SNEAK PEEK: 5th anniversary of Senate Iraq vote


Five years ago, just after midnight on Oct. 11, the Senate voted 77-23 to give President Bush the authorization to use military force in Iraq.

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were part of that "77" but Edwards frequently points out that he apologized for that vote and learned a lesson from it. Clinton has not gone that far but does say that if she knew then what she knew now, she would never have voted to give that authorization.

Today her closest opponents, Edwards and Barack Obama, used this anniversary to slam Clinton on not just Iraq but also Iran.

They said Clinton's recent vote designating Iranian special forces a terrorist organization essentially gives President Bush the same authorization on Iran.

As Yogi Berra would put it, if he were a speechwriter for the Edwards or Obama campaign, it's like déjà vu all over again.

Obama, who was not in the Senate five years ago to vote for or against the Iraq force authorization, told the AP Wednesday that Clinton was "too willing to give the president a blank check" and asked if she applies a different judgment today.

"There's been a little bit of revisionist history since that time, where she indicates she was only authorizing inspectors or additional diplomacy," he said. "I think everybody in Washington and people in New Hampshire and round the country understood this was a vote for war. The question is: Does she apply different judgment today?"

Edwards was even more direct: "While Senator Clinton tries to argue both sides of the issue, the truth is her vote opens the door for the president to attack Iran. I believe we must not allow the president to use force against Iran when so many other diplomatic and economic options are still available."

"Sen. Edwards is well aware that there is nothing in the resolution that does any such thing," Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said. "Sen. Obama is well aware that Senator Clinton will end the war in Iraq and has made clear that George Bush does not have the authority to attack Iran. Attacks on other Democrats won't bring about the change we need, but electing Senator Clinton will."

And/but: Clinton's Iran position is getting support from an unlikely corner.

Dick Durbin -- the Illinois senator who played a key role in getting Obama into the presidential race -- joined Clinton in voting for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

Per the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman, Durbin explained his position by saying: "I am opposed to military action in Iran. To say we need to pressure the Iranians to change their course in the Middle East and I want to do it by nonmilitary means, that's what my vote was all about.''

Elsewhere on the trail… It isn't getting the media attention that Clinton's health care plan did, but John McCain unveils his health care plan at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines, IA at 12:45 pm ET on Thursday. The McCain campaign will host a press conference call at 11:15 am ET tomorrow with senior policy advisors to discuss details.

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