by Frank James
The criticisms of Sen. Hillary Clinton by Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards, as they try to slow her frontrunner's momentum towards the Democratic presidential nomination, get a lot of well-deserved attention.
Second-tier Democratic presidential candidates are also looking to gain traction however they can. It makes little sense going after Clinton, however, given her rarified standing in the polls.
So they to go after the competing candidates they perceive as the most immediate obstacles between them and better poll numbers.
That's why you get someone working with one campaign seeking to point out, off the record of course, apparent contradictions between Gov. Bill Richardson’s current Iraq stance and his earlier position. Richardson, of course, (pictured below) has been showing some life in recent Iowa polls, rising to the top of the second tier, which makes him an increasingly ripe target.
“Yesterday on ABC's "This Week" the topic of the decision to go to war came up. Gov. Richardson repeated his revisionist history on his stance in 2003 on the decision to go to war. Richardson said, "Well, I was a governor. I didn't vote on that. I would have voted for the Levin resolution that at the time said, 'use diplomacy, use diplomacy, go to the United Nations.' That's what I would have supported." [ABC, This Week, 10/7/07]
Flashback to 2003...
February 2003: Richardson Said he Would Have Voted to Authorize War In Iraq. Richardson said, "My view is that it is critically important that the United States not let Saddam Hussein get away with this. Had I have been in the Congress I would have voted for the military resolution authorizing war." [CNN, Larry Kind Live, 2/14/03, emphasis added]
March 2003: Richardson Said Diplomacy Was Not Our Best Weapon. On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Richardson appeared on Larry King Live to discuss Bush's address to the nation. Richardson said, "I think the president made a good speech. I don't think diplomacy was our best weapon here. I regret how the U.N. issue turned out. But I think this is a time to close ranks, to support the commander in chief, support our troops." [CNN, Larry King Live, 3/17/03, emphasis added]”
Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Dodd’s campaign, sent out an e-mail yesterday after Edwards's appearance on Meet the Press. The e-mail's subject line read: John Edwards' Flip-Flop-Flip on Funding the War.
In his play for anti-war voters, Edwards has been taking it to Clinton throughout the campaign for not emulating him by apologizing for her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq War. His goal at every turn has been to show he's more antiwar than she.
But Dodd wants to demonstrate that he's consisently more anti-war than Edwards in a play for the former senator from North Carolina's supporters. That explains this Sunday e-mail from the Dodd campaign.
Today on Meet the Press, former Senator John Edwards said that he believes Congress should continue to send bills with a deadline for ending the war to the President to force his hand. He specifically said there was a difference between sending bills with a deadline and cutting off funding for the troops.
This is Sen. Edwards' latest position on his ever-changing stance on whether or not to support a firm, enforceable deadline tied to funding to end this war.
February 2007: Edwards Said He Would Not Cut Off Funding for the War in Iraq:
Edwards: "I would not cut off funding for the men and women who are part of our troops and serving in Iraq." [NBC, Meet the Press, 2/4/07]
May 2007: Edwards Said that Congress Should Use Its "Funding Power" to End the Iraq War:
Edwards: "It is time to end this war. The only real power Congress has to end the war is their funding power, which is why I and others have been calling on them to use it for some time. I would actually go further than Reid-Feingold and use the funding authority, not just to set an ultimate deadline, but to force an immediate withdrawal of 40-50,000 troops, followed by a complete withdrawal in about a year. But using the funding authority to bring this war to an end is exactly the right thing to do. Every Senator who believes this war is wrong and wants to end it should support Reid-Feingold." [John Edwards for President press release, 5/15/07]
October 7, 2007: Edwards Claimed That He Does NOT Support Cutting Off Funding for the War:
Tim Russert: "You're now are in favor of cutting off funding, aren't you?"
Edwards: "No sir. No. I am saying now what I said in February." [NBC, Meet the Press, 10/7/07]
"For months Sen. Edwards has been lecturing Congress on what it must do to end the war. And while it would have been easier to do with his vote, we agree that the only way to end the war was to force the President's hand through Congress' funding power," said Dodd Spokesperson Colleen Flanagan.
"We are so disappointed that Sen. Edwards is now backing away from his position on ending funding for this failed policy. If we are going to end this war, we need to be clear and consistent with this President."
"If Sen. Edwards is going to offer Congress advice as to what to do from afar, the least he could do is be consistent about it."