Hillary Clinton

MSNBC’s David Shuster filed this report on Monday’s Hardball, which sums up Sunday’s Republican presidential debate in Iowa. Romey’s flip-flops were a big topic of discussion. Romney said, “I am pro-choice, and that is the truth….and I am tired of people that are holier than thow because they are pro-choice longer than I have.

The report goes on to discuss Romney’s contention “he has always been secretly pro-life” and regretted not being open about his true beliefs while governor of the liberal state of Massachusetts.   

Schuster goes on to say, “The issue is whether Romey is a man of true beliefts, or if he will say anything to get elected.” 

Romney then accused Senator Barack Obama of inconsistency on foreign policy. “In one week he went from saying he’s to sit down for tea with our enemies to he’s going to bomb our allies. In one week he went from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove.” 


At last year’s Take Back America meeting of liberal activists, the New York Times described the reception of Hillary Clinton,

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, faced boos and shouts of ‘bring them home’ from an audience of liberal Democrats here on Tuesday as she argued against setting a deadline, wading into what she called a ‘difficult conversation.’

At last year’s conference she said,

“I don’t think it’s in the best interests of our troops or our country [to withdraw troops from Iraq],”

At this year’s meeting she said,

“I have been saying for some time that we need to bring our combat troops home from Iraq starting right now.”

In a piece by NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, on this morning’s today show, NBC News political analyst Charlie Cook said,

“You can see that Clinton’s position has shifted increasingly against the war and at about the same timetable as public opinion has moved over.”

Mitchell’s piece goes on to discuss the entire Democratic Party’s increasing move to the left over opposition to the war.

To check out Mitchell’s entire story, look for Today Show video “Democrats Swinging Too Far Left?”

An article published yesterday discusses Hillary Clinton’s shifting position on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law signed by her husband, which permits states to ignore same sex marriages or civil unions granted in other states.

“Clinton’s change on DOMA came to light when her advisers released the text of her candidate questionnaire for the Human Rights Campaign.

Her new stance may be an attempt to establish a separate identity from that of Bill Clinton, whose presidency was somewhat of a best-of-times, worst-of-times for LGBT Americans….

DOMA contains two provisions — one that gives states autonomy on marriage and one that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

With the precision of a neurosurgeon, Clinton cut herself free of the second plank of the law while continuing to embrace the first plank, essentially saying that she would let states decide their own destiny on marriage but leave the door open for federal recognition of same-sex unions.

‘Sen. Clinton believes that each state should make its own decisions regarding marriage or civil unions, but once a state legalizes such relationships, these relationships should receive full federal recognition and benefits,’ Ethan Geto, Clinton’s senior national adviser on LGBT issues, wrote in an email to The Advocate.

‘As several states have legalized gay marriage or civil unions, Sen. Clinton has come to believe that the restrictions imposed by DOMA on federal government recognition of same-sex relationships are unfair.’

The position represents a marked departure from her comments to a group of about 40 LGBT leaders in New York in October during her Senate reelection campaign, in which she stood firm on the strategic importance of DOMA in helping to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have constitutionally denied the right of marriage to gay and lesbian couples.

‘One of the strongest arguments we had against the constitutional amendment, which kept Democrats and even some Republicans from voting for it, was DOMA — that (the Federal Marriage Amendment) was not necessary; marriage has always been the province of states,’ Clinton said during that meeting.

‘I feel very good about the strategy we took on DOMA,’ she added.

While cynics may roll their eyes at ‘strategy,’ and while many LGBT activists criticized Clinton for not being more supportive during the federal marriage debate, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, has credited her as a strategic force in defeating the amendment in 2006.”

John McCain has often criticized lawmakers of pork barreling, supporting wasteful spending simply to demonstrate to constituents they can bring home the bacon. Today, in his most recent attack, McCain accused Senator Hillary Clinton of pushing for wasteful earmarks for her state. But Hillary might not be the only one who likes the taste of pork. Newsday reports,

“Speaking to reporters outside a fundraiser in Los Angeles [yesterday], McCain charged Clinton with larding a recently passed defense appropriations bill with $150 million in home-state earmarks – $43 million of which went to Long Island.

The Arizona Republican, who has fallen from GOP frontrunner to third place in many national polls, chided Clinton for pushing projects ‘the Pentagon had no request for and had no need for.’

He promised to introduce legislation to block senators from earmarking in the future.”

For those political neophytes out there, a brief overview of pork and of congressional votes…For the rest of you, skip to the next paragraph. Clearly, passing legislation is never simple. There are all sorts of complicated reasons to vote for or against a bill that are not always apparent at face value. Senators and representatives sometimes vote in favor of one bill because while they might oppose certain aspects of the legislation, other measures that they support are grouped together in the same bill–so they have no choice but to cast a “yea.” In other instances, a member might vote against a measure he or she essentially supports in some respects in hopes of writing better legislation. And sometimes members trade votes with one piece of legislation for another. So the perception of votes and of pork is difficult, making it very easy to misinterpret votes and pork–especially since pork is usually grouped together with more pressing legislation, which allows members to justify their votes.

While we generally try to avoid including editorials in Reality Check, on March 4 of 2006, the Chicago Tribune, whose editorial board is typically viewed as conservative, ran an editorial “Perfuming the Barnyard” in which it alleged that,

“Arizona Sen. John McCain is sponsoring two interesting pieces of legislation. One mounts a direct assault on congressional earmarks, those little morsels of home district pork that lawmakers slip into unrelated spending bills. The other steers $10 million to the University of Arizona to launch an academic center honoring the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.”

(The rest of the article is included below)

It appears then, that while McCain’s latest assault on pork is on one of his Democratic opponents, Senator McCain is not afraid to support pork projects for his constituents either. His $10 million project is certainly far less than Clinton’s $43 million, but the principle is largely the same.

And, according to New York Magazine on June 13, Senator Clinton has been criticized before for earmarking.

“‘…Hillary Clinton has been working overtime to steer Pentagon funds to the state,’ William Hartung, an arms-trade expert at the New School, just told us. ‘This year alone she has taken credit for two dozen projects worth over $800 million. If she wants to be the commander-in-chief, she should be pushing programs on their merits, not on the basis of pork-barrel politics.’ Hartung calls one project Clinton championed, the presidential helicopter built by Lockheed Martin, a potential ‘burden for taxpayers that may not perform as advertised’ and suggested she’s touted some projects as designed to protect troops in Iraq or Afghanistan when they’re really entirely unrelated. It’s ‘misleading at the least, if not outright unethical,’ he said….”


A Gulf Times article yesterday summed up many of the major inconsistencies of the ’08 campaign thus far.

“…First Romney was in favor of a woman’s right to choose an abortion, but now he is against it….

Besides her stance on Iraq, New York Sen. Clinton is accused of opposing government supports for ethanol, a big issue in the corn-growing and key presidential caucus state of Iowa, before she was for them.

One of her Democratic opponents, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, is accused of having voted for and against storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and believed Americans were safer against terrorists, but now thinks they are not as safe.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who has only been in the Senate for two years, in May voted against a $100bn Iraq war funding bill, saying it was time to change course in the war. But in April he vowed not to cut funding for US troops…”

Candidate authenticity was the subject of New York Times columnist Frank Krugman’s piece this morning. Krugman writes,

“…What does authenticity mean? Supposedly it means not pretending to be who you aren’t. But that definition doesn’t seem to fit the way the term is actually used in political reporting.

For example, the case of F.D.R. shows that there’s nothing inauthentic, in the normal sense of the word, about calling for higher taxes on the rich while being rich yourself. If anything, it’s to your credit if you advocate policies that will hurt your own financial position. But the news media seem to find it deeply disturbing that John Edwards talks about fighting poverty while living in a big house.

On the other hand, consider the case of Fred Thompson. He spent 18 years working as a highly paid lobbyist, wore well-tailored suits and drove a black Lincoln Continental. When he ran for the Senate, however, his campaign reinvented him as a good old boy: it leased a used red pickup truck for him to drive, dressed up in jeans and a work shirt, with a can of Red Man chewing tobacco on the front seat.

But Mr. Thompson’s strength, says Lanny Davis in The Hill, is that he’s ‘authentic….’

Oh, and as a candidate George W. Bush was praised as being more authentic than Al Gore. As late as November 2005, MSNBC’s chief political correspondent declared that Mr. Bush’s authenticity was his remaining source of strength. But now The A.P. says that Mr. Bush’s lack of credibility is the reason his would-be successors need to seem, yes, authentic.”

In a story a little more lighthearted than most covered by Reality Check comes the latest installation in the AP’s interviews on the candidates’ personal habits and preferences. Indulge yourself in some their bad habits…

“What is your worst habit?


Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: ‘Too many to list. :)’

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Chocolate

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: ‘Running late, even when my staff does everything in their power to prevent it.’

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: ‘Drinking soda’

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: ‘Ask my wife, Elizabeth.’

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: ‘Checking my Blackberry.’

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: ‘Straying from my diet.’



Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback: ‘Being late.’

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: ‘Talking too much.’

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: ‘Channel surfing on TV or radio.’

California Rep. Duncan Hunter: ‘Not turning off the Outdoor Life Network (now Versus) before I go to sleep.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain: ‘Coffee’

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: ‘Fidgeting”

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo: ‘Cigar smoking'”

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