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Iran: Obama Rises Above Clinton's Rhetoric to Take Action

Hillary Clinton, taking a beating of sorts on her vote in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman Iran amendment, has defended her vote stating that the amendment was in fact supporting diplomacy -- which appears to me to be just another ClintonObfuscation™.

Seeking to solidify her stated position (as opposed to her recorded vote) Clinton and 29 other Senators signed a letter yesterday which reportedly warns President Bush that he has received no Congressional authority to invade Iran. Dodd also signed on but Biden and Obama did not.

Bush routinely ignores the Constitution of the United States but he's going to heed a letter signed by 29 opposition-party Senators? Break me a give!

Meanwhile, Barack Obama rises:

Democrat Barack Obama introduced a Senate resolution late Thursday that says President Bush does not have authority to use military force against Iran, the latest move in a debate with presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton about how to respond to that country's nuclear ambitions.

Clinton's campaign accused Obama of playing politics instead of taking a leadership role from the outset.

These accusations from the Clinton camp - which are just ad hominem attacks that avoid the question -- have quickly become the Clinton campaign's standard knee-jerk response here in the early stages of the Clinton/Obama slugfest launched by Obama this week. The same Clintonian spin was evident in the YouTube video I linked to yesterday in which the Clinton campaign countered criticisms raised in last Tuesday debate not by addressing the issues, but by accusing her opponents of "piling on."

Unlike Clinton and the relatively meaningless letter she signed, Obama is taking carefully-measured definitive steps in an attempt to insure Bush does not enter Iran without proper authority from Congress. Hillary Clinton should be cheering him on. Instead her campaign people smell blood in the water (and in this case its Hillary's) and they attack Obama instead.

The letter [Clinton signed] accuses Bush of "provocative statements and actions stemming from your administration with respect to possible U.S. military action in Iran."

"We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran," it says. That includes the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, the letter says.

Obama missed the vote on the amendment because he was campaigning. Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said if Obama was so concerned about the amendment, he should have been there to vote against it. Singer said Obama also should have signed Webb's letter and co-sponsored two other pieces of legislation that reaffirm the president cannot use force against Iran without congressional approval.

"We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists...?" Isn't that a nice bit of closing the damn barn door a little too late?

Sure, Obama is apparently playing politics by introducing his own resolution rather than joining one or both of the pieces of legislation already introduced, but in a democracy the more voices and viewpoints the better off we are, and his efforts should be applauded not ridiculed. Clearly Clinton is back pedaling as fast as she can on this and is in no position to criticize Obama's careful, positive actions.

I can't wait to see if Clinton votes against the resolution, and how she tries to defend whatever action she takes on it.

Round One to Obama on Iran. Well done. Obama correctly ties together the relation of our presence in Iraq to Iran's destabilizing actions and policies towards the U.S., in direct contrast to the blustering bullshit we're treated to weekly from VP Cheney. Here's more on Obama's approach to dealing with Iran:

Senator Barack Obama says he would "engage in aggressive personal diplomacy" with Iran if elected president and would offer economic inducements and a possible promise not to seek "regime change" if Iran stopped meddling in Iraq and cooperated on terrorism and nuclear issues.
In an hourlong interview on Wednesday, Mr. Obama made clear that forging a new relationship with Iran would be a major element of a broad effort to stabilize Iraq as he executed a speedy timetable for the withdrawal of American combat troops.

Mr. Obama said that Iran had been "acting irresponsibly" by supporting Shiite militant groups in Iraq. He also emphasized that Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program and its support for "terrorist activities" were serious concerns.

But he asserted that Iran's support for militant groups in Iraq reflected its anxiety over the Bush administration's policies in the region, including talk of a possible American military strike on Iranian nuclear installations.

Making clear that he planned to talk to Iran without preconditions, Mr. Obama emphasized further that "changes in behavior" by Iran could possibly be rewarded with membership in the World Trade Organization, other economic benefits and security guarantees.

"We are willing to talk about certain assurances in the context of them showing some good faith," he said in the interview at his campaign headquarters here. "I think it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hellbent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change, but expect changes in behavior. And there are both carrots and there are sticks available to them for those changes in behavior."

Clinton talks "about" diplomacy while Obama demonstrates it. Bonus points: Obama. Obama is doing a good job of rising above his ruinous polling numbers of late - we'll see if the poll numbers rise for him as well.

He'll be subtracting points from Clinton as he adds polling poi9nts of his own, so he needs to take 15 points away from her to close the 30 point gap. Not a small feat, but far from impossible.


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Comments (3)

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

As expected no change in the polls from the debate.. if anything Obama dropped a little The discouraging figure is that 'Thirty-four percent (34%) of all Likely Voters say they haven't watched any of the endless stream of debates this season from either party.' How to you reach these likely votes?... You'd think with a serious black candidate and a serious women candidate more Americans would be at least interested to take a peek at the debates?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I'd put money on that changing in the next week or so... but then, I don't do well in Las Vegas, so don't bet with me.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee. I think Obama is doing the right thing, but Bush (and Hillary) know the American voters may not be able to contain themselves about striking Iran, given the slighest provocation, From this left wing critique of Bush and Hillary comes these amazing poll results, a year and half old .(but I don't think they will have changed)

Two-thirds or more of those polled said they think that if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it is likely to attack Israel, Europe or the United States. Even more, 82 percent, say it's likely that a nuclear-armed Iran would provide nuclear weapons to terrorists.

All Bush has to say is that there was a unconfirmed report that the tall guy in the cave, was seen lurking around in Tehran, and the American people will panic and Bush will paint Obama's resolution as appeasement.. Yes, it will be interesting to see how Hillary votes..I predict she will probably try to pass a sub-amendment to Obama's, condemning Iran just in case..


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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