October 9th, 2007
09:20 AM ET
11 years ago

Clinton spars with questioner over Iran

Listen to Clinton's verbal spat with a Iowa voter over the weekend.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton often holds several town-hall events a day as she campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination. But a particular gathering in northern Iowa Sunday is the subject of several media reports after the New York Democrat engaged in a verbal tussle with a questioner over Iran.

At an event in New Hampton, Iowa, a questioner took issue with Clinton's recent Senate vote calling on President Bush to formally call the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. He argued that such a distinction confers the president with the ability to invade the country.

"Why should I support your candidacy . . . if it appears you haven't learned from your past mistakes?" the questioner asked, referring to Clinton's vote to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.

Clinton began by telling the questioner "the premise of the question is wrong," and argued the measure calls for the terrorist label so that sanctions can be imposed. The sanctions, she also said, will in turn "send a clear message to the leadership" and lead to stronger diplomatic efforts.

The Democratic presidential front-runner then concluded by suggesting the question was planted, saying, "somebody obviously sent it to you."

Rolph denied anyone had put him to the question.

"I take exception," Rolph fired back. "This is my own research. Nobody sent it to me, I am offended that you would suggest that."

"Let me finish," Clinton sharply responded, before saying "I apologize, I just have been asked the very same question in three other places."

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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. Reggie , Anaheim, Ca.

    Hill didn't read the 2002 NIE report
    before voting for the Occupation!
    Therfore if you don't read the
    Bin Laden bound to strike the US,
    then you shouldn't be President!

    We have a fool / king now that failed
    do so and sat in a classroom after
    the second plane flew into the WTC.

    Obama was against the cash kow for the
    Military Industrial Complex! Wise UP!

    October 9, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  2. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.


    The President cannot attack Iranian forces in Iran without Congressional approval: Kyl-Lieberman does not give this approval. According to our Constitution, Congress makes declarations of war. (Art. I, Sect. 8:11). Declarations of war are made against states as long as they still possess sovereignty. If simply labeling a country "terrorist," makes them eligible for attack on the president's say-so, President Bush could have attacked Iran, A STATE SPONSOR OF TERROR, long ago. As badly as some in his administration want to go after that country, why haven't they cited Iran's status as a state sponsor of terror as authority for doing so? BECAUSE IT ISN'T.

    The President is OF COURSE free, with or without Congress' authorization, to attack any Quds Forces he should happen to find in IRAQ because the United States is the lawful occupying power there.

    As for Osama bin Laden: again, I assert, the man was an INDIVIDUAL CRIMINAL. It would be very strange if the President needed a Congressional authorization of force to arrest or kill a criminal. If Osama bin Laden is the only authority for your argument that labeling part of the regular army of a state entitles the president to attack it without Congressional authorization, that's the END OF THE STORY. The cases simply bear no comparison.

    If you have some other authority for your novel theory of warfare, I'd be happy to hear it.


    Yes, Kyl-Lieberman REQUESTS (NOT AUTHORIZES) that the president exert military power against the Quds Force in IRAQ. Do you seriously believe that if Quds Forces shoot at our armed forces in IRAQ, or supply IEDs that kill our armed forces in IRAQ, that the president doesn't ALREADY have authority to exert military power against them?

    For your "argument" that simply labeling a part of another state's armed forces "terrorist" gives us authority to "go to war with" them, please see above.

    October 10, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Coach Haughton NH


    To Meks

    You are one of several slaves that I am fighting to emancipate from hillaryland.

    I find it amusing that you post things like that and accuse me of "vitriolic hatred".

    My comments reflect my analysis of the facts...if my brashness upsets you I think that may be an indication that you are finding it difficult to debate some of the facts that I present.

    You are correct in a lot of what you say...but I think you need some additional facts to understand my point.

    You are correct the grand ayotulla directs the revolutionary guard. The grand ayotulla also has all the real power in Iran. I don't suggest that hilliar desires war with Iran...I suggest that this president has a proven track record of unjust, rash and wreckless military action...I suggest that hilliar is irresponsible in this vote and has repeated the same mistake she made with her iraq vote.

    If you see the above facts straight from the legislation
    (the argument you gave me is the same from hilliars website...hmm)
    it is clear and apparent that while it may not be his immeadiate intention to do so..George Bush now has the authority and justification to take military action against the Revolutionary Guard. In reality that is war with Iran because their elected government is mostly symbolic because all power lies in the hands of the ayotullas. Economic sanction on the country of Iran would serve to combat the Revolutionary Guard as well. It may not be as effective but at least it wouldn't help draw the ruling force in iran into the presidents " Global War On Terror". You constantly accuse me of not having my facts right when I happen to be dead on. When I give you more facts you get mad and accuse me of vitriolic hatred. The arguement you presented was the same as on hilliars website.

    We are similar in that we really look into the issues before drawing conclusions. I think the differece we continue to have is that you love the clintons so much that you adopt their rhetoric as truth. You are not stupid in doing so because they have a very well spun rap. That is the problem I have with the entire party this cycle. My facts are DEAD ON!

    Reread the legislation that I suggest. Keep in mind what we know of George Bush's character. And I think a guy as smart as you should be able to concede that this vote was not a good thing.

    Also you know that suggesting that she intended to put a prohibition on war with iran into law was an absolute stunt. Not enough votes, veto, constitutional powers.

    I don't hate you or anyone else Meks but stop being her pawn for the sake of america.

    Obama 2008

    October 10, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Coach Haughton NH

    you miss the point entirely dawn.
    tell me the last time we declared war please.
    Police action on a terrorist organization is a lot easier sell that this president needs lest he face impeachment with approval ratings like that.
    If he attacks forces inside Iran, will you defend hilliar or hold her accountable.

    October 10, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. James (the real one), Phoenix AZ

    Dawn – MD,

    Simple question:

    Do you REALLY think President Bush (with the Kyl-Lieberman Resolution) will NOT target Iran's elite guard if they run back into Iran??

    We've got some ocean-front property here in Phoenix I'd like to sell you!

    October 10, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.


    Just WHAT IS your point, Coach? If Bush doesn't need Congressional Authorization to take action against a terrorist state, then you should know that Iran has ALREADY been designated a state sponsor of terror. Bush has ALREADY said that those who sponsor terrorism are the same as terrorists. So, according to your "logic," Bush can already initiate a "police action" against Iran as a "terrorist" state.

    According to your own argument, he NEVER needed Kyl-Lieberman to attack Iran. Funny then, that Bush hasn't already used this justification to attack Iran. You know what else is funny? Bush said that Saddham Hussein harbored and trained terrorists, but Bush still went to Congress for a use of force authorization.

    Incidentally, THAT was the last time that Congress authorized force against another state, REMEMBER? Sen. Clinton voted for the use of force resolution and that's why you think she'd make a terrible president, REMEMBER? I suppose if you can't keep track of your own arguments, it's useless to expect you to drill down on the fine points of Kyl-Lieberman.

    October 10, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Coach Haughton NH

    Great whenever someone gets proven wrong they get mad and spin my words.

    I asked you when was the last time we declared war?

    I understand kyl-liberman fully. My point was for the third time that this president is very unpopular. And should he choose to go to war whether he seeks authorization or not...It will be much easier to sell a war against a terrorist organization...and it is irresponsible to give george bush that kind of clout.

    I think that that was clear...you are so angry because I am saying something opposed to your beloved clintons.

    Emancipate yourself from Hillaryland!

    October 11, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.


    SIMPLER QUESTION: Do you really think that our armed forces were not ALREADY skirmishing with Quds Forces scurrying to the border after attacking them or supporting those who attacked them - BEFORE Kyl-Lieberman?

    Keep your ocean-front property and I will sell you some flood insurance when you build there.

    October 11, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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