Famous Clinton courage exhibited in Hillary's answer to Keystone question: 'I can't respond'

The perpetually delayed Keystone XL Pipeline is wildly popular.

A Reason-Rupe poll conducted in April found that only 32 percent of Americans oppose the construction of the pipeline which would transport Canadian tar sands oil from the frozen north to the Gulf Coast. 61 percent of Americans support the pipeline.

That 61 percent includes 82 percent of self-described Republicans, 57 percent of independents, and 50 percent – that’s right; a majority – of Democrats. However, one subgroup strongly opposes the construction of the 1,200 mile pipeline: self-identified liberals. 57 percent of that group opposed the construction of the pipeline in that survey.

In spite of the broad support for the pipeline, political considerations have kept the Obama administration from approving Keystone. Faced with this logjam, one which could be dislodged with a display of political courage from one influential politician, Hillary Clinton did what the Clintons are famous for: she punted.

“I can’t really comment at great length because I had responsibility for it and it’s been passed on and it wouldn’t be appropriate, but I hope that Canadians appreciate that the United States government – the Obama administration – is trying to get it right,” Clinton told the Canadian publication Globe and Mail when asked about the pipeline.

“And getting it right doesn’t mean you will agree or disagree with the decision,” she continued, “but that it will be one based on the best available evidence and all of the complex local, state, federal, interlocking laws and concerns.”

“So do you personally believe that the U.S. should go ahead with the pipeline?” Clinton’s interviewer asked.

“I can’t respond,” she replied.

This carefully calibrated but clumsily delivered response to the question of Keystone seems to undermine Clinton’s recent pledge to be an honest broker. “I am totally done with, you know, being really careful about what to say because somebody might think this instead of that,” Clinton told an audience at George Washington University on Friday.

Then again, the Globe and Mail interview was conducted last week, so Clinton’s honesty pledge was not yet on the books.