With a recent U.S. intelligence report concluding that Iran has likely halted its nuclear weapons program, the Democratic candidates wasted little time before attacking the Bush administration over its handling of the Iranian nuclear issue — and decrying the president’s response to the report.
The L.A. Times reports on what the candidates said on the matter during a national Public Radio debate:
Senator Hillary Clinton:
I vehemently disagree with the president that nothing’s changed and therefore nothing in American policy has to change. We do know that pressure on Iran does have an effect. I think that is an important lesson.
Senator Joseph Biden:
It was like watching a rerun of his statements on Iraq five years earlier. Iran is not a nuclear threat to the United States of America. Iran should be dealt with directly, with the rest of the world at our side. But we’ve made it more difficult now, because who is going to trust us?
What I believe is that this president, who, just a few weeks ago, was talking about World War III, he, the vice president, the neocons have been on a march to possible war with Iran for a long time. We know that they’ve prepared contingency plans for a military attack.
Senator Barack Obama:
What I’ve been consistent about was that this saber-rattling was a repetition of Iraq, a war I opposed, and that we needed to oppose George Bush again. We can’t keep on giving him the benefit of the doubt, knowing the ways in which they manipulate intelligence.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich:
When people say all options are on the table, as the three senators have, they actually encouraged President Bush and licensed his rhetoric. What I’m saying is that I’m the only one here who in Congress repeatedly challenge, in every chance and every legislation, repeatedly challenge this mindset that said all options are on the table and that Iran had nuclear weapons programs.
According to Newsday, Edwards and Senator Chris Dodd both ripped Hillary for backing a resolution in Congress calling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.
“This has to be considered in the context that Senator Clinton has said she agrees with George Bush terminology that we’re in a global war on terror,” Edwards said.
Dodd said that Clinton’s vote “specifically eliminated any option except the military one.”
Clinton, however, said that the resolution caused Iran to reduce its actions in Iraq. “”I think we’ve actually seen the positive effects of having labeled them a terrorist organization,” she said.
Dodd also said that he’s buying his kids Christmas toys from Iowa.
Leftist Dennis Kucinich and libertarian Ron Paul may hail from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they share a strong antipathy toward the projection of American power abroad and have both garnered cult followings with their respective long-shot presidential bids. They also happen to have developed a strong friendship in Congress, and have been known to speak admiringly of each other on the campaign trail.would consider his Republican colleague from Texas as a potential running mate (apparently in the very unlikely event that he wins the Democratic nomination).
It’s also not surprising that the National Jewish Democratic Council wouldn’t be thrilled by the idea, particularly since Paul isn’t exactly known as a friend of Israel.
“Despite his views on the Iraq War, Rep. Paul no more belongs on a Democratic ticket than Dennis Kucinich on a Republican one,” the NJDC’s executive Director, Ira Forman, said in a statement. “Any Jewish Democrats or independents that are tempted toward Rep. Paul because of his stance on the War should be reminded that this Republican Representative has a terrible record on Middle East politics, is anti-choice, and opposes stem cell research.”
But, as it turns out, Ron Paul’s campaign — which has had much more traction than Kucinich’s — doesn’t seem thrilled by the idea either.
“Dr. Paul and Rep. Kucinich are friends and there is a lot of mutual respect,” Paul communications director Jesse Benton wrote in an e-mail to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “They have worked, and will continue to work, together on ending the war and protecting civil liberties.
“However, Ron wants to substantially cut the size and scope of the federal government. There are too many differences on issues such as taxes and spending to think a joint ticket would be possible.”