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EXCLUSIVE: Clinton Says Bush Has No Authority ‘To Do Anything With Respect to Iran’

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"EXCLUSIVE: Clinton Says Bush Has No Authority ‘To Do Anything With Respect to Iran’"

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Yesterday, ThinkProgress interviewed Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and asked her about Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) efforts to expressly prohibit President Bush from taking “unilateral military action in Iran without the express consent of the Congress.”

Clinton expressed her support for the position, saying, “I think that the President should not assume that he has any authority to do anything with respect to Iran.” Clinton said that Bush “needs to come to the Congress, and neither the resolution regarding Afghanistan or Iraq give him authority to take offensive action.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/03/hillaryclinton2.320.240.flv]

Center for American Progress fellow Ruy Teixeira has noted that the public’s views could not be clearer on Iran: make diplomacy, not war. Despite the Bush administration’s attempts to ratchet up tensions with Iran, a majority of Americans (57 percent) have consistently expressed the view that Iran is a threat that can be contained with diplomacy. Another 20 percent don’t see Iran as a threat to the U.S. at the current time. Support for military action has fallen recently, registering only 15 percent.

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Transcript:

NICO: You spoke recently about Iran, and obviously there are readiness issues involved there. Peter Pace warned recently that the deterioration of readiness has lead to a threat to our ability to respond to other crises. And I know that Senator Webb has introduced legislation echoing some of what you have said recently, and I was wondering if you had any thoughts on his bill or on that issue in general.

CLINTON: Well, I think that the President should not assume that he has any authority to do anything with respect to Iran. He needs to come to the Congress, and neither the resolution regarding Afghanistan or Iraq give him authority to take offensive action. We do need to have a tough, smart policy toward Iran. And I’m hoping that perhaps the administration has begun to see a little bit of a light with the recent announcement by Condi Rice that she at least will be meeting with her counterpart. So, let’s hope that the administration has learned from some of their errors. And you know, they were very critical of nation-building, peacekeeping and stability operations during the 90s, and now they’re having to reinvent the wheel because they have totally decimated our capacity to do what everybody knows we have to do, both in Afghanistan and in Iraq and facing other threats around the world.

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