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Clinton changes her position on torture in New Hampshire

September 27, 2007

After reading several articles on the NH debate, critics and political analysts alike believe Sen. Hillary Clinton
has changed her position on whether or not a presidential exception should be allowed to use torture in order to prevent an imminent terror attack.

At the debate Wednesday night moderator Tim Russert asked Clinton, “This is the number three man in Al Qaeda. We know there’s a bomb about to go off, and we have three days, and we know this guy knows where it is. Should there be a presidential exception to allow torture in that kind of situation?”

Clinton responded, “As a matter of policy, it cannot be American policy, period. I met with those same three-and four-star retired generals, and their principal point–in addition to the values that are so important for our country to exhibit– is that there is very little evidence that it works. Now, there are a lot of other things that we need to be doing that I wish we were: better intelligence; making, you know, our country better respected around the world; working to have more allies, but these hypotheticals are very dangerous because they open a great big hole in what should be an attitude that our country and our president takes toward the appropriate treatment of everyone.”

In an interview last October, however, Clinton’s answer was different. Last October when she was asked about a presidential exception by the New York Daily News editorial board she told the paper, “I have said that those are very rare but if they occur, there has to be some lawful authority for pursuing that. And, again, I think the president has to take some responsibility. There has to be some check and balance, some reporting. I don’t mind if it is some reporting within a top secret context. But that shouldn’t be the tail that wags the dog, that should be the exception to the rule. And that if we deviate in the first instance from very disciplined interrogation methods, that are clearly lined out, and that have validation evaluation that goes forward.”

Clinton’s camp says the change is not significant. Phil Singer, a spokesman of Clinton’s, said, “Upon reflection and after meeting with former generals and others, Sen. Clinton does not believe that we should be making narrow exceptions to this policy based on hypothetical scenarios.” Since the October interview Clinton has talked to interrogators from CIA, FBI, military backgrounds who are all skeptical about using terror, saying the best way to get information is to bribe people. This is undoubtedly the reason why Clinton changed her mind on this issue.

As Newt Gingrich said, it shows great maturity and experience that Clinton has changed her mind. “Flop-flopper” should not be a term with negative connotation. After further research and understanding Clinton now has a more informed and secure position on the issue.

P.S.- The blog site straight2thecandidates that I talked about in my first post will begin running on Monday, October 1, 2007. The creators have notified all the presidential candidates and have sent out numerous press releases. Hopefully they get noticed!

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