Top Obama Flip-Flops
1. Special interests. In January, the Obama campaign described union
contributions to the campaigns of Clinton and John Edwards as "special
interest" money. Obama changed his tune as he began gathering his own
union endorsements. He now refers respectfully to unions as the
representatives of "working people" and says he is "thrilled" by their
2. Public financing. Obama replied "yes" in September 2007 when asked
if he would agree to public financing of the presidential election if
his GOP opponent did the same. Obama has now attached several
conditions to such an agreement, including regulating spending by
outside groups. His spokesman says the candidate never committed
himself on the matter.
3. The Cuba embargo. In January 2004, Obama said it was time "to end
the embargo with Cuba" because it had "utterly failed in the effort to
overthrow Castro." Speaking to a Cuban American audience in Miami in
August 2007, he said he would not "take off the embargo" as president
because it is "an important inducement for change."
4. Illegal immigration. In a March 2004 questionnaire, Obama was asked
if the government should "crack down on businesses that hire illegal
immigrants." He replied "Oppose." In a Jan. 31, 2008, televised
debate, he said that "we do have to crack down on those employers that
are taking advantage of the situation."
5. Decriminalization of marijuana. While running for the U.S. Senate
in January 2004, Obama told Illinois college students that he
supported eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana use. In the
Oct. 30, 2007, presidential debate, he joined other Democratic
candidates in opposing the decriminalization of marijuana.
Top Clinton Flip-Flops
1. NAFTA. In a January 2004 news conference, Clinton said she thought
that "on balance [NAFTA] has been good for New York and good for
America." She now says she has "long been a critic of the shortcomings
of NAFTA" and advocates a "time out" from similar trade agreements.
2. No Child Left Behind. Clinton voted in favor of the 2002 education
bill that focused on raising student achievement levels, hailing the
measure as "a major step forward." She now attacks the law at campaign
rallies and meetings with teachers, describing it as a "test, test,
3. Ending the war in Iraq. In June 2006, Clinton restated her
long-standing opposition to establishing timetables for withdrawing
U.S. forces in Iraq. In a Jan. 15, 2008, Democratic debate in Las
Vegas, she proposed to "start withdrawing" troops within 60 days of
her inauguration, to bring out "one or two brigades a month" and to
have "nearly all of the troops out" by the end of 2009.
4 . Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. In a campaign statement
on Oct. 31, 2007, Clinton expressed support for a plan by New York
Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer (D) to offer limited driver's licenses to
illegal immigrants, after going back and forth on the matter in a
televised debate. In a Nov. 15, 2007, televised debate from Nevada,
she replied with a simple "no" when asked if she approved the driver's
license idea in the absence of comprehensive immigration changes.
5. Florida and Michigan delegates. In September 2007, the Clinton
campaign formally pledged not to participate in primary or caucus
elections staged before Feb. 5, 2008, in defiance of Democratic
National Committee rules. She now says delegates from Florida and
Michigan should be seated at the Democratic National Convention,
despite their flouting of rules that all the major Democratic
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