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. Scott Crenshaw

    Was Clinton about to go into labor after attacking Obama? How does one get "caught in a contraction"? What does "Last week, the Obama said," mean? Oh, and Where in the world is Iram – I have heard of Iran and Iraq. Does anyone proof the political ticker sometimes I really have a hard time understanding what is being said.
    I hope that this doesn't make it to the blog, I really enjoy reading but sometimes I have a difficult time understanding because of the lack of professional writing and proof reading.

    August 9, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Nathalie, Las vegas, Nevada

    She made no apologies for authorizing a war that has created hundreds of widows and orphans, billions of dollars and our reputation abroad. She made no apologies for arrogantly declaring that she will continue to take money from lobbyists.

    What did you expect here? That she will say "Sorry it was a mistake to accuse senator Obama for something I too am guilty of”? This is one of those cases where voters would have to look at the facts and judge for themselves whether or not a potential president is already persistently lying to the American people and making no apologies even before she’s nominated. Imagine what she’ll do if she enters the Oval Office.

    These people are good at it and even the press cannot stop them. Only the American people can, with the one thing that they desperately need- our vote.

    August 9, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  3. Adam, Plano, TX

    this article is full of typo's... Iram? "contraction" instead of contradiction? get it together CNN.

    hilary has shown me, through all the debates i've watched, that she will say anything to get elected. this contradiction is no surprise, and i'm glad that CNN is actually reporting this, instead of all the obama slander they've been posting.

    August 9, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  4. Adam, Plano, TX

    also, Hilary's own aide is saying she wasn't relevant when this statement was made, much like she's not relevant now. Obama 08.

    August 9, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  5. Murphy, Sebring, FL

    So Mrs. Clinton has one set of answers as a senator, but another set now that she's running for president? Thank you, Mr. Obama, for holding an honest dialog with the American public.

    August 9, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. Christian, Palmetto FL

    Hmph. Why can't everyone just say "I won't use nuclear weapons?"

    Unless there's a drastic change in world affairs and someone like Russia or China is pointing their nukes at us, there's no reason to even consider using them, especially when the regions in question (Iran, Afghanistan/Pakistan) have civilians everywhere.

    Hillary should have agreed with Obama on this one, especially considering her previous comments.

    August 9, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. Linda, Chandler AZ

    Clinton's "people" can back-pedal all they doesn't change the fact that she's a big hypocrite.

    August 9, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I didn't see a Flip or a Flop, the reason is that now things are a hundred times more complicated since Bush got in office, now things must approached differently than before. Who ever get in office in Washington, things are going to be tough, the reason is in the facts, and the facts are Bush has changed all of the rules, we must approach all avenues with a different view, it must be resolved Diplomatically, if not Hillary is prepared to deal w/that too, you can bet on this.
    Hillary is the best candidate we could possible trust to get this mess cleaned up, she has my vote.

    August 9, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  9. Pam Eugene OR

    I am surprised CNN reported this. Isn't Hilary your girl! This is just one of the times Hilary got caught on tape. So typical for this bought and paid for career politician. She will say anything that severs her at the time. I am sure she will try to worm her way out of this.
    I will take Obamas' "inexperience" any day over Hilary's lies. Why can't she just run her own campaign and stop the dirt so early on.

    August 9, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. Philip Miller, Ewa Beach, HI

    "But was Clinton caught in a contraction after attacking Obama for ruling out the nuclear option in Pakistan and Afghanistan?"

    Was she having a baby or did she say can't?

    August 9, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. Chima Ordu, York, PA

    "“I have said publicly no option should be off the table, but I would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table."
    Ok...THAT's not a hypothetical? Hillary Clinton wasn't saying SHE would take nukes off the table IF she were President?

    This "explanation" is beyong hilarious. There are so many more contradictions that will be forthcoming from Hillary...just watch.

    August 9, 2007 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. Lance, Monrovia, CA.

    Two nights ago at the AFL-CIO debate, Hillary Clinton said, "if you need someone to take on the right, I'm your girl."

    This sound bite was almost Bush worthy in it's level of divisiveness and stupidity.

    I don't need you to take on the right, Mrs. Clinton. I don't need a champion of the left to jump in there and stir up the base the same way Bush has done to the right for the last six years.

    The base won't gain you the Presidency, ma'am.

    The time for the sort of us versus them mentality typified by your niave statement last night, Mrs. Clinton, is over.

    Barrack Obama is tapping into the feeling that pervades this country, the feeling that we are all of ONE NATION, FOR THE PEOPLE, not "for the politicians". Beyond that, I can think of others who have been much more willing to "take on the right" than you have, not least of which is Barry Obama.

    MRS. CLINTON, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TAKING ON THE RIGHT. You haven’t been speaking up in Congress, you’ve been safely hiding...

    You blindly voted for a Right sponsored disaster of a war and have never apologized for your mistake.

    You stand by and say nothing as others call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney as they break law after law and craft bigger lie after lie to cover it.

    While the American Constitution goes the way of a bald eagle in a bathtub full of DDT you say less than others in an effort to protect your meaningless status.

    Did I hear you speak up when Habius Corpus was reversed and when anyone’s rights where stripped away merely by the “accusation” of being a terrorist?
    When Nancy Pelosi was arguing that point, or the point warrartless wiretapping was illegal where you there beside her on C-SPAN?

    The two “girls” in action?

    Nope. Even John McCain spoke far more memorably about it than whatever sound bite you espoused at the time.

    When it was revealed that Alberto Gonzalez had tried to coerce John Ashcroft into signing an illegal surviellence program on possibly his deathbed were you speaking out in outrage like John Webb or Harry Reid or even Joe Biden?

    Were you even half as outspoken as Arlen Spector for cryin out loud, when he said that he’s lost all crediblity in our Attorney General? Or when he found out that an attorney in his own office authorized provisions of the Patriot Act that give the President absolute sole authority, totally bypassing your own Congress, to decide arbitrarily who should be a U.S. Attorney?

    When it became known that the U.S. is outsourcing it’s interrogations of POWs and suspected terrorists to countries in the former Soviet Union, Syria and Cuba, were you there besides the dozens of other Senators that loudly proclaimed it’s unconstitutionality?

    Where you beside President Jimmy Carter a few months ago when he called George W. Bush the worst President in history?
    Or when he wrote two scathing books on the effects of the current administration? Was your book as decisive and harsh to the right?

    If it was, I can't remember the chapter.

    I think you were complaining somewhat about Bush, but it was not quite as loud, not quite as up front as Mr. Carter or the others, was it?

    Why? Because it's not presidential enough?

    Did you personally try and block the vote that 14 of your fellow democrats signed last Friday that made Bush’s illegal spying on Americans over the last six years legal, even despite the total unconstitutionality of the law?


    Somehow, I doubt you’re our girl, Mrs. Clinton. I think you’d be okay, maybe not as bad.

    Not bad ain’t enough. Shame on you for pandering to the audience and making yourself into a progressive.

    If any infrastructure needs a major overhaul, it’s that of the U.S. Government, starting with yourself.

    Obama ‘08.

    At least the man still has his integrity and I believe what his ads say. His message hasn’t had time to be as corrupted as yours has been ma’am.

    Thank God he’s running now, instead of waiting another 10 years to become as cautious as you have become.

    August 9, 2007 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  13. kola, richmond, va

    Can you say DOUBLETALK?

    What a political beast this woman is.

    August 9, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  14. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    Yes, CNN reported that Obama’s comments cause a negative public response in Pakistan further destabilizing the sensitive social political situation in Pakistan.
    Unlike the Taliban that invited, welcomed and supported terrorism, Pakistan has been invaded by unwelcomed terrorists.
    Yes, there is a big difference.
    Clearly telling President Bush to cool off on Nuclear threats as part and parcel of his diplomacy is an important message to send to Bush. Isn’t that how we got into this mess in Iraq? Why repeat the same blunder again?

    August 9, 2007 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. Joe, Memphis, TN

    Mrs. Clinton was for nukes before she was agains nukes. She was for NAFTA, Def Of Marraige Act, Dont Ask Dont tell, Iraq (she was niave because she was mislead by Pres. Bush but doesnt admit the war was wrong) and GAT before she was against it. It seems to me Mrs. Clinton always takes credit for the good things like the surpluses during her husband admin but reduses to take responiblity for the bad things. A pattern. Hmmmm.

    August 10, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  16. Connie Nguyen, Burbank, California

    Talking about living in a glass house, Soledad, you need to look into Obama's hypocrisy in attacking Hillary about lobbyists' donations, ABC's report today that Obama authored legislation exempting a foreign company from paying fees, thanks to the help from a representative (lobbyist) of that company who donated $$$ to Obama. It sounds like quid pro quo to me.

    August 10, 2007 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  17. Michael J. Popovich, Peoria, Arizona

    Give us a break and before you chastise any Democratic candidate on an issue of definition (i.e. what is or is not socialized medicine) deal with the motive and give credit where credit is due. How many Americans including children do you think will be helped with medical coverage rather than the Republican way of outrageous self-interest?

    August 10, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  18. Apollo, Bothell, WA

    Classic Clinton. She will say anything to anyone to get what she wants. She is a kite in the wind-no moral compass...her only guide is to stick her finger in the air and do what is easiest today.

    We need a real leader in the White House. Someone who has been an executive and who will make correct, long-term decisions. Hillary is not that person. Her decisions (as evidenced by this comment here) are made for short-term political gain or for a quick soundbite on AC 360. America and the world can not afford short-term answers when life and death and the future of the free world is at stake.

    Jihadist terrorists who want to kill us...China wanting to undermine us...Iran killing our troops daily...Mrs. Clinton is the wrong person for President.

    August 10, 2007 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  19. Byron, Miami, Fla

    Finally so objective writting! It seems to me there are alot of things said by Obama, that are always taken out of contexts. Somethings have to be implied before hand. They say that those who speak their minds are often the ones with nothing to hide. Imagine the day when all of our politicians will dare the speak their minds!

    August 10, 2007 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  20. Eli, Marietta Ohio

    Finally CNN has taken on Hillary Clinton in one of many examples of the hypocrisy she emulates.

    She is playing purely political games, and she will say ANYTHING to get elected. This is but only one example of her double speak. Case-in-point, read what she actually said at the AFL-CIO Forum in Chicago a few days ago.

    "remember, you shouldn’t always say everything you think if you’re running for president."

    Ofcourse not, why in the world would we ever want to elect a president who actually tells the American people what they actually think.. How foolish of me..

    She must have really learned a lot from the Bush admininstration on that front.

    These guys (and gal) will never tell you what they really think because they know if they open their big mouths, they ALL might as well forget about being President.

    August 10, 2007 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  21. Sam Johnson, Las Vegas, NV

    I still haven't decided who to vote for yet, however, I have decided I will NOT vote for CLINTON. We have already had 8 years of her husband and 12 years of the Bush's. Do we really want to risk another 8 years of another CLINTON? That will make 28 years of CLINTON's and BUSH's. I have enough of both of these families!

    August 10, 2007 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  22. Willy, Chesapeake, VA

    She's a democrat, a darling of the media. You won't post any "civil" comments aganist the fav. of the media.
    I founmd that out. So much for freedom of expression with Clinton News Network.

    August 10, 2007 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  23. Roger, Red Creek, NY

    This should be the top story on CNN–just like Obama's comments on nukes were. WHY IS IT NOT? MAKE IT #1 CNN, SO THAT PEOPLE SEE HER TRUE NATURE.

    I am tired of this!

    August 10, 2007 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  24. Kevin Martin, NYC, NY

    This is the second time that Hillary has bashed Obama on stances she herself has promoted. It's obvious to me that the Clinton machine will say or do anything to squash political challenge – lie, steal, cheat, and especially deny or qualify any stance they have ever taken.

    I still don' t know where she stands on the iraq war... and in the past month, she's from Arkansas, Illinois, and New York... these con-men don't deserve to guide our country just to sate their egos.

    August 10, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  25. Dani, Providence, RI

    I believe Hillary appears to be "waffling" a bit on foreign policy because she solidly recognizes that she will be the next president of the United States. Given that, the leaders of foreign countries are listening to what she says now. What they do in response will influence not only what mess she inherits, with anything they do between now and then, but will determine her effectiveness in dealing with these powers after she gains office. Recall her comment to Obama – be careful you do not say what you are thinking – our leaders are listening.....

    August 10, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
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