Trying to prove their anti-war bonafides to the base:
WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate John McCain assailed Democratic rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama on Friday for voting against legislation paying for the Iraq war, accusing them of embracing “the policy of surrender.”
On Thursday night, Clinton and Obama voted against a measure in the Senate that provides money for the war through September but that lacks a timeline for troop withdrawal, a provision for which anti-war activists had fought.
Clinton, a New York senator and front-runner for the Democratic nomination, explained that she fully supports U.S. forces, but the measure “fails to compel the president to give our troops a new strategy in Iraq.”
“Enough is enough,” Obama, an Illinois senator, declared, adding that President Bush should not get “a blank check to continue down this same, disastrous path.”
Both Clinton and Obama have faced intense pressure from the party’s liberal wing and Democratic presidential challengers who urged opposition to the measure because it doesn’t include a timeline to pull forces out of Iraq.
A week ago, the two voted to advance a measure that would force the withdrawal of troops by cutting off funding. Last year, the two voted against setting a timetable for a pull out.
With their “no” votes, Clinton and Obama earned praise from the party’s left flank, which has been pushing for a quick end to the war and is an important part of the Democratic base in the primaries.
Lorie Byrd nails it:
They had to do something to compete with Edwards’ claim that the war against terrorism is just a bumper sticker slogan.
Assuming one of them is the nominee, I can’t wait for the Republican nominee to rip ’em a new one over this vote every chance they get. That two people who are vying for the position of CIC would vote against funding for our troops is something that should not be forgotten come presidential debate season next year.
And speaking of verbal ammunition to use against Hillary and Obama, the WaPo has a story today about two new books that have recently been published that reportedly paint the Senator in a less than flattering light (h/t: Tim Graham):
“A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” by Carl Bernstein, reports that Clinton as first lady was terrified she would be prosecuted, took over her own legal and political defense, and decided not to be forthcoming with investigators because she was convinced she was unfairly targeted. While in Arkansas, according to Bernstein, she personally interviewed one woman alleged to have had an affair with her husband, contemplated divorce and thought about running for governor out of anger at her husband’s indiscretions.
“Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., reports that during her husband’s 1992 campaign, a team she oversaw hired a private investigator to undermine Gennifer Flowers “until she is destroyed.” Flowers had said publicly that she had an affair with Bill Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas.
Naturally, the Clinton campaign is on the defensive and attacking the writers as rehashing ‘old news’ for a buck, but I don’t think that argument will hold water:
The Clinton camp hopes to brush off the books as mainly rehashing old news. “Is it possible to be quoted yawning?” asked Philippe Reines, her Senate spokesman. If past books on Clinton were “cash for trash,” he added, “these books are nothing more than cash for rehash.”
Howard Wolfson, a campaign spokesman, pointed to previous reports on some of the elements in the books to make the point that there was nothing new. “The news here is that it took three reporters nearly a decade to find no news,” he said. He added: “Two overwhelming Senate victories in the toughest media market in the country demonstrated that voters have put these issues behind them.”
Unlike many harsh books about Clinton written by ideological enemies, the two new volumes come from long-established writers backed by major publishing houses and could be harder to dismiss. Bernstein won national fame with partner Bob Woodward at The Post for breaking open the Watergate scandal, while Gerth and Van Natta have spent years as investigative reporters for the New York Times.
Make sure to read that whole piece, which includes comments from some of those who were quoted in the books. Very interesting.