Barack Obama fudged in the debate tonight. He declared that when he gave his speech he was laying it on the line: "I was in the midst of a US Senate campaign." He was in the midst of a STATE senate campaign. He was running for the Illinois state senate and they elect by districts. It was not a "statewide" contest. It was a district election and he was running for re-election representing a district against the illegal war.
There are 59 state senate districts in Illionois. You are elected for a two-year term. He won his state senate seat in 1996. He ran for re-election (and won) in 1998. He ran for re-election (and won) in 2000. He ran for re-election (and won) in 2002.
Here's the pertinent exchange in tonight's debate via the New York Times transcript:
SEN. CLINTON: Well, I have put forth my extensive experience in foreign policy, you know, helping to support the peace process in Northern Ireland, negotiating to open borders so that refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing would be safe, going to Beijing and standing up for women's rights as human rights and so much else. And every time the question about qualifications and credentials for commander in chief are raised, Senator Obama rightly points to the speech he gave in 2002. He's to be commended for having given the speech. Many people gave speeches against the war then, and the fair comparison is he didn't have responsibility, he didn't have to vote; by 2004 he was saying that he basically agreed with the way George Bush was conducting the war. And when he came to the Senate, he and I have voted exactly the same. We have voted for the money to fund the war until relatively recently. So the fair comparison was when we both had responsibility, when it wasn't just a speech but it was actually action, where is the difference? Where is the comparison that would in some way give a real credibility to the speech that he gave against the war?
[. . .]
SEN. OBAMA: Let me just follow up. My objections to the war in Iraq were simply -- not simply a speech. I was in the midst of a U.S. Senate campaign. It was a high-stakes campaign. I was one of the most vocal opponents of the war, and I was very specific as to why.
And so when I bring this up, it is not simply to say "I told you so," but it is to give you an insight in terms of how I would make decisions.
I didn't hear the debate. Ava and I were speaking on campus. Rebecca phoned while we were speaking (about the Iraq War) and when I returned her call after, she told me the quote she'd heard which is the quote that's in the official transcript.
October 2, 2002 was when Bambi gave his speech on a possible "dumb" war. He was not in the midst of a US Senate run. He was running for re-election to his state senate seat -- one of 59 state senate races taking place then.
He lied. This isn't "mispoke." He said "US Senate." It made him sound better. And it was a lie. That speech is not something new to him, he has referenced it over and over. He knows when he gave it. He's reference that over and over. He was not running for the US Senate. He thought he could get away with it (and during the debate he did).
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