December 5th, 2007
07:30 AM ET
6 years ago

Clinton: Edwards' Iran charge goes 'way too far'

Dodd, Biden, and Edwards were critical of Clinton's Iran vote Tuesday during a radio debate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's recent vote to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization drew a fresh round of fire Tuesday from her presidential rivals during a debate in Iowa.

As in past debates, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was the harshest on the New York Democrat for the three month-old vote, saying it allows for an all out declaration of war on Iran. Clinton immediately fired back, calling the charge "outlandish" and saying it went "way too far."

"I understand politics, and I understand making outlandish political charges, but this really goes way too far," she said. "In fact, having designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, we've actually seen some changes in their behavior.

"There is absolutely no basis for a rush to war, which I oppose and have opposed for two years," she added."

Sen. Joe Biden, who voted against giving the revolutionary guard the terrorist designation, hit back on Clinton, saying, "It's not about not advocating a rush to war - I'm advocating no war."

Edwards said the vote was "exactly what Bush and Cheney wanted," and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd called his vote against the measure "leadership on a critical issue."

Sen. Barack Obama, who missed the Senate vote, held back on criticizing Clinton directly, but took issue with the measure for suggesting "that we should structure, in some way, our forces in Iraq with the goal of blunting Iranian influence in Iraq."

The sharp exchange was an exception in an otherwise calm two hour radio debate aired on NPR. Differing from previous debates, only three issues were covered - Iran, China, and immigration.

The debate came one day after a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate found that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003 - which is starkly different from a previous intelligence estimate that said Tehran was bent on developing nuclear weapons.

In a press conference earlier Tuesday, President Bush said U.S. policy toward Iran would not change.

CNN Politics.com: Biden raises doubt over Bush's account of Iran report

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Iowa • Presidential Candidates
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. William Z. Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    Edward's charge simply has no basis in fact. The further he gets behind (in the polls) the more he leaves the truth! You can take the lawyer out of the courtroom but..etc. etc.
    As for you Hilary bashers..WAKE UP to the reality that O'bama & Edwards simply don't have what it takes to win a national election... & Hilary does. The LAST thing I want is another Republican in the White House! Have you HEARD what ALL of them have said in the recent Republican debates? It's downright scary! They're All Bush clones!

    December 5, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Billy J Austin, Tx

    Edwards is right! Right about using rhetoric as diplomacy, that is basically saber rattling. Right about Hill being a shill for the machine. Right about lobbyist. and..

    Right for the job of our next president.

    December 5, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Oscar, Rio Vista CA

    John Edwards is right to raise a red flag about Clinton's vote. Everyone and their uncle knows exactly what Bush & Co. are up to. Thank goodness Congress demanded that intelligent report because if they didn't we would be starting a war with them next year... thanks to all the democrats who voted "Yes" on the resolution.

    Hilary Clinton should NOT be the emocratic nominee. She keeps harping on about her experience, but as we have all seen, her actions speak louder than words. She is not good for this country because her experience consists of nothing but fights against republicans. This country will continue to be divided for another 4yrs. Is that what we want?

    December 5, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Jerome Powers NH

    Is there any OTHER politicians running for President?? To hear the media, its only CLINTON, are the good ole boys saints???I think not, take a good look at obama and his lack of experience and that “FACT” that he doesn’t even show up to vote in the senate as a new senator, But bashes his opponents for doing their job. These guys are discrediting themselves day by day with these constant biased attacks on Hillary solely because they are in fear of losing to the best qualified woman!
    Anyone who can with stand all these months of bogus boy attacks since this election started, definitely shows just how strong and that she “is” most educated, qualified and outstanding candidate suited to be Commander in Chief!
    As an educated black man and woman, my wife and I have decided Clinton is the only choice! You blew it barrack, especially since hiring oprah, she has no credibility to campaign for a black president, her support will appear race motivated and that’s turns ALL voters and TV show viewers off!

    December 5, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. John Adkisson, Sacramento, caliifornia

    This story is a testament to the value of retail politics in Iowa. Two presidential candidates running into the same student in one month would never happen anywhere else.

    In such an intimate political atmosphere, astute voters will
    catch a phony every time. Despite soaring poll numbers, Senator Clinton is losing to the more authentic Senator Obama.

    December 5, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. FED up with Hillary bashing

    Does Oprah have stock in CNN? Is CNN afraid to post viewers opinions about Oprah’s support of obama? You will post any bogus attack on Hillary…

    That tells us you support show business selecting your president!

    Say what you will, the American people can see through biased election coverage...
    We are sick of hearing about obama bashing Hillary, why won’t you EVER cover his lack of experience? He missed important senate votes, yes, even the vote on war! His health plan does not cover everyone, he uses Hillary solutions and tweaks them to suit his opinion, his opinion is what Hillary has been saying for years, he has no voice of his own, he fails miserably when he is standing next to ANYOTHER candidate, He has only been a senator for 104 weeks? That is his experience Oprah is selling for the Presidency?? I don’t care how it is supposed to be perceived. It’s solely RACE motivated, as one person writes...
    Someone needs to tell Oprah she will not bye first lady, but barrack will certainly use your name and trash any credibility you has with American public!

    December 5, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Edwards has it right, and he has the vision and capacity to fight for middle class America and be a great President!

    December 5, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. anne, nyc

    From this hopefully H.Clinton needs to realize she has to explain what the vote means and is for. Part of being president is to make sure people understand what you are doing, and she fails at this time and time again. She needs to be able to explain this vote to people. She was hardly alone in it, the majority of Democratic senators voted for it, the minority against it, so it shouldn't be too hard for her to let this one be put to rest, I don't know why she struggles with this.

    December 5, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. pam Eugene, OR

    Edwards shouldn't be concerned about Clinton. She is going down.

    December 5, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Tom, Bellevue, Wa

    Hillary said during the debate that she has opposed a war with Iran for two years.

    Her votes say otherwise. Saying one thing and voting another is dishonest.

    December 5, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Tom, Bellevue, Wa

    Hillary supported the Lieberman admendment which basically says Irans army is a terrorist org. That's no way to begin any diplomatic dialog in the direction of non-conflict – That's what I call a step toward war. The other democratic candidates are right to point that out to her.

    Whether war with Iran is good or bad, Clinton has to accept the fact that she's taking a step toward war. The good or bad debate can wait, but it is clear that's what she is after. And she can't get upset at Edwards for telling it like it is.

    December 5, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. David, Dallas Tx

    NPR did some fact checking this morning, and experts repudiated Clinton's claim that the terrorist designation has caused any changes in Iranian Revolutionary Guard activities.

    Another expert pointed out that the terrorist designation has significantly hampered our diplomatic efforts with Iran.

    This unintended consequence shouldn’t come as a surprise–Clinton is the same candidate who said she wouldn't talk with Iran until they met preconditions–just like Bush and Cheney said.

    In fact, Clinton pretty much always votes to support Bush’s and Cheney’s foreign policy.

    Do we want another president who just doesn’t get international politics?

    December 5, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. PS, KC, MO

    HRC calls Edwards' charge outlandish. Yet, isn't that basically the way the war in Iraq started?
    In fact, if you state that the army of a sovereign nation is a terrorist organization, that then extends to the government of that nation and you are, in principal, declaring war against that nation.
    Outlandish? I'd call it accurate.

    December 5, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Jaik , chicago, IL

    Of course it is a vote towards a war authorization, Clinton is a Bush style republican , the triangulation thing worked foor Bill, for her its more like a way to have the GOP control both parties

    December 5, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Jessica M., El Paso, Texas

    CNN,
    How come you never ever put up my comments, I always see the same people here.

    December 5, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Les, Boston, MA

    "Imagine that, getting tough actually does work with these terrorists..."

    Posted By Rob, Rochelle Park, New Jersey

    _____

    Finally, a rational thought amongst the bloggers. If the NEI report is true, and indeed Iran did suspend its nuclear weapons program in 2003, isn't it entirely plausible that they did so after seeing the Coalition take military action against their neighor, Iraq because of Saddam's suspected WMD program. Iran may have actually blinked in 2003. Evidence indicates that Saddam wanted the World, and Iran specifically, to think they had WMDs. Could it be that wildly incompetent Bush eliminated a WMD arms race in the Middle East?

    December 5, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    The Realist qouted Clinton and McCain as follows: "Hillary Clinton: having designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization,we've actually seen some changes in their behavior."

    John McCain: Iranians are "still sponsoring terrorist organizations," and "sending dangerous and lethal explosive devices into Iraq."

    Change? What change Hillary??

    Posted By therealist : December 5, 2007 10:49 am

    WELL MR. REALIST–THE STRONG MESSAGE OUR SENATE SENT TO IRAN RE: THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARD–(ALONG WITH THE RECENT TROOP SURGE OF COURSE) APPEARS TO HAVE DECREASED THE IED'S AND INSURGENTS ENTERING IRAQ FROM IRAN. CERTAINLY THIS REDUCTION IS LIKELY TO INCREASED PRESENCE–AND THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS MULLAH GENERALS CONCERNS–THAT WITH THE PRESIDENT AND THE SENATE "IN-LINE" ON THEIR POSITION THAT AND RESOLVE TO RETALIATE IF–THEIR WEAPONS AND PEOPLE CONTINUE KILLING OUR TROOPS IN IRAQ. MR. REALIST, THAT COULD HAVE HAD A LITTLE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT. SO YES SIR–THE RESOLUTION MAY HAVE ADDED A GREAT BOOST TO THE CURRENT MILITARY SURGE IN AFFECTING THE IRQ TO REDUCE THEIR OPERATIONS IN IRAQ. IF THIS LOGIC ESCAPES YOU–CHECK OUT THE DAILY MILITARY BRIEFINGS FOR THE PAST 60 DAYS FROM IRAQ–NOTE A LITTLE DECREASE IN BORDER CROSSINGS, IEDS? HMMMM.

    December 6, 2007 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  18. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    So, John Edwards believes that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are not a terrorist organization.
    And he wants us to believe that if he was back in the Senate that he would have voted no. That's why Obama miss the vote, so he would not have to vote yes, along with Hillary.

    December 6, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. JohnGalt Sturgis, SD

    I don't believe that by calling Irans Revolutionary Gaurd a terrorist organization caused them to change any part of their mission. I don't see the purpose for Cheney, and Bushs terrorist claims. When you call someone scum, how can you expect to communicate with any respect. Grow Up.

    December 6, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Ron, Salem, MA

    I don't believe that by calling Irans Revolutionary Gaurd a terrorist organization caused them to change any part of their mission. I don't see the purpose for Cheney, and Bushs terrorist claims. When you call someone scum, how can you expect to communicate with any respect. Grow Up"

    ***************

    I don't necessarily agree with you assessment on the "terrorist" classification for Iran's Revolutionary Guard, but I do totally agree with your statement and ramifications of name-calling. Bush haters have been using this tactic for years now and wonder with amazement why the political climate in Washington is so bad. DUH!!!! Yes, the Democrats should GROW UP!!!!!!

    December 7, 2007 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  21. A Voter in N.Y.

    Hillary said "I understand making outlandish political charges"

    What she failed to mention is she has honed the skill to an art.
    "The vast right wing conspiracy"

    The only thing that has gone "way too far" is Hillarys political career.
    But she does sell newspapers.

    December 7, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. Sara, Ames, IA

    "Imagine that, getting tough actually does work with these terrorists…"

    ++++
    More precisely, it's the ONLY thing that works!

    December 7, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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