U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the lone Democratic presidential candidate to support a Senate amendment that described Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity.
The non-binding amendment to the Defense Authorization Act, initiated by U.S. Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Kyl (R-Ariz.), passed Sept. 26 by a vote of 76-22. It said the Revolutionary Guards was responsible for some of the insurgent attacks against U.S.-led forces in Iraq and urged the Bush administration to name the group as a terrorist entity, a designation that would severely restrict the Guards to function in world markets. Bush is believed to be considering such a designation; it would be the first time the label has been applied to a wing of the armed forces of a sovereign nation.
In order to gain an overwhelming majority, Lieberman agreed to remove two paragraphs from the amendment’s original language that called for a U.S. policy to “combat, contain and roll back” the Guards inside Iraq and to “support the prudent and calibrated use of instruments of United States national power in Iraq” to do so. Democrats felt that language came too close to endorsing war, even in a non-binding amendment.
The change won the support of Clinton (D-N.Y.), a front-runner in the race for her party’s presidential candidacy. Two other Democratic presidential candidates voted against it: Sens. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was absent from the vote, but later said he would have voted against it.
Clinton came under fire at a Sept. 26 debate for her vote from other candidates, including former senators Mike Gravel of Alaska and John Edwards of North Carolina and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).
“I have no intention of giving George Bush the authority to take the first step on a road to war with Iran,” Edwards said, commending Biden and Dodd for their votes against the amendment.