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Hillary Clinton on Barack Obama and a White House run. In her own words. Edwards leads in Iowa poll.


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, on a mini-book tour for the relaunch of her book, "It takes a Village," was interviewed on NBC's "Today Show" on Monday morning by host Meredith Vieira. Vieira pressed the New York Democrat, getting ready to make a 2008 White House run, her thoughts on her biggest rival at this time, Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat. Meanwhile, a Des Moines Register poll shows that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is very much a factor, leading the Iowa Democratic caucus field at 36 percent to 16 for Clinton and 13 for Obama.

" Well, he's terrific. You know, he's a friend and a colleague, and I have a very high regard for him," Clinton said about Obama. Obama had similiar words of praise for her in the current Newsweek cover story about their brewing presidential candidacies. "Obviously, I'm looking at it," said Clinton.

click below for Clinton interview excerpts.
and Des Moines Register poll story.

CLINTON: Well, I'm working hard to make a decision, and I will after the first of the year. I mean, it is really both very flattering and overwhelming to be looking at this. Maybe more than anybody else, I know how hard this job is. I saw it in an up-close and personal way for eight years. And I worry that whoever the next president is is going to face just a myriad of very difficult challenges. So I'm trying to approach this with a big dose of humility, number one, because it is going to be a hard job no matter who gets it.

VIEIRA: And what's the first question you ask yourself? You say you're going to wait till the beginning of the new year.


VIEIRA: But that's only a couple of weeks away. What's going to happen between now and then to make a decision?

CLINTON: Well, this is an intensely personal decision. You know, I'm very honored that people are urging me to run and saying they want to sign up. And yet at the end of the day, I want to be sure that my decision is right for me, for my family, for my party, for my country.

VIEIRA: Are you leaning in one way or another?

CLINTON: Well, you know, obviously I'm looking at it. I wouldn't be looking at it if I were totally uninterested.

VIEIRA: So you're leaning toward running then.

CLINTON: No, but I'm looking at it very hard. You're good, Meredith.

VIEIRA: You're definitely leaning to the left, the way you're leaning.

CLINTON: Yeah, that's right. I'll try to be right here in the center.

VIEIRA: How much of a say do your daughter and your husband have in all of this? How much do you take their feelings into consideration, their viewpoint?

CLINTON: Well, I think anybody takes their family into consideration. This is such a grueling endeavor that if you undertake it, if you don't have your family on your side and really urging you on, you can't do this. It's too much.

VIEIRA: Why wouldn't you run for president? I mean, the polls indicate that if you did run, you're the front-runner.

CLINTON: Right. Well, you know, I'm trying to weigh all the different factors. And, you know, one thing that I think is important is whoever the next president is has to hit the ground running.

I mean, with all due respect to our current president, he has dug us into some very deep holes as a nation.

You know, we've lost respect and admiration abroad. We have a huge deficit. We're having more and more people who are uninsured. We've got global climate change and energy dependence on dangerous parts of the world.

We really need to face up with kind of honest optimism. You know, I've always believed Americans can do whatever we set our minds to. We just haven't been asked to do anything in the last six years.

VIEIRA: But a lot of people, Senator, think that you also represent the past, and that's one of the reasons why Barack Obama is so popular with people. They say he represents the future. He says, you know, "Unlike a lot of people," like you and me, "I'm not a baby boomer." Obama says, "I'm younger. I want change." And that electrifies people.

CLINTON: Well, he's terrific. You know, he's a friend and a colleague, and I have a very high regard for him. Elections are always about the future. But that's up to the voters. People have to look at candidates. They have to weigh positions on issues. It really comes down a gut feeling when you're looking at someone, especially someone who could be president and commander in chief. And that's what elections are about and campaigns are about.

MS. VIEIRA: Do you think he would make a good president with his experience, or lack thereof?

SENnational dialogue. We're blessed this year with the people who are thinking of running. You know, we just lost one excellent candidate when Senator Evan Bayh said he wasn't going to run. And, you know, I would love to see a wide open race. Let as many people run on both sides, because this country needs the kind of debate that frankly we haven't had in a long time.

VIEIRA: Speaking about debate, let's talk a little bit about Iraq. Senator Harry Reid said over the weekend -- incoming Democratic majority leader -- that he would support a temporary increase in troops in the Baghdad area, temporary surge. The former secretary of State, Colin Powell, says he's opposed to that.

Where do you stand on that position? Do you believe we should send more troops into Iraq?

CLINTON: It depends, number one, what is the mission of those troops? I am not in favor of sending more troops to continue doing what our young men and women have been told to do, with the government of Iraq pulling the rug out from under them when they actually go after some of the bad guys. I am not in favor of doing that unless it's part of a larger plan.

Everyone knows there is no military solution to the difficulties we face in Iraq. There has to be a broad-based, comprehensive approach that includes resolving some of the political issues, bringing the region together.

I have an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today urging that they look at an oil trust, like what we did in Alaska when we found oil. Let every Iraqi share in the proceeds so that maybe they will feel a commitment to the future.

VIEIRA: But under some circumstances, you would potentially support more troops in Iraq.

CLINTON: Well, let's see the plan. You know, I'm not going to believe this president again. I did that once -- and a lot of us did, and it hasn't turned out very well.

VIEIRA: And you've been criticized for that, Senator, and you know that this is not something that you haven't been subjected to before. By voting to give the president the authority to use force in Iraq if necessary, some people feel that that was a mistake, that you made a mistake. Others senators who voted that way, like Senators Kerry and Edwards, have said, "We regret it; it was a mistake."

You refuse to say it was a mistake. Why?

CLINTON: people's lives are at stake. He should have let the inspectors do their job. That was what --

VIEIRA: But were you wrong to take that vote, to make that vote?

CLINTON: Well, you know, you have to go and look at the situation as we knew it then. And I take responsibility for that vote. Obviously if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn't have been a vote and I certainly wouldn't have voted that way.
VIEIRA: Senator Clinton, we have run out of time. When you plan to announce -- hopefully she'll do it here.


Edwards leads in poll of likely caucusgoers
Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack is in fourth place; Sen. Hillary Clinton is second.


December 14, 2006

Washington, D.C. - John Edwards came out far ahead of the rest of the pack of possible Democratic presidential candidates in a poll of Iowa Democrats conducted in October by an environmental group and released Wednesday.

Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina and the second-place finisher in the 2004 caucuses, was picked as the early preference of 36 percent of likely caucusgoers in the survey.

Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York came in second with 16 percent.

Third was Sen. Barack Obama with 13 percent, and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack trailed in fourth place at 9 percent.

The survey of voters who said they definitely or probably would attend the January 2008 first-in-the-nation caucuses was commissioned by the advocacy group Environmental Defense and conducted by Harstad Strategic Research Inc. The poll of 602 Iowans from Oct. 12 to Oct. 19 had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Farther back in the poll were Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts at 6 percent, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware at 5 percent, retired Gen. Wesley Clark at 3 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at 2 percent.

The poll also found that 32 percent of the caucusgoers say global warming is an extremely serious problem.

Two more senators, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, received too little support to be expressed as a percentage. Just 8 percent said they were undecided.

Some elements of the race have changed since the poll was completed. Vilsack has formally announced his entry, Clinton has begun reaching out to Iowans, and Obama last weekend traveled to New Hampshire.

Environmental Defense also commissioned a separate poll in October of Democratic county chairmen and chairwomen, and vice chairmen and vice chairwomen.

Among these Iowans most involved in party politics, the poll found even more enthusiasm for Edwards and a stronger sentiment for Vilsack.

That poll said 40 percent of county party leaders preferred Edwards, with Vilsack in second place at 15 percent, Obama with 11 percent and Clinton with just 8 percent.

The results of the caucusgoer poll were somewhat similar to those of an Iowa Poll conducted last summer by The Des Moines Register.

In that poll, Edwards was the choice of 30 percent of those who plan to attend the caucuses, while Clinton had 26 percent, Kerry had 12 percent and Vilsack had 10 percent.


So much smoke! She talked a lot and said nothing. If you look at the answer to the last question about if she was wrong to make the vote on Iraq, it is a masterpiece of vagueness!

Clinton and Obama are still making nice. It's early and neither is baring their teeth. They will soon enough.

Hilary Clinton has alot on her plate, knowing she is a wife of our former president, she will be the first lady to become president. I think the world would finally unite if she would to run. Sen. Clinton knows what to expect, changing the world and history as we know it is a HUGE step. I hope she makes a wise decision and wish her the best.

Please ask Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama, " Where do they stand in regards to the torture of 100+ African- American men by Jon Burge and other Chicago Police officers?, and will they ask the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the cover-up by elected and appointed officials {Mayor Daley and States Atty. Devine} of these acts of torture.

And please ask them what would they do if 100+ Gay or Jewish men had been tortured, and these same elected and appointed officials covered-up such an inhumane act.

Their answers and actions would tell everyone if they are ready to be elected President.

Gator the Urban Translator

I couldn't agree more. The kind of "vagueness" that Hillary Clinton displayed is exactly why so many people are starting to get excited about Barack Obama - he's different. He doesn't talk like a politician. He'll actually take a stand on an issue, or at least TALK about issues, rather than ducking and sliding to say exactly what he thinks people want to here. I'm reminded of that quote by Martin Luther King Jr. - "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." I'm not going to pretend to know what MLK would think if he were alive today, but, for my money, Obama is the realization of his dream.

Don't read too much into the Iowa poll. It is simply reflecting a combination of the 2004 caucus and current name recognition.

When will the media stop reporting on the irrelevant and start reporting on the candidates' platforms and positions?

So far, only Tom Vilsack and Dennis Kucinich have officially entered the race. Until the rest of the potential candidates stop playing games and make a comittment one way or the other, I say we should just ignore them.

"The kind of "vagueness" that Hillary Clinton displayed is exactly why so many people are starting to get excited about Barack Obama - he's different. He doesn't talk like a politician."

Well maybe so, maybe no. A fair comparison to Vieira's question to Clinton about her Iraq vote would be an interviewer grilling Obama on his bankruptcy demolition vote. Let's see that happen, then can we estimate Obama's likelihood of giving us the roundaround.

Obama, the rising star of the neocon lites, excuse me the Democratic Party, told the Chicago Tribune back in 2004 that "the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs."
Case closed. Be advised: if you vote for Obama, you vote for another war mongerer.

to Gator Bradley: Look, he won't or can't say a word. Burge was a thug we all agree. However, NOTHING will be said. Obama is still when all the smoke cleared a man who owes much to the Cook County democrats. And there hands are ALL dirty. Daley was States Atty. and did nothing. Devine was also dirt-deep in this disgusting debacle. Burris also did and said nothing. And Obama WILL NOT cross them. He's just another Cook County politician when its all said and done.

In yesterdays Sun Times there was an article slamming the late president Ford for giving Nixon a pardon, if Hilary makes it to the white house, will she pardon a few more drug dealers, like her husband?

October 30, 2007 at 11:02:42

Obama Be Bold: Break with Backer on Torture

by laura flanders Page 1 of 1 page(s)

Senator Obama told the New York Times this week that he wants to stand out on the campaign trail. How about standing up against torturers and those who cover up for them, not just in Gitmo -- but in his hometown of Chicago?

Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers serving under him stand accused of torturing some 200 mostly African-American men in custody in the '70s and '80s. In 2002, after a criminal investigation, four who had been sentenced to death and spent over a total of 70 years behind bars on false confessions extracted through torture were pardoned, Governor Ryan issued a moratorium on executions and a package of reforms was passed. Running for US Senate, Obama was rightly proud of SB15, his piece of that reform package, which required the videotaping of interrogations. When asked by an interviewer in 2004 why African Americans in particular should support his campaign, Obama pointed to his "track record of effectively working on behalf of the issues that they care about... I come out of a legislative session where I sent twenty-five pieces of legislation to the Governor's desk, including landmark videotaping legislation of interrogations and confessions, the first in the nation.”

The Senator's work in the area of detainees rights and policing is a piece of his record he'd like the media to consider when they're accusing him of lack of expertise, but there's plenty more to be done. By the time SB 15 passed, the electric-shocks to-the-genitals, bags-over-head treatment had stopped, but justice has never been served. To this day, Burge (who was finally fired in 1992) is drawing a pension in Florida. He and the others have never been prosecuted. In 2006, a four-year, investigation costing Chicago tax-payers $17 million confirmed the allegations but declared it too late to act. Now Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley stands accused of running out the clock on the statute of limitations.

Daley – who abandoned his tradition of neutrality to back Obama in this year's Democratic primary -- has been involved in this story from the start. In 1982, he was Cook County's top prosecutor (the presiding state's attorney) when evidence linking Burge to torture was first brought to him by the superintendent of police. For eight years thereafter, he collaborated in prosecutions of Burge's victims -- and took credit for a high conviction rate -- without taking action to investigate. Now Daley is Mayor, his former assistant, Richard Devine, is Cook County state's attorney, and his brother, Bill Daley, is a senior adviser to Senator Obama.

Chicago justice-seekers have never given up. Not long ago, they testified in Geneva before the UN Committee against Torture. The Committee demanded action and the global scrutiny could count conceivable count against Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid. Independent prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced a federal investigation this September, not only to examine the torture, but also to review what looks a whole lot like a conspiracy to cover up (on which the statue of limitations wouldn't apply.) Most recently, on October 17, local Congressman, Bobby Rush (D-Il) wrote to committee chairman John Conyers (D-Il) requesting a Judiciary Committee hearing in the House.

I was just in Chicago, where this is the issue among would-be Obama supporters is ho. “[Obama’s] been very silent on this issue here. We haven’t really pressed him on it because he’s been involved in what he’s been involved in. We also realize he’s playing the politics of it all and Daley is a major, major actor in all of this. And he has to keep his fences mended,” said Flint Taylor of the People’s Law Office who has represented victims of torture in Chicago for the last twenty years.

But if Obama wants to show courage, confronting one of his own hometown cronies could do it. Obama knows this issue and he knows what's right. A Senate investigation anyone?

Next: tackle homophobia.

Laura Flanders is the host of RadioNation on Air America Radio and the author, most recently, of BLUE GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians. You can find out more at

Today's Washington Post again gives Hillary Clinton little ink. It seems Hillary is bringing her friends along on the campaign trail to soften up her image with Iowa caucus-goers. Evidence, that the former First Lady is really one of them. According to the Post, these confidants are being dispatched around Iowa by the busload, who knew Hillary had so many friends, to knock on the doors of undecided Democrats. Her campaign has also launched a website: The Hillary I, "with testimonials from 'constituents,' friends and leaders whose lives Hillary has touched." (My thoughts exactly.) Monday, was spent in a barn on the outskirts of Des Moines, for Hillary's 60th birthday roast. One recent Hillary convert reports, "I didn't know who she was ... She sat with me, and she was just phenomenal. That day it was just two moms sitting in a car." No word as to whether they both inhaled. Anyway, my Hillary exposure is another story:

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 18, 2006 2:42 PM.

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Bush on Iraq: Still the right decision to go to war, he says. Tells us to shop more. Sidesteps question about Mary Cheney partner benefits. is the next entry in this blog.

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