Hillary talks tough on Iraq

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (U-WIRE) – In a crowded home in southeastern Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., acknowledged that wherever she goes, her work attracts a lot of attention from people across the political spectrum.

“I do seem to engender strong feelings, both positive and negative,” she said.

The Jan. 27 stop in Cedar Rapids was part of a statewide campaign trip that marked her first visit to Iowa since 2003. In her two-day tour of the Hawkeye State, Rodham Clinton emphasized to voters her stances on various foreign-policy issues, while advocating for universal health care and touting her leadership strategies.

In the coming weeks in Congress, she said, she plans to work with members of both political parties to create a statement of disapproval about President Bush’s decision to raise the number of American troops in Iraq.

The senator said she supports some Democrats’ call to put a stop to Bush’s planned troop increase in Iraq by withholding congressional funding. Yet, she said, she doesn’t favor a total freeze on financing the war.

Her comments on the conflict also carried over into how America should deal with its allies.

“I do want to cut off funding for the Iraqi army because it’s not doing its part,” Rodham Clinton told The Daily Iowan. “We aren’t going to be funding forces to be part of a sectarian war.”

Meanwhile, when questioned about how to best deal with Iran, Rodham Clinton said Bush made a major mistake by “outsourcing” diplomacy to Europe and the international community.

The senator said American-Soviet relations during the Cold War show that nations cannot refuse to communicate if they hope to peacefully coexist. She called on the Bush administration to begin immediate bilateral discussions with Iran.

Those lines of communication need to extend to the Iraqis as well, said Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, who attended the Jan. 27 event.

With the wide range of international issues facing the United States, Rodham Clinton said she feels she is uniquely qualified to lead the nation.

“I know how dangerous the world is,” she said. “I’m a senator from New York, after all.”

Rodham Clinton held a town hall meeting in Des Moines on the afternoon of Jan. 27, and while there, she traveled door-to-door and introduced herself to prospective voters. The senator wrapped up her stop to Iowa by conversing with Democratic supporters in Davenport on Sunday morning.

In Cedar Rapids, Dale Todd, the father of an epileptic child, held back tears while praising the senator for supporting the Lifespan Respite Care Act.

“Before the bill passed, there was not much money in the [federal] budget for epilepsy research,” Todd said.

The bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., received Congressional approval in December. It aims to help disabled Americans and their caregivers by providing states with more local options and funding.

Despite her efforts to gain support from Iowans, Rodham Clinton must make up ground if she hopes to win the state in 2008, recent poll numbers show. A Zogby telephone poll conducted on Jan. 15 and 16 put the senator fourth among prospects for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Roughly 16 percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers said they would support Rodham Clinton in her run for her party’s nomination.

The candidates leading the Zogby poll are Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., at 27 percent, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., at 17 percent, and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack at 16 percent.