After Hedging, Clinton Backs Withdrawal Deadline with Fund Cutoff

May 16, 2007 9:19pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports: At a Wednesday noontime event in Washington, D.C., Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., was pressed by The New York Times and ABC News on whether she favored cutting off funding for major combat operations after March 31, 2008 or if she simply wanted the proposal offered by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., which she supported on a procedural vote earlier in the day, to get a fair hearing.

Her answer: "I am not going to speculate on what I am going to be voting on in the future. I voted in favor of cloture to have a debate. We weren’t successful . . . So I will take the votes as they come . . . You know, if we were making progress, if I thought the Iraqis were ready to make the tough decisions, you might have seen a different vote. I don’t see that."

A few hours later, she had a different answer: she was ready to embrace the fund cutoff contained in the Feingold measure.

"I support the underlying bill," Clinton told the Associated Press. "That’s what this vote on cloture was all about."

If Clinton becomes the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, it is unclear what effect her support for a March 31, 2008, fund cutoff for major combat operations will have.

In the meantime, look for the Dodd campaign (out in the open) and the Obama campaign (more quietly) to continue to use Clinton’s recalibration and initial hedging to curry favor with ardent opponents of the Iraq war.

"We’re as confused as anyone on Senator Clinton’s position," Dodd spokesperson Christy Setzer told ABC News.

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