December 22nd, 2007
11:10 AM ET
14 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. Chris, La Crosse WI

    GIVE UP MR. RICHARDSON, Hillary is going to win, there is no way for you so stop breaking down on other candidates!

    December 22, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Ray, Rochester

    Hey Bill...

    Feel free to mix in a salad every now and then. There's more to life than pizza and burgers.

    December 22, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. JB Boston MA

    Why can't you Hillary fanatics just admit Richardson is RIGHT. She would not commit to all troops out (in her own words ON TAPE), and after further polling, she now says different.

    This woman will say and do anything to become President. That includes lying, cheating and everything else in between!!!!!

    And by the way, it looks like McCain will be the GOP nominee. Hillary will get killed by him. She can't claim experience, cause he's got ya there. Foreign policy experience, he's got ya there. Immigration, he's on the right side now. Campaign reform??? Even though she calls it the Feingold bll, guess who elses name is on it? That's right McCain!!!

    People, the dems will lose the WH if she is nominated!!

    December 22, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Kurt Stout, Constable NY 12926

    Clinton nixes plea for help

    Several hundred Northern New York constituents of Sen. Hillary Clinton plead for her help on Friday, December 21st, 2007. Seems that the DEA has threatened a Northern New York
    Physician for writing too many pain prescriptions. The Dr. Carl Sherwin of Malone, NY then had to begin telling his chronic pain patients that he would no longer write any prescriptions for pain relief. Now hundreds of patients are writhing in pain and suffering this Christmas season. Many are, poor, disabled, mentally retarded and elderly. Since it was an agency of the federal government (DEA) that caused the
    situation that has forced these patients to suffer needlessly, they reached out to their elected Senate Representative. Essientially, Senator Clinton told them to jump in the lake and refused to get involved to ease their suffering. One patient is a disabled veteran who was taking pain medication due to diabetic neuropathy and a spinal injury suffered when he was the victim of a crime stated "I never contemplated the use of a wheelchair before" he went on to say "it appears that is what Senator Clinton wants me to get for christmas" He went on to point out he thought Hillary was "the biggest Scrooge of the 2007 holiday season" "The only way I can continue to walk is to have my pain medication that I have taken for the last twenty years" Other paitents were left shocked over the entire episode. Eric Hersey of Senator Clinton's staff stated ' we feel this is a legal matter and we refuse to get involved." The patients feel Senator Clinton had missed the point believing it was a matter of empathy for people that cannot otherwise protect themselves. "If we cannot count on our elected representatives to protect us from the DEA which is behaving like the Gestapo, what are we to do?"

    December 22, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Ron Anderson, Dortmund Germany and Ludington Michigan

    I am an American Expatriate and it is so disappointing to see yet another losing candidate attack Hillary Clinton because she voted, along with a majority of politicians with what she knew at the time. Unlike Bush she continued to listen and learn over the past years and changed her position on the war in Iraq, something a majority of the nation (including Republicans) have also done. she is being targeted by lesser candidates for doing the exact thing the entire world wishes Bush would have done.. "Re-evaluate" the original war decision. Clinton is the best option America has to rebuild itself.

    December 22, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Angelo Cataldi Medford New Jersey

    From day one Richardson has been campaigning to be the nominee for Vice President (it will be Vilsack if Hillary wins the nomination as that would guarantee Ohio) or Secretary of State. (Joe Biden wou ld be a fantastic Secretary of State.) Richardson is an empty suit whose only claim to notoriety is that he's an Hispanic who the winning candidate might need to bring in votes.

    December 22, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Brad, Stockton, CA

    Hillary, please shut up and just go home.

    December 22, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. YuleS, Chicago

    Just call her "The Pancake."

    December 22, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. jmaya, iowa

    Bill Richardson is now crying boy; why he has to have big mouth at the end any way he is not visible anywhere. Shut up Richardson!

    Richardson your nice boy reputation is gone now. you are no where. Hillary's strategy is very safe regarding bringing troops home, nobody can bring troops overnight.

    forHIllary '08.

    December 22, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Ken, San Diego, CA

    Hillary has maintained the same exact position the ENTIRE campaign. Her rivals are trying to create a distorted label, which will backfire on them. Anyone can read her statement to see exactly what she said.

    December 22, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |

    Oh boy!

    December 22, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Chris, Los Angeles,CA

    Richardson is at least not a nation divider as Clinton is...

    Posted By Jen Cedar Falls IA : December 22, 2007 11:21 am

    I keep seeing such comments regarding Clinton, and I can't believe the people in the country can be this gullible and easily swayed by what some idiots proclaim. Jen, please give me an instance when Hillary has been a "nation divider". Seems like Hillary's opponents and the supporters of these opponents are delving for reasons to not vote for Hillary. It would help if you sit down and think rationally for a change and have good, solid reasons to vote for one of the candidates. A "nation divider" isn't a rational reason, because she is not!

    December 22, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Marko Dezdri, Portland, OR

    Hillary will be the nominee and the next President of the United States of America. I'm sad that Richarson took that path towards attacking her. I really wanted him to be Secretary of the State under Hillary's presidency because of his experience. Now, I have remove my support for such a fiasco. t seemed lke a great idea until I read this article. Shame on you Richardson!

    December 22, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. kristina,las vegas,NV

    Does anyone believe this guy. He would bend low for anything. He is just waiting to be the vice president if Hillary becomes the president.
    I wonder why he wouldn't run his own campaign like joe,Obama or Dodd.

    December 22, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. ken

    Talk of stooping so low.

    December 22, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Let the Leaders Lead, Arcadia, Iowa

    Hillary could rival ALI in the ring. Duck, weave and run. What a prime presidential candidate. American citizens can not really be that stupid. A single vote for Hillary, says I am really stupid. How is the Hilly copter doing, all 99 counties????

    December 22, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Paul Horner

    Learn about Ron Paul and then educate others. It's time for a
    real, positive, change in the White House!

    Watch: Ron Paul videos

    December 22, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. kate

    Thanx Bill, someone need to keep telling like it is. I will vote for you if you promise to endorse Obama if you loose the nomination.

    December 22, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. JJ Monterey, CA

    Geez – guess Jen from Cedar Falls IA: December 22, 2007 11:21am must not be an Obama supporter - else she'd be feelin' the love LOL Guess she must be a jilted GOP Troll 🙁 who's still steamed that they weren't able to oust Bill!! A ton of long repressed anger that's for certain. Probably good to take off the girdle and let it all hang out though – before she blows.

    Might be really fun to elect Hillary just to watch all those negative speech mongers' heads explode 😉

    December 22, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. Jeff, LA, CA

    It's interesting on how vague that Clinton has been in terms of her Iraq policy. She is an opportunist, period. Where has she been all during the campaign in terms of Iraq? Why come out now with the new policy stance? She has been quite vague. She released no time line, no definite plan. She knows that Richardson is spot on on this issue. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And folks who think that is mudslinging, it's not Richardson simply called it for what it was. As much as I am nostalgic for the Clinton years of the 90's; we need new experienced leadership to guide this country. Richardson is that man. I can't wait to place my vote for him on the Feb. 5th.

    December 22, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Tom Dedham, Mass

    You Clinton sheep are incredible, this guy FORGOT more than "she" will ever know in regards to policy and statemenship and he has REAL experience to back up his words.

    You can't blame Republicans as is the usual when her outright triangulation is exposed, so instead you AVOID what he says and AVOID what she has said and hammer him no matter what.

    Changing your position from debate to debate, poll to poll and crowd to crowd is DIFFERENT than changing a position over a period of YEARS.

    Some people see the difference and post without blinders on.

    Biden and Richardson have FAR and away more REAL experience than anyone in either party and though both don't have the dough or the media shilling for them they won't win, but both would make a great cabinet member for either party.

    And that's coming from a Conservative.

    December 22, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Sean Allen

    Richardson merely points out the obvious about HRC...she cannot be trusted from one moment to the next. It is his duty as a candidate to illustrate how one contender differs from the next. His experience and integrity as both a politician and human being puts Rodham to shame. Richardson may not rise to the top, but in his ascent he will pass HRC moving in the other direction

    December 22, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Hmmm....this is baffling....I would of bet money that Richardson was quiet for so long because Clinton made a deal with him to run with her as the VP....she needs to pander to the Latinos for their it appears that Hillarys flip-flopping has even gone too far for the ultra left wing Richardson – Hillary her answers...she never answers a single question....either you guys are dumb or....wait....thats it

    December 22, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. Steven - New Providence, NJ

    If your issue is Iraq, Bill is your man. Read Richardson's plan in detail and compare it Obama, Hillary and Edwards at

    Go Bill!!!!!

    December 22, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Adam, Sacramento

    "I like Bill Richardson and would like to see him do well. Unfortunately, he is a distant 4th in Iowa (not distant 5th as this item alleges.)"

    CNN is citing to 2 polls from polling groups they aren't even using as entry requirements to their CA debate. On the RCP average Richardson is still ahead of biden but it is certainly tightening between the two of them.

    As for abandoning his campaign promise he said personal attacks this is a policy attack on clinton's ever changing triangulation on the war.

    And despite the media trying to act like richardson would ever be considered for the clinton VP get serious. She will go with a white male most likely a domestic policy guy as she claims to have foreign policy experience. TO pull in a foreign policy wonk would be an admission of her own lack of experience there going into the general. Richardson might get a nod from edwards should edwards win but not from clinton or obama. Seeing as both clinton and bush have used him as a negotiator I don't think he has to worry that whoever the next president is at some point his phone will ring.

    Clinton is looking real desperate. Doing edwards minimum wage adopting Richardsons out in a year she's desperately seeking number 2 switches to have any chance in iowa, possibly even worrying that the undecideds(clearly having rejected her) plus the sub 15% vote will form a coalition around biden or richardson pushing her into fourth.

    Caucus' are scrums and it isn't unthinkable to see a 3-4 way low 20% finish. Clinton is scrambling and changing position this late means her internal polls are showing her things that are causing panic in the campaign.

    Desperation seems to be her current theme.

    December 22, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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