Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat, said Dec. 18 she would not support a short-term increase in U.S. troop presence in Iraq unless it was part of a more comprehensive plan to stabilize the country.
Mrs. Clinton also offered the broadest indication yet that she was close to a decision on whether to enter the 2008 Democratic presidential field, the Associated Press reports.
“I want to make sure the decision is right for me, my family, my party and my country,” Mrs. Clinton said during an interview on NBC’s “Today” program. She appeared on the show to promote the rerelease of her best-selling book on child rearing, “It Takes a Village.”
The former first lady said she knew more than any other potential candidate how hard it was to be president. “I saw it in an up close and personal way for eight years,” she said. She reiterated that she would disclose her decision sometime after the first of the year.
Mrs. Clinton also offered praise for Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, who has also indicated he may enter the race. Mr. Obama drew huge crowds on a visit to New Hampshire earlier this month.
“He’s terrific. He’s a friend and a colleague. I have very high regard for him,” she said, while sidestepping a question about whether Mr. Obama would make a good president.
“I think he is a really exciting personality and someone who has a lot to contribute to the national dialogue,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Mrs. Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she was not in favor of a proposed “surge” of some 20,000 to 40,000 U.S. troops into Baghdad to quell the sectarian violence there. President Bush is reportedly considering such a move as one of many options to improve the situation in Iraq.