November 15th, 2007
10:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Dems pledge aggressive diplomacy in Iran

(CNN) – Democratic presidential candidates pledged new approaches to Iran, promising diplomacy with America's enemies.

Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware, Hillary Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina responded to a question posed by an Iraq war veteran and his mother, both worried he would be called back to duty, but in Iran.

"What I think is most important is that we have aggressive diplomacy with Iran," Clinton said. "I believe that the Bush administration has allowed this situation to worsen and fester because they won't have any diplomatic relations of any sort with Iran."

President Bush recently declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization that proliferates nuclear weapons, which the candidates strongly opposed.

"We've seen this movie. We know how it turns out," Edwards said. "I think it is absolutely crucial for Democrats on this issue to show real strength, real backbone and stop this president from moving forward on Iran."

Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, explained that declaring the Guard a terrorist organization hurts Americans personally.

"It convinced the rest of the Muslim world this is really a war against Islam and not a war in Iraq," he said. "It caused the price of oil to head to a hundred dollars a barrel."

Obama, who missed the Senate vote due to campaigning, explained to the veteran, "It's not just going to have an impact, in terms of potentially having a war against Iran; it also gives this administration an excuse to perpetuate their failed strategy in Iraq. And that could mean that you could be redeployed in Iraq."

It was Biden, though, who provoked the biggest audience applause when he took a strong stance on the president and Iran.

"If he takes the country to war in Iraq (sic) without a vote of Congress, which will not exist, then he should be impeached."
Biden at the time was speaking about Iran, not Iraq.

– CNN Contributor Adam P. Levy


Filed under: Iran
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Edrie Irvine, Arlington, VA

    I haven't had a chance to go back and review the video but did Hillary actually respond to that soldier and his mother, "Since you served, you should know better"? Did she not even bother to thank him for his service or his mother for her concern? Was she so focused on getting her answer right?

    November 15, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  2. Mark, Minneapolis, MN

    The winner of this debate once again is the Democratic Party. What a great field of candidates. There isn't one I couldn't support. That said, Hillary is the best of the best – but frankly, as Democrats, I think we are ALL winners tonight.

    November 15, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  3. Julia, Reno, NV

    Senator Biden won the debate hands down
    CNN pundits and "journalists" and the media are mesmerized by star power. We're not electing a rock star, we're electing a President. Anyone who objectively looked at the answers these candidates gave would say that Senator Biden won soundly, followed by a tie between Gov. Richardson and Congressman Dowd. Senator Clinton and Congressman Kucinich followed; the miserable losers were Senator Obama, and former Senator Edwards. Everyone who is not vesting in a candidate or starstruck saw that.

    November 16, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. Martin Kautz, Miami, FL

    We know now the machinery is working the first war worked... more or less. Friendly nations did not believe everything and said wait, rethink or no!
    Now the USA are closer to bankrupcy and Bush wants to print even more mnoney and find more, better friends, perhaps China, Pakistan, Russia to help him... clueless.

    November 16, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  5. Andrew, Haslett, MI

    Joe Biden spoke some truth there but it's too bad that he didn't insist that Congress vote for a declaration of war against Iraq or Afghanistan. A war without a declaration of war is illegal and if a president does such a thing, he should stand against those charges and defend himself. I like Joe Biden, and I support diplomacy, but you can't vote to authorize war without a declaration and then claim that a declaration is required. Sorry Joe, Kucinich has you on this one. So does Ron Paul.

    November 16, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    Nice answer Biden–Iran is a state sponsor of terror, they hate America (we still are "the Great Satan" to them), and are currently working on building nukes to threaten the rest of the non-Islamic world, but your two main concerns are Muslims' feelings getting hurt and the price of oil? Unbelievable! "Aggressive dimplomacy" is a contradiction– by talking to and offering rewards to a regime like Iran (do you think they will keep their promises?), our country would appear weak and naive, further stoking their ambitions. Is that laughter coming from the ayatollah that I hear?

    November 16, 2007 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  7. Matt, TX

    This political rhetoric is starting to make me ill, "Aggressive diplomacy?" What does that involve? We already sanction the hell out of Iran, they don't care. Our Enemies are gonna walk all over Hillary. What are you gonna do when Iran trys kidnapping some of our sailors? I know what George Bush would do, and I gotta give him credit for that.

    November 16, 2007 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  8. Amy, Austin, TX

    I think Biden won. His answers sound so much smarter than everyone else.

    November 16, 2007 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  9. Ann ME

    That's right, lots of "diplomacy" for Iran. Hillary can't even show "diplomacy" to a serviceman and his mother for God's sake. This woman will take us all the hell.

    November 16, 2007 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  10. Julie Medford Oregon

    Biden would be ready on day one to become President. Biden is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation Commmittee and has been a member for many years. Biden is the most knowledgable one on foreign Affairs, which the next president will need to fix are problems abroad. Pakistani leader Musharraf called Biden before he called President Bush that says something. Biden also brought together both parties to pass bills past and present and a track record that proves this. Biden is the only one on stage that was a champion of the Mine Resisitant Ambush Protected Vehicle. In every democratic debate you can hear all of the other candidate's say " Biden is right" when they are asked a question, after hearing Bidens response to the same question. I think Biden would be a great President, who can bring together our country.

    November 16, 2007 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  11. Nick, Potosi, MO

    Are you serious? "Aggressive Diplomacy?" Chamberlain used aggressive diplomacy with Hitler, I don't see why we can't appease Ahmadinejad as well. I'd love to see that photo op with the Ayatollah and his mullahs. We're going to debate the heck out of those fundamentalists and scare them with not only 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper, but legal size too! It's real hard to find a winner out of this motley crew.

    November 16, 2007 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  12. Dan, Seattle, WA

    Finally the dems have a backbone. Good for them. Too bad most the republicans are war hungry. Lets just make sure we stay out of iran.

    November 16, 2007 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  13. Luci, Atlanta GA

    Again, more CNN love for Clinton, as if no one else holds this position. Thanks for pointlessly pointing out that Obama missed his Senate vote, as if none of the other senators who are campaigning did.

    November 16, 2007 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  14. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    Biden shined again. Unfortunately most people don't watch these debates. Edwards did extraordinarily well too.

    November 16, 2007 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  15. Dave, Hilo Hawaii

    For a minute I thought I saw a typo... "Dems" and "agressive" in the same sentence.

    Nope... it's there; a glaring oxymoron.

    November 16, 2007 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  16. Anonymous

    I am interested to know what these canditates would have done if they were presidents when the 911=attack happend in NY!!

    November 16, 2007 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  17. Ned, St Louis, Mo

    If we can get the Clintons back in office for eight more years. Maybe they can fix everything the GOP has messed up or undone! Go Hillary.

    November 16, 2007 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  18. mark wilkes barre pa

    diplomacy evenly scaled with public support of military force if needed by ALL americans might be a new approach. the chances of that happening are zero. Who could convince the Iranians that there nuclear ambitions scare the crap out of neiboring countries and much of the rest of the world. Diplomacy works only when sides have as much to gain or lose as the other. The candidate who could convince the world that this is the way to go in the middle east gets my vote

    November 16, 2007 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  19. no dems. la

    Extend the hand of PEACE to Iran. Watch how fast it gets cut off!!

    November 16, 2007 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  20. Jack, Fort Myers, Fl

    The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is under the payroll and control of religious clerics with radical bents. They ARE a terrorist organization. The President of the United States–Clinton, the others, even GW–are right to call them what they are. That said–we need to exercise more diplomacy and presence (non-military invasion type)in the middle east. Our current President believes in straddling the divide w/ one person–shuttling her all over the world–her efforts diffuse, with momentum, and unsustained by his own utterings. The next President needs to provide: clear goals/expectations, greater number and greater support for envoys to trouble spots..and less reliance on one single individual! That said–Hillary again stood out as being unafraid to call a duck a duck...and her desire to provide people/resources/vision to affecting peaceful collaboration/compromise in the middle east. Again, she demonstrated greater potential to quickly step-in and lead the nation–w/ minimal OJT.

    November 16, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  21. Chuck Jax,FL

    Do dems even know what the word "aggressive" means? And how else would you define an organization that arms illegal militias and directly participates in the killing of American soldiers and Marines? Or a group that kidnaps British sailors? Sorry, Clinton is the only candidate who got this vote right, but if thats all thats done to crush this group of terrorists, then all of the dems are way, way off.

    November 16, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. Dylan, NYC

    Nice answer Biden–Iran is a state sponsor of terror, they hate America (we still are "the Great Satan" to them), and are currently working on building nukes to threaten the rest of the non-Islamic world, but your two main concerns are Muslims' feelings getting hurt and the price of oil? Unbelievable! "Aggressive dimplomacy" is a contradiction– by talking to and offering rewards to a regime like Iran (do you think they will keep their promises?), our country would appear weak and naive, further stoking their ambitions. Is that laughter coming from the ayatollah that I hear?

    Posted By Brad, from the great state of Texas : November 16, 2007 12:11 am

    Brad,
    how do you think that we got North Korea to cut back on their nukes??? We talked to them and offered them financial aid!!! So are you upset that Bush coddled the communist by offering them rewards???

    November 16, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. demwit

    And what will the Democrats do when Iran thumbs their nose at aggressive diplomacy too?

    Hmmmmmm...... No, they would never do that would they.....

    November 16, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "What are you gonna do when Iran trys kidnapping some of our sailors? I know what George Bush would do, and I gotta give him credit for that." – Matt, TX

    I know what he would do; he would invade Argentina.

    November 16, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Robert, Shelton, CT

    I think that Biden and Clinton had the strongest performances in the debate...it clearifies alot of misconceptions of both of them; and they don't result to the pandhandling of unnecessary attacks.

    November 16, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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