December 22nd, 2007
11:10 AM ET
15 years ago

Richardson: Clinton has 'flip-flopped' on Iraq

Richardson: Clinton is trying to "duck and weave."

AMES, Iowa (CNN) ­– Bill Richardson is now the latest Democratic presidential candidate to accuse Hillary Clinton of drastically changing her position on Iraq this week. “She’s flip-flopped so many times, I don’t know what her position is. It changes almost every day,” Richardson told CNN Friday.

Richardson, who is running a distant fifth among Democrats in Iowa in most polls - with the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses less than two weeks away - has stepped up his attacks on the rest of the presidential field in recent days.

Clinton has long maintained that even after most U.S. troops have been pulled out of Iraq, some troops would have to remain there - and that they could be there for several years.

But at a town hall event in Elkader, Iowa on Wednesday, Clinton told a crowd she had consulted with military advisors on Iraq and that “I think we can bring nearly everybody home, certainly within a year if we keep at it and do it very steadily.”

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has characterized those comments as a policy shift. On Friday, Richardson agreed, saying that Clinton was trying to "outflank" him. "I’ve got an ad that says ‘are you going to get all the troops out by 2013?’” And so she’s trying to duck and weave.”

“I do know she wants to keep troops beyond one year,” said Richardson, “and I want her to explain her position.”

The Clinton camp disagrees with that assessment, and has responded to the criticism by saying the New York senator has always maintained a need for “small residual force” to remain in Iraq after most U.S. troops have left, and called for a slow but steady pace of withdrawal.

- CNN's Alexander Marquardt and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Bill Richardson • Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. pam Eugene OR

    Good for you Bill.
    I know it would be great to be the VP of the US but you are a rare man of great moral fiber. I am really impressed. You stood up against the serial liar at dire risk to your future. I applaud you. I thank you for your courage.
    Hillary is simply not able to be straight about anything. She has no concept of what truth is. What ever the opinion of the day is that is her opinion. She thinks we are so stupid and blind that we will easily accept whatever she proclaims. PLEASE America wake up. I am terrified this fraud will be elected. We would waste 4 years in total war in the congress and senate and accomplish nothing. HRC is a divider and is looking forward to fighting the Republicans on everything. She is not interested in compromise to move forward she is just licking her chops for a good battle. She is the worst thing that could happen to us!

    December 22, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. John Halverson DC

    Did Richardson just wake up? where has he been the last year? people have already realized this months ago. I am glad he has finally caught up. Moving at the speed of Government.

    December 22, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  3. Bud BayArea CA

    Bill Richardson you are in the most perfect position for this race to be President. Keep speaking up and saying what is true because it irritates the heck out of HRC. Keep sticking to your guns and being right because it irritates HRC. And keep standing tall and communicating to the fine voters in the US because it irritates her to no end.

    Richardson 2008

    December 23, 2007 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  4. GRACE


    December 23, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  5. Independent in CA - back to the drawing board

    Appears if Senator Obama had his way – this would turn into another debacle like Vietnam 🙁 How many remember watching the US military helicopters franctically flying out the last of the American diplomatic corps and the Vietnamese collaborators?

    Don't get me wrong, I want our trops home yesterday as well BUT those in charge can't guarantee such sweeping promises to the American general public in such simplistic terms.

    How fast the troops depart from Iraq and most of them go home depends largely on how much essential equipment goes along with the withdrawal, according to most advisors.
    "How quickly can the military move its 160,000 troops out? What about the 100,000-plus contractors? How many of the military's 45,000 Humvees and other equipment should be left behind for the Iraqi Army or destroyed? Which of 64 military bases should be closed? How does the military protect its main route out of Iraq toward Kuwait?"

    Withdrawal from Iraq would be far from easy. A large number of armoured vehicles would have to be moved to the port of Um Qasr or Kuwait (and await transport home). Other equipment might have to be destroyed or handed to the Iraqi army.

    Here's a candid look at "what it really means to pull out of Iraq" by Colonel Douglas Macgregor (retired), military analyst:

    Another look at Obama's voting PRESENT in the IL State Senate.

    "The NY Times discussed Senator Obama's penchant for using a quirk of the Illinois Statehouse to sidestep contentious issues that might jeopardize his reelection chances. Is it a dirty trick or a proof that he's a smart cookie who simply knows how to be an effective politician?"

    Taylor Marsh, at the Huffington Post is certainly steamed at Obama about it (and at Obama in general apparently from the tone of the piece). She's pretty sure he's a wolf in sheep's clothing using 'PRESENT' votes to focus more on ducking responsibility on serious issues than on dealing with those serious issues 🙁

    "...Obama is continually talking about Clinton being a 'triangulator,' as do many of the Hillary haters. People talking about her calculations. I don't agree with all of her votes, especially on some foreign policy matters, particularly her Iraq war vote, but also Kyl-Lieberman. But when she's pushed she votes and puts herself on the line. She never votes 'PRESENT' when it matters. When pushed at YearlyKos on lobbyists she could have pandered. She didn't. She also took the heat, including boos. She didn't back down over Kyl-Lieberman either, even though it cost her in grumbling. It's what she believes, with Wesley Clark and Joseph Wilson backing her."

    "Obama got a pass when going after her on Kyl-Lieberman, even though he voted for similar legislation earlier in the year, but more importantly, skipped the vote that would have put him on the record. He also has the exact same votes as Clinton on Iraq, and when Senators Kerry and Feingold offered legislation on the floor to redeploy, Mr. Obama made a speech against it. Not to mention that he never held a hearing on his own foreign relations subcommittee. He also skipped the vote too. How convenient it is just not to show up and be counted. It's a lot easier. But it's not more principled, no matter your excuse. It's triangulating. It is also quite calculating. Because what better way to hit your opponent than to duck a tough vote where she was counted, and you'd been counted months earlier, then rail against her because no one is paying attention to the facts."

    "... hell hath no fury like a potential vice presidential candidate scorned." 😉

    December 23, 2007 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  6. Bill, Socal

    Richardson is spot on here. The sad truth is the Clintons will say and do anything to be elected. Woman voters, I can see how a woman president would be appealing, but please do not make the wrong choice here. New polls suggest Hillary would get beat by both Huckabee and Giuliani. Vote Obama-Edwards '08.

    December 23, 2007 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  7. Florence, South Carolina

    You are a foolish candidate, It seems that you are the one Flip Floppin from being a decent candidate to becoming a mudslinging candidate. What will you be doing as soon as you realize that Hillary Clinton will be the next President. You just showed your true colors.

    December 23, 2007 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  8. ZackaryQuack

    Hillary is the most divisive candidate the democrats can choose. A guanteed continuation of the current geopolitical hate fest..

    December 23, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Mike Orlando, FL

    Poor Bill, he was the one saying that the Democrats needed to distance themselves from negative campaign tactics. He's just trying to pick up a few votes. Good guy though, Go Hillary!

    December 23, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    I think if I hear the term "flip-flop" one more time I'm going to hurl.

    That means spew, ralph, toss cookies, throw up, vomit, regurgitate, blow chunks.

    Find a new term to criticize your opponents with, PLEASE!

    December 23, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  11. michael, london, uk

    Richardson is irrelevant .... but he's also right. Clinton can't seem to make up her mind on any issue - unless the poll numbers indicate is is the right way to feel, then she's all for it (even if she was against it hours ago).

    The Clintons are the dirtiest politicians since.. well... the current administration. Glad I moved overseas... looks like she will get the nod and get to the general elections. 4 more years of lies and ugliness.

    December 24, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. R.G.

    I feel stupid for winning life's lottery by staying in school, avoiding drugs, and working hard. If only I had been less fortunate, by dropping out and getting stoned, the Democrats wouldn't be robbing me to pay the losers who vote for them.

    December 24, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Ajay Jain

    There goes your Cabinet position Richardson! or a Veep place in 2008/9.

    Go Hillary44 08!

    December 26, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. steve

    Richardson has the experience and leadership skills to lead this country.

    Check him out

    December 28, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Michigan Dem

    I'm so disappointed in the american shallow mentality. I listened to the governor, hillary and barack last week in iowa. only bill richardson fielded people's questions; only bill has the vast experience to lead us forward. barack's talk was a joke! he has done nothing more than serve as a state senator. our problems are far too difficult for him at this point. the governor knows diplomacy; he knows what it takes to be a leader of the free world. perhaps americans are just too stupid to elect a real leader of the free world! shame on us!

    December 30, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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