilt-and to refuse the test...Well...

Posted by: rat-the | December 27, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's statement was full
of "I" "I" "I" "I" "I"

Contrast that to Obama's statement.

From Sen. Barack Obama: "I am shocked and saddened by the death of Benazir Bhutto in this terrorist atrocity. She was a respected and resilient advocate for the democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people. We join with them in mourning her loss, and stand with them in their quest for democracy and against the terrorists who threaten the common security of the world."

Posted by: uniteusnow | December 27, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

By all accounts, Bhutto and her husband were corrupt politicians who spirited $1.5 billion out of Pakistan. She was facing criminal prosecution in several countries; he spent years in jail for his crimes.

Enter George W. Bush, who engineered her return to Pakistan in an effort to force a union with the hated and reviled Musharraf. The idea was to somehow keep Musharraf in power by putting lipstick on the pig that is Pakistan's military dictatorship.

Well, the marriage failed even before it was consummated, and now the bride is dead.
So is Musharraf, only he's still walking.

Bush has secretly sent billions to prop up Pakistan's hated military rule; what do you suppose he's going to do now? Who knows ...

What we do know is that politicians like Hillary and Guiliani and the rest of the warmongers will pounce on the tragedy to rant about the need for even more military intervention. And the gullible and forever fearful American public will hide under their beds, coming out on election day to vote for the loudest sabre-rattling idiot on the ballot. It's easy to really, really hate them all.

Posted by: Casey1 | December 27, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

TennGurl, I take it you're talking about Guliani?


Posted by: ralphdaugherty | December 27, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

We shall milk as much from this tragic event to advance our cause! Well Bhutto and HRC share a common thread, they are beneficiaries of nepotism. HRC's election will be as tragic to USA democracy as Bhutto's death has been to Pakistan. What is it that is new that HRC will bring to the USA?

Posted by: ichikowore | December 27, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit that I immediately chuckled at Hillary's hairdo and at PM Bhutto's red nails and lipstick, though on a serious note, I am extremely saddened by this killing, as I was optimistic that Pakistan was making progress, and I am afraid this is a tremendous set back.
I am glad that Hillary Clinton and other candidates are acknowledging this tragedy.

Posted by: stacy | December 27, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I urge readers to reject the fact that some candidiates may use this loss for their political gain. If candidates choose to win at any cost including using the death of this woman to bolster their case for the presidency they do not deserve to be president.

Posted by: TennGurl | December 27, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, hairdo is okay, but the Clntons policies towards Pakistan and Aphganistan is what essentially created current tensions, resulting in this assassination.
How much damage internationally and internally this co-ruling couple has already caused within their time, which were raised to the extreme by our current prez. - Bush Jr., is sure impossible to overestimate.

Posted by: aepelbaum | December 27, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I always make a good point ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

JakeD's comments (whether jocular or not) make a good point. Remember the old days when the media was focused on HRC's hair and not so much on who was in the picture, where it was taken and what was being discussed? Look at Hillary's hair, forget that she's meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Those were the old days, when we focused on the fringe issues (oh no, what a terrible pun) about hairdos, running to the campaign bus in freezing cold, being made to wait before campaign events, oh wait, sorry, that was was Dana Milibank's column from a few weeks ago.

I guess some people still don't see the Bhutto in the photo.

Posted by: dorugavril | December 27, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Look at Hillary's HAIR!!!

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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