I don't think this is the fight Hillary Clinton wants...

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2007/03/ sweet_blog_special_at_harvards.html#more

Sweet blog special: At Harvard's IOP forum, Obama and Clinton advisors spar over Iraq.

A cornerstone of the Obama campaign has been his opposition to the Iraq war, a centerpiece of his 2004 Senate campaign and a reason he won a crowded Illinois Democratic primary field. A feature of the Clinton bid is the persistent questioning she gets about her 2002 vote to authorize President Bush to go to war in Iraq. Clinton has been saying that if she knew then what she knows now, she never would have voted yes.
Monday night was no different. At the John F. Kennedy Jr. forum, a student question about how the Clinton campaign can get voters to trust her judgment set the stage for Penn and Axelrod to spar over who said what when.

"Do you think Hillary Clinton is the kind of person who if she were president would have started the Iraq war?" Penn asked the student, with the answer "No" from Penn and applause from the audience. Penn then went a few steps further and said Obama, in 2004 in Boston, said when it came to that Iraq Senate vote "he is not sure" how he would have voted--a quote the Obama campaign argues was taken out of context.
Penn noted that when it comes to supporting Iraq war funding appropriations, Obama and Clinton have cast the same yes votes, a point he would make again later in the session. "Senator Clinton has taken responsibility for her vote," Penn said.
At that, Axelrod--aware that this kind of potentially damaging campaign chatter about Obama and Iraq has been floating around for the past few days--decided he had to respond. "I regret that Mark went there," Axelrod said, saying that Penn was selectively picking quotes from Obama interviews.
Axelrod alerted campaign communications chief Robert Gibbs that the matter of Obama's Iraq history was now in play and a short time after the forum ended, Gibbs sent out a detailed memo--to, in their view, buttress the campaigns' assertions that the Clinton camp is taking Obama's words out of context--a charge they deny.

(cont. below)

This is the detailed memo Gibbs sent out:

Enclosed are both the clear quotes as well as a timeline of Obama statements
on Iraq...


In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Obama noted that once the war
began, "...There's not much of a difference between my position and George
Bush's position at this stage." [Chicago Tribune, 7/27/2004]

"Obama, the U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois, said he believes the Bush
administration has lost too much credibility in the world community to
administer the policies necessary to stabilize Iraq.

'On Iraq, on paper, there's not as much difference, I think, between the
Bush administration and a Kerry administration as there would have been a
year ago,' Obama said during a luncheon meeting with editors and reporters
of Tribune newspapers. "There's not that much difference between my position
and George Bush's position at this stage. The difference, in my mind, is
who's in a position to execute.'

Stephanie Cutter, communications director for the Kerry campaign, did not
dispute Obama's statement, but said the true comparison rests in the
differences over the past two years. 'If you look on paper, [Bush] has come
our way, but he has come our way at a significant cost in terms of blood and
treasure,' Cutter said Monday. 'Bush finally agreed to go to the
international community, but in voters' minds that doesn't change their
opinion as to why we're at war or how the president mismanaged the war from
day one.'

Obama, a state senator from Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, opposed the
Iraq invasion before the war. But he now believes U.S. forces must remain to
stabilize the war-ravaged nation--a policy not dissimilar to the current
approach of the Bush administration.

The problem, Obama said, is the low regard for Bush in the international
community. 'How do you stabilize a country that is made up of three
different religious and in some cases ethnic groups, with minimal loss of
life and minimum burden to the taxpayers?' Obama said. 'I am skeptical that
the Bush administration, given baggage from the past three years, not just
on Iraq. . . . I don't see them having the credibility to be able to
execute. I mean, you have to have a new administration to execute what the
Bush administration acknowledges has to happen.'"


BLITZER: "Had you been in the Senate when they had a vote on whether to give
the president the authority to go to war, how would you have voted?"

OBAMA: "You know, I didn't have the information that was available to
senators." [CNN, "Late Edition," 07/25/04]

BLITZER: Had you been in the Senate when they had a vote on whether to give
the president the authority to go to war, how would you have voted?

OBAMA: You know, I didn't have the information that was available to
senators. I know that, as somebody who was thinking about a U.S. Senate
race, I think it was a mistake, and I think I would have voted no.

BLITZER: You would have voted no at the time?

OBAMA: That's correct.

BLITZER: Kerry, of course, and Edwards both voted yes.

OBAMA: But keep in mind, I think this is a tough question and a tough call.
What I do think is that if you're going to make these tough calls, you have
to do so in a transparent way, in an honest way, talk to the American
people, trust their judgment. [CNN, 'Late Edition,' 7/25/2004]


"I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports," Mr. Obama said. "What would
I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the
case was not made." [New York Times, 07/26/04]


"He opposed the war in Iraq, and spoke against it during a rally in Chicago
in the fall of 2002. He said then that he saw no evidence that Iraq had
unconventional weapons that posed a threat, or of any link between Saddam
Hussein and Al Qaeda.

"In a recent interview, he declined to criticize Senators Kerry and Edwards
for voting to authorize the war, although he said he would not have done the
same based on the information he had at the time.

"'But, I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports,' Mr. Obama said. 'What
would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point
the case was not made.'

"But Mr. Obama said he did fault Democratic leaders for failing to ask
enough tough questions of the Bush administration to force it to prove its
case for war. 'What I don't think was appropriate was the degree to which
Congress gave the president a pass on this,' he said." [New York Times,


Asked by NPR about John Kerry and John Edwards voting for the war, Obama
said: "I think that there is room for disagreement in that initial
decision." [NPR, 7/27/04]


BLOCK: I've read about a speech you gave in the fall of 2002. It had to do
with the looming war in Iraq.

Sen. OBAMA: Right.

BLOCK: It made quite a splash. Can you tell me about that?

Sen. OBAMA: I delivered a speech to a couple of thousand people at a
anti-war rally in Chicago. And I said, `It's not that I'm opposed to all
wars. It's just that I think this is not the right war to fight.' I don't
consider that to have been an easy decision, and certainly, I wasn't in the
position to actually cast a vote on it. But what I do think is that we need
a foreign policy that is less ideologically driven and pays more attention
to facts on the ground.

BLOCK: This ticket, obviously, John Kerry and John Edwards, both senators
voted for the war.

Sen. OBAMA: Yeah. Well--and I think that there is room for disagreement in
that initial decision. Where I think we have to be unified is to recognize
that we've got an enormous task ahead in actually making Iraq work. And that
is going to take the kind of international cooperation that I think the Bush
administration has shown difficulty pulling off, and I think that the
Kerry-Edwards campaign is going to be better prepared to do.


In "Audacity," Obama allowed that he was: "sympathetic to the pressures
Democrats were under" (p. 293), adding: "I didn't consider the case against
war to be cut-and- dried." (p. 294)


"And on October 11, 2002, twenty-eight of the Senate's fifty Democrats
joined all but one Republican in handing to Bush the power he wanted.

I was disappointed in that vote, although sympathetic to the pressures
Democrats were under. I had felt some of those same pressures myself. By the
fall of 2002, I had already decided to run for the U.S. Senate and knew that
possible war with Iraq would loom large in any campaign. When a group of
Chicago activists asked if I would speak at a large antiwar rally planned
for October, a number of my friends warned me against taking so public a
position on such a volatile issue. Not only was the idea of an invasion
increasingly popular, but on the merits I didn't consider the case against
war to be cut-and-dried. Like most analysts, I assumed that Saddam had
chemical and biological weapons and coveted nuclear arms. I believed that he
had repeatedly flouted UN resolutions and weapons inspectors and that such
behavior had to have consequences. That Saddam butchered his own people was
undisputed; I had no doubt that the world, and the Iraqi people, would be
better off without him.

What I sensed, though, was that the threat Saddam posed was not imminent,
the Administration's rationales for war were flimsy and ideologically
driven, and the war in Afghanistan was far from complete. And I was certain
that by choosing precipitous, unilateral military action over the hard slog
of diplomacy, coercive inspections, and smart sanctions, America was missing
an opportunity to build a broad base of support for its policies. [The
Audacity Of Hope, pp. 293-294]


Communications Director

Obama for America

........................................ ......................
I think this tactic makes the Clinton camp look desperate, frustrated and kinda petty, esp. when you see how they have tried (in vain, IMO) to parse and distort what Obama actually said.  The more focus they put on who said what leading up to this war, the worse for their candidate.  Push back on this has also been added to Obama's website:



http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/i raq/

Tags: Barack Obama, campaigns, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, spar, Vote, war (all tags)



This is a great list

of a lot of available sound bytes from Obama on Iraq.

Can you imagine what bloggers would say if Clinton ever said something like this:

Where I think we have to be unified is to recognize that we've got an enormous task ahead in actually making Iraq work.

You don't have to imagine it.  I think we know what bloggers would say, because Clinton has probably said it, and bloggers have probably already responded to it as if it was the only thing she ever said about Iraq.

by Stewieeeee 2007-03-20 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think this is the fight Hillary Clinto

Yup.  Look at the timeframe of all the quotes in question...the Democratic National Convention in July 2004.  Pretty obvious that Obama, while not backing off his strong stance against the war, declined media invitations to gratuitously slam the Democratic nominees in 2004.

Is that all they got?  Pretty weak.

by rashomon 2007-03-20 09:05AM | 0 recs


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