October 25th, 2007
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Dodd, Edwards blast Iran sanctions, criticize Clinton

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidates expressed concern Thursday over the Bush administration’s extensive sanctions against Iran, arguing the measures were likely precursors to war with that country.

“Today, George Bush and Dick Cheney again rattled the sabers in their march toward military action against Iran,” John Edwards said in a statement. “The Bush Administration has been making plans to attack Iran for many months. At this critical moment, we need strong leadership against George Bush’s dangerous ‘preventive war’ policy, which makes force the first option, not the last.”

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd echoed the sentiment. “Unfortunately, the action taken by the Administration today comes in the context of escalating rhetoric and drumbeat to military action against Iran,” he said in a statement. “I am deeply concerned that once again the President is opting for military action as a first resort.”

Dodd again highlighted his vote against the Kyl-Lieberman amendment last month which in part called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps to be designated a terrorist organization. Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-New York, vote in favor of the measure is now a major topic on the campaign trail.

On Thursday, both Dodd and Edwards said the amendment’s language could be used by the Bush administration to justify military action against Iran.

“I learned a clear lesson from the lead up to the Iraq War in 2002: if you give this president an inch, he will take a mile – and launch a war,” Edwards said. “Sen. Clinton apparently learned a different lesson. Instead of blocking George Bush’s new march to war, Senator Clinton and others are enabling him once again.

- CNN Sr. Political Producer Sasha Johnson

Filed under: Chris Dodd • Hillary Clinton • John Edwards
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Richard Tabuteau, Atlanta, GA

    I hope Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, and Chris Dodd's campaigns are not just auditions for a cabinet position in a hypothetical Hillary Clinton administration, but a serious effort to contrast their better judgment from hers. Hopefully they will start attacking her by name and start peeling away support from her, which would likely then go to Barack Obama since he polls highest in the "second choice" category for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    October 25, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Steve, Sumter SC

    I guess Dodd and Edwards would rather throw the Iranians a party than protect us. The Iranians would love to destroy Israel and the U.S. Not a good time for a party gents! Get a grip, please!

    October 25, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. James, Phoenix AZ

    Here is your choice America:

    1) Do-Nothing Democrats that yelp when sanctions are placed against a rogue nation developing nuclear technology. Iran's President publically agreed with the Ayatollah's call for the REMOVAL of Israel.

    2) Republican leaders – seeking to stop nuclear proliferation especially nations that openly support terrorists and threaten peace-seeking democratic allies.

    October 25, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Glenn,Bham,Al

    Iran's leadership considers any compromise a sign of weakness. Its Democratic & Republican policy to view them as the enemy they are. Any thing more important than a hair cut & Edwards is lost.

    October 25, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Dan, TX

    The issue here is the Kyl-Lieberma amendment. The Bush Administration is well within its rights to call for sanctions against Iran – as long as this is done with consultation with the rest of the world. Obviously, we should not act alone, since this is a problem for the world, not just US. Why should we PAY for everything?

    The Kyl-Lieberman amendment gives congressional (Democratic party) approval for Bush to act against terrorists that threaten troops in Iraq or elsewhere AND designates the Iranian Military as a terrorist organization. Therefore, any Iranian military personnel caught in an attack on American interests in Iraq is justification for a war in Iran.

    Dodd, Biden, and Obama were against the Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

    People have said that Obama didn't vote, but he couldn't. He was told there would be no vote – see the congressional record below.
    Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. REID. Mr. Chairman, there will be no more votes tonight. We have tried to work something out on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment and the Biden amendment. We have been unable to do that.

    We have been very close a few times, but we have just been informed that Senator Biden will not have a vote anytime in the near future. There will not be a vote on the other one anytime in the near future. We hope tonight will bring more clearness on the issue.

    But right now, I think it is fair to say there will be no votes tonight.

    Does the Senator from South Dakota have any comments?

    Mr. THUNE. No, I do not. I would say to the leader, that is good for our Members to know. We have Members who have been inquiring whether they will be able to vote.

    Then once Obama went to NH to campaign Reid called for a vote and gave less than one hour. It was impossible for Obama to get back in time.

    WHY would REID do this? You might ask his son, Rory Reid, who is campaigning for Clinton.

    GET IT?

    October 25, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Steve, Portland, OR

    Democratic/ Republican it is representatives from BOTH parties responsible for yet another very bad political strategy.Why agian is this the US responsibility. When will this arrogant president understand this is an international problem and one that Israel is getting the US to deal with instead of the international community.I myself am tired of seeing the US have to be the police of the middle east using our tax dollars for more misguided policies that don't solve problems.Why is it that the general populace of Iran is being held accountable for the lunatic in charge of Iran when we have our own lunatic in charge here. Most understand the general populace here in the states has no control over these decisions other than waiting for the next election and we are not being held to the same standards our our Iranian counterparts, doesn't make much sense does it?

    October 25, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |

    THANK YOU.The sanctions indeed are a ruse of this diabolical president to ultimately justify his war with Iran. I think it is incumbent upon all the Democrats to take a position on this connivance by the Bush cabal. This evil, unGodly, warbent bunch of despicable humans need to be stopped by the American populace before we are plunged into a war we might not win or endure. GOD SAVE US BUSH/CHENEY.

    October 25, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Maddoxx, NY,NY

    Edward's tobacco win is it. He will never ever win anything again. Dude is a looser.

    October 25, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Ryan Indianapolis

    Democrats are a bunch of whiny weaklings. Thank God the grown ups occupy the White House. Hey Dems maybe we should have Iran to the white house and just give them our Nuclear bombs?

    October 25, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Karen,nj

    I can't stand Bush he is going to get us all nuked by the Russians and we will all die slowly like in Testament. He doesn't need permission from anyone, he just does it. No one is going to stop him. America is a bunch of wimps! I can't stand living under the treat of nuclear war every other day.

    October 25, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Michael -- Gallatin, TN

    I greatly respect Chris Dodd. Ive met the man several times and even enjoyed some one-on-one conversation with him several years back while we both awaited the arrival of friends in the lobby of his Kalorama area co-op in Washington. The Senator is bright, engaged, articulate, and interested in hearing how others view important issues. But, on this matter, he's wrong. The U.S. should not shrink from labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guards terrorists. But, neither should Sen. Dodd shrink from calling for the president's impeachment should he attempt any military action against or in Iran.

    October 25, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. max long island, ny

    with dodd and edwards you can count on Iran to get the bomb.

    I thought eco sanctions is the Dem way to go. I quess not.

    Remeber the song not fade away. they ought to fade away.

    Dodd was a good friend of Imus do you think he'll be on the new show?

    Every time he ran for office he got plenty of air time

    October 25, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Good for Dodd and Edwards, standing up to warmongering rightwingers. I know this may come as a shock to some of you 28%ers, but you *can* simultaneously advocate a dimplomatic solution with Iran without FedExing all our thousands of nuclear weapons to them. Amazing, isn't it? Besides, I thought we were fighting the Greatest Epic Struggle of Western Civilization in Iraq. Do you guys have spare army battalions in your basement that we don't know about? Or are you advocating that we withdraw our forces in Iraq to go attack the greatest, latest boogeyman?

    As for Israel, they can fight their own battles. If they want to illegally occupy land then they will get to deal with all the pros and cons of being an occupier. They have enough nukes to protect themselves not to mention our billions of dollars in annual aid.

    October 25, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Loyda, DC


    stop giving BUSH so much credit... even the Village Idiot KNOWS he does not have the resources to invade Iran...

    October 25, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. spinstopper

    "arguing the measures were likely precursors to war with that country."

    So..., evidently Edwards and Dodd don't think that Iranian's training terrorist to kill American's is a precursor to war for them..

    October 25, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. Erik, Naperville, IL

    James, I didn't realize national security policy was a multiple choice test. It's fun to invent a small bubble and make perfect decisions inside it, isn't it? Solving the problems of the larger world is a little more difficult, huh? We can't count on pulling off astounding successes like the democratic transformation of Iraq all the time.

    October 25, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. Bill, Whittier, =California

    War is bad. we should avoid war if at all possible. if this sanction gives the administration an inch, as edwards suggests, then I am terrified, because this administration has proven their ability to turn an inch of intelligence into over a million deaths. Thats right a million. Iraqis count as people to. News flash for the uninformed, islam doesnt equal terrorism, and neither does not liking israel. This isn't about republicans and democrats, this is about war and peace. Iran is being sold the same way as the iraq war was sold. the reason to be against sanctions is because our admin. has failed us with a foreign policy that is geared toward war, and is far beyond our means. Anything that opens up doors for the extension of this "war on terror" should be stopped.

    October 25, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. enough already

    I think the leaders of both US and Iran, should find a room, have a punch up, and get it out of their system. The overwhelming majority of the underlying populace – on both sides – simply is not interested in a ridiculous war for nothing.....

    October 25, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Pete, Washington

    Hillary is praying that Bush does not attack Iran. If he does, she is TOAST.
    Her vote on Kyl/Lieberman will sink her chances at the nomination. Let's face it, Hillary is a HAWK. The Dems will finally see her for what see really is.

    October 25, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Ray, Rochester

    Democrats = Surrender

    They prefer to ignore the problem and leave it for others. They prefer to avoid tough decisions and instead take the easy way out.

    Guess what Dems...it's called "LEADERSHIP".

    The Bush administration has been working with our allies and the UN on Iranian sanctions for over a year and a half. Nothing has been accomplished as Iran continues to build centrifuges and develop the technology to build a nuclear weapon.

    Of course they also continue to train insurgents, equip them with armor piercing weapons, and kill Americans. I guess that's okay for the Dems and the Liberals out there.

    You can continue to beat the deadhorse that this is a Bush prequel to war. Thankfully it won't change a think and Bush has the courage and LEADERSHIP to do the right thing to protect our country.

    If you don't like it, vote for Edwards or Dodd. They don't stand a chance of winning the nomination much less the election, but you can feel good.

    I wonder what it is like to live in your La La Land. The place where it is okay to ignore threats and pretend they are non-existent. Kind of like not paying your bills and hope they all just go away.

    Iran's Mullahs must be PRAYING to Allah for an Edwards victory. They know he is such a mealy-mouthed lightweight that they will have free rein to do what they want. Then, when the develop a nuclear weapon on his watch, Edwards can say "shoot...I guess I should have done something..."

    Too late Johnny Breck-Boy. Too late.

    October 25, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Ray, Rochester

    THANK YOU.The sanctions indeed are a ruse of this diabolical president to ultimately justify his war with Iran. I think it is incumbent upon all the Democrats to take a position on this connivance by the Bush cabal. This evil, unGodly, warbent bunch of despicable humans need to be stopped by the American populace before we are plunged into a war we might not win or endure. GOD SAVE US BUSH/CHENEY.

    Posted By Tom, AlBUQUERQUE, NM : October 25, 2007 3:19 pm

    Wow Tom,

    How can you stand it...you know...the all powerful and diabolical Bush/Cheney dark alliance?

    Of course, Tom, you know that Bush and Cheney piloted the planes that crashed into the twin towers on 9/11. It's true. In fact, Halliburton was in on it and developed clones of Bush and Cheney to run the government post 9/11.

    Dude, you need to lay off that New Mexico Peyote.

    October 25, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Darko, New Orleans LA

    and what should they be doing instead of sanctioning Iran? Just let them continue their nuclear ambitions?

    Maybe we can talk them some more...

    This is not a push for war.
    The more sanctions placed on Iran, the more the people are likely to rebel against their govt. They are already very close. No one knows revolution like Iran...

    October 25, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. Ben

    Hillary just plain screwed up.

    October 25, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Sam, Portland OR

    Even after all we've gone through, it still amazes me how much hate is espoused in these comment pages.

    Whether it be "ALL DEMOCRATS are such weaklings they don't know a thing!" or "ALL REPUBLICANS just want to blow everybody up"... makes me think sometimes that our problem is not lobbyists and corporations, but weak voters who make up their minds because baseless stereotypes.

    October 25, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. Amber D, Everett WA

    Regardless what the status is on the Iranian A-Bomb–which the CIA has reminded Bush is at least 5-10 years from completion at least five memos now–launching a preemptive war against Iran would be a worldwide disaster. Any civilians armchair generals here promoting such an attack are reveling in their ignorance of military affairs–it's no secret our Army is stretched to the breaking point already.

    We may be able to bomb the heck out of Iran but what then? COME ON people this is not Iraq all over again. These are not cowardly, underpaid Iraqi national guards. Iran will throw a million+ men over the border to massacre our troops in eastern Iraq. These are hard core vets of the Iran-Iraq war–you think the body count for our soldiers is bad now, just WAIT. Technology won't stop attrition, and that is the bottom line as far as a ground war goes.

    The draft will come back if we do this.

    On top of it all we have green light being given for use of 'tactical' nukes in the Iranian theatre: utter insanity. You think that the recent B-52 story out of Barksdale (middle east USAF staging) was truly an "accident"??? Those weapons could never leave the bunkers and be installed on AIM-129's by accident. Give your head a shake.

    We have time to sort this out. A third middle east war that will kill millions is NOT the answer.

    October 25, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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