Clinton's Iraq questioner: Her answer was "cold and calculated"

"We are looking for authentic this time."

Published February 15, 2007 5:40PM (EST)

In the wake of a piece on Hillary Clinton's 2002 Iraq vote, we heard this morning from Roger Tilton, the New Hampshire resident who asked Clinton over the weekend whether she could say, "once and for, without nuance, ... that that war authorization vote was a mistake."

"I asked her what I thought was an easy, softball question that she could knock out of the park," Tilton writes in an e-mail message. "I spoke slowly and deliberately to get a quick answer, to put the issue behind her so I, and other primary voters like me, can support her. I agree with her on so many of the other issues."

Clinton responded to Tilton's question by saying: "Well, I have said, and I will repeat it, that knowing what I know now, I would never have voted for it but I also -- and -- I mean, obviously you have to weigh everything as you make your decisions. I have taken responsibility for my vote. The mistakes were made by this president who misled this country and this Congress into a war that should not have been waged."

Tilton says Clinton's response was "cold and calculated" and left him with the impression that she "is what the media often describes her as, too political and not authentic." "We are looking for authentic this time," he writes.

"The reason I drove all that way that morning was to see if in person she is like she is perceived on TV," he says. "Up to the point of my question, she wasn't. Then, suddenly, she was. We have a president who for six years has been unable to admit a mistake. We don't need another."

Tilton says he'll continue to question Clinton "until we reach some sort of conclusion on the war issue."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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