Will Nets Ignore Apparent Clinton Flip-Flop on Nukes?

On August 3, NewsBusters contributor Scott Whitlock noticed the network morning shows largely ignored Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) dovish blanket assertion that he would rule out the use of nuclear weapons in "any circumstances" in dealing with terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the time, Sen. Hillary Clinton called the pronouncement unwise. But according to the Associated Press, it appears Clinton is contradicting a statement she made in April 2006 that aligns with Obama's stance.

On August 2, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) took the opportunity to disagree with Obama's dovish stance. As the Washington Post reported in the August 3 paper:

By the afternoon, Clinton (N.Y.) had responded with an implicit rebuke. "Presidents should be careful at all times in discussing the use and nonuse of nuclear weapons," she said, adding that she would not answer hypothetical questions about the use of nuclear force.

"Presidents since the Cold War have used nuclear deterrents to keep the peace, and I don't believe any president should make blanket statements with the regard to use or nonuse," Clinton said.

But in an August 9 article, the Associated Press's Beth Fouhy reported that Clinton appears to have reversed herself from an Obama-like pronouncement on nuclear weapons in April 2006:

NEW YORK -- Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who chastised rival Barack Obama for ruling out the use of nuclear weapons in the war on terror, did just that when asked about Iran a year ago.

"I would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table," she said in April 2006.

Her views expressed while she was gearing up for a presidential run stand in conflict with her comments this month regarding Obama, who faced heavy criticism from leaders of both parties, including Clinton, after saying it would be "a profound mistake" to deploy nuclear weapons in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sounds like a flip-flop to me. At the very least it's excellent fodder for morning shows and the Sunday morning programs, particularly in light of the recent Clinton-Obama spats over foreign and military policy matters.

It remains to be seen if network journalists will scrutinize Clinton or attempt to nail down her position in light of her contradictory statements.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.