Hillary Clinton

Excerpts from a Monitor breakfast on Wesley Clark's candidacy and the Bush administration record.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was the guest at Wednesday's Monitor breakfast. Her resume includes Wellesley College, Yale Law School, authorship of two bestselling books, a Grammy award (for the recording of "It Takes a Village"), and being the first first lady elected to the United States Senate where she also is the first New Yorker to serve on the Armed Services Committee.

On claims Sen. Clinton and her husband are supporting the candidacy of Wesley Clark to further their own political ambitions:

"That is an absurd feat of imagination, I guess. We have been supportive to all of the candidates running in any way that they have requested information...from either Bill or me, advice that they would solicit. We are not supporting or endorsing any candidate...I think someone very formidable is going to come out of this process...."

On whether she thinks about running for president in the future:

"That is not what I think about. I think about what I am doing every single day. I think about the job I have, I think about the obligations I have. I try to think about why the administration is doing what it does and I find myself running into mental walls because I can't quite figure it out as to what their real objectives are..."

On the Bush administration record:

"I think the evidence and consequences of this administration's policies both internationally and domestically are troubling to people...a lot of the disconnect between the rhetoric and actions.... A close examination to me really raises a lot of disturbing questions about their intentions in the field of the economy and other areas that they are pushing an extremely right-wing agenda outside the mainstream of American thought...."

On the Bush administration's management of the war in Iraq:

"I had no doubt about the military outcome of our undertaking. But I have been along with many other people just bewildered, surprised, disappointed by the failure of the administration to create conditions for greater international support, to determine how best to share the burdens both in lives put on the line and resources committed and their inability to really recognize the consequences of our military victory and be prepared to deal with those."

On US intelligence failures in the Iraq war:

"You cannot expect the American public, or frankly the world community, to be convinced or united if we are acting on intelligence that has proven to be so wrong."

On the Bush doctrine of acting preemptively against possible enemies:

"I believe the United States has to protect its interests and has to defend itself. I think we have to have both a good offense and good defense. I think it is dangerous and really unnecessary to announce that you are going to follow a doctrine of preemption.

"I didn't understand why that became a public issue in this administration other than that it goes along with their belief that if they just say things that sound very tough-minded that people will fall in line, which has proven to be not always the case. So pre-emption as a doctrine does not mean anything.

"If there are a set of circumstances that you can prevent some occurring that can cause harm to you and your allies to peace and to world peace and order, obviously you are going to pursue those, and we will do that on our own if we have to. But it is very dangerous to throw into the swirling pot of world opinion the idea that you might do it no matter what anybody else thought, no matter what the risks were, no matter what the imminent threat was or wasn't...."

On a Bush administration plan to change rules governing overtime pay:

"It is hard to believe that in the midst of everything else we confront in the world that this administration has time to figure our how to take away overtime pay from millions of workers. That just boggles the mind.... If I were a betting person I would bet those rules go into effect."

On her unhappiness with how the Environmental Protection Agency handled air quality issues after September 11- 2001:

"Even information that goes right to the heart of how you protect yourself and your children is spun, is manipulated, is changed. The considered opinion of the experts at EPA is overruled by people at the White House. Their defense is national security...."

On Bush administration fiscal policy:

"This is the first president, at least in my reading of American history, who has ever taken us to war and cut taxes at the same time. I view that as incredibly irresponsible. But the happy talk continues -- the jobs will come despite the fact we have lost 3 million plus [jobs already], investment will start flowing, we will be able to handle both our international obligations and our domestic ones. Clearly, if you follow the rhetoric about the economy and fiscal policy it falls at into at least exuberantly irrationally optimistic or at the very worst misleading."

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