The Truth-O-Meter Says:

Sen. Obama "made the very argument he is now criticizing back in November 2006."

Hillary Clinton on Thursday, October 25th, 2007 in

Cherry-picking Obama's quotes

In a dust-up on Hillary Clinton's vote for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, the Clinton campaign responded to charges that she had given President Bush a "blank check" by charging the Illinois senator had flip-flopped on Iran.

In a memo to reporters titled "Obama vs. Obama," the Clinton campaign cited a 2006 speech by the senator that said "maintaining a military force in Iraq is necessary to constrain Iran's ambitions," which is no different than the amendment that Clinton supported.

The quotes are accurate, but the Clinton campaign has taken them out of context. Obama's 4,000-word speech spends about two paragraphs on Iran and Syrian; its main purpose was to argue for withdrawing from Iraq.

After discussing the need to reduce troops and increase diplomacy, Obama outlines a number of possible scenarios, including sending more troops to Afghanistan. After that, he says the reduced forces in Iraq would still have a role to play in sending a message to Iran and Syria.

But it's an exagerration to say that he has dramatically switched positions.

The Clinton campaign is right when it asserts that there is little difference between Clinton and Obama on Iran policy. Both advocate aggressive diplomacy and economic sanctions, and both say a military strategy cannot be ruled out.

But selectively quoting Obama from the November speech is a weak point for this argument, so we rate this claim Half-True.

About this statement:

Published: Monday, October 29th, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Subjects: Foreign Policy


Hillary Clinton campaign, Memo: Obama vs. Obama: The Real Differences on Iran, Oct. 25, 2007.

Barack Obama, A Way Forward in Iraq, speech given to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Nov. 20, 2006.

Roll call vote on the Kyl-LiebermanAmendment, Sept. 26, 2007.

The Jerusalem Post, How would you grapple with Iran's nuclear drive?, June 7, 2007.

Written by: Bill Adair, Angie Drobnic Holan
Researched by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Edited by: Neil Brown

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