Clinton, Obama and Iran

The "politics of hope," revisited.

By Tim Grieve
November 2, 2007 3:59PM (UTC)
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Defending herself against charges that she was enabling George W. Bush when she voted in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on Iran, Hillary Clinton said during Tuesday night's Democratic debate: "I am prepared to pass legislation with my colleagues who are here in the Congress to try to get some Republicans to join us, to make it abundantly clear that sanctions and diplomacy are the way to go. We reject and do not believe George Bush has any authority to do anything else."

Thursday evening, Barack Obama introduced legislation making it clear that the president does not have authority to use military force against Iran.


The response from the Clinton campaign? You can probably guess.

"It's unfortunate that Obama is abandoning the politics of hope in favor of the kind of political games he is so critical of in his book," Clinton spokesman Phil Singer tells the Associated Press.

Singer says that if Obama is so concerned about Kyl-Lieberman, he should have voted against it. Obama was campaigning in New Hampshire at the time of the vote; the night before, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had said the amendment wouldn't come up for a vote "anytime in the near future." Singer also says that Obama should have joined Clinton and 29 other senators in signing a letter that went to Bush Thursday emphasizing "that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran." Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement that Obama believes it will take "more than a letter to prevent this administration from using the language contained within the Kyl-Lieberman resolution to justify military action in Iran."


For all the sniping, Clinton seems to agree: On Oct. 1 -- a few days after voting for Kyl-Lieberman -- Clinton announced that she was cosponsoring legislation, introduced by Sen. Jim Webb, that would prohibit, with several exceptions, the use of funds for military operations against Iran without explicit congressional authorization.

Tim Grieve

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

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton Iran Middle East War Room