It won’t really matter until one of the other of the Dems’ big three candidates hits Hillary with her cluelessness on Pakistan’s history, politics and elections. But this is a start, and it might draw comments from either Obama or Edwards. Edwards is in the best position to hit her on it.
Democrat Joe Biden suggested Tuesday that presidential rival Hillary Clinton doesn’t adequately understand recent events in Pakistan.
The Delaware senator was responding to news that Clinton suggested in two recent interviews that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is up for reelection this month.
Musharraf was actually reelected in October, and the upcoming Pakistani elections are parliamentary, not presidential.
“We have a number of candidates who are well-intentioned but don’t understand Pakistan,” Biden said at a campaign event Tuesday. “One of the leading candidates — God love her.”
“There are good people running,” continued the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has made his foreign policy credentials a centerpiece of his long shot presidential bid. “But to say Musharraf is up for election! Musharraf was elected — fairly or unfairly — president six months ago. It’s about a parliamentary election!”
Clinton’s comments came in an interview with ABC Sunday, in which she said, “[Musharraf] could be the only person on the ballot. I don’t think that’s a real election.”
The New York senator also made similar comments during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last week, saying then, “”If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow.”
Both gaffes were first noted by conservative Thomas Houlahan, writing for the Middle East Times.
This story tells us two things about Clinton. First, that she’s as much of a lightweight on foreign affairs as Mike Huckabee, but with less excuse: She was the First Lady for 8 years and has been a senator and leading Democrat contender for president for years since. She doesn’t have much direct experience on foreign policy, but she has been around it enough to have at least a basic understanding of what she’s talking about, so there’s no excuse for her to get Pakistan wrong. She also has the campaign’s most expensive political machine, which ought to be better than this on the facts. And she’s running her campaign on being ready to conduct our foreign policy from the day she takes office; her misunderstanding of Pakistan hints that that’s not the case. Second, it shows that she’s a Clinton, ready to dissemble at the first opportunity rather than just admit an error and move on. I’ll grant that the latter isn’t a surprise so much as it’s a confirmation: She’ll bring Bill’s habit of lying without Bill’s charms and skills if she’s elected.