August 27th, 2007
01:19 PM ET
11 years ago

Clinton: Next attorney general must care about the law

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton said Monday that the next attorney general should "care about the rule of law more than he cares about protecting the president."

"The next attorney general," she continued, "when he takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, actually means it."

Clinton made the comments regarding the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during an appearance at Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum in Cedar Rapids.

Her remarks came when asked by moderator Chris Matthews whether, as a senator, she would use this as an opportunity to help set standards for selecting the next attorney general.

Clinton continued, "When it comes to issues like torture, surveillance, military commissions, [and] the firing of U.S. Attorneys because they wouldn't pursue a political agenda, we need to be especially vigilant and strong in making sure that whoever the president appoints will work with the Congress to bring us back from this precipice that this administration has put us on."

- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Related: Edwards happy Gonzales gone
Related: Gonzales resigns: Dodd reaction
Related: Gonzales resigns: Richardson reaction
Related: Gonzales resigns: Obama reaction

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. I. Dern (Fairfax, VA)


    August 27, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    For the record President Clinton fired and replaced all the AGs once he took office, which is normal procedure when a new president comes into office. However, I don't recall President Clinton going around firing AGs that he appointed during his term because they did not do his political will, but maybe I missed that.

    August 27, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. Chuck, Las Vegas NV

    A Clinton that says someone else needs to care for the rule of law, have principles/honor/morals, makes me laugh.

    August 27, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    I'd like to applaud Clinton, Dodd, Richardson and Edwards for talking about the role of a real AG! It's a shame Obama used this news event to try and plug his own political aspirations. So much for the newscomer who talks of change, but just delivers politics as usual.

    August 27, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Nancy, Chantilly, VA

    Mrs. Clinton made this statement regarding the attorney general,The next attorney general," she continued, "when he takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, actually means it."
    What did she say when her husband "The President" lied to the country by saying I never had sexual relations with that woman.
    Hillary – don't cast stones!

    August 27, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Joe, Boulder, CO

    Tom, I saw the word "Shrillary" and stopped reading there. Clearly, the rest of your rantings would be just as immature.

    August 27, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Joe NYC

    OMG!! This woman is such an outright hypocrite and the liberal press never calls her on it. Lets see her husbands administration:

    Sandy Berger? Where were you when he was stealing from the archives evidence of the Clinton's incompetence?

    Clinton was the only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
    – Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates*

    – Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation

    – Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify

    – Most number of witnesses to die suddenly

    – First president sued for sexual harassment.

    – First president accused of rape.

    – First first lady to come under criminal investigation

    – Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case

    – First president to establish a legal defense fund.

    – First president to be held in contempt of court

    – Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions

    – Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad

    – First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court

    August 27, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Adam, Plano, TX

    funny how hillary's reaction is the main article, and all the other reactions are just links, mere footnotes. thanks cnn, for showing your true bias.

    August 27, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Tom in Dedham Mass,

    "So Shrillary, when your hubby fired all the US attorneys because they didn't believe is his political agenda, that was ok?"

    You're STILL making the bogus comparison to what Clinton did?

    I thought maybe you would have learned the first six times you tried.

    Here, allow me to straighten you out.

    Newsflash: Presidents routinely DO fire ALL attorneys when they take office.

    Now, since you want to compare it to what Clinton did, tell us ... when did Clinton take the UNPRECEDENTED step of: 1) removing selected attorneys; 2) in mid-term; 3) for “performance issues” – after they received favorable reviews; and 4) just so he could use a buried provision in the renewed Patriot Act to slip cronies and toadies into the vacant positions without Senate confirmation?

    Answer: NEVER.

    Stop trying to find a Clinton comparison for everything that a crooked republican has done wrong.

    It makes you look like an idiot when you fail miserably.

    "Slight torture" to save all US lives?

    Feel free to voluntarily undergo some of that slight torture at anytime! But you might want to ask Cyrus Kar, Maher Arar, and Donald Vance how "slight" it was or how many lives torturing THEM saved. I'll bet you don't even know who they are!

    "Surveillance being used is only too thwart plots in and out of this country by YES listening in on certain phone conversations"

    Really? Is THAT why it was applied to DOMESTIC calls too? And e-mails? And why the use of national security letters was underreported by the FBI by at least 20 percent?

    Simple fact: whatever this administration admits to doing (only after being BUSTED for it), they're doing WAY worse.

    "You can't always get an immediate ok from a judge and that would impede on getting stuff done if the conversation is a CURRENTLY going on."

    You can start surveillance at ANY time! You just need to THEN get to the office and get them pesky warrants within 3 days of starting the surveillance.

    "her and Bill did nothing after the USS Cole bombing and many fine Navy brothers died with no recourse and he treated it like a criminal act and not the terrorist act that it was."

    You SURE? It just so happened that there was not CONFIRMED intelligence (as apposed to Dubya's un-intelligence that he based a 400-plus billion dollar war on) that the Cole bombing was indeed Al Queada until AFTER Dubya took office.

    Now tell us, what did Dubya do about it ... BESIDES give 43 million to the Taliban AND then go on vacation?

    Answer: NOTHING!

    Ready to start trying to spin your way out of this now ...

    three ... two ... one ..


    August 27, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Karl Rove, Crawford Texas

    U give Clinton her own headline but you keep all the other candidates the same...CNN is just like FoxNews

    August 27, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Brian, NJ

    Tom, the Clinton firings were indiscriminate (they ALL went, all at once, just as Cabinet officials do at the start of a new president's term); they cannot therefore
    be said to have had any particular motive relating to specific cases. Bush did the same thing with most of Clinton's appointments in his first year as president, and there was no outcry - because these kinds of mass firings are normal, and acceptable.

    The issue with the Gonzales firings is that specific prosecutors were targeted for failing to carry out an expressly political agenda (using the Justice Department to help Republicans and hurt Democrats at election time). It's the difference between appointing a Supreme Court justice who happens to share your ideological perspective (which is fine) and appointing one because they've already committed to deciding a case whichever way you tell them to (not ok). See the difference?

    Additionally, all of Clinton's appointments had to be confirmed by the Senate. By contrast, a Bush-sponsored change to the law in 2006 - just 9 months before the attorneys were fired - permitted interim appointments to last indefinitely. By 2006 it was clear the Republicans were in danger of losing control of Congress; this change was deliberately intended to remove
    Congressional oversight in that event. Unsurprisingly, was only a few weeks after the event (Democrats seizing the Sentate) occurred that the attorneys were fired.

    August 27, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Annonymous from Phoenix, Arizona

    That is right Hillary. So, speak the truth and stop lying as well.

    August 27, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Mike, NY

    Slight torture to save all US lives as opposed to brutal real torture against our soldiers.

    What about when that "slight" torture is used on our soldiers, by our government? That's not even mentioning torturing non-citizens for nothing more than being Arabic.

    Terrorists don't live on every corner. We don't need cameras and wiretaps watching and listening to our own citizens. Just as we can't trust the government to take of our healthcare or our economy, we can't trust them to use unlimited spying power responsibly.

    August 27, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |

    Revisionist history Hilary, you should have been doing your part to ensure that the previous attorney general had MORALS and INTEGRITY. I know it's hard to recognize considering you don't have any either. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    August 27, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Steven, Budapest Hungary

    Hiliary is the consumate comedian making a comment like that being the wife and compatriot of one of the most vile and corruptable Presidents in American history.

    August 27, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  16. Mike, Coarsegold, Cal.

    I am sure Janet Reno agrees with you, Senator

    August 27, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. Nick B, McLean VA

    So, when is she dropping out of the race as obviously if the AG must care about the law, so should the President.

    August 27, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. Jim, Indiana, IN

    I guess Hillary and Bill don't conviently remember WACO!!!!! Janet WHO???? How soon we forget!!!!

    August 27, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. ANGEL

    Same as her husband did. There is not doubt in the American people's mind that in the scale of 1 to 10, Mrs. Clinton will break it.

    August 27, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  20. David, Salinas, CA

    “Slight torture”, Tom? Ask John McCain if he believes in “Slight torture”!

    You say “Safeguards and methods SHOULD BE changed and modified from pre-9-11"
    I say they must NOT. If we reduce our standards we become what the terrorists claim we are. We shouldn’t change a thing just because some punks bombed us.

    Your position like that of Alberto Gonzalez, who said in a 2002 memorandum that the Geneva Convention seemed "quaint" in the context of the war on terror. Comments like that get OUR troops tortured .

    The perpetrators of the USS Cole bombing were eventually brought to justice. It took a while to track them down, but we did. (By the way, Clinton warned Bush about al Qaeda the week he left office, and Bush didn’t listen). I’m glad that President Clinton didn’t over-react and bomb people that had nothing to do with the attack. I wish President Bush hadn’t invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

    The whole point of being Americans is that we believe in something better. If we give up our morality out of fear, then the terrorists do win. I’m worried about terrorism. But I’m not afraid enough to give up my humanity. I’ve still got enough American courage to stick with the Geneva Convention and the Constitution.

    Torture, whether it’s slight or not, is a tool for cowards.

    August 27, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  21. Myron, Honolulu, Hi

    Well Yea that's what we expect from honest government.

    Hillary Haters can't stand the truth but love Bush lies.

    Go figer

    The only winner in the War in Iraq is Saudi Arabia

    August 27, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  22. C big brother's always been there

    Pretty altruistic, sounds great Hillary. Why did you not tell your husband about the great trampling of civil rights when we were listening to global conversations during his administration? Folks, all of this business about warrantless wire taps is a trojan horse. We have been doing it ever since the technology was available. When I was in the military, I had a friend in another branch of the service that worked at a place that did exaclty that, listened to everything they could on a global scale. Broadcasts, cell-phones, two-way radios, short band, side band, HAM...anything in the airwaves.

    Of course by listening, I don't mean that there is a guy there with headphones on finding out what you and your buddies are gonna do tonight. They run DSP algorithms to look for patterns and when one is detected, then it goes further.

    August 28, 2007 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  23. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Did Hillary care about the Constitution when her husband was President? Will she care about it if she is President? Considering her past and present commitment to freedom, I doubt it.

    August 28, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. ReadBtwthlins

    Hillary Clinton:

    For holding representative to a higher standard before the 90's.

    Against holding representative to a higher standard during the 90's.

    For holding representative to a higher standard after the 90's.

    nuff said...

    August 28, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. LoserLarry

    That's right! And maybe the next attorney general will finally define the word "is" for us too..

    August 28, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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