Hillary Clinton Regrets Her Iraq War Vote & She's Openly Admitted Her Mistakes Several Times Before
Once again, it seems like the Iraq War is the issue of the moment. Multiple Republican candidates have been forced to answer whether or not they would've done what former President George W. Bush did, launching an invasion of the Middle Eastern state in 2003 that went down as one of the most maligned and unpopular wars in modern American history. It's a hypothetical his brother Jeb faced some time in the hot seat over, but he's not the only one — Hillary Clinton regrets her Iraq war vote all these years later, and she's saying so loud and clear.
Back in 2003, Clinton was a junior senator from New York, having defeated Republican challenger Rick Lazio in 2000. This placed her firmly in the middle of one of the most high-profile, controversial votes in recent memory — to authorize President Bush to invade Iraq, or not? She came down in the "yes" camp (as did a majority of her Democratic colleagues, by a margin of 29 to 21), and the rest is history. From that moment on, her political ambitions have always had a sort of asterisk next to them — how will she explain that Iraq war vote to a liberal Democratic voter base? Well, as detailed by Politico, she tried to put that episode behind her on Tuesday, fessing up that the decision was "a mistake, plain and simple."
This isn't the first time that Clinton has changed course with the benefit of some hindsight. Obviously, it's easy to feel cynical about these things — she's a politician like any other, after all — but it's nice to get a clear answer. Clearer than Jeb's, at least. Here are three other times Hillary Clinton acknowledged a mistake from her political past.
Same-Sex Marriage & DOMA
It's easy to forget, even though it wasn't that long ago, but Clinton didn't publicly back same-sex marriage until 2013. This topic came up in an interview with longtime NPR host Terry Gross in 2014, drawing out what many considered a testy response from Clinton.
Her contention has been that her views evolved over time, just like President Obama claimed — although, as detailed by Jonathan Capehart for the Washington Post, her public comments on the issue through the years gave this argument a bit more credibility than Obama's had.
Nowadays, though, she's done a 180-degree spin, tweeting in support of marriage equality with the hashtag #LoveMustWin.
The Benghazi Attacks
When Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, she made headlines for some of her responses under aggressive questioning. Specifically, one which the political right (especially on social media) still invokes fairly regularly: asking "what difference does it make," regarding what actually sparked the incident.
It was a moment tailor-made for the GOP, a sound-byte that made Clinton sound rattled under fire, and taken out of context, as though she didn't have much care for the situation. But, speaking in January 2014 as detailed by Politico, she made it clear that the Benghazi attack ranked as the biggest regret of her tenure at the State Department.
You make these choices based on imperfect information and you make them to — as we say — the best of your ability. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be unforeseen consequences, unpredictable twists and turns. ... My biggest, you know, regret is what happened in Benghazi. It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans two diplomats and now it’s public, so I can say two CIA operatives.
Driver's Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants
Clinton has changed her tune on whether undocumented immigrants should be eligible for driver's licenses, as well — reflective perhaps on her own changing opinions, and no doubt the changing views of the party around her. Back when she was running in 2007, she insisted that she wouldn't support such a policy if President, as detailed by The New York Times.
As president, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration, including border security and fixing our broken system.
But now, seven years on and perhaps a bit wiser, Clinton has made it clear that she's on-board with license for undocumented immigrants, a single facet of the immigration reform issue that can prove hugely important to individuals trying to make their way. Her campaign made this plain in a statement released in April.
Hillary supports state policies to provide drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. This is consistent with her support for the president's executive action.
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