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
Thompson will visit Iowa next week.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - He hasn't even officially announced he's running at this point, but former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee will make his first stop in the early-voting state of Iowa next Friday.
Sources close to the Thompson campaign confirmed today that the politician-turned-actor-turned likely Republican presidential candidate will make an appearance at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
The Des Moines Register, which sponsors what it calls a political soapbox at the fair, posted signs Thursday that said Thompson is scheduled to speak at the soapbox next Friday.
Thursday’s roster of speakers included Republican Reps. Ron Paul of Texas and Duncan Hunter of California and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.
Scheduled to show up at the soapbox this Friday are, in order of appearance, Chicago businessman John Cox and former GOP Govs. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin.
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, will speak on Monday.
On Tuesday, fair attendees will hear Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, will have his shot Thursday, and Thompson will take the microphone last on Friday.
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
WASHINGTON (CNN) - America can win the war in Iraq, but most Americans think that, in the end, the country won't succeed, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday.
"Most Americans think that the war is winnable - and that's a notable change since March - but a majority still doesn't think that the U.S. will win," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Back in 2004, just 37 percent thought the U.S. would not win in Iraq, but by 2006, that number had grown to 56 percent, essentially where it is today."
According to the poll, 54 percent of Americans do think that the country has the ability to win the war in Iraq, but fewer people think America is currently winning or will win the war. Only 32 percent think the United States is winning and 42 percent think the country will win in the end.
But the Bush administration still may have convinced more people that the war in Iraq is worthwhile. Now, 33 percent of Americans favor the war, as opposed to the all-time low of 30 percent in June.
The poll is based interviews with 1,029 adults. The question on the war's favorability has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, and the other questions have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.
- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Tommy Thompson’s campaign manager says the former Wisconsin governor must finish first or second in this weekend’s Ames Straw Poll for him to remain in the presidential race.
Thompson’s national campaign manager Steve Grubbs sent an e-mail to supporters on Wednesday pleading with Iowans to attend the annual straw poll on Saturday and vote for Thompson.
According to the e-mail, Thompson will drop out of the race unless he comes close to winning.
“If you're a SOTT (Supporter of Tommy Thompson), then this is probably the most important e-mail you have ever received from his campaign,” Grubbs wrote. “Without your help and support this week, Tommy Thompson's campaign cannot go on. Tommy Thompson has made it clear that if he doesn't finish first or second this week in Ames, Iowa at the straw poll, he will not go on in this race.”
Thompson has struggled to gain traction since announcing his presidential exploratory committee last year. He is registering in low single digits according to recent polls.
- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
Clinton addressed the NABJ Thursday.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) – “Are you black enough?” was the question put to Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton during a panel discussion sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Presidential Forum Thursday.
The question was initially raised by Les Payne, the retired Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from Newsday, in regard to whether Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, was “black enough” – a question the African-American White House hopeful has often been asked. So when it came time to open up the Q&A session with Sen. Clinton, the moderator, CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, lead with the question, eliciting laughter – including that from the Senator – and some applause from the audience.
Specifically, Malveaux asked: “Are you black enough to sustain the kind of support that you got from your husband, and what makes you the better candidate over a black man in representing the issues regarding African-American community?”
“I want to represent all of America. I want to be a president for everyone. I am tired of all these false divisions,” Clinton told the crowd. “I have to earn everyone’s vote and nobody should expect that I take you for granted.”
Clinton went on to say, “I’m going to be very eagerly courting your votes, looking for ways that we can work together, and as I said in my opening remarks, putting forth an agenda as president that I cannot accomplish without a broad base of support.”
Before the Q&A, Sen. Hillary Clinton spoke for eight minutes, and in her opening remarks, she said it was time for America to have a national conversation about the plight of 1.4 million men of color who are in the nation's prison system.
"That's the conversation that I want to have," she said. "It's a conversation that I believe in."
Sen. Barack Obama, who will address the audience tomorrow, has said previously that this is a national crisis that needs to be addressed.
Clinton didn’t take long to connect with her audience.
Recognizing the two female candidates running for president of the National Association of Black Journalists, Clinton referred directly to them, saying, “However this election turns out, Madam President has a wonderful ring to it." Barbara Ciara, managing editor and anchor at WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia, and Cheryl Smith, executive editor at the Dallas Weekly in Texas, are running for the position.
In an effort to connect with her audience, Clinton also took a moment to recognize the late author James Baldwin, and the death of Chauncey Bailey, the Oakland Post editor who was gunned down last week, allegedly by followers of a group he was investigating.
- CNN contributor Roland Martin
The Democratic frontrunners, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, speak before the AFL-CIO forum Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York retains her position firmly at the front of the pack of Democratic presidential candidates, with a poll Thursday giving her 44 percent of the vote, nearly double the 24 percent garnered by the next-closest candidate, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.
But the data were not all rosy for the former first lady.
Among Democrats who never graduated from college, Clinton leads Obama by 26 points. But among Democrats with a college degree, Clinton has only a three-point edge. Turnout is typically higher among college graduates, particularly during primaries.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson followed, with 5 percent; Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware attracted 3 percent; and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio won 2 percent. Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska each attracted less than one half of one percent.
The poll, which had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 4.5 points, was conducted by telephone Monday through Wednesday.
Since June, no candidate's support has changed by more than one point with Gore out of the race.
A new poll indicates Edwards and Clinton are tied in Iowa.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential hopeful John Edward's one-time lead in Iowa has all but disappeared, according to a new poll out of the crucial early-voting state.
In a University of Iowa poll released Thursday, the former North Carolina senator now leads White House rival Hillary Clinton by a mere 1 percentage point, 26 percent to 25 percent, among likely Democratic caucus-goers. The slim difference is well within the poll’s 5 percentage point margin of error. Meanwhile, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is close behind at 19 percent.
Both Edwards and Clinton have seen their support in the Hawkeye State drop since March, according to University of Iowa polling. Edwards is down 8 percent from a similar poll taken in March, and Clinton is down 4 percent. Obama has remained essentially in the same position.
The big mover is New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, whose support has increased significantly in the same period, from less than 1 percent five months ago to 9 percent now. No other candidate in the poll received more than 2 percent.
When the sample is expanded beyond likely caucus-goers to all Democrats in Iowa, Clinton leads with 27 percent, followed by Obama and Edwards at 22 percent. Richardson pulls 9 percent.
The larger sample included 425 Democrats, while the likely caucus-goers sample included 319 Democrats.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN)—Despite the presidential nominating contest entering a heightened state of flux on Wednesday, Iowa Governor Chet Culver says there is still no doubt where Iowa will fall on the calendar.
“Iowa will go first, that is the bottom line,” said the first-term Democrat. “Historically there is always a lot of jockeying related to the presidential selection calendar. As Governor, I will do everything in my power to make sure that Iowa has the first caucus in the nation, and I’m confident we will.”
On Wednesday, Katon Dawson, the chairman of the South Carolina GOP, announced that his state’s Republican presidential primary would move from January 29 to January 19, in order to keep its place as the first southern state on the nominating calendar. That move will likely trigger a decision by New Hampshire officials to set their primary before January 19, in order to keep the Granite State’s traditional “first in the nation primary” status.
Any move by New Hampshire to change the date of its primary would likely trigger a provoke a similar move in Iowa.
“The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for January 14th, 2008, and it is my hope they remain scheduled for that day,” Culver went on to say. “That being said, we are going to continue to work with the Iowa Democratic party and the Democratic National Committee to make sure that Iowa remains first in the nation.”
–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Bush held a press conference Thursday morning.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - When it comes to anything related to the ’08 campaign fray, President Bush says just leave me out of it.
At Thursday morning’s White House news conference, Bush again declined to comment on the race – this time the criticism of Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama’s Pakistan statement.
Bush said, “I suspect that over the course of the next months when I hold a press conference you'll be trying to get me to engage in presidential politics, trying to get me to opine about what candidates are saying, whether they be Republicans or Democrats. And hopefully I'll be disciplined enough not to fall prey to your questions, not to fall into that.”
Last week, the Illinois senator said he would be willing to use military force against terrorist training camps in Pakistan if Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf did not act against them.
"You can think big, but remember, you shouldn't always say everything you think if you are running for president, because it has consequences around the world. And we don't need that right now," Clinton said.
Meanwhile, at Camp David Monday, Mr. Bush told reporters, “I'm confident, with real, actionable intelligence, we will get the job done” and capture top al Qaeda leaders inside Pakistan. The President was then asked at Thursday’s news conference if the “we” included Pakistan’s government.
Mr. Bush responded, “To the question you asked and to my answer in Camp David, I said I'm confident that we - both the Paks and the Americans - will be able to work up a plan based upon actionable intelligence that will bring the top al Qaeda targets to justice. And I meant what I said. We spend a lot of time with the leadership in Pakistan talking about what we will do with actionable intelligence. The question was: Am I confident that they will be brought to justice? And my answer to you is: Yes, I am confident.”
- CNN Political Desk Manager Steve Brusk
Laura and Jenna Bush are writing a book, USA TODAY reports.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The first lady is set to become a first author.
Laura Bush, along with daughter Jenna, are in the process of writing a children's book about a child who does not like reading, USA TODAY reports.
The picture book, to be published next spring by HarperCollins, is inspired by the teaching experiences of both Laura and Jenna. The elder Mrs. Bush is a former public school teacher, while the younger Bush taught in Washington, DC after she graduated college.
The official announcement is expected to come later Thursday.
"It's a book that I've always wanted to write," Laura Bush told USA TODAY. "And it's fun to be able to do it with your daughter."
Laura Bush also told the paper she expects the task to be difficult.
"In a picture book, there are so few words, so each word has to be perfect," she said. Jenna and I know that, and we know that each page should have something to make you want to turn the page. That's the challenge."
Jenna Bush has previously tried her hand as a writer, completing a yet-to-be published book last winter about her experiences working for UNICEF.