Hillary: No More Blank Checks
As Erin noted earlier, Hillary scored the coup of being on many of the chatfests today, including “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “Late Edition”. She made it clear that she will vote against further funding of the war, and thought the MoveOn flap was nothing but a GOP misdirection attempt away from taking responsibility for their failed Iraq policies.
From “Meet the Press” today:
RUSSERT: As you well know you voted to authorize this war, voted to fund this war at lest ten times. Are you now saying that you will not vote one more penny for the war in Iraq.
HRC: Tim I am saying that. You know I've been guided by what I believe is the principle that should govern any decisions that any member of the senate and any one in public life makes and that is I try to do what is best for my country and for the troops who serve it. And I have seen no evidence that this administration is willing to change course in any significant way. We're now nearly at 3800 dead, we have more than 30,000 injured, the Iraqi government has failed to fulfill its part of the bargain to deal with the political issues that all of us know have to be addressed. I don't think the Bush administration has pursued the diplomatic agenda the way that it needed to be pursued and there is no military solution.
And these extraordinary brave young men and women should begin to come home out of refereeing this sectarian civil war. I voted against funding last spring - I understand we are going to have vote shortly about funding and I will vote against it. Because I think it's the only way that we can demonstrate clearly that we have to change direction. The president has not been willing to do that and he still has enough support among the Republicans in the senate that he doesn't have to.
On her alleged “polarizing” personality:
As I've traveled around the country, my support has grown. Anyone who gets the Democratic nomination is going to be subjected to the withering attacks that come from the other side. I think I've proven that I not only can survive them, but surpass them. So I believe that both from the experience that I've had in political campaigns and what I have done over the years to, you know, keep coming back and fighting back on the best position to win, but more importantly, I think I am in the best position to lead starting in January of 2009. I'm doing well around the country, and I'm very please that people are really making up their own minds about me and not, you know, being swayed by what second or third hand somebody said to them, and I believe that's what will happen in this campaign, and as I go forward in it every day, I'm even more encouraged that I'm putting together a winning campaign. Not only for the nomination, but for the white house because that's when the hard work starts. we have a lot ahead of us to restore our position in the world, to rebuild our economy and our American middle class and to reform our government and reclaim the future for our children, and that's what I'm committed to doing.
From Blitzer’s “Late Edition” on the MoveOn diversion:
HRC: Well I though it was pretty sorry when [Bush's] campaign attacked Senator Kerry's record of service, and I thought it was pretty sorry when the Republicans attacked Senator Cleland's. I don't condone attacks by anyone on the patriotism and service of our military. I am an admirer of General Petraeus and I have said that on numerous occasions. I don't condone it and I joined voting for a resolution that condemns such attacks. But let's be clear here: this debate should not be about an ad, this debate should be about the president's failed policy. The Republicans are very good at coming up with political strategies, but unfortunately they don't seem to have a very excellent grasp of military or geopolitical strategies that would forward America's standing, position, values in the world. So I think that we ought to stay focused on what's important, the war in Iraq, and not allow this debate to go off track. And I look forward to continuing to debate what we should be doing in Iraq, and I would invite Republicans to join that debate.
She hit all the right notes today, except that she hasn't also brought the cost of this war and the GOP's pathetic values into this debate. But this is good messaging nonetheless.