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Statement by Bill Richardson - Calls Hillary Clinton on Iraq Flip-Flop

December 20, 2007

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA-- New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson today issued the following statement on Senator Hillary Clinton's drastic change to her position on the Iraq war:

"Senator Clinton's statement that we could 'certainly get all the troops out within a year' is a stunning flip-flop from what she has been saying all along. She consistently has called for leaving troops in Iraq to fight al-Qaida, train Iraqis, and protect U.S. assets. Has that suddenly been abandoned? If so, why has she changed her mind?

"In a September debate, she said that she could not commit to getting our troops out in five years, let alone in one year. Has anything changed about the logistics besides her position in the polls? It is clear that she is responding directly to my latest ad and my statements that she repeatedly has called for leaving thousands of troops in Iraq indefinitely. Rather than defending her position, apparently she simply has changed it."

Since entering the race, Governor Richardson consistently has called for bringing all of our troops home from Iraq, a monumental diplomatic effort to reach a political reconciliation that could be enforced by a multinational peacekeeping force, and a donor conference to infuse the capital necessary to rebuild Iraq.

Recent statements on Iraq by Senator Clinton:

  • "Clinton: U.S. troops needed in Iraq beyond 2009"

    March 15, 2007.

    "If elected president, Sen. Hillary Clinton said, she would likely keep some U.S. forces in Iraq in a supporting role after 2009 because America has "a remaining military as well as a political mission" that requires a presence there."

  • "A Duty to Mislead: Politics and the Iraq War." By Ted Koppel. All Things Considered. June 11, 2007.

    "But I ran into an old source the other day who held a senior position at the Pentagon until his retirement. He occasionally briefs Senator Clinton on the situation in the Gulf. She told him that if she were elected president and then reelected four years later, she would still expect U.S. troops to be in Iraq at the end of her second term."

  • "Democratic Field Says Leaving Iraq May Take Years." By Jeff Zeleny and Marc Santora. The New York Times. 12 August 2007.

    "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York would leave residual forces to fight terrorism and to stabilize the Kurdish region in the north … But she has affirmed in recent months remarks she made to The New York Times in March, when she said that there were ''remaining vital national security interests in Iraq'' that would require a continuing deployment of American troops."

  • "Democratic Rivals Caution Against Swift Iraq Pullout; Little Rancor Seen in Iowa Debate." By Anne E. Kornblut. The Washington Post. 20 August 2007.

    "Clinton, Edwards and Obama said in effect that they supported Biden's position, cautioning that it will be necessary to leave some troops behind to assist Iraqi forces and Iraqis who have helped Americans on the ground."

  • "If Iraq Falls." By Josef Joffe. Wall Street Journal. 27 August 2007.

    "Listen to Hillary Clinton, who would leave "residual forces" to fight terrorism. Or to Barack Obama, who would stay in Iraq with an as-yet-unspecified force."

  • "Democrats' Struggle to Change Course in Iraq Had Produced Much Debate, Few Results." By Shailagh Murray and Dan Balz. The Washington Post. 10 September 2007.

    "Asked on Jan. 17 whether she supported a recommendation by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to remove all combat forces by the spring of 2008, Clinton replied, "I'm not going to support a specific deadline.""

  • "General Gets Rough Ride as Senators Fight for High Ground Over Election." By Tom Baldwin. The Times (London). 12 September 2007.

    "Indeed, both Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton -- despite promising to end the war -- acknowledge that they would retain a "residual force" in Iraq for some years."

  • "Planning for Defeat: How Should we Withdraw from Iraq?" By George Packer. The New Yorker. 17 September 2007.

    "In the view of most Democrats, the inevitability of reduced troop numbers, the political stalemate in Baghdad, and the dwindling of public support in America require that a withdrawal begin soon. All the Democratic candidates for President have declared that they will end the war… The report did not impose a timeline, but others have tried to do so. In the Senate, two Democrats -- Jack Reed, of Rhode Island, and Carl Levin, of Michigan -- have introduced an amendment to a defense-appropriations bill which would require troop withdrawals to begin within four months of the bill's passage, leaving behind only a "limited presence." Among its co-sponsors are three Republican senators and three Democratic Presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joseph Biden."

  • "Clinton: I won't fund Iraq war without withdrawal plan" September 23, 2007.

    "Clinton said, if elected president, she would end the conflict 'as quickly and responsibly as I can,' but said some U.S. forces would likely remain as trainers, to protect Americans and to battle Islamic militants loyal to al Qaeda."

  • "Hitting All the Sunday Talk Shows, Clinton Says a Lot but Reveals Little." By Anne E. Kornblut. The Washington Post. 24 September 2007.

    "Asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos whether she would withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq during a first term as president, Clinton (D-N.Y.) gave a simple answer: She did not know."

  • "Clinton's Game of Dodgeball." By David S. Broder. The Washington Post. 30 September 2007.

    "During the debate, she rarely came out of a defensive crouch, as if determined to protect her favored position. Answering the first question, she said her goal would be to withdraw all American troops from Iraq by 2013, but "it is very difficult to know what we are going to be inheriting" from the Bush administration, so she cannot make any pledge -- as Richardson and others feel free to do. Troops might be needed for counterterrorism work for many years."

  • "Democrats Try to Play Up War Stance." By Angie Drobnic Holan. Saint Petersburg Times. 2 October 2007.

    "As time has gone by, Clinton has urged more forcefully for withdrawal. During the most recent debate, she said she would begin redeployment immediately if elected. Nevertheless, Clinton resists setting deadlines or timetables for withdrawal."

  • "The Value of an Exit Strategy; Clarity on Iraq Could Make Biden and Richardson Contenders." The Washington Post. 2 October 2007.

    "At a debate last Wednesday, each of them refused to pledge that American troops would be out of Iraq even by the end of her or his first term. If the troops will still be there, what strategy would they be advancing?"

  • "Clinton's 2008 Lead is Clear, Though Her Policies Often Aren't." By Peter Nicholas. Los Angeles Times. 4 October 2007.

    "We must begin to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home as quickly and responsibly as we can," the New York senator said. Her call to "begin to end the war" left Clinton substantial maneuvering room -- and since then she has refused even to commit to withdrawing all U.S. troops by 2013, the end of the next president's first term."

Bill Richardson, Statement by Bill Richardson - Calls Hillary Clinton on Iraq Flip-Flop Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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