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Senator Clinton Vows To End Iraq War If Elected President In 2008 February 2, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she wouldn’t have started the war in Iraq and would end it immediately if she’s elected president in 2008.

The New York senator drew a few anti-war hecklers who shouted out during her speech, the last in a series from White House hopefuls to speak to Friday’s meeting of the Democratic National Committee. The peace activists have dogged Clinton over her vote to authorize force in 2002.

“If I had been president in October 2002, I would not have started this war,” Clinton said in a forceful speech. She said if Congress doesn’t end the conflict before January 2009, she will if she’s the next president.

Clinton said she understands “the frustration and the outrage” of the anti-war hecklers.

All of the candidates expressed their opposition to the war and their determination to bring about a resolution to the conflict, although each had their own perspective on how to achieve it.

John Edwards, the party’s 2004 vice presidential nominee, did not name Clinton or anyone else, but said it is “betrayal” for those in Congress not to stop President George W. Bush’s troop increase in Iraq.

“We cannot be satisfied with passing nonbinding resolutions that we know this president will ignore,” Edwards said. “We have the power to stop the escalation of this war.”

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama began his speech with a joke about how the contest feels a little like “American Idol” or “Survivor” reality shows. But he quickly tried to tap into what he said is a sober mood in the country weighed down by the Iraq war and concerns about health care and pensions.

Obama said every candidate should pledge to provide health care for all by the end of the next president’s first term. He also repeatedly reminded the largely anti-war crowd that he was against the Iraq invasion from the beginning and said all candidates, no matter where they stood at the start, have an obligation to bring the troops home.

Other candidates tried to bring the crowd to its feet with sharp jabs at Bush and memorable lines. Edwards painted the picture of people struggling across the world in war, poverty and the labor movement, repeatedly challenging the activists, “Will you stand up?”

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd asked for a chance to be heard in a race that includes stars Obama and Clinton. He promised if elected he would bring troops out of Iraq, overturn Bush’s torture legislation and “begin to restore America’s leadership in the world.”

Four years ago, Howard Dean ignited the crowd with a fire-and-brimstone speech in which he pointedly appealed to partisans tired of a Democratic move to the middle by declaring he was from “the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.”

Dean, now the chairman of the DNC, started the gathering by celebrating the party’s reversal of fortune from minority to majority in Congress and governor’s offices. “We are in charge again and we will really be in charge in 2008,” Dean said.

Former Gen. Wesley Clark, who has not indicated whether he will run, emphasized his effort to help Democratic candidates in 2006 and his record as a soldier. Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich called for an immediate end to the war – the same message he ran on in 2004 but now is being echoed by several other candidates.

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