Hillary Clinton – Senate Armed Services Committee

UPDATE II: HILLARY is on.  Scorching.   


Update III: Politico’s take on the hearing:

Hillary took a sober, but incredulous, tone with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker during her chance to question them just after 6 p.m. this evening, describing the men as she began as “the de facto spokespeople for what many of us believe to be a failed policy.”

While she echoed her fellow Democrats in praising Petraeus and Crocker, she praised them largely for their ability to spin, saying that despite “your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, the report that you provided for us really requires a willing suspension fo disbelief.”

Where Obama had complained of the timing of the 9/11 hearing, Clinton turned used it, referring to her appearance at a memorial event this morning in New York, and questioning the U.S. inability to catch Osama bin Laden and suppress the Taliban.

Clinton never veered as sharply into confrontation, though, as many of her Democratic rivals for President, and seemed deliberately to be making a bi-partisan case, citing first a question by the committee’s senior Republican, John Warner, and then citing “a very important question” from Republican Susan Collins of Maine to bring out what she said had been a “contradiction” in Petraeus’s discussion of what happens if bloodshed remains at current levels in a year.

Overall, the exchange was cool, rather than heated, despite one hint at that bumper sticker about how regime change begins at home:

“It’s not only the Iraq government that, in my view, has faied to puruse a coherent strategy,” she said. “I think it’s ours that has as well.”


Hillary Clinton, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will soon be questioning General Petraeus (soon after 3:00 p.m. (EST)) on Iraq issues.

We are holding off on Part II of Barack Obama’s Mob until after Hillary questions General Petraeus.

We will have a discussion of Hillary’s questioning of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker after she has her turn in the question round on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Committee hearing can be seen on-line HERE.


UPDATE: Politico has another example of an Obama lack-of-good-staff-research running off at the mouth blunder.  We thought Obama’s morning question on the Foreign Relations hearing was a good one – why was Petraeus testifying on September 11? – a date which seems to draw a correlation between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks.  Apparently Obama (OK, blame the staff) did not ask why the hearings have been scheduled for today.  Politico explains the showboating

“Obama this morning raised what seemed like a relevant point: Was the Petraeus hearing scheduled today by the White House to draw some sort of tacit link between 9/11 and Iraq?

The answer, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide who spoke on the condition on anonymity, is an emphatic “no.”

The legislation requiring a report from the White House on the status of the war sets a September 15 deadline. “It made sense,” the staffer said, to bring Petraeus to the Hill the week the report was due. And Rosh Hashannah begins Wednesday night.

“It had to be that Monday or that Tuesday, or the Tuesday and the Wednesday, because of the Jewish holiday,” the staffer said.

So either way, 9/11. And the decision was made by Senate Democrats, not the White House.

Maybe that’s why Biden was short with Obama.”


105 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton – Senate Armed Services Committee

  1. sen. warner is giving the gen. a real earful. but then again gop members allways seem to talk tough against their gop president when they are not seeking re-election.

  2. I wonder if she will touch on the new Iraqi polls showing it’s okay to shoot at American GI’s and that the Kurds want a separate nation while the Sunni’s Shiite’s want a unified country. And I hope she hits him hard on the huge numbers of missing weapons and the Turkish incursions into Iraq whilst going after the PKK (Kurds).

    Give ’em hell, Hillary!

  3. one of the few things i have in common with the netkooks, the intense dislike for this idiot. my own sen. lieberman(i-bush lapdog). i voted for ned lamont in 2006, primary and general election.

  4. OK, enough of thanking these guys for testifying, that’s what they are paid/appointed to do! Shesh, you’re supposed to be accountable for results in the job.

    Come on Hillary, keep them honest! No happy (Bushie) talk while people are dying and being injured for really no good reason, IMHO.

  5. BTW, saw Bill on Larry King the other night, so refreshing to hear an intelligent and compassionate politician again. Brought a tear a joy to my eye, and I’m a guy!

    Man, what will we (America) acheive in the next 8 years to both Hillary and Bill around again, looking so forward it all.

  6. rebugs elected him here in connecticuit. maybe the nutkook’s endoresment of lamont is the kiss of death. most candiates that daily kos endorse go down in defeat.lol.

  7. is hillary besides john mccain the only other 2008 pres. candidate on the commitee? if so she has a great advantage on making her points known over the others like obama(d-stinky).

  8. For sure we are paying our dues today – having to listen to these drones – in order to get to hear Hillary’s exciting questions.

  9. Oh man Admin, you’re right, and Ms. Collins is the worst.

    (BTW Admin, I donated today, looking forward to my HI44 pin!)

  10. New CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama 39-20% (with Gore)

    Update: Without Gore Hillary is at 46% to Obama 23%, Edwards 16%

    In a general matchup, HRC defeats Giuliani 50-46%

  11. admin., are there any pics of obama and rezko around becuase im sick and tired of the msm showing only hillary and hsu pic. ARRRGGG!!!!!

  12. Terrondt, we updated the comment and will very soon post the actual poll results. Hillary is actually 46-23 over Obama. That’s 23 points ahead. And 46 is mighty close to 50. Add up Obama and Edwards and they equal 39, Hillary beats them combined! Again!

  13. Lord, I wish Hillary would get to talk. And BO gave a talk or a stump speech. Really inappropriate. Somebody needs to talk to this guy. Biden was short with him but he deserved it. Hey y’all, good to see Hill’s numbers goin’ up and up. mollyj

  14. Senator Graham: lets reverse the question> What is the difference between a dysfunctional senator (meaning you) and a failed policy (meaning the Bush misadventure you uneqivocally support). Hope we run a good candidate against this loon in 08.

  15. Come on Dole, I want to sleep. What a bunch of bores… We need Hillary!

    Excellent internal from CNN polls!! Clinton’s favorables, head-to-head matchups increased dramatically, Obama lost to Rudy badly!!!

    Clinton 53% favorable/39% unfavorable (51%/44% in last survey, 6/22-24)
    Obama 49/27 (47/24)
    Edwards 49/30 (47/32)
    Richardson 23/20 (27/18)

    The head-to-head matchups severely undercut Thompson’s electability argument, and any Democrat who argues that Hillary Clinton isn’t electable is likely to find these numbers in their inbox very quickly.

    Head-To-Head Matchups
    Clinton 50, Giuliani 46 (49-48 in last poll, 6/22-24)
    Clinton 55, Thompson 42 (50-46)
    Obama 45, Guliani 49 (46-48)
    Obama 53, Thompson 41 (52-40)

  16. terrondt,

    You are right. I couldn’t stand Lieberman, what a crook. However, he was really luck to let Lamont get a kiss of death from netkooks.

  17. New fun, fun, fun polls about to be released.


    “Barack Obama is winning the battle of “new ideas.” But that’s about the only good news for him in a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll that focused on the three early-voting states in the presidential nominating process: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Hillary Clinton has a solid lead among Democratic-leaning voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and a lesser advantage in Iowa.

    Obama, other than being clearly identified by voters as the leader in offering new ideas, fails to stake out any obvious advantages. In Iowa and New Hampshire, he vies with John Edwards for second place.”

  18. admin,

    Wow, it looks like Hillary will take the lead in IA, at least that’s the impression I got from the tips…


  19. At the beginning of the autumn dash to the primaries, a new Times/Bloomberg Poll of 3,211 Democrats and Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina shows that Hillary Clinton maintains a strong lead in all three states (28%, 35% and 45%, respectively). John Edwards is a relatively close second in Iowa (23%) with Obama at 19%, tied for second at 16% with Barack Obama in New Hampshire and trailing Obama badly (27% to 7%) in South Carolina.

    Bill Richardson has 10% in Iowa, 8% in New Hampshire and 1% in South Carolina. Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd all draw 3% to 0% in the three states.

    In the Republican race, Mitt Romney holds a clear lead in Iowa (28%) to Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson tied for second at 16%. Mike Huckabee comes in third at 8%, John McCain at 7%, Tom Tancredo at 3%, Ron Paul and Sam Brownback at 2% and Duncan Hunter at 1%.

    Romney maintains a slimmer lead in New Hampshire, 28% to Giuliani’s 23%, while McCain has moved up to third with 12% and Thompson at 11%, two points behind Don’t Know. In South Carolina, newcomer Thompson has surged into the lead with 26% to Giuliani’s 23%, McCain’s 15% and Romney’s 9%. Huckabee has 6%. The poll was taken Sept. 6-10 with a margin of error of +/- 4 or 5%.

    Iowa Democrats find Edwards the most likable (31%) followed by Obama (28%), Clinton (20%) and Richardson (9%). In New Hampshire they like Obama best (29%), Edwards next (26%) and Clinton third (20%). In South Carolina, Clinton is the most popular (38%) to Obama’s 27% and Edwards’ 18%.

    The poll shows a high interest in the races across the board ranging from 95% of…

    d New Hampshire Democrats to 84% of South Carolina Republicans. They also show more volatility in the GOP race with 72% in Iowa, 50% in New Hampshire and 64% in South Carolina saying they still might change their mind on a candidate.

    For Democrats, the change factor is 59% in Iowa, 47% in New Hampshire and 45% in South Carolina.

    Nine percent of Iowa and New Hampshire Democrats could never vote for Clinton while 7% felt the same in South Carolina. Five to 8% of Democrats in all three states could never vote for Obama or Edwards.

    Among Republicans, 12% in Iowa, 11% in New Hampshire and 8% in South Carolina could never vote for Giuliani, while the respective numbers for McCain were 9%, 10% and 13%, for Thompson 6%, 7% and 4% and for Romney only 4%, 5% and 8%.

    Democrats seem to agree that Clinton has the best chance of beating the Republicans in 2008–38% in Iowa, 45% in New Hampshire and 48% in South Carolina. Edwards places second at 23%, 15% and 11% respectively while Obama trails at 14%, 15% and 18%. In Iowa, Obama is beaten by Unsure at 15%.

    Romney strikes Iowa Republicans as most likely to win at 28% to Giuliani’s 20%, but Rudy seems more electable to New Hampshire (33%) and South Carolina (31%) Republicans than Romney at 28% and 12%. Thompson seems the second most electable only among South Carolina Republicans (21%), but trails Romney and Giuliani in Iowa (17%) and New Hampshire (10%).

    As a previous item today noted, the full story and poll data will be available shortly on this website.

  20. Isn’t Hillary usually after Bayh? Up next then, I can’t wait!

    Is there a video of the Obama / Biden snub? I want to see it! 🙂

    Has Obama spoken in this hearing? or was it somewhere else?

  21. Poor Edwards. He offers much more new ideas than Obama. Obama’s policy suggestions are actually quite incremental despite all his big talk.

  22. Damn!!!!!!

    Oh well, Cornyn is close to Clinton, up next then I guess.

    Oh heaven, the ad! Leave it alone, it was good! hehe

  23. I would expect that CSPAN will rerun hearings late at night so you might want to watch for the replay of the Foreign Relations council. mollyj

  24. The new poll numbers are deadly for BO and JE. Look at those SC numbers (link to pdf in the poll section and here http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat/2007-09/32481597.pdf). Edwards at 7% in SC, Hillary approaching 45.

    Let’s all remember South Carolina was supposed to be Obama’s firewall. Recall all the posts on The Battle Of Charleston.

    Warning: Hardhat area. If you live in Chicago watch out for Obama campaign workers jumping out of windows.

  25. But the white house should have made a better effort of making it seem as if this report is entirely by Petraeus, it has really seemed as if he will be reporting a script written by the white house. The white house should have held the General to a higher level of honor then they have, in my view.

    Kostner those are great numbers, and poor Obama has terrible numbers when it comes to who has the best chance of beating the repugs.

  26. That’s the point, Gorto. It’s the white house report, NOT Petraeus. You don’t gain support for your cause by slandering a general of betraying the country. They screwed up on this one. They were making a good point but the took it in the wrong direction with that remakr. Look at what votevets did in regards to Warner. That was better messaging.

  27. Over too soon. I have always thought it was ridiculous when the senators take up half the time speaking their opinion before getting around to a question. But when she speaks, I wish she could have had more time to do just that!

  28. I know mj, they may have gone too far here. Maybe they just thought they had such a good rhyme with his name and didn’t want to let that go. Either way, I think this incident just highlights the feelings about this war and the desperate way we all feel. Just wanting this mess to end, and with such a bad track record from the white house, anyone associated with them gets seen as ‘the enemy’, I think it just portraits a point in time. Frustration.

  29. Can somebody post the latest IA/NH/SC polls and CNN poll(including head-to-head matchups) on dailykos??

    They need another dose of shock and awe.

  30. Terrondt, time flys when you are having fun. Hillary probably had the exact same amount of time but she was not a drone.

    We want more Hillary.

  31. Two concerns in the new poll of early states. Obama is leading in second choice in every early state(someone posted this on mydd, but I couldn’t find it in the poll). Obama leads in new ideas in every state. And, voters in every state rated new ideas as more important than experience.

  32. BO made a giant faux pas in the run-in with Biden. As an attorney, you are trained never to ask a question you do not already know the answer to. Trying to scoop on the GOP is one thing, but doing it badly is just plain stupid and belies his incometence and inexperience. We’re still seeing fall out in Pakistan bc he tried to act like he had a set of nads. *shaking head*

  33. Kostner, be careful.

    Those numbers are deadly. The dailykooks will experience dizzyness and nausea if they read the numbers. They should not operate machinery or computers after reading the new poll numbers. Heart attacks may be induced.

    If anyone does post the new L.A. Times – Iowa, SC, NH and the new CNN and the new CBS/NYTimes polls which all came out today please first post a medical health warning to alert readers who support Edwama of the medical risks.

  34. From just reading the transcript of what happened between BO and Biden, Biden may have been a bit abrupt towards him.

    BUT, not paying attention to Bidens end response, and just to BO question…..he comes across as a really inexperienced senator!!
    Kinda like “I have no idea what have been going on here before I arrived, could you all fill me in on it?….”

    dittoing OkieAtty: *shaking head*

  35. Hillary’s overview was spot on. Thank them for their service, point out they have been given a very difficult hand, note that they are front men for the administration, point out that their arguments require a suspension of disbelief would, credit is being taken for things the administration did not actually do, and once again contrary evidence and tends are being ignored. The two questions she asked were also great, and as in cross examination the question counts as much with the jury as the answer. She pointed out the contradiction in Patreaus testimony on whether his he would recommend stay the course a year from now if no improvement, and moved him to the response more favorable to her position. She raises posed the right question to Crocker on the diplomatic front about more regional and international involvement, and his response was that it is underway now, which left the listener wondering why it did not start much earler. But as we all know the Great Decider wouldnt hear of it.

  36. Most important wbboei, she Looked – presidential. She was tough but not hysterical. The drama lay in her cool tone and dry sharp stabs, not in flailing about or being physically dramatic. Like a good prosecutor, as you pointed out, she let the questions more than the answers speak to the issue.

  37. There is video of Obama from earlier today on MyDD, watching it now, and to follow up on what you just said admin, Obama laid it on thick with the physical drama…. arms and highs and lows in his voice.

    He looks like he is speaking to a rally somewhere, certainly NOT looking Presidential.

  38. Jeezus, Obama has ten minutes at his disposal, and he uses 8 of them just blathering on, and his ranting quite frankly wasn’t that good, and his question deserves longer time to answer than what was left, AND it turns out they had answered the question earlier when he wasn’t present.

    Well done senator Obama, good job! You’ve touted your outrage in front of the media, and in the process failed to serve by ACTUALLY doing your job. This was not a photo op, this is your job! Good grief!

  39. From Staff to OkieAtty,

    That’s what we were debating. Any litigator certainly knows enough not to ask a question you do not know the answer to nor bring up an issue that might harm your case.

    Why didn’t Obama as a member of the committee ask well beforehand why the hearing was today?

    Most likely Obama thought he would have a great soundbite on this issue and kept quiet in order to score political points. Obama should have asked why the hearing was being held on September 11 when the schedule was announced and then made it an issue if he was not satisfied with the answer.

    Instead he tried to score political points at the hearing by throwing a punch, and once again he landed on the canvas.

  40. That’s a good point admin/staff, but he seems to be getting some credit already for it, at least on some blogs I have seen.

    Taylor Marsh for example has a post up where she says
    ‘It’s an outrage.
    Obama nailed it.’

    But she also goes on (and this I agree is the right take on it.)to say:

    UPDATE: One thing I must add. Mr. Obama didn’t utilize his time to go at Petraeus on substance. It goes to his entire campaign, which is one of reconciliation and bringing people together. Obama is not going to come at the general’s statistics or question his presentation. It’s not part of Obama’s political DNA.

  41. Admin., amen to your comments. Her cool demeanor, and crisp questions created a sense of drama on the one hand, presidential gravitas on the other. These are the qualities we need in a commander in chief when in comes to important policy decisions. It is the only way to get the country back on track where it is working for the people of this country and the rest of the world. Go Hillary!

  42. This woman speaking now, Sen. Clair McClaskill D-Missouri I have never heard of before, but she is good!
    Tough and very right to the point, I like her!

  43. yesterday I got an email from mike henry about a pilot natl program to organize hillary’s grassroots support across america for the primaries. today I got a call from a live clinton campaign person thanking me for confirming the email etc.. and talking about this new cutting edge effort to organize hillary in every state. tuesday there will be a live conference call with the senator about the strategy etc.. the campaign person also asked for a commitment of hours per week to organize for hillary. very impressive. perhaps admin will have mroe on this soon…

  44. Gorto, Senator McClaskill is real good on every issue I have seen. Her 2006 race against a Bush croney was a tight one. Good news for the country she won.

  45. Analysis from LA Times.

    On the Democratic side, the poll results show that Clinton’s top rivals have so far not succeeded in their recent efforts to portray her as too much of an insider to foster change in the country.

    To the contrary, voters in the three early states sometimes view her rivals view as more likable and more likely to offer new ideas–yet they seem to place greater emphasis on Clinton’s perceived experience and her ability to deal with Iraq and terrorism.

    Clinton holds leads in all three states, despite factors in each that have been considered advantages for her opponents:

    — In Iowa, where Edwards has been strong in the past, Clinton leads him by five percentage points, 28% to 23%, while Sen. Barack Obama wins support from 19% of voters. — In New Hampshire, which has been considered favorable ground for Obama, given his past appeal among upscale and well-educated white voters, Clinton’s lead is more stark, with more primary voters there supporting her than Edwards and Obama combined.

    — In South Carolina, where Obama’s campaign has hoped to rally support from the state’s large black population, Clinton continues to beat him among nearly every constituency, including blacks.

    Edwards, meanwhile, who touts the fact that he was born in South Carolina and won that state’s primary as a candidate in 2004, wins only 7% among South Carolina Democrats–suggesting that he, like Obama, is failing to gain traction against what is looking more and more like a Clinton juggernaut.

    “On foreign affairs, I think Clinton’s stronger. On security, I think she’s stronger,” said Dana Cote, 64, a retired registered nurse who lives in Columbia.

    Cote was among the 34% of South Carolina Democrats who name Obama as the candidate of “new ideas,” compared to 27% for Clinton. But, like Cote, nearly one-third of those same respondents in South Carolina said they support Clinton, anyway.

    Obama “hasn’t got enough experience,” he said. “You’ve got to be dirty to play politics. And he hasn’t gotten dirty enough.”

    Across the board, Clinton is either winning every major voter category or is competitive with Obama among groups that have favored him in the past, even the upscale voters who have helped fuel Obama’s rise in national polls.

    Obama holds slight leads among college graduates in Iowa and South Carolina–a proven strength for him in the past–but Clinton leads among those voters in New Hampshire. The survey suggests that Clinton has closed that gap by courting college-educated women, among whom she is either tied with Obama or ahead in the three states.

    Even among South Carolina black voters, who are expected to make up about half of the Democratic primary electorate, the prospect of electing the country’s first black president has not yet emerged as an advantage for the Illinois senator. Obama wins only about one-third of the black vote, compared to 43% for Clinton and 18% who don’t yet know.

    That spells trouble for Obama, who clearly has not closed the deal with this core constituency.

    “I don’t look at color or gender; I’m listening for who I believe will help us, the ordinary retired government worker who’s struggling here on a fixed income,” said poll respondent Nolie Bell, 70, of Irmo, S.C. She called Obama “an interesting person” but said that she is planning to vote for Edwards.

    “I think it’s about time that we get an African American president,” added Bell, who is black. “But when I listen to all of them, I’m still more impressed by Edwards.”

    The survey pointed to another potential plus for Clinton, who has struggled to overcome perceptions that she lacks warmth: Voters do not necessarily view the New York senator as unlikable, compared to her rivals.

    In South Carolina, 38% of Democrats consider her the “most likable,” compared to 27% for Obama and 18% for Edwards. She finishes third in that category in Iowa and New Hampshire. Still, one in five Democratic voters in those two states call her the most likable.

    Diane McClave, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in the tiny northern New Hampshire town of Jackson, said she was “amazed” by Obama’s charisma when he recently held a town hall meeting in a nearby school gym. But she said she continues to lean toward Clinton.

    “She is of the female persuasion,” McClave said. “And she seems understandable. Some politicians have a tendency to speak in tongues, I think, and I’m never too sure what they’re saying.”

  46. kostner-this is great news. the perception of obama will be hard to shake-if not impossible. another obama debate gaffe and he will slide off the chart.

  47. good post kostner. hillary is holding her own and then some in the african-american community. the women vote is solid for hillary.

  48. Devastating internals #s from CNN poll….

    Who has the right experience to be president?
    Clinton 60
    Edwards 15
    Obama 9

    Who is most likely to bring needed change to the U.S.?
    Clinton 42
    Obama 30
    Edwards 10

    Clinton beats Obama/Edwards on both experience and change…

    Experience + Change = Win…

  49. Question: why did Joe Biden treat Barack Obama like a very junior senator, when asked the witnesses to repeat what they had already testified to? Answer: because that is what he is–a very junior senator. Question: was it improper for Biden to do so? Answer: absolutely not. Since they were out of time he could just have easily said asked and answered and told Obama to review the transcript before wasting the committees time. But of course this is the senate. Yea, he nailed it alright–his thumb.

  50. A fellow African American blogger criticizes Obama-Oprah as ‘Limousine liberals’… Not sure how legitimate these critisims are…

    Obama and Oprah — As Far As You Can Get From South Central Los Angeles.
    Submitted by AlexWalker on Tue, 09/11/2007 – 4:53pm.
    Activism & advocacy • Media & corporatism • Policy & Values • News & current events
    Democratic Sen. Barack Obama raised an estimated $3 million at a fund-raiser hosted by TV mogul, Oprah Winfrey last week. See below a description by Varsha Rao posted over the weekend on The Huffington Post. It is such a disgusting, nauseating celebration of capitalist wealth and celebrity it’s enough to take your breath away. By the way, it is a measure of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of my fellow African-Americans that I have not found a single criticism of this decadent display on the usual Black-oriented web sites or blogs. Break out your handkerchiefs when you read the part where Oprah “with emotion” told the glitterati she feels “blessed to be living the dream that Martin Luther King, Jr. made possible.”

    Dear Friends: This is about as far as you can get from South Central Los Angeles or Brooklyn or Southside Chicago.

    A few months ago Prof. Walter Benn Michaels touched off a little controversy in progressive circles in the U.S. with his book The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and ignore Inequality. According to David Moberg’s review of the book, Michaels argues that “diversity diverts attention from the most fundamental injustice in our society—economic inequality. Moreover, the pursuit of diversity, especially in universities, gives legitimacy to the growing economic inequality of American society, because it protects the inheritance of economic privilege and does little to create opportunity for the poor, whether black or white. I, myself, was inclined to agree with Rinku Sen’s counter-argument in his article “White Progressives Don’t Get it” when Sen wrote: “Every few years, a white progressive man begs activists to reject racial questions and focus on the “real” agenda… It is white progressives who are stuck on identity politics; progressives of color have long since moved on.”

    I am not so sure about that. I have to say, knowing what I know about the issues right now, today, in South Central Los Angeles, the vulgarity of this Oprah-Obama event … and the indifference of the African-American supposedly “radical” intelligentsia, gives Walter Benn Michaels a lot of ammunition.

  51. Hillary’s aggressive stance on returning suspicious money finally gets a nod from at least one AP article…

    WASHINGTON – In returning $850,000 to donors associated with a disgraced fundraiser, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sets a significant new standard for how campaigns should respond in the face of potential scandal.

    Clinton’s decision also underscores the price – financial and political – that her campaign is paying for failing to spot trouble with the fundraiser, Norman Hsu, even after receiving a warning. The campaign announced it would now conduct background checks on its fundraisers, an extraordinary and potentially time consuming step.

    By returning the money, Clinton also puts pressure on presidential rivals and other politicians with rainmakers who have dubious pasts or who have employed questionable fundraising tactics, including the campaigns of Barack Obama and John Edwards.

    Hsu, a Hong Kong native who appeared suddenly in the New York political scene about four years ago, is under guard in a Colorado hospital after failing to show up for a bail hearing last week in California. He had been wanted as a fugitive for skipping sentencing on a 1991 grand theft case to which he had pleaded no contest.

    In the past two weeks, news reports raised questions about his fundraising practices and revealed his fugitive status. Law enforcement authorities said the FBI is now investigating whether Hsu paid donors to contribute to politicians. His lawyer has said Hsu did not break the law and that donors he solicited contributed their own money.

    Despite his high-profile political activity, California authorities were apparently unaware of his whereabouts. And despite his abrupt entry into the circle of political money “bundlers” during the 2004 election, politicians did not inquire about his past.

    “There were a few people who were scratching their heads, that he was being so generous,” said John Catsimatidis, a New York businessman and longtime Clinton money man. “But he was a pleasant guy and nobody thought anything of it.”

    The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that an Irvine, Calif., businessman cautioned the Clinton campaign in June that he suspected Hsu was running an investment scam. The newspaper said the campaign’s former finance director for Western states, Samantha Wolf, denied the claim and pronounced Hsu “completely legit.”

    Asked Tuesday what the campaign did in response to the warning, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said: “It prompted another search of publicly available information which did not reveal the decade-plus old warrant.”

    Caught flat-footed by the Hsu revelations, the Clinton camp said it will now take extra steps to examine their fundraisers, including conducting criminal background checks.

    “In any instances where a source of a bundler’s income is in question, the campaign will take affirmative steps to verify its origin,” Wolfson said.

    Larry Noble (nyse: NE – news – people ), former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, said Clinton raised the bar on how to respond to troublesome fundraising.

    “At one time the standard was if a person is convicted of a crime I’ll return the money; then it was if they are indicted,” Noble said. “What we’re seeing now is the Clinton campaign being very proactive about trying to get out in front of what experience has shown can be a very distracting story.”

    Aggressive vetting of bundlers, Noble said, “is a big step because, one, it’s going to take resources and, two, it may well turn off or insult some fundraisers.”

    With the cost of campaigns increasing exponentially, candidates are under increasing pressure to rely on fundraisers, or money “bundlers,” who help solicit money on their behalf. This election, money is even more important because several presidential candidates plan to forgo public financing.

    Clinton has raised $52 million from individual contributors, second only to Obama who has raised $58 million.

    “A great deal of fundraising comes from people who are established, have homes, people in the community,” Catsimatidis said. “I’d say 99.9 percent. But there is that oddball that occurs once in a while. It happens and one has to be on the watch for that.”

    Last month, lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, who represented assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, was indicted on charges of conspiring to make more than $125,000 in illegal contributions to Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign. Fieger pleaded not guilty and authorities have said the Edwards campaign was unaware of the activity.

    Edwards campaign spokesman Eric Schultz said the campaign will await the outcome of the case against Fieger before acting on the money he helped raise.

    “From Day One, the campaign has taken their lead from and cooperated fully with the Department of Justice,” Schultz said. “Once this prosecution concludes, if Geoffrey Fieger is found guilty, the campaign will donate all the money in question to charity.”

    He said the campaign, like Clinton’s has also stepped up its vetting of fundraisers.

    “We have always had an extensive vetting process for our raisers, but based on the Hsu revelations, and to err on the side of caution, we have begun doing criminal background checks as well,” he said.

    Obama has already given to charity money that Hsu contributed to his Senate campaign in 2004 and to his political action committee in 2005. Hsu did not assist Obama’s presidential campaign but he helped host one fundraiser for Obama during his Senate run. Obama’s campaign sent letters to donors potentially affiliated with Hsu, seeking assurances that the money they donated was their own.

    Campaign spokesman Bill Burton said the campaign was not returning any money from those donors yet because it was still awaiting their response.

    Obama has also given to charity about $37,000 in contributions to his Senate campaign and political action committee that were linked to Chicago businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko, who faces extortion and fraud charges related to an Illinois public pension fund. Rezko also raised tens of thousands of dollars for Obama’s state legislative and Senate races. And while Obama has divested his campaign of money from some Rezko associates, he has kept money from others.

    “We’re constantly reviewing and updating our processes for vetting donations and donors, and we’ll continue to do that,” Burton said.

  52. Another analysis on Hillary’s strength among early states…

    Clinton Dominates, Romney Slips in Early-State Races, Poll Says

    By Julianna Goldman

    Sept. 11 (Bloomberg) — Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is dominating the Democratic field among working-class and older voters in early primary states, while Republican Fred Thompson is making inroads among religious voters, particularly in the South and at the expense of rival Mitt Romney.

    A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll conducted this month in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina reveals strengths and weaknesses for each candidate within powerful voting groups. Polling trends in these states are closely watched because they plan to hold the nation’s first voting contests next January.

    In all three states, New York Senator Clinton, 59, appeals to individuals in households earning less than $40,000 as well as those over the age of 65. Illinois Senator Barack Obama, 46, her main rival for the Democratic nomination, fares better among younger voters in Iowa.

    “Clinton’s demographics are just what you want, because it is in fact older voters who actually exercise their vote more,” said Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University in Ames. Her association with “universal health care probably is very important” to lower-income workers, he said.

    In Iowa, where Clinton is locked in a tight race with Obama and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, 37 percent of Democratic voters 65 and older support her, far more than her two rivals.

    Older Voters

    Clinton’s lead in this age group is even more striking in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Forty-eight percent of older voters in South Carolina support Clinton, while 3 percent favor Obama. In New Hampshire, 44 percent of those voters support Clinton, while 8 percent back Obama.

    Barbara Army, 74, a retired electronics worker from Nashua, New Hampshire, said in a follow-up interview that she trusts Clinton to fix “messes” such as health care and education. “She knows what needs to be done and she will get it done,” Army said.

    The poll of 1,079 registered voters in Iowa, 1,312 voters in New Hampshire and 820 voters in South Carolina was conducted Sept. 6-10. The margin of sampling error is from 3 to 5 percentage points.

    On the Republican side, while general trends aren’t as clear, the religious right — defined in the poll as self- described religious fundamentalists, Christian conservatives and people who take the Bible literally — is hurting Romney, 60, in South Carolina, where they wield more clout than in Iowa and New Hampshire.

    `Looking Elsewhere’

    “Despite Romney’s best efforts, the Christian right is still looking elsewhere for a candidate,” said Allan Lichtman, a political science professor at American University in Washington.

    Among the religious right in South Carolina, Romney, a Mormon, trails former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 63, Arizona Senator John McCain, 71, and Thompson, a former Tennessee senator who announced his candidacy last week. Thompson, 65, leads with 31 percent, followed by Giuliani with 20 percent, McCain with 15 percent and Romney with 8 percent.

    Romney also is behind those candidates within South Carolina’s broader pool of Republican voters.

    Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who is leading the Republican field overall in Iowa and New Hampshire, generally fares better among upper-income and elderly voters, the poll shows. In Iowa, Romney is running about even with Giuliani among voters belonging to the religious right and has a huge lead among Republicans who aren’t in that group. The religious right isn’t a factor in New Hampshire.


    “I see Mormonism as a cult, instead of a branch of Christianity,” said Valarie Harper, 56, who works part-time in a flower shop in West Columbia, South Carolina, and described herself as a Christian conservative.

    Older and younger voters in New Hampshire are evenly split between Romney and Giuliani: thirty-four percent of respondents 65 and older favor Romney and 37 percent between the ages of 18 and 44 support Giuliani.

    Among the Democratic candidates, Obama, who campaigns as the candidate of change, fares slightly better than Clinton and Edwards with younger voters in Iowa.

    Clinton leads Obama and Edwards among households earning less than $40,000 in all three states. She has a double-digit advantage in South Carolina and New Hampshire.

    In Iowa, Edwards, 54, gets a boost among union members, who make up 11 percent of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Edwards, who has received four union endorsements, is supported by 37 percent of respondents in this category, while 23 percent favor Clinton and 12 percent support Obama. Clinton has picked up at least three union endorsements.

    While Obama is the first African-American to have a serious chance at winning the Democratic nomination, Clinton is drawing more support from black voters in South Carolina, with 43 percent, compared with 32 percent for Obama. Clinton also registers better with white voters there, garnering 51 percent, while 15 percent support Obama.

  53. Hey, Everyone! Happy news all over the place. I loved reading this thread. It gave me a, “You are there,” sensation.

    We moved into a new office on August 31, and we haven’t been able to bribe Verizon to install our telephone. I have to read everything when I get home from work. It’s like a second job.

    I am sooooooo happy about Hillary’s numbers!

  54. For those voters who have not yet made up their mind on who to support in the upcoming primary and general election, the demographics may be relevant. The strong support Hillary has among seniors and those making less than $40,000 per year shows that she will do more than any other candidate in the race to see no one gets left behind. Whether those undecided voters fit in either of those categories or not, it is more probable than not that they have friends or loved ones who do, and would
    be far better off with Hillary in the White House.

    On an unrelated point, I have heard that 70% of the debt incurred by our government since the founding of the republic was incurred during the Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2 Administration. This is partly the result of their spend, do not tax, but borrow policies which have destroyed the value of our currency. But it does put the lie to the notion of the big spending democrat. (Note: I have not been able to pin down the original source of that 70% figure yet.)

  55. The questioning went well. I am going to an event with M. Albright thursday, and to the Tom Harkin Steak Fry to see Hillary on Sunday, I am so excited….We are going with other colleges in Iowa. I am wearing my hillary shirt. Obomba will be there too..ugh.

  56. Celiff, my husband and I watched Obama at the steak fry on C-SPAN last year. We hadn’t seen him speak much since the convention speech, but we’d heard all this buzz, and then he gave the speech and five mnutes in we got bored. I like the guy but the cult of personality surrounding him sets people up to be disappointed. Right now, one of the front pagers on dkos is having a day dream about his speech tomorrow. It’s over the top. I let them dream, though. I’ve got good old fashioned reality on my side with Hillary.

  57. hey, celiff: I appreciate the updates from Iowa. Do you have a feeling of the tide shifting to Hillary there? (A little qualitative data to support the quantitative data that’s coming in over the transom?

  58. From what I gathered, Biden was upset with BO because firstly, he wasted everyone’s time and secondly, what irritated Biden was Obama grand-standing on the backs of the dead…wheather the victims of 9/11 or the “fallen angels”… and rightly so, Sen Biden!

    Mrs. S.

  59. Here’s an accident waiting to happen..

    The Thursday night debate. Courtesy of Yahoo, Huffpost and Slate.

    Answers will be edited? I find those words and terms unacceptable. You might as well call it what it is..
    A censored debate with the distinct possibility of Huffpost tampering with the answers.

    Then having to deal with the fallout if there are significant disputes over meanings and interpretations.


    Mrs. S.

  60. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/09/11/post_67.html


    That’s Spanish for success — the buzz within the country’s Hispanic community when Nielsen Media Research released the ratings of Sunday’s historic presidential debate. Aired on Univision, the largest Spanish-language network in the U.S. and the first largest overall, some 4.6 million people watched the debate. This year previous debates broadcasted on MSNBC and CNN, among others, averaged 4.3 million.”

  61. With Senator Clinton passing Edwards in Iowa, I expect he will try and slime her over the return of the $850K.

    What else has he got ?

  62. No, Joe, I doubt it. According to that ap article above, Hillary has raised the bar of what is expected so with Edwards waiting to see if that guy is convicted, I doubt he will go after Hillary on that. In fact, if you notice since the Hsu thing started candidates on both sides have been mostly quiet. This is because they probably have not vetted anyomre than Hillary did.

  63. NYTimes has a hit piece on stuff about Hsu despite the fact Hillary has taken the high ground of reutrning all money out of precaution.

    They are despicable…

  64. Mrs. Smith thank you for that article, it describes my feelings to the core. Here’s what stood out to me:

    The other reason Winfrey’s lusty public cheer of Obama won’t work is Winfrey. She’s fabulously bankable and much beloved, but she’s also an African American. And so is Obama. Winfrey is careful to make it clear that her support is based solely on his competence and qualifications . However, an underlying suspicion is that there’s more to it than that, and that she’s just as thrilled as many other blacks at the thought that an African American could actually bag the presidency. That’s not exactly playing the race card, but for an untold number of skeptical voters, it edges uncomfortably close to a racial motive.

  65. In a bizarre twist, Obama will slam DC punditry for supporting the war 5 years ago in a so-called ‘major’ war speech today in Iowa. What a crock…. Talkingpointsmemo is reporting…

    This is interesting: In a major speech in Iowa today, Barack Obama will ratchet up his criticism of the Beltway pundit and political establishment for supporting the invasion of Iraq, according to advance excerpts of Obama’s remarks.

    Obama will also take aim at the notion that D.C. “experience” is a quality that should be desired in the next President, saying that such “experience’ perversely left pundits and politicos in thrall to the conventional wisdom that to oppose the war would leave them “looking weak.”

    “Conventional thinking in Washington lined up for war,” Obama will say. “The pundits judged the political winds to be blowing in the direction of the President. Despite — or perhaps because of how much experience they had in Washington, too many politicians feared looking weak and failed to ask hard questions. Too many took the President at his word instead of reading the intelligence for themselves. Congress gave the President the authority to go to war. Our only opportunity to stop the war was lost.”

    Note Obama’s interesting formulation here: That “despite — or perhaps because of” their Washington experience, pundits and politicos made the wrong choice to support the war. Obama, clearly, is seeking to expand his indictment of the D.C. political and foreign policy establishment, amplifying his argument that for all their Washington experience, many Beltway elite figures were unable to exercise sound judgment and oppose the Iraq folly. Also noteworthy and unusual in a Presidential candidate: Obama’s direct targeting of the D.C. punditry.

    Obama will also propose that withdrawal from Iraq begin immediately, to be completed by the end of next year, as well as proposing a new constitutional convention in Iraq, to be convened with the United Nations.

  66. according to ‘first read’…
    OBAMA: Per NBC’s Lauren Appelbaum, the Obama campaign sent two text messages to supporters yesterday. One of them, received at 3:30 pm ET, said: “Please REPLY to this message with your five-digit ZIP code to receive local Obama campaign news and periodic updates. Thanks for your help. Scott at Obama HQ.” The next, at 8:40 pm ET, said: “Barack is giving a major Iraq policy speech tomorrow. He will also be live on the Today Show tomorrow morning at 7:00am. Visit BarackObama.com for more info.”

    Obama’s never been a favorite of the Jewish political community and now he may give those folks more reason to shy away from him with the high profile he’s giving Zbigniew Brzezinksi.


    How can this guy be a uniter while he’s alienating Jews, Cuban Americans, Indian Americans… Shudder….

  67. Yes Gorto,

    I’m amazed the article about the Oprah effect on Obama’s electability expressed my thoughts and reservations so succinctly. I couldn’t have done better writing it myself.

    The author’s insight bears me out regarding the implication of Oprah’s exclusive support of Obama bordering on racial motivations. How can it not be? Certainly, Oprah stating her support is based solely on Obama’s competence and qualifications belies the reality of his substandard debate performance as reflected in his plateaued poll numbers.

    My fear is Oprah’s triangulating will result in a racially polarizing situation. I don’t think she has given enough thought to the collateral damage that may result from the dishonesty with herself and the effect on her loyal followers.

    I would have thought better of her judgment if she had just stated the Truth as she sees it. Simply stating, a black man has finally come along, who imo is a viable contender for the presidency and I will support him exclusively above all others …period.

    Mrs. S.

  68. Play politics again!!

    The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank yesterday spied an Obama campaign memo, which read: “As you get ready for press around your speech on Iraq, we wanted to make sure you have on one piece of paper the principle [sic] differences between your speech on Iraq and the most comprehensive on Iraq given by Senator Clinton.” Milbank writes, “It isn’t entirely surprising that he would be preparing some political barbs for the Democratic front-runner… Still, Obama’s juxtaposition — contemplating the nakedly political as he prepared to question the top U.S. general in Iraq and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq — was stark.” More: Biden “displayed his disdain for the more popular Obama by conspicuously reading a newspaper while the Illinois senator questioned the witnesses.”

  69. Politico frontpage article: Obama advisor worries Israel supporters

    Barack Obama is outlining his views on the Iraq war in a major speech Wednesday in Iowa, and bringing along a gray-haired source of foreign policy gravitas: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, who says that Obama offers “a new definition of America’s role in the world.”

    With the gravity, though, comes some baggage.

    Brzezinski, 79, stepped into the crossfire this summer when he published an essay in the summer issue of the journal Foreign Policy, defending a controversial new book about the power of the “Israel Lobby” in American politics.

    The book’s authors, Harvard’s Stephen Walt and the University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer, thanked him for his “incisive defense.”

    But the article inserted him into one of the most heated debates in America-Israel politics, a bitter dispute about whether the authors’ claims smacked of bigotry, whether their critics are – as Brzezinski put it — “McCarthyite.”

    “It is a tremendous mistake for Barack Obama to select as a foreign policy adviser the one person in public life who has chosen to support a bigoted book,” said Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, one of the most visible critics of the Walt and Mearsheimer volume, titled “The Israel Lobby.” (Dershowitz has contributed to the campaign of Obama’s leading rival, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York.)

  70. From talkingpoints, another embarrassment….

    Obama Campaign Removes Ad From Walt-Mearsheimer Book’s Amazon Page
    By Eric Kleefeld – September 12, 2007, 9:50AM
    A controversial new book about American foreign policy and Israel has been noticed by a presidential candidate — and he’s now running in the other direction.

    Barack Obama’s campaign has taken down an ad that was appearing on Amazon.com’s page for The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Harvard professor Stephen Walt, criticizing the relationship between the United States and Israel.

    “The ad has been removed from the site because the views of the book do not reflect the views of Senator Obama on the U.S.-Israel relationship,” said Obama spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki. “Senator Obama has stated that his support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, which includes both a commitment to Israel’s security and to helping Israel achieve peace with its neighbors, comes from his belief that it’s the right policy for the United States. The idea that supporters of Israel have somehow distorted U.S. foreign policy, or that they are responsible for the debacle in Iraq, is just wrong.”

    The campaign believes the ad was placed there because the campaign paid to have their ads shown with books having to do with politics.

  71. kostner, I read that AP article on Hillary and Hsu, and agree that it was well-done, for a change, lol. It’s revealing how none of her Dem rivals have raised the Hsu specter because they know it will come back and bite them in the derriere if they do.

    Also, I can’t imagine another Iraq speech by Obama will make any difference. Yawn.

  72. Just IN> Another Union is endorsing Clinton!!!!

    Clinton Gets Letter Carriers Endorsement

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Association of Letter Carriers endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for president on Wednesday, saying the New York senator has the strength and experience to bring change to the White House.

    “She’s ready to lead this country from her first day in the White House,” union president William H. Young said.

    Clinton will officially accept the endorsement at an event at the union’s headquarters later Wednesday.

    “These hardworking men and women are part of the fabric of every community in America, and they deserve an advocate in the White House,” Clinton said.

    Young called Clinton the “runaway winner” when they surveyed their members on the presidential primary candidates.

    “In the primary elections next year, you can count on letter carriers to deliver for Senator Clinton, and I am confident that in the years to come, President Hillary Clinton will deliver for every citizen throughout America,” Young said.

    The National Association of Letter Carriers represents 300,000 active and retired U.S. Postal Service city delivery carriers.

    The union on Wednesday ratified a new five-year contract agreement with the U.S. Postal Service covering its 222,000 active mail carriers. The contract includes general wage increases of 8.85 percent over the term of the agreement, along with semiannual cost-of-living adjustments and new protections against the Postal Service contracting out letter carrier work to private firms and individuals.

    The National Association of Letter Carriers gave $1.7 million in contributions to federal candidates and parties in 2006, with 89 percent to Democrats who took back control of the House and Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2004, the union gave $1.4 million to political candidates and parties, with 81 percent going to Democrats.

    Rural letter carriers are represented by a different union.

    This is Clinton’s fourth union endorsement. She already has been endorsed by the United Transportation Union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Transportation Communication Union.

  73. Here’s Kevin Drum’s take on Obama’s big speech today:

    BHO vs. HRC….Barack Obama will be in Clinton, Iowa, tomorrow to do some Hillary Clinton bashing. Michael Crowley suggests that the public is tired of battles over HRC’s vote in favor of the Senate Iraq resolution, which would make this a tired line of attack for Obama. However:

    It’s possible that Obama will spin the Iraq question into a broader proxy for about Hillary’s policy judgment and her vaunted “experience.” He’s done some of that already. The…question then is whether he can make that point more forcefully — more negatively, I suppose — without seeming to violate his talk of a “politics of hope.” Clinton advisors believe Obama’s rhetoric has boxed him in and limited his ability to go on the offensive. But maybe it’s still possible to thread the needle, to twist the knife with a measure of intellectual honesty, and basic class, that doesn’t backfire on him.

    This strikes me as, by far, the most important issue for Obama. In the particular area of foreign policy, he needs to persuade people that despite her eight years in the White House and six years in the Senate, Hillary’s foreign policy judgment just isn’t that good. Exhibit A would be the Iraq vote. Judgment and temperament are the most important attributes in foreign affairs, not experience, and that has to be where he aims his attack.

    More generally, though, I think he has to convince people like me that he’s actually serious about taking a new approach to foreign affairs. My single biggest problem with Obama is that behind all the Kumbaya talk about coming together and erasing red and blue, he has yet to convince me that his actual governing style would be much different from anyone else’s. As far as I can tell, for example, he has yet to give a speech that either of the other two major candidates couldn’t have delivered without changing a word. Hillary can get away with that for now, but Obama can’t. He needs to shake things up.

  74. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does ratchet up the attacks, and I can’t wait to see how HRC responds.

    BTW, that piece above is from washingtonmonthly.com

  75. Kostner, saw your heads up last night on the hit piece on fundraising, and the article itself this morning. Healey was the main writer, but did you happen to notice who the contributing writer was? None other than Van Natter, who wrote the attack book Her Way, which was released last summer and never gained traction. He is a full time Hillary hater in residence and his opinions should be discounted accordingly.

  76. Paula,

    There’s no need for Clinton to respond to him. He’s slipping. His speech is full of the same old ‘I was against in 2002, 2004, 2006’ crap…

    He’s done.

  77. Hillary In New Letter To Bush: Stop Lying About Iraq

    We’ve just obtained a copy of a new letter that Hillary’s mailing out to Bush, a kind of preemptive strike ahead of his big Iraq speech tomorrow.

    The short version of Hillary’s letter: STOP LYING.

    She takes a direct shot at the notion that the President is following General Petraeus’ plan, rather than the pre-designated dialback of the “surge,” by announcing a pullback of 30,000 troops by next spring.

    “If completed, these troop reductions would merely bring troop levels in Iraq back to the levels before you announced the `surge’ in January of this year,” Hillary writes.

    “Mr. President, it has been nearly four and a half years since you landed on an aircraft carrier and stood before the American people under a banner that read `Mission Accomplished,” Hillary continues. “DO NOT REPEAT THAT MISTAKE ON THURSDAY NIGHT. DO NOT MISREPRESENT THE FACTS ABOUT THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND. AND DO NOT PORTRAY AN UNAVOIDABLE REDUCTION IN U.S. TROOPS TO PRE-SURGE LEVELS THAT WOULD OCCUR ANYWAY AS A MARKER OF SUCCESS. BE CANDID WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THEY DESERVE IT.”

    Hillary also denounces the planned pullback as “too little too late” and demands that he “greatly accelerate” the redeployment of troops.

    [At TPM’s Election Central]

  78. Biden reading a paper during BO’s time was funny. Think it might have to do with Biden (and Clinton) have actually visited Iraq and have seen what’s on the ground there????

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