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Clinton’s “Kerryesque” Keystone Moment

- October 15, 2015

Despite Her Debate Denial, Five Years Ago Today Clinton Said She Was "Inclined" To Support The Keystone XL Pipeline

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TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Five years ago today, Clinton said she was "inclined" to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, which has been seeking approval since 2008.
  • On the debate stage, Tuesday night, Clinton suffered a "Kerryesque" moment when she claimed she "never took a position on Keystone, until I took a position on Keystone."
  • Clinton's "weird answer," became the punch line of her poor debate performance.

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AT TUESDAY NIGHT'S DEBATE, CLINTON DENIED EVER SUPPORTING THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

Clinton's Keystone Answer On Tuesday Night "Could Cause Headaches" For Her Campaign. "But it was her answer to why she took so long to oppose the Keystone pipeline that could cause headaches for the former secretary of state down the line. 'I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone,' Clinton said." (MJ Lee, Nia-Malika Henderson and Eric Bradner, "Democratic Debate: 6 Takeaways From Las Vegas," CNN, 10/14/15)

  • Clinton Claimed "I Never Took A Position On Keystone Until I Took A Position On Keystone." "But Clinton said she is no flip-flopper. 'I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone,' she said." (Darren Goode, "Clinton Fights Keystone Criticism As Dems Rally To Climate Action," Politico , 10/14/15)

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But Clinton Was For The Keystone Pipeline Before She Was Against It

In 2010, Clinton Favored Construction Of The Keystone XL Pipeline. "As secretary of state, Clinton was seen as initially favoring construction of the pipeline. '[W]e are inclined to do so,' Clinton said during a 2010 speaking engagement when asked about approving new tar sands pipelines. 'We're either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf or dirty oil from Canada." (Alex Seitz-Wald, "Hillary Clinton (Finally) Comes Out Against Keystone Pipeline," MSNBC, 9/22/15)

  • Hillary Clinton On The Keystone XL Pipeline In 2010: "We Have Not Yet Signed Off On It. But We Are Inclined To Do So And We Are For Several Reasons." QUESTION: "Another international issue that you signed in on last year was the Alberta Clipper, a pipeline from Alberta that brings tar sands, oil sands directly into Wisconsin to the U.S. Midwest. This is some of the dirtiest fuel in the world. And how can the U.S. be saying climate change is a priority when we're mainlining some of the dirtiest fuel that exists." CLINTON: "Well, there hasn't been a final decision made. It is-." QUESTION: "Are you willing to reconsider it?" CLINTON: "Probably not. And we - but we haven't finish all of the analysis. So as I say, we've not yet signed off on it. But we are inclined to do so and we are for several reasons - going back to one of your original questions - we're either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf or dirty oil from Canada. And until we can get our act together as a country and figure out that clean, renewable energy is in both our economic interests and the interests of our planet - I mean, I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone how deeply disappointed the President and I are about our inability to get the kind of legislation through the Senate that the United States was seeking." (Hillary Clinton, " Remarks At The Commonwealth Club Of San Francisco," San Francisco, CA, 10/15/10)

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Last Month, Clinton Announced That She Opposed Construction Of The Keystone XL Pipeline. "Hillary Clinton moved from being 'inclined' to support the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to announcing Tuesday that she'd oppose it. The move that comes as the former secretary of state seeks the Democratic presidential nomination and felt pressure from rival candidates as well as environmentalists and progressives." (Theodore Schleifer, "Hillary Clinton's 5 Takes On The Keystone Pipeline," CNN, 9/22/15)

  • Clinton: "Therefore I Oppose It And I Oppose It Because I Don't Think, I Don't Think It's In The Best Interests Of What We Need To Do Combat Climate Change." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At A Community Forum In Des Moines, IA, 9/22/15)

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CLINTON'S VERY "WEIRD ANSWER" ON KEYSTONE WAS A BAD MOMENT

The New York Times' Carol Davenport: "Call It An Evolution Or A Flip-Flop." "Call it an evolution or a flip-flop. In 2010, as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was 'inclined' to approve a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. As a candidate for president, she refused to give a concrete position on the issue, until she said last month that she opposed the project - after a number of liberal donors made clear that they saw opposition to it as a litmus-test issue." (Coral Davenport, "Hillary Clinton's Evolution On Keystone Pipeline," The New York Times , 10/13/15)

MSNBC's Chuck Todd Stated Clinton's "Weird Answer" On Keystone Was Her "Worst Moment." TODD: "Hillary Clinton was absolutely, that was her worst moment. That and this weird answer she gave on Keystone when she said you know I didn't take a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone…OK." (MSNBC's "Morning Joe," 10/14/15)

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National Journal's Emily Schultheis: "That Quote Is Going To Come Back Again. Clinton: 'I Never Took A Position On Keystone Until I Took A Position On Keystone.'" (Emily Schultheis, Twitter Feed, 10/13/15)

The New York Times' Maggie Haberman: "Real Bad Moment… Talking About The Keystone Pipeline And Saying, 'I Never Took A Position On Keystone Until I Took A Position On Keystone.'" "Clinton also had her first real bad moment in the debate, talking about the Keystone pipeline and saying, 'I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.'" ("First Democratic Debate 2015: Highlights and Analysis," The New York Times , 10/13/15)

Clinton's "Kerryesque Gaffe" Will Come Back To Haunt Her

The Associated Press' Ken Thomas: "Clinton, Echoes Of Kerry In '04: 'I Never Took A Position On Keystone Until I Took A Position On Keystone.'" (Ken Thomas, Twitter Feed, 10/13/15)

Ralston Reports' Jon Ralston: "Clinton Had One Notable, Kerryesque Gaffe." "Clinton had one notable, Kerryesque gaffe - 'I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.' But Clinton was the only one on stage who looked presidential, who seemed calm and in command of the issues and who cemented her prohibitive favorite status." (Jon Ralston, "Ralston Reports: Hillary Clinton Cleans Up In Vegas Debate," Reno Gazette-Journal , 10/13/15)

Kedron Bardwell, Associate Political Science Professor At Simpson College, Called Clinton's Keystone Comment "John Kerry-esque," And "She May Want To Take That Back." "Clinton may have put her foot in her mouth when she said she 'never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.' Bardwell called her response 'John Kerry-esque' gaffe that she 'may want to take back.'" (Brianne Pfannenstiel, "Iowa Dems: No Game Changer In Debate," The Des Moines Register , 10/14/15)


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