Clinton: Congress should keep up war pressure on Bush
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Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at Dover High School during a February 2007 campaign stop in New Hampshire. (Andrew Moore photo)
Hillary Clinton (D) Senator, New York
Born: 10/26/1947
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Home: Chappaqua, NY
Religion: Methodist
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HAMPTON, N.H. - Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday called President Bush's refusal to change in course in Iraq a "tragedy of historic proportions," but said she's not ready to back the latest attempt to cut funding for the war.

At a house party where more than 50 people sat on rented chairs crammed in a living room, Clinton was urged to co-sponsor a bill proposed by Sens. Harry Reid and Russ Feingold that would cut off funding for the Iraq war by March 31, 2008.

"I'm not ready to co-sponsor it now," Clinton said, repeating her argument that Congress instead should focus on pressuring Bush to work with Democrats.

"I think it's important for the American people to see the Democratic majority go the extra mile," she said. "We have to show the American people that it is he who is being unreasonable."

Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut is the only Democratic presidential hopeful to support the Reid-Feingold measure.

Addressing nearly a thousand people later in a high school gym, Clinton faced her most harsh questioner of the day: a young woman who said she had traveled from New York to ask the senator whether she had read a 92-page intelligence document before her 2002 vote to authorize the war.

"I was thoroughly briefed on it. I was briefed on it," Clinton said repeatedly, as the woman tried to interrupt her. "I think it's such a difficult thing to go back in time and say what everyone was thinking.

"What I will say is I believed that what we were doing was giving the president the authority to put inspectors in Iraq. That's what we were told privately. That's what we were told publicly."

On questions ranging from health care to campaign spending, Clinton sought to emphasize her experience, frequently including the phrase "I've been through this" in her answers.

When one audience member asked if she would stay within the public campaign financing system in the general election if the Republican nominee promised to do the same, Clinton said she wouldn't make that promise right now.

She said she supports public financing, limiting the length of the campaign season and further restricting how money is spent, though she said the last goal might require a constitutional amendment given the Supreme Court's position that campaign money equals free speech.

She also said she feared the Republican nominee would not keep his word regarding campaign spending limits.

"I've been through this before, so I may be a little more skeptical about making deals with the other side," she said.

She accused Republicans of having a long history of using other groups, and their money, to attack opponents.

"They are good at it. The are ruthless at it," she said. "I don't intend to disarm because I'm going to beat them."




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