CNN's Bill Schneider falsely suggested that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had changed her position on the Iraq war during the past week because she announced her intention to introduce a bill "to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq." However, Clinton introduced a bill in the Senate on February 16 that includes a provision that would "require a new authorization for use of United States military forces in Iraq" unless certain conditions are met.
On the May 4 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN political analyst Bill Schneider falsely suggested that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) had changed her position on the Iraq war during the past week. Schneider suggested that Clinton's May 3 statement that she and Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) will introduce a bill "to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq" was a shift from her statement in an April 26 debate that "if I knew then what I now know, I would not have voted" to authorize the war. According to Schneider, Clinton "has gone from explaining her vote to authorize the war ... to pressuring Congress to reverse it."
But contrary to Schneider's report, Clinton's support for revoking the war authorization is not new. As Media Matters for America noted, Clinton's own Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act of 2007, which was introduced in the Senate on February 16, includes a provision that would "require a new authorization for use of United States military forces in Iraq unless both the President and the Government of Iraq meet certain conditions within 90 days, including the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq." Moreover, Schneider did not explain why Clinton's support for sunsetting the war authorization is in any way inconsistent with her explanation that if she if she knew in 2002 what she knows now, she would not have voted to authorize the Iraq war at all.
From the May 4 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
SCHNEIDER: Presidential candidates face different pressures.
STUART ROTHENBERG (editor and publisher, Rothenberg Political Report): Are they going to be pragmatic? Are they going to talk about compromise? Or are they going to play to the base?
SCHNEIDER: In Congress, the pressure is to make a deal. In the campaign, the pressure is to stand firm. Hillary Clinton has gone from explaining her vote to authorize the war --
CLINTON: If I knew then what I now know, I would not have voted that way.
SCHNEIDER: -- to pressuring Congress to reverse it.
CLINTON: It is time to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq.
Schneider's false suggestion that the Clinton had shifted her position on Iraq echoed a May 4 Washington Post headline and a May 4 Republican National Committee press release, which asserted that Clinton had "change[d] tone" on Iraq by calling for the war authorization to be revoked.
From the April 26 South Carolina Democratic debate:
CLINTON: Well, [moderator and NBC Nightly News anchor] Brian [Williams], I take responsibility for my vote. Obviously, I did as good a job I could at the time. It was a sincere vote based on the information available to me.
And I've said many times that, if I knew then what I now know, I would not have voted that way.
But I think that the real question before us: Is what do we do now? How do we try to persuade or require this president to change course?
He is stubbornly refusing to listen to the will of the American people. He threatens to veto the legislation we've passed, which has been something that all of us have been advocating for a number of years now.
And I can only hope that he will not veto it. And I can only end by saying that if this president does not get us out of Iraq, when I am president, I will.
From Clinton's May 3 Senate floor statement:
CLINTON. Madam President, I rise to join my colleague and friend, Senator Byrd, to announce our intention to introduce legislation which proposes October 11, 2007 -- the 5-year anniversary of the original resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq -- as the expiration date for that resolution.
As Senator Byrd pointed out, the October 11, 2002, authorization to use force has run its course, and it is time to reverse the failed policies of President Bush and to end this war as soon as possible.
Earlier this week, President Bush vetoed legislation reflecting the will of the Congress and the American people that would have provided needed funding for our troops while also changing course in Iraq and beginning to bring our troops home.
I believe this fall is the time to review the Iraq war authorization and to have a full national debate so people can be heard. I supported the Byrd amendment on October 10, 2002, which would have limited the original authorization to 1 year, and I believe a full reconsideration of the terms and conditions of that authorization is overdue. This bill would require the President to do just that.
The American people have called for change, the facts on the ground demand change, and the Congress has passed legislation to require change. It is time to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq. If the President will not bring himself to accept reality, it is time for Congress to bring reality to him.
I urge my colleagues to join Senator Byrd and me in supporting this effort to require a new authorization resolution or to refuse to do so for these new times and these new conditions that we and our troops are facing every single day.