In his February 14 "Inside Politics" column, The Washington Times' Greg Pierce touted a report by ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper in which Tapper made the baseless claim that an "inherent contradiction" exists between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) statements prior to her 2002 vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq and her recent explanation of that vote. Quoting the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, Pierce wrote:
Caught in the act
"In Monday stories on 'World News' and 'Nightline,' ABC's Jake Tapper broached a subject few, if any, mainstream journalists have dared: How Sen. Hillary Clinton's current claims that her 2002 vote on the Iraq resolution was not an endorsement of war do not match what she said in 2002," the Media Research Center's Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.
"In the 'World News' version of his story, Tapper pointed out how 'a month before her vote on the Iraq War, she said this': Viewers then heard Clinton on the Sept. 15, 2002, 'Meet the Press': 'I can support the president. I can support an action against Saddam Hussein because I think it's in the long-term interests of our national security.'
"But, Tapper noted, 'Now, she says this': He ran a clip of her in Berlin, N.H., on Saturday: 'I gave him authority to send inspectors back in to determine the truth, and I said this is not a vote to authorize pre-emptive war.'
In fact, as Media Matters for America previously noted, Tapper's report suggested that Clinton had not advocated further U.N. inspections in Iraq before an invasion, but she did so in the same 2002 interview from which Tapper quoted. Further, contrary to Tapper's suggestion, Clinton's assertion in New Hampshire that "I said [in 2002] that this is not a vote to authorize pre-emptive war" is true. In an October 10, 2002, Senate floor statement -- the day before the Senate approved the Iraq resolution -- Clinton explained that her vote in favor of the resolution was not "a vote for any new doctrine of pre-emption or for unilateralism."