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National Security & Defense

Shock: Hillary’s Staff Is Dodging Questions on Whether She Backs the Iran Deal (Update: Now She Does)

Vox wrote this morning that Hillary Clinton had endorsed the deal the U.S. and other world powers just reached with Iran. The evidence: A source who was inside a meeting between House Democrats and Secretary Clinton said, “She applauds the effort and the result.”

That is, however, far from a clear endorsement of a deal whose development Clinton could presumably follow closely, and that she was informed about last night. The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff (formerly of NR) found that Clinton’s advisers are, shockingly, not forthcoming about the deal:

I approached Huma Abedin—one of the candidate’s top advisors—and asked her that question.

“I think you should talk to Nick Merrill, our press secretary,” Abedin replied. “Let me find—yes, he’s here,” she said, telling me to wait while she found Merrill.“We’re not totally clear if Secretary Clinton supports the Iran deal as it’s written,” I said. “Is it right that she supports the deal, or enforcement of the deal?”

I waited there for a few minutes, but he didn’t materialize.

After Clinton disappeared for more meetings with Democratic lawmakers, senior spokesman Jesse Ferguson chatted with a few reporters about her comments.

I asked if Clinton was somewhere on a spectrum between support and opposition of the deal.

Ferguson laughed.

“It’s right to say that of pretty much everybody, I would hope, right?” he said. “Like everybody lives somewhere between support and opposition.”

“It’s right to say exactly what she said,” Ferguson continued. “She thinks it’s a really good first step, she thinks it has the potential to put a lid on nuclear proliferation, it does a lot of good things. But, you know, at the same time, she also is going to read it.”

Yes, it’s a long agreement, only released to the public early this morning, but that has stopped almost no one on earth from forming an opinion of whether they think it is a good or bad deal by this afternoon. The questions at hand are complicated, but not that complicated. As with the trade debate (until the very last minute), Hillary Clinton isn’t deliberating, she’s obfuscating.

UPDATE: Bloomberg Politics has more detailed, on-the-record quotes from House Democrats suggesting that in the meeting Hillary made her support for the deal pretty clear. So why, then, the refusal to make a public endorsement of her own president’s deal?

UPDATE II: Clinton is now for the deal; see here.

Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.


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