Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hillary to abdicate (some prerogatives)

In a Florida post-mortem (1/29/08), Hillary told Wolf Blitzer that on her first day in office she would reverse some of Bush's executive orders that gave too much power to the president at the expense of other branches. Maybe it's just me, but I have not heard any candidate explicitly promise to roll back the imperial powers that Bush has arrogated, and I've heard much speculation that Hillary would be loathe to do so. True, she wasn't too specific, but it was the second priority she named, after asking the chiefs of staffs to begin preparing troop withdrawal from Iraq. We need to hear more about this; the candidates should be pressed on this question in Thursday night's debate.

UPDATE: A news archive check shows that Hillary struck the same note on CBS evening news a few hours prior to the CNN interview, choosing executive power as her theme in response to a classic 'what kind of an animal are you?' question from Katie Couric:

COURIC: If you were elected president, what is the one book -- other than the Bible -- you would think is essential to have along?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I would certainly bring my copy of the Constitution, because there apparently was not a copy in the Bush White House, as best I can determine. So I would bring The Federalist Papers. I would bring the historic documents about how our country started and the conflicts of opinion and philosophy that helped to form us. Because we`ve been going through a period of time where the president and the vice president have asserted an extensive view of executive power that I think is not in keeping with American history.

Okay, Hillary: exactly how would you roll back executive power? If this is a new campaign theme, I'm all ears.


  1. No - just the paraphrase I scribbled down. I looked for a transcript on CNN, but no dice, not yet anyway.

  2. If I were cynical, I'd say this was aimed not just at her lefty base (the bloggers & civil libertarians), but also at conservatives concerned at the excesses of the Bush administration, in the hopes of dampening / confusing their anti-Clinton fervor.

    If I were cynical...

  3. If you want to see more on where the candidates stand on executive powers, check out their answers to this Boston Globe questionnaire: