RUSH: We got two sound bites here, and you must hear them. This is Tim Russert and Hillary Clinton. Russert says, ‘Senator Clinton, I want to propose a hypothetical to you. We got the number three man of Al-Qaeda. We know there’s a bomb about to go off. We have three days. We know this guy knows where it is. Should there be a presidential exception to allow torture in that kind of situation?’ Now, he reads her a quote from a guest on Meet the Press who says, ‘Yes, the president should ask for an exception on this,’ and by virtue of executive order in an emergency situation — the ticking time bomb scenario. Russert’s guest said, yes, the president should have that kind of authority. Here’s Mrs. Clinton’s answer to the question, ‘Should there be a presidential exception to allow torture in that kind of situation?’
HILLARY: As a matter of policy, it cannot be American policy, period. In addition to the values that are so important for our country to exhibit, is that there is very little evidence that it works. But these hypotheticals are very dangerous because they open a great big hole in what should be an attitude that our country and our president takes toward the appropriate treatment of everyone, and I think it’s dangerous to go down this path.
RUSSERT: The guest who laid out this scenario for me with that proposed solution was William Jefferson Clinton last year. So he disagreed with you.
HILLARY: Well, he’s not standing here right now. (laughing/applause)
RUSSERT: So there is a disagreement?
HILLARY: Well, I’ll talk to him later. (laughter)
RUSH: Ooooh. Ha. Now, I was stunned. You don’t see Democrats set up like this in these debates. You don’t see Democrats tricked like this. It was a setup. It was a clever setup. You can say it’s a gotcha. This is the exact kind of things they do with Republicans, but this doesn’t happen when Democrats are in the midst of a debate. Tim Russert — no, I’m going to ruin his reputation if I applaud him. I’ll say no more about it than I have, but you could call it a setup, tough question, like Dan Rather, CBS News, tough questions. But do you, folks, know the ice and the daggers? I hope Russert got out of there with his testicles not in her lockbox because they’ve been in there for awhile, but obviously he got them out of there. I did a double-take. ‘Well, the person that told me this is your husband, William Jefferson Clinton. So you disagree with him?’ ‘He’s not standing here right now. And if he were…’ ha-ha, that’s where my mind went, what would happen to him. ‘Well, I’ll talk to him later.’ Next, this is a battle that Russert and Hillary had. Not going to set it up. Just listen.
RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, in 1981, the Israelis took out a nuclear reactor in Iraq. On September 6th, to the best of our information, Israel attacked Syria because there was suspicion that perhaps North Korea had put some nuclear materials in Syria. If Israel concluded that Iran’s nuclear capability threatened Israel’s security, would Israel be justified in launching an attack on Iran?
HILLARY: Tim, I think that’s one of those hypotheticals that —
RUSSERT: It is not a hypothetical, Senator. It’s real life.
HILLARY: That is better not addressed at this time. What is real life is what apparently happened in Syria. So let’s take that one step at a time.
RUSSERT: But my question —
HILLARY: I know what the question is, but I think it’s important to lay out what we know —
RUSSERT: Israel — my question is —
HILLARY: — we don’t have as much information as I wish we did, but what we think we know is that, with North Korean help, both financial, technical, and material, the Syrians apparently were putting together, and perhaps over some period of years, a nuclear facility. And the Israelis took it out. I strongly support that. We don’t have any more information than what I have just described. It is highly classified; it is not being shared. But I don’t want to go a step further and talk about what might or might not happen down the road with Iran. But I think it is fair to say what happened in Syria, so far as we know, I support.
RUSSERT: My question is, would the Israelis be justified if they felt their security was being threatened by the presence of a nuclear presence in Iran, and they decided to take military action, would they be justified?
HILLARY: Well, Tim, I’m not going to answer that because what I understand is there was evidence. (laughter) Let me just finish and then Mike and Dennis can answer. But there was evidence of a North Korean freighter coming in with supplies, there was intelligence and other kinds of verification. So I don’t think it’s a question of if they feel it. That is a much higher standard of proof. Apparently, it was met with respect to Syria.
RUSSERT: You will all be running against a Republican opponent, perhaps Rudy Giuliani. This is what he said. ‘Iran is not going to be allowed to build a nuclear power. If they get to a point where they’re going to become a nuclear power, we’ll prevent them, we will set them back eight to ten years. That is not said as a threat. That should be said as a promise.’ Would you make a promise as a potential commander-in-chief that you will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power, and will use any means to stop it?
HILLARY: Well, what I have said is that I will do everything I can to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, including the use of diplomacy, the use of economic sanctions, opening up direct talks. We haven’t even tried. That’s what is so discouraging about this, so then you have the Republican candidates on the other side jumping to the kind of statements that you just read to us. We need a concerted, comprehensive strategy to deal with Iran. We haven’t had it. We need it, and I will provide it.
RUSH: What’s the lesson to be learned from this sound bite? Who did Mrs. Clinton just blame for Iran’s nuclear ideas and expansion? She blamed us, she blamed the United States. This is the blame-America-first crowd, folks, and they haven’t ever gone away. They have just resurfaced. She wouldn’t answer a direct question about anything. This business about Syria, by the way, I mentioned this yesterday. This is more important than anybody knows. For all this fawning media attention that Ahmadinejad got here, he and Bashar Assad are quaking in their boots as are those mullahs, because the Israelis flew deep into Syria to make this attack, and the Syrians didn’t know it had happened until afterwards. They never knew that the Israelis were coming.
What’s interesting about this is they’ve got state-of-the-art detection systems installed by the Russians, and they failed. They utterly, totally failed. The Iranians probably have the same detection installations from Russia. The Israelis were able to get deep in there. This is not just a little penetration just over the border. They went deep, and the Syrians never knew anything about it until the Israeli bombs went off. Now, this is important because this is another great question that she wouldn’t answer, and, finally, when she got down to what she really wanted to say about it, it’s the fault of the United States of America. Blame America first. ‘We haven’t even tried to solve the Iranian crisis,’ that we created, she didn’t say, but meant. Frankly, I’m getting fed up with blaming America from these people every damn day.
(Playing of We Hate the USA.)
RUSH: Why couldn’t Mrs. Clinton just say yes to the question? ‘Israel has a right to defend itself.’ Why couldn’t she just say it? I raised this earlier. We don’t want to elect a ‘navigator-in-chief.’ We want to elect a leader, and these Democrats are not being honest and upfront with us about what they would do in certain situations. This is not confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court justice where you can’t talk about the cases that you’re going to face. This is president of the United States. We are a great nation, at risk in a dangerous world. We’re about to elect somebody new to lead us. It’s entirely within our rights to know how this person views the defense of this country. Mrs. Clinton refuses to tell us. She insists on blaming us for these problems such as in, ‘We haven’t even talked to the Iranians directly yet!’ By the way, wasn’t it Mrs. Clinton who tried to make a mockery of Barack Obama for saying that we should? When Obama said, ‘Hell, I’d talk to them directly, and I’d talk to Chavez,’ wasn’t it Mrs. Clinton that went out there and made a fool out of him, as though that was a very un-presidential thing to say? What did she say last night? The same thing Obama has been saying.
‘Well, we haven’t even had direct talks yet. We haven’t even done it.’ It’s our fault. It’s a legitimate question, and Israel has the right to defend itself if threatened by Iran with nukes. See, this is really not about whatever circumstances Bush leaves for Mrs. Clinton to inherit in ’09 if she wins the presidency. This is about her unwillingness to tell the public the truth about where she would go as president and what she would do — and, by the way, this business we haven’t tried to talk to Iran? Hell’s bells, folks! Europe has. The UN has put in place some weak sanctions. Ahmadinejad said the other day that he’s going to ignore the Security Council and whatever they tell him to do on his uranium enrichment project. Iran is killing US soldiers. They are threatening to destroy Israel. They are out there saying (terrorist impression), ‘Death to America!’ Why can’t she say, ‘We can’t allow Iran to get nukes,’ period? ‘Israel should defend itself if threatened.’ Why can’t she say that? Why is she afraid of saying it? It’s too black and white? She wants to be nuanced? I’ll tell you why. It’s because she wants to have wiggle room to get out of anything, and she can’t if she makes a firm statement on something. She doesn’t want to have to stake anything.
This woman wants to be elected president with nobody knowing anything about her. She flip-flops. By the way, do you know, ladies and gentlemen, that back last year, 2006, the New York Daily News — almost a year ago, October 16th — had a story? Hillary Clinton did allow torture in a ticking time bomb scenario in a New York Daily News interview: ‘The ticking time bomb scenario represents a narrow exception to her opposition to torture as morale wrong, ineffective, and dangerous to American soldiers.’ Quote: ‘In the event we were ever confronted with having to interrogate a detainee with knowledge of an imminent threat to millions of Americans, then the decision to depart from standard international practices must be made by the president. The president must be held accountable. That very, very narrow exception within very, very limited circumstances is better than blasting a big hole in our entire law.’
‘In yesterday’s Daily News editorial board meeting, it emerged she’s not actually against torture in all instances and that her dispute with McCain and Bush is largely procedural. Asked about the ticking time bomb scenario…’ This is October 12th of 2006, four days before the previous story. Yeah, she basically came out in favor, in an editorial board interview with the New York Daily News, came out in favor of the ticking time bomb scenario for torture. Last night, no way. ‘No way, Tim! it’s a hypothetical. I’m not going to deal with it.’
Your husband says it.
‘Well, he’s not standing here.’
This woman is all over the board depending on who she thinks will want to hear what at that particular moment — and that’s the best definition of ‘dishonest’ I can give you.