In an unusual campaign mailing sent to voters in Iowa, Sen. Hillary Clinton defends her vote in favor of the so-called "Lieberman-Kyl" resolution on Iran, calling it a "vote for stepped up diplomacy" and not permission for the Bush Administration to invade the country. (Full mailing here and here.)

Two rivals, Barack Obama and John Edwards, have compared the September vote to the 2002 authorization granting President Bush the authority to use military force in Iraq, accusing Clinton of another failure of judgment.

That Clinton takes pains to explain the Lieberman-Kyl vote, which declared Iraq's Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization and linked the structure of U.S troop presence in the Middle East in part to the Iranian threat, suggests that the Edwards-Obama charges have gelled, if only a bit.

A copy of the mailing was obtained from a Democrat in Iowa.


"Let me clear on Iran," Clinton writes. "I am opposed to letting President Bush take any military action against that country without full Congressional approval." Clinton notes that she -- "long before others" -- that is, long before Barack Obama -- supported legislation requiring the president to get Congress's permission before such an invasion.

A second page of the letter includes validation testimony from Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark and from Sen. Dick Durbin, who has endorsed Obama.