Has Clinton changed her stance on using nuclear weapons?
(CNN) – A comment from Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2006 saying she would “take nuclear weapons off the table” in the current situation with Iran is attracting new attention in the wake of her criticism of Sen. Barack Obama last week.
In the April 2006 interview with Bloomberg Television, amid reports the administration may have been weighing a nuclear option in Iran, Clinton said “I have said publicly no option should be off the table, but I would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table. This administration has been very willing to talk about using nuclear weapons in a way we haven't seen since the dawn of a nuclear age. I think that's a terrible mistake."
But was Clinton caught in a contraction after attacking Obama for ruling out the nuclear option in Pakistan and Afghanistan?
Last week, Obama said, “There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table” in terms of going after terror suspects in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Clinton campaign calls the two comments a case of of “apples and oranges”. Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said in response, “Senator Clinton was asked to respond to specific reports that the Bush-Cheney administration was actively considering nuclear strikes on Iran even as it refused to engage diplomatically. She wasn't talking about a broad hypothetical nor was she speaking as a presidential candidate. Given the saber-rattling that was coming from the Bush White House at the time, it was totally appropriate and necessary to respond to that report and call it the wrong policy.”
A Clinton aide tells CNN that "saying she lives in a glass house doesn’t pass the smell test" because the comments of a senator reacting to a specific story are different than those of a presidential candidate responding to a broader question. The aide added the words of a presidential candidate “carries much greater impact.”
The Obama campaign has said, simply, no comment.
– CNN Political Desk Manager Steve Brusk