EXCLUSIVE: Clinton on Politics of Terror

"What we try to do is to send in role models that will change that. One of our representatives is a young woman who was infected as a result of a rape. And when people see her, they see she's not ashamed. She doesn't feel stigmatized. "

Clinton on Lieberman

Clinton also discussed Sen. Joe Lieberman's loss in Connecticut's Democratic primary last week to anti-war liberal Ned Lamont.

Lieberman has characterized his loss -- and the need for his subsequent independent run -- as liberals in the party purging those with the Lieberman-Clinton position of progressiveness in domestic politics and strong national security credentials.

"Well, if I were Joe and I was running as an independent, that's what I'd say, too," Clinton said.

"But that's not quite right. That is, there were almost no Democrats who agreed with his position, which was, 'I want to attack Iraq whether or not they have weapons of mass destruction.'"

"His position is the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld position, which was, 'Does it matter if they have weapons? None of this matters. … This is a big, important priority, and 9/11 gives us the way of attacking and deposing Saddam.'"

Clinton said that a vote for Lamont was not, as Lieberman had implied, a vote against the country's security.

Clinton said other Senate Democrats who had voted to give Bush the authority to go to war -- including his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York -- who may be weighing a 2008 presidential run, had hoped that the threat of war would force former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to comply with U.N. inspections.

"They [Democrats] felt, frankly, let down that the U.N. inspectors were not permitted to finish, and they were worried that we were devoting attention away from Afghanistan and the hunt for [Osama] bin Laden and al Qaeda, which was a huge, immediate threat to our security in the aftermath of 9/11, as we saw [with] this foiled British plot continues to be," Clinton said.

Clinton did not discuss his wife's possible presidential bid in 2008, and said he was pleased with the work she was doing in the Senate right now.

Clinton said he campaigned for Lieberman because they had been friends for 35 years, and Clinton did not want the Democratic Party split over Iraq.

No matter how a Democratic congress member voted on Iraq, Clinton said that he or she was not responsible for the constant mistakes in judgment that had been made since the overthrow of Saddam.

"And no Democrat, no matter how much he or she was against it, can escape responsibility for the consequences of whatever we do now," he said.

"That is, what do we do now that's good for America's security, that's good for the world's security, good for the fight against terror?"

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