On Sunday talk show, Clinton refuses to commit to full Iraq pullout by end of first term
John Byrne
Published: Monday September 24, 2007

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The leading Democratic contender for the presidency was asked whether she'd pull out all troops from Iraq in her first term.

She declined.

"You know, I'm not going to get into hypotheticals and make pledges, because I don't know what I'm going to inherit," Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, according to the New York Times. "I don't know and neither do any of us know what will be the situation in the region. How much more aggressive will Iran have become? What will be happening in the Middle East?

"How much more of an influence will the chaos in Iraq have in terms of what's going on in the greater region?" she continued. "Will we have pushed Al Qaeda in Iraq out of their stronghold with our new partnership with some of the tribal sheikhs or will they have regrouped and retrenched? I don't know and I think it's not appropriate to be speculating."

Clinton is in a bind over her stance on the war -- on the one hand, she has to appease those who support liberal activist groups like MoveOn.org -- and on the other, she must court a broader electorate.

On CNN's Late Edition, she was asked about MoveOn's controversial "General Betray Us" ad, which accused Gen. David Petraeus of betraying America for "cooking the books" on the Iraq war for the White House on the day he testified before Congress.

Clinton took a middle ground.

"Let's be clear what's going on here," she said. "This is an effort to focus on an ad that I condemned and don't condone in order to avoid having to deal with the tough questions about our policy in Iraq. The policy has failed."

And on NBC's Meet The Press: "Let's be clear about this: This is not a debate about an ad. This is a debate about the direction we should pursue in Iraq.

"The real problem is a policy in Iraq that has failed, and unfortunately, it is clear that the president does not intend to change direction before he leaves office."

The following video is from ABC's This Week, broadcast on September 23.