Hillary Clinton, in her remarks on foreign policy today at George Washington University, still hesitates to make an affirmative case that Barack Obama is singularly unqualified to be president of the United States and would not be ready to be commander in chief from day one. The language in here is starker than the language she's used before, but the argument is basically the same.

BTW: Clinton was endorsed today by Maj. Gen. (ret). Anthony Taguba, he of Taguba Report fame -- or infame, to Rumsfeld. -- a 34 year veteran of the Army.

Key excerpts from the speech are after the jump.


We need a president who understands there is a time for force, a time for diplomacy, and a time for both, who understands that we enhance our international reputation and strengthen our security if the world sees the human face of American democracy in the good works, the good deeds we do for people seeking freedom from poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and oppression.

With me, this is not theoretical. This is very much who I am, what I have done, and what I will do. The American people don’t have to guess whether I understand the issues or whether I would need a foreign policy instruction manual to guide me through a crisis or whether I’d have to rely on advisers to introduce me to global affairs.

I’m lucky to have had a pretty good inside view, over eight years in the White House and now over seven years in the Senate, of what the president goes through day in and day out dealing with all of these challenges. Obviously the work that I have done on human rights, democracy, international development gives me a deep appreciation of the importance of winning the hearts and minds of those in societies whether or not they are for us today. I believe that we can seed democracy and create new strong alliances overseas.

And I also know from my years serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee that our military power is absolutely essential but it cannot be viewed as the solution to every international problem. Yes, we must use force when necessary but as a last resort, not a first resort. As one piece of a comprehensive strategy to defend our nation and promote our values.


Senator Obama, meanwhile, represents another choice. He wavers from seeming to believe that mediation and meetings without preconditions can solve the world’s most intractable problems. To advocating rash unilateral military action without cooperation from our allies in the most sensitive region of the world. Electing a president should not be an either/or proposition when it comes to national security. We need a president who knows how to deploy both the olive branch and the arrows. Who will be ready to act swiftly and decisively in a crisis? Who will pursue strategic demands of hard diplomacy to re-establish moral authority and our leadership? In this moment of peril and promise, we need a president who is tested and ready, who can draw on years of real world experience working on many of the issues that we now confront. Who knows when to stand ones ground and when to seek common ground? Who has the strength and fortitude to meet the challenges head on without fear and without sowing fear?

I believe I am the candidate most ready today to be that kind of president and commander in chief. I will never let America’s good name be disgraced. I will always protect and defend our nation and I will always advance the traditions and values that have made our country, as Lincoln said, the last best hope on earth. Thank you all very much.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.