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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hillary Clinton Shows Her Lack of Experience

When are politicians going to learn to do some homework before making public statements that are foolish?

Hillary Clinton touts her "experience", then makes a major blunder, not once, but twice, on two different shows, both proving she doesn't understand Pakistan's politics in any way, shape or form, yet she feels she is qualified to deal with issues as the President of the United States of America?

As many, including Joe Biden, are pointing out, the Pakistan elections that were scheduled for January 8, 2008, which have now been postponed until February, were not presidential elections, which were held months ago, these upcoming elections are for parliament, which means that President Pervez Musharraf was not up for election, not a candidate and had Bhutto not been assassinated and won the election she would have been Prime minister, NOT President.

Keep that in mind when you read Hillary Clinton's statements, one to WolfBlitzer, on CNN's "Situation room" (Link is to PDF file of that transcript), on December 28th, 2007, and the other to ABC's George Stephanopolous, on December 30, 2007.

Hillary's comment on The Situation room to Wolf Blitzer:

Blitzer: This is a damning indictment of President Pervez Musharraf. Some are calling on him to step down, do you believe he should step down?

Clinton: What I believe is that he should meet certain conditions and quickly. We should immediately move to free and fair elections. Obviously, it’s going to take some time for Benazir Bhutto’s party to choose a successor. Nawaz Sharif has said that he won’t participate at this time. I believe again some kind of international support for free and fair elections in a timely manner would be incredibly important. If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow. We also want to see a resumption of the move toward an independent judiciary. I think that was a terrible mistake. This is an odd situation, Wolf. The people in the streets are wearing suits and ties, they are lawyers, they are professionals, they are the middle class of Pakistan, which really offers the very best hope for a stable, democratic country and that is in America’s interest, but more importantly, it is in the interest of the Pakistani people.

(Emphasis mine)

Hillary's statement to George Stephanopolous:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You called President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan an unreliable ally. Should he step down?

CLINTON: I’m not calling for him to step down. I’m calling for him, number one, to agree with an independent investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s death. I am calling on him to hold free and fair elections with independent monitors. I believe that it will take a little time to get that ready, because Benazir’s party will have to choose a successor leader…

STEPHANOPOULOS: So we don’t need the elections on the 8th?

CLINTON: Well, I think it will be very difficult to have a real election. You know, Nawaz Sharif has said he’s not going to compete. The PPP is in disarray with Benazir’s assassination. He could be the only person on the ballot. I don’t think that’s a real election.

She stated her position very clearly, only she appears to not understand what type of elections Pakistan was even having and that isn't the only mistake with her comments, as has been pointed out over at Hot Air.

Her comment about Nawaz Sharif saying he was not going to compete is inaccurate because he is a convicted felon and as such is barred from running for parliamentary elections due to a criminal conviction following his ouster as prime minister eight years ago.

Election officials in the eastern city of Lahore, Sharif's home base and political stronghold, rejected his nomination papers for the January 8 polls because of his convictions in 2000 on hijacking charges. The conviction stemmed from Sharif's refusal to allow an inbound commercial airliner carrying then-Army chief General Pervez Musharraf to land in Islamabad in October 1999 during a domestic political struggle.

The Pakistan International Airlines plane, coming from Sri Lanka, eventually landed after Army troops loyal to Musharraf took over the airport and later the government, completing a bloodless coup that has kept him in power ever since.

"Mr Nawaz Sharif was convicted in the airplane conspiracy case, so he cannot run in the elections," said Raja Qamaruzzaman, an election official in Lahore.

Hillary's two statements were "Nawaz Sharif has said that he won’t participate at this time." (Situation room) and "You know, Nawaz Sharif has said he’s not going to compete.", to George Stephanopolous.

Bryan, over at Hot Air, also points to another mistake Hillary made, head over and take a look at his must read post.

Joe Biden's criticism of Hillary in this case are justified when he says "We have a number of candidates who are well-intended, but don't even understand Pakistan."

"But to say Musharraf is up for election! Musharraf was elected --fairly or unfairly -- president six months ago. It's a parliamentary election"

Then after pointing out the two statements by Hillary Clinton, he continued with "To say there hasn't been a peaceful transfer of power and that it's always bloody -- not true! The last 19 years in Pakistan there has been a peaceful transition of power. How can you lead immediately if you don't know these basic facts?"

How, indeed.