August 9th, 2007
07:22 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton contradiction on nukes?

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

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Mac, Severn, Md

    Sounds like Hillary is an "empty suit"; there's really nothing solid on the inside. Waffles in the wind.

    August 9, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. Jay Charlotte, NC

    OH MAN! Clinton contradicts herself? That can't be possible, which is what the Clinton campaign said, right? NO COMMENT.

    August 9, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Willy Brown, Chesapeake, VA

    Mrs. Bill Clinton is a democrat. You expect democrats to shift & blow like the winds.

    August 9, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Matt, Chicago, IL

    Why is it that when Democrats change opinion it is "flip flopping" but when Republicans contradict old themselves (Mitt Romney on abortion, gay marriage, etc.) the press is silent?

    August 9, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. YOU!, IL

    Hillary Kerry-Clinton? Que?

    August 9, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |

    typical clintonesque.. she will flip flop and say anything that anyone or cause needs to hear..that is the clinton mantra...nothing ever changes for the clintons,, this is a two party ticket right ?

    August 9, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. J. Mark Lane, Larchmont, NY

    "But was Clinton caught in a contraction after attacking Obama...."

    It's bad enough that CNN would publish such pathetically strained, anti-Clinton propoganda. It's an indication of the level of intelligence involved in such obvious pandering that the writer can't even spell "contradiction."

    You guys will never rise to the level of the great news services with garbage like this article.

    J. Mark Lane
    Larchmont, NY

    August 9, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I think it's irresponsible to take _anything_ off the table, including antipersonnel tactical nukes, when dealing with nutcase Islamic regimes.

    August 9, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Dan, TX

    Apples and oranges?? Are you kidding?

    August 9, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. daniel

    CNN your out of your mind!!!
    How dare you say she is flip floping. Why can't people have a change of mind?

    August 9, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  11. Ericwillyb

    CNN Political Desk Manager Steve Brusk
    "Clinton contradiction on nukes?"

    Bizarre title for this article!

    I think Steve Brusk should make a real investigation of different positions of Sen. Clinton then he will know for himself that she is flip flopping on almost every issue!
    This primary in the democratic Party looks like Obama against ALL oter candidates
    And CNN is actually not doing his Homework!

    August 9, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. Lyn, Silver Spring, MD

    Oh yeh right !!!

    August 9, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Don Mesner, Los Angeles, CA

    Hillary Clinton flip-flopped again and again long time ago.
    Remember, she wanted to talk to dictators few month ago. When Obama said the same thing, she was against it.
    Here we go again, with the nuclear question.
    She is the queen of soundbites. As a result, you will see contradictions after contradictions coming from her.

    Remember Hillary Clinton said:
    I honestly think that statement was unscripted and is a BIG gaffe.

    August 9, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. Mike, Portland, Oregon

    Wow. So what you say only matters in a presidential election? I think not. What you say before the presidential election is must more accurate of your views and opinions. Now she only says what the public wants to hear so she can win. This ought to be like NASCAR at this point.

    August 9, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Harley, Stowe Vermont

    Is this poorest piece of written journalism on you site? I high school daughter could have done better. Doesn't anyone over there prrof read?

    August 9, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. dylan, gainesville, fl

    caught in a contraction? the obama?

    August 9, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. Greg, Phoenix, AZ


    August 9, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  18. Anthony Pascual, Copperopolis, California

    This is exactly why I would not vote for Hillary Clinton! Whatever it takes to get your vote is what she will say, let alone all the baggage that she carries with her!

    August 9, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Now, can ANYONE trust a politician who is blatantly caught in a complete contradiction and then attempts to squeeze out of it like this?

    Sounds a little like 'ole Slick Willy to me.

    NOT going to fall for that one again are we?

    August 9, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  20. Ernie, North Truro, MA

    This is double talk by the Clinton campaign to try to weasel out of an obvious contradiction. Clinton will say whatever she believes will serve her purpose at the time.

    August 9, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  21. Izzy, Queens New York

    This is another example of the idiocy of Hillary Clinton. In her bid to attack Barack Obama's position and make him appear inexperienced, she has contradicted herself. How can someone so experienced be party to the most blatant foreign policy of recent times and her 'inexperienced' competitor was proved right at the end of the day? This woman is still going to do something very very stupid. I can almost feel it. She is programmed and coached. Her statements, actions and positions do not reflect that she can herald change or is even sincere in saying she represents change. Vote Barack Obama as President of the United States of America. Vote for Change.

    August 9, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. Sarah Smith, Charlton, SC

    "Sorry, that was a mistake. She has Alzheimers so when she accused Senator Obama, she couldn't remember that she said the same thing last year" Was anyone hoping her campaign would say something like this? Forget it. She couldn't even say sorry for authorizing the biggest foreign policy disaster of our generation.

    This is one of those cases where Americans would have to look at the facts and judge for themselves whether or not a potential president is persistently lieing to them and making no apologies even before she became president. Unlike Edwards and Dood, She made no apologies for authorizing a war that has caused hundreds of widows and orphans, billions of dollars and our reputation abroad (she blamed George Bush) and she arrogantly and unapollogetical said she would continue to take money from lobbyists. How sick can America get?

    August 9, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  23. greg, anytown, usa

    "In the April 2006 interview with Bloomberg Television, amid reports the administration may have been weighing a nuclear option in Iram"

    spell check?

    August 9, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. Diamond, Bradenton, FL

    I'm delighted CNN finally brought this up. I said this 2 weeks ago, but it was ignored.

    Senator Obama was not asked a broad hypothetical. Check the AP transcript for yourselves. As CNN mentioned, the question was specific on using nuclear weapons against terror suspects in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Senator Clinton is a glaring hypocrite and in this case, she's looking for an escape route as always. Here's the transcript of her interview:

    HUNT: Senator, you sit in the Armed Services Committee. There were reports this weekend, the "Washington Post" and elsewhere, that the United States is considering a military option against Iran if it won't relinquish any ambitions to nuclear weapons. The "New Yorker" even said that we're considering using nuclear – tactical nuclear weapons. Should those options be on the table when it comes to Iran?

    CLINTON: Well, I have said publicly no option should be off the table, but I [Hillary clinton] would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table. And 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.

    August 9, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. LYN,SS, MD

    She is such a joke...and I am sure more of this is too come.

    August 9, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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