by Taylor Marsh
Hearing this week that none of the Democratic top tier candidates can commit to redeploying all combat forces out of Iraq before 2013 was a jolt. But Bill Richardson has a post up at Huffington Post stating something even more alarming.
I contacted the Clinton camp. The response was emphatic: "Absolutely false."
Edwards and Obama have said that they will get the combat troops out of Iraq. But they would leave behind tens of thousands of other troops unprotected, in the middle of a civil war, indefinitely. It doesn't make any sense.
Clinton told her own military advisors that she expects to have troops in Iraq at the end of her second term in office, in 2017. ... ..
Did Richardson just make it up? First he tries to pander his way to winning the primary by saying we can pull all of our troops out of Iraq, no problem. He then fudges that a bit by also saying we'll leave light equipment behind as we redeploy, trying to make sense of the timing in the face of what people like Joe Sestak have said. But now he's put up a post stating something that is absolutely false about the frontrunner, at least according to Clinton's own people who should know.
There is a lot of Hillary hatred out there. However, one would hope that outright falsehoods wouldn't come from a presidential candidate hoping to climb his way to the top.
Where did Governor Richardson get his information? This matters, especially since people are obviously taking him at his word. One of my readers put up a Hot Topics post on my blog, trusting that it was true. After all, if a man with Governor Richardson's resume says it that's good enough, right? The majority of commenters here at Huffington Post didn't even question Richardson's bold statement, even though it's not backed up by anything. They trusted his word. But there is no quote from anyone in camp Clinton. Not even blind sourcing. No anonymous sourcing either. There is no substantiation whatsoever. He just throws the line out there hoping Democratic primary voters will grab hold.
Beware. Sometimes a line is tied to an anchor.
UPDATED: This week has the potential to hurt all Democratic candidates vying for the '08 nomination. The inability for our candidates to promise to withdraw by 2013 has shocked everyone. But it's really simple. If this is the source, cite it, even if it is from June and no one else picked it up. I also respect Ted Koppel, who evidently "ran into an old source" who "occasionally" briefed Clinton before he retired stating what Richardson said in his post. Again, cite the source. But as of this week, according to the transcript of the Russert debate, Clinton got Koppel's message (however indirectly) and changed the words she uses today. The 2017 date Richardson excavated for his post today is really reaching into the paranoia grab bag. Is it possible? You bet. Did Clinton say it? They say no. You all will have to decide the rest, but let's play with all the facts, sources and information, shall we? We're supposed to be on the same side.
SENATOR CLINTON: Well, Tim, it is my goal to have all troops out by the end of my first term. But I agree with Barack. It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting. You know, we do not know, walking into the White House in January 2009, what we're going to find.