Asked, not answered

Obama and Clinton on Iraq.

Published May 21, 2007 1:07PM (EDT)

When Barack Obama was asked the other day about Bill Clinton's suggestion that there's not much difference between his voting record and Hillary Clinton's when it comes to Iraq, Obama shot back: "Well, I suppose that's true if you leave out the fact that she authorized it and supported it and I said it was a bad idea."

The former president and the Illinois senator are both right here: Obama and Clinton do have very similar voting records on Iraq, but Obama -- who was not in the Senate at the time -- spoke out against the war when Clinton was voting to authorize it.

On the "Today" show this morning, Matt Lauer asked Hillary Clinton two questions about Obama's comments. See if you can find an answer to either:

Lauer: What do you think about that? Was there a fundamental difference -- is Senator Obama correct -- a fundamental difference in 2002 between you and him?

Clinton: Well, you know, Matt, I think the important point is for the Democrats to be united in trying to either persuade or require this president to change direction now. That's what all of us in the Senate are trying to do. Those of us who have the responsibility to try to make these decisions today are really focused on trying to pass legislation to require the president to start bringing our troops home. I've been saying that for a number of years. I've put forth a number of approaches. I've voted for different ways of trying to persuade the president to do that.

And I don't think there is any doubt that all of us who have the responsibility today have the same opinion, which is that we've got to try to persuade this president to change direction. I said, you know, if the president doesn't extricate us from Iraq, when I'm president, I will.

Lauer: But your husband did say this, and I'm quoting here: "This dichotomy that's been set up to allow him" -- and he's referring to Senator Obama -- "to become the raging hero of the antiwar crowd on the Internet is just factually inaccurate," end quote. But is it really inaccurate?

Clinton: Well, you'll have to ask him exactly what he meant. But I think he was referring to the voting records that most Democrats have. We have all voted the same way when we've had the responsibility to vote. And that has been to try to begin to reverse course in Iraq. I think most people are really intent upon us moving out of Iraq as soon as we reasonably can. And that's what I've been focused on for a number of years, and that's what I'm going to continue to vote on and talk about and try to urge that we get together and do.

By Tim Grieve

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

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton Iraq War War Room