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U.S. Presidential Hopefuls Spar Over Iraq


http://gdb.rferl.org/E759D657-79E3-44EA-A838-15C8672F40DA_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/E759D657-79E3-44EA-A838-15C8672F40DA_mw800_mh600.jpg Senator Clinton speaking at the June 3 debate (epa) June 4, 2007 -- Democratic Party candidates for U.S. president have exchanged views on the Iraq conflict during their second live televised debate ahead of the November 2008 election.


Senator Hillary Clinton (Democrat, New York) told the June 3 forum in the state of New Hampshire, where the first Democratic nominating vote is due to be held early next year, that her first act if elected president would be to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq.


Some of Clinton's rivals for the nomination criticized her over her Senate vote to authorize military action ahead of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. They also faulted her for failing to take a stronger stand against the war during a recent war-funding debate.


Clinton argued back by saying responsibility for the war rested with President George W. Bush.


"I think it's important, particularly, to point out: This is George Bush's war," Clinton said. "He is responsible for this war; he started the war; he mismanaged the war; he escalated the war; and he refuses to end the war."


The candidates also debated Iran's nuclear program. Senator Joe Biden (Democrat, Delaware) took the most hard-line stance, suggesting that, if president, he would take military action if Iran succeeded in loading a nuclear device onto a missile.


(compiled from agency reports)

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