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Clinton Attacks Bernie Sanders on Guns, But Was as a 'Pro-Gun Churchgoer' in 2008

01/11/2016 10:41 am ET | Updated Jan 11, 2016
  • H. A. Goodman Columnist published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Baltimore Sun, The Hill, Salon, The Jerusalem Post www.hagoodman.com
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When asked about Wall Street donations, Hillary Clinton invoked 9/11. Shortly after the Paris attacks, she supported sending U.S. ground troops back to the Middle East, then abruptly evolved and now opposes ground troops. Clinton's future foreign policy has been described as "neocon" by a leading historian, she'd likely have neoconservative advisers in her White House, and she calls her Iraq Vote a "mistake." Because of Bernie Sanders and a progressive surge within the Democratic Party, Clinton now opposes the TPP and Keystone XL, after supporting both controversial projects and dodging questions. Then of course there's the opposition to gay marriage up until 2013.

In terms of Clinton's value system, NBC News recently asked, Did Hillary Clinton Diss the Iowa Caucuses in Private Email? The self-described "moderate" alluded to certain views within the Democratic Party representing an extreme. According to the email, Clinton referred to the Iowa Caucus, and other caucuses, as examples of "parties' extremes."

The problem with Clinton's viewpoint of the caucuses is that progressive values are no longer "extreme" in American politics. I explain in this YouTube segment why Bernie Sanders easily wins the Democratic nomination if progressives simply vote their conscience in 2016.

Running against the more progressive Sanders, gun control isn't a fringe, or extreme issue to Clinton. It's a way to flaunt progressive credentials, and Clinton is trying desperately to paint Bernie Sanders as the Ted Nugent of Democrats. The game plan for the Clinton campaign is to focus on the emotional issue of mass shootings and somehow link a D-minus rating from the NRA to this scourge in American society.

In this way, the Clinton team hopes the issue of gun legislation will overshadow her conservative stances on Iraq, Keystone XL, the TPP, marijuana legislation, prison lobbyist donors, foreign policy, and a number of other key issues.

Yes, the "7%" that would correlate to decisions as president, specifically her likely use of the AUMF to send more Americans abroad and bomb countries at will. Senators don't possess the AUMF (only presidents can unilaterally wage war) which is why the myth about Sanders and Clinton voting in a similar manner ignores a Vox article titled Hillary Clinton will pull the Democrats -- and the country -- in a hawkish direction.

First, Bernie Sanders has a lifetime voting record of "D-minus" from the NRA. He doesn't need to evolve on anything, unless you believe a D-minus is good, or that the NRA is lying about his score. Furthermore, while Clinton might have a lower score, she also has a weapons deal controversy involving billions of dollars in weaponry.

Second, Clinton once tried to paint Barack Obama as being out of touch with American society because of his view that Americans cling to guns. According to a 2008 New York Times article titled Clinton Portrays Herself as a Pro-Gun Churchgoer, Clinton's rhetoric on the 2nd Amendment differed greatly from today's attacks against Sanders:

For the third time since Mr. Obama's remarks were made public Friday night, Mrs. Clinton criticized him at length, saying his comments seemed "kind of elitist and out of touch."

"I disagree with Senator Obama's assertion that people in our country cling to guns and have certain attitudes about immigration or trade simply out of frustration," she said.

She described herself as a pro-gun churchgoer, recalling that her father taught her how to shoot a gun when she was a young girl and said that her faith "is the faith of my parents and my grandparents."

Imagine Clinton recalling how she learned to shoot a gun in 2016. She also focused on faith and the right-wing talking point of liberal elitism, which is why Clinton stated Obama was "kind of elitist and out of touch."

In addition to describing herself as a "pro-gun churchgoer," Clinton made a point to continue these themes against Obama. A 2008 CNN article titled Clinton touts her experience with guns explains her rural Indiana visit in greater detail:

"You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught me how to shoot when I was a little girl," she said.

"You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It's part of culture. It's part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter."

Minutes later, in a slightly awkward moment, Clinton faced a question from a woman in the audience whose son had been paralyzed by a gunshot...

"As I told you, my dad taught me how to shoot behind our cottage," she said. "I have gone hunting. I am not a hunter. But I have gone hunting."

Clinton said she has hunted ducks.

Voters in 2016 should remember that just eight years ago, Clinton believed teaching children how to shoot a gun was simply a part of American culture and a "way of life" to many people.

As for her words to an audience in Indianapolis, POLITICO has the 2008 transcript:

You know, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment believe it's a matter of Constitutional rights.

Americans who believe in God believe it is a matter of personal faith. Americans who believe in protecting good American jobs believe it is a matter of the American Dream...

I grew up in a churchgoing family, a family that believed in the importance of living out and expressing our faith.

These are the words of America's anti-gun crusader, who grew up in a "churchgoing family" and viewed belief in the 2nd Amendment as "a matter of Constitutional rights." Clinton's use of guns, faith, and the 2nd Amendment was successful in putting Obama on the defensive.

Based upon the numerous changes in viewpoints I explain in this YouTube segment, Anderson Cooper rightfully asked Clinton, "Will you say anything to get elected?"

Finally, Clinton's latest promise for executive action, as a way to differentiate herself from Bernie Sanders on the gun issue, ignores her previous stances on federal gun legislation. During a debate with Barrack Obama, the ABC News transcript shows a Hillary Clinton uncomfortable with "blanket" federal legislation on guns:

CLINTON: What I favor is what works in New York. You know, we have a set of rules in New York City, and we have a totally different set of rules in the rest of the state. What might work in New York City is certainly not going to work in Montana.

So for the federal government to be having any kind of, you know, blanket rules that they're going to try to impose I think doesn't make sense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Senator, you were for that when you ran for Senate in New York.

CLINTON: I was for the New York rules; that's right. I was for the New York rules, because they have worked over time. And there isn't a lot uproar in New York about changing them, because I go to upstate New York, where we have a lot of hunters and people who are collectors and people who are sport shooters. They have every reason to believe that their rights are being respected.

Yes, the Democratic crusader against guns once stated, "What might work in New York City is certainly not going to work in Montana." Back then, Clinton wasn't the proponent of blanket rules, or sweeping federal legislation on guns; certainly not executive action.

Today's outspoken critic on guns stated that the federal government's "blanket rules...I think doesn't make sense."

Not long ago, Hillary Clinton was also defending the gun rights of hunters and sport shooters in upstate New York. Her use of guns and faith also relates to her 3:00 a.m. ad against Obama.

In 2016, the irony of a hawkish Democrat possibly giving billion dollar weapons deals to donors, is lost upon the Clinton faithful. Party loyalty overshadows duplicity. Blind allegiance shields the inconvenient reality that Clinton has evolved even on guns, in addition to most other contentious issues. Because the Clinton campaign can't possibly spin out of continual evolution and prior conservative viewpoints, I explain why Bernie Sanders will become president in a recent appearance on Thom Hartmann Program. I also explain in 60 seconds why I'm voting for Bernie Sanders, instead of Clinton or a buffoon named Donald Trump, in this YouTube segment.

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