The Campaign Spot

Democrats Will Cite Greenspan on the Trail This Week, But Will They Mention He Calls Removing Saddam ‘Essential’?

James Carville, an unofficial adviser to the Hillary campaign, is talking about Alan Greenspan’s comments, even if the candidate herself hasn’t yet.

“Democrats will taunt the Republicans with this and they will have to address it,” said James Carville, who ran Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. “This is not coming from some shoe clerk.”

(I don’t know about you, but I suspect shoe clerks actually have a pretty good sense about how the economy is doing.) At the link, Mark Penn and Roger Altman offer generic we’re-glad-Greenspan-agrees-with-us comments, and Leo Hindery, top economic adviser to former North Carolina Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, said the candidate will likely make use of Greenspan’s words in his campaign.
Of course, Greenspan has also said recently he’s not a fan of the Democrats’ views, and that they’re “moving in the wrong direction” particularly on trade and economic issues. He said Hillary “won’t attack the issues which really require coming to grips with during the campaign.”
Also note these additional comments from Greenspan, that put his initially-reported “war for oil” comments in a new light:

“I was not saying that that’s the administration’s motive,” Greenspan said in an interview Saturday, “I’m just saying that if somebody asked me, ‘Are we fortunate in taking out Saddam?’ I would say it was essential.”
He said that in his discussions with President Bush and Vice President Cheney, “I have never heard them basically say, ‘We’ve got to protect the oil supplies of the world,’ but that would have been my motive.” Greenspan said that he made his economic argument to White House officials and that one lower-level official, whom he declined to identify, told him, “Well, unfortunately, we can’t talk about oil.” Asked if he had made his point to Cheney specifically, Greenspan said yes, then added, “I talked to everybody about that.”
Greenspan said he had backed Hussein’s ouster, either through war or covert action. “I wasn’t arguing for war per se,” he said. But “to take [Hussein] out, in my judgment, it was something important for the West to do and essential, but I never saw Plan B” — an alternative to war.

In light of the fact that Greenspan didn’t make a typical ‘no-blood-for-oil’ argument, I’ll upgrade my comments from last night from D+ to C-.

MALVEAUX: Iraq war… we’re talking about the Iraq war and oil specifically.

GERAGHTY: Look, Iraq is an oil-rich country and if it had grape jelly in the ground we wouldn’t be having the same geopolitical reports.

 

[Either it’s a transcription error, or I said “reports” when I meant “importance.”]

 

MORRA AARONS, BLOGHER.COM: Jim, I have to say that I think you’re ducking here. Sorry, Suzanne but I have to…

MALVEAUX: Well, jump in, Laura.
AARONS: I think that, you know, Alan Greenspan is just another angry American at this point. What we saw this week was political theater during the Petraeus hearings. The American people are angry. There is no solution to the war in Iraq which apparently even Alan Greenspan agrees was a dodgy war to begin with.
GERAGHTY: He didn’t say it was a dodgy war. He said it was a war for, you know, oil.
AARONS: A war for oil… I don’t know that he would say that that’s the best reason to invade a country and stay there for what seems to be the next ten years.

Actually, based on these newer comments, Greenspan might actually say that securing global access to oil supplies is a perfectly good reason to invade a country and remove a dictator destabilizing the region. In fact, he would argue it was “essential.”

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