Dem underdogs open debate with salvos against Hillary
Mike Aivaz and Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday October 30, 2007
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Long-shot candidate Kucinich calls for Bush, Cheney impeachment

Hillary Clinton came under intense fire at the Democratic presidential candidates' debate Tuesday night, as other candidates sought to tie her approach to Iran to that of President Bush and compare her vote in favor of labeling Iran's army a terrorist group to her 2002 vote paving the way for the invasion of Iraq.

"What you didn't learn back in [2002], you ought to have learned by now," said Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), criticizing Clinton's vote for a non-binding Senate resolution expressing the chamber's sense that Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. He said the resolution, which Clinton was the only Democratic candidate to support, would "come back to haunt us," predicting the Bush administration would use it for cover to launch an invasion.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) said the resolution has "emboldened" Bush "to move if he chooses to move."

Clinton downplayed the significance of the resolution, and she said she has called on the Senate to pass a companion resolution that would make clear Bush is not authorized to launch a military strike without Congressional approval.

"George Bush can do all of this without anybody, and that's why we have to reign him in," Clinton said.

Later in the debate, Sen. Barack Obama, who is Democrats' second choice in most polls, said Clinton's criticism of Bush's Iraq war stance was inconsistent with her vote on the Iran resolution. And he repeated the argument that he is the best candidate because he was against the Iraq war before it began.

"The real key for the next president is someone who has the credibility of not having been one of the co-authors of this engagement in Iraq," Obama said.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) used the debate stage to repeat his calls to impeach Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

"The war in Iraq is illegal, even planning for the war with Iran is illegal," Kucinich said. "I want to know when this Democratic Congress is going to stand up for the Constitution and hold the president accountable with ... an impeachment act. I think our democracy is in peril and unless the Democrats and the Congress stand up for the Constitution we are going to lose our country."

During a "lightning round" at the end of last night's debate, candidates jumped on Clinton over a heavily parsed -- some said misleading -- answer on whether she agrees that illegal immigrants should have driver's licences. Clinton said she supported a plan by New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer to allow undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses as a way to "fill the vacuum" left by a lack of national immigration reform.

When candidates criticized that position, she hedged, saying she didn't "think it should be done," but that the governor's approach "made a lot of sense" because the governor had to do something to keep track of New York's high number of immigrants.

"Unless I missed something, Sen. Clinton just said two different things in the course of about two minutes," Edwards chided. "America is looking for a president who will say the same thing, who will be consistent, who will be straight with them, because we have had seven years of double talk."

Obama couldn't resist joining the fray.

"I can't tell whether she was for it or against it, and I do think that is important. One of the things we have to do in this country is be honest about the challenges that we face," Obama said. "Part of leadership is not just looking back and seeing what's popular ... it's about setting a direction for the country."

The following video is from MSNBC's DEMOCRATIC DEBATE, broadcast on October 30, 2007

Congressman Dennis Kucinich when ask about Iran calls for Impeachment to stop the war