Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet blog column: Clinton uses Durbin to insulate herself from Obama attack.


DES MOINES, IA.— In a mailing tailored to Iowa voters, presidential contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is using a rare split between the Illinois Democratic senators to provide cover for her vote to declare the Iranian Guard a terrorist organization.

The four-page glossy direct mail piece features a picture of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), an early and ardent supporter of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and his explanation of why he disagreed with his colleague.

On a 76-22 roll call, senators, including Clinton and Durbin, backed the Kyl-Lieberman “sense of the Senate” resolution on Iran. Obama, campaigning in New Hampshire, did not vote, though he said he would have opposed the measure.

Obama and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) have been critical of Clinton for the vote, saying it could pave the way for war with Iran.

Clinton did not bring up the Durbin/Obama divide while stumping in Iowa on Friday night and Saturday, with her campaign preferring to let a direct mail piece do the talking.

That the mailing was even generated demonstrates that the Clinton campaign in Iowa is concerned about the impact of the vote.

Obama’s most significant distinction between himself and Clinton was his early opposition the Iraq war and her 2002 vote to authorize military action. He uses that difference to make the point that he has the judgment to be president.

Clinton and other backers argue Kyl-Lieberman is part of a strategy to apply diplomatic pressure on Iran. "Let me clear on Iran--I am opposed to letting President Bush take any military action against that country without full Congressional approval,” Clinton writes in the mailing. She said the resolution was “clearly a vote for stepped up diplomacy, not military action.”

The third page of the mailing features a picture of Durbin—who opposed the Iraq war in 2002-- and uses him to validate the Clinton position. Kyl-Lieberman, Durbin told Bloomberg Television, “I don’t believe gives any authority to the President of the United States to invade Iran or any other country.”

A spokesman for Durbin on Sunday declined to comment on the mailing.


Obama was too busy campaigning to cast a vote on the Iran matter. He has been too busy to take care of most of the business we elected him to do. Who is he to criticize Hillary's vote when he didn't bother to show up. Sounds like audacity to me

Shame on Durbin for that vote. I wrote him to say so. Got a form letter back.

That resolution passing gives an administration an excuse, the okay, to bomb and/or even invade Iran, using anti-terrorism as the reason.

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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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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 21, 2007 7:30 PM.

Sweet column: Clinton downplays frontrunner talk. "I am not letting the forces that oppose me define me.'' Birthday Friday: 60 is the new 40. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet's Oct. 22 Obamaville: Obama in New Hampshire, New Jersey. is the next entry in this blog.

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