May 12, 2004

“The Kalb Report” Features Sen. Hillary Clinton

Season Finale Focuses on Bush Administration Planning, Candor Since Start of the War on Terrorism

By Greg Licamele

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D–NY) expressed concern at “The Kalb Report” over the future of Iraq come June 30, when the United States is scheduled to turn power over to Iraqis. In a discussion with moderator Marvin Kalb that focused primarily on foreign affairs, the junior senator from New York questioned the Bush administration’s planning, candor and numbers since the war on terrorism began after Sept. 11, 2001.

“Why was the administration diverting attention and resources so soon from Afghanistan,” Clinton asked in response to a question about $700 million in resources spent on Iraq in 2001. “Why didn’t they reveal any of their intentions to members of Congress, including those in their own party? There’s a tendency on the part of this administration to be quite unwilling to recognize the usual norms of dealing with the democratic process and informing the Congress and the public.”

Clinton, talking before the annual American Society of Newspaper Editors Convention on April 20, pointedly said reporters are having a difficult time getting all of the facts about the war in Iraq and in other cases.

“This administration gets away with something that no other could that I’m aware of — ‘we’re not going to tell you’,” she said. “The impression is that if you ask politely once and you’re told no, the press goes home and the Republican leadership doesn’t pursue it.”

Emphasizing that she had no regrets about voting to support the war, Clinton did express disappointment with the way the Bush administration has used the authority.

“I had a lot of questions, as did many other people, about what was going to happen once we toppled Saddam Hussein,” Clinton said. “This wasn’t just Monday morning quarterbacking. In meeting after meeting, we asked these questions, but we could not get any idea of their planning in respects to a post-Saddam era.”

The program brought another year of “The Kalb Report” to a close. Among this year’s guests were Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, Bill Keller of The New York Times and panelists who focused on the 2004 presidential campaign and media ethics in war and politics. Since 1994, GW, the National Press Club and the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University have produced 39 forums in the public affairs series.

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