I’m blogging this as much for the information as for the direct style of journalism from Jake Tapper over at ABC who calls a spade a spade. No “misstatements” here.

First the video:

Now the headline/story: In Oregon, Clinton Makes False Claim About Her Iraq Record Vs. Obama’s

In Eugene, Ore., Saturday. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., attempted to change the measure by which anyone might assess who criticized the Iraq war first, her or Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., by saying those keeping records should start in January 2005, when Obama joined the Senate. (A measure that conveniently avoids her October 2002 vote to authorize use of force against Iraq at a time that Obama was speaking out against the war.) She claimed that using that measure, she criticized the war in Iraq before Obama did.

But Clinton’s claim was false.

Clinton on Saturday told Oregonians, “when Sen. Obama came to the Senate he and I have voted exactly the same except for one vote. And that happens to be the facts. We both voted against early deadlines. I actually starting criticizing the war in Iraq before he did.”

It’s an odd way to measure opposition to the war — comparing who gave the first criticism of the war in Iraq starting in January 2005, ignoring Obama’s opposition to the war throughout 2003 and 2004. (And Clinton’s vote for it.)

But even if one were to employ this “Start Counting in January 2005″ measurement, Clinton did not criticize the war in Iraq first.

There’s a ridiculous pattern out of the Clinton campaign of moving the goal post and changing the rules and measurement in just the right way to make her look good.

In the nominating contest, after Obama won Iowa, they said, “it’s about pledged delegates.” As his number of state victories increased, they said, “it’s not about number of states, it’s about the size of the state.” Then they said it was about popular vote. Then democratic voters only. Then hypothetical electoral college votes.

This week, they’ll say: if you look only at the votes of white women 60 and older who voted for the war, Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead over Barack Obama.

In the Iraq argument above, even when they change the rules in a way that will only favor Hillary, it doesn’t work, because…

Scrambling to support their boss’s claim, Clinton campaign officials pointed to a paper statement Clinton issued on Jan. 26, 2005, explaining her vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State.

“The Administration and Defense Department’s Iraq policy has been, by any reasonable measure, riddled with errors, misstatements and misjudgments,” the January 2005 Clinton statement said. “From the beginning of the Iraqi war, we were inadequately prepared for the aftermath of the invasion with too few troops and an inadequate plan to stabilize Iraq.”

But Obama offered criticisms of the war in Iraq eight days before that, directly to Rice, in his very first meeting as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 18.

Tapper goes on to say “The misrepresentation of the record is symbolic of the re-writing of history Clinton has attempted on her record regarding the war in Iraq.”

It’s worth reading the entire article. Hillary said setting a date would embolden the enemy. She saw suicide bombings as a sign that the insurgency was near its end. She sounded just like Bush/Cheney well into this failed policy. The fact that she has escaped “vetting” on the greatest foreign policy blunder in a generation, which she facilitated, is incredible.

If you care to read more about Hillary’s support of this illegal, immoral and unnecessary war, check out part two of my “Why I Don’t Support Hillary” series — No War For Polls — which I wrote back in November.

The short version is this: Hillary has all to often not demonstrated the leadership qualities necessary to be president. She has had many choices available to her, but she has chosen the course of short term gain (mocking Obama supporters, fuzzy mathematical hypotheticals, Jeremiah Wright dissing, Muslim fear flaming).

Having a Clinton name join those of Senator Byrd and Feingold and others in opposing this war would have created more political space for those on the fence to do the right thing. It would have changed the narrative of anti-war activists and given the American people, the Iraqi people and the US Constitution the bolstering we all needed during a time of immense pressure, fear-mongering and manipulation.

It’s not just that she voted for and spoke out in favor of this war. It’s that she gave up an opportunity to oppose it. She gave up an opportunity to lead.

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