In November 2007, Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton were engaged in a public relations battle over who would take the toughest line against President Bush on Iran. Hillary sent a stern letter signed by 30 Democrats while Obama introduced a S.J. Res. 23.
S.J.Res 23 opens “NOVEMBER 1, 2007 Mr. REID (for Mr. OBAMA) introduced the following joint resolution.” The resolution itself is just three pages long. The main portion reads:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That nothing in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq…shall be construed to authorize, encourage, or in any way address the use of the Armed Forces of the United States against Iran.
At the time, candidate Obama’s spokesperson Bill Burton said the purpose of S.J. Res. 23 was to “nullify the vote the Senate took to give the president the benefit of the doubt on Iran.” He was speaking about an amendment passed that September to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Burton added “Senator Obama knows that it takes legislation, not letters, to undo the vote that she cast.” Sen. Clinton had voted for the amendment in question. Obama missed the vote because he was campaigning.
Meanwhile, Hillary sent a letter to Bush signed by 29 other Senators. Here’s the bulk of that letter:
We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for
unilateral military action against Iran…We stand ready to work with your administration to
address the challenges presented by Iran in a manner that safeguards our
security interests and promotes a regional diplomatic solution, but we
wish to emphasize that offensive military action should not be taken
against Iran without the express consent of Congress.
In addition to Hillary, the letter is signed by 28 Democratic Senators plus Bernie Sanders.
Yesterday, speaking of a possible military strike on Syria, President Obama told PBS “we send a shot across the bow saying, ‘stop doing this,’ that can have a positive impact on our national security.”