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January 13, 2007
That Didn't Take Long

Yesterday I wrote about Hillary Clinton's troubles in the 2008 presidential campaign and how she has lost ground to the populists in Iowa and New Hampshire. Her deliberate centrism has undermined enthusiasm for her run at becoming the nation's first female President, and nothing touches off the MoveOn faction more than her support for the war in Iraq. It didn't take long for Hillary to start trying to turn that around, apparently:

In an exclusive interview with ABC News in Baghdad, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., called the situation in Iraq "heartbreaking" and said she doubts Congress and the American people believe the mission here can succeed.

"I don't know that the American people or the Congress at this point believe this mission can work," she said. "And in the absence of a commitment that is backed up by actions from the Iraqi government, why should we believe it?"

Clinton spoke with ABC News after meeting with Gen. George Casey and Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the top American commanders here. She is one a one-day visit to Iraq as part of congressional delegation that includes Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y. ...

Instead of sending more U.S. troops to Iraq, as President Bush plan, Clinton said it is time to start re-deploying U.S. troops out of Iraq.

"That would really demonstrate to the Iraqis that we don't have an open-ended commitment," she said. "We are not going to be here providing protection for their leaders, which we do. We are not going to be here standing by and trying to be called in from time to time as they see fit. That is not in the cards."

This comes as no surprise from the politically pliable Clintons. Both of them have an instinct for sticking a finger in the air and finding which way the wind blows. The difference between Bill and Hillary is that Bill could detect these trends before they matured, while Hillary always seems to be on the trailing edge. Bill can also sell it better than Hillary, who has spent the last six years in office tapdancing with little enthusiasm for centrist positions.

I wrote yesterday that Hillary might be at risk for becoming the new John Kerry. Now, instead, she's the new Russ Feingold, who notoriously demanded an exit from Iraq on a visit to the troops there last March. Feingold made the same essential argument as Hillary, which is that the American troops should leave in order to facilitate the assumption of responsibility for security by the Iraqis. Hillary did not go quite as far as Feingold, who also said that the American presence was fueling the insurgencies, but neither one of them apparently thought twice about criticizing American policy from a war zone, instead of back home as was customary before Feingold's visit.

Hillary has gotten a bit desperate. These antics might get embraced by the activist Left, but they won't vote for Hillary in the primaries unless Barack Obama and John Edwards withdraw. Others will see this as yet another example of political opportunism, and this of a particularly egregious sort.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 13, 2007 9:13 AM

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