WASHINGTON (CNN) -- She says she is the Democrat best equipped to fight terrorists, but White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton told New Hampshire voters Thursday that another attack on the United States would likely help Republican candidates at the polls.
Sen. Hillary Clinton said the Republicans would benefit politically if a terrorist attack occurred before the '08 vote.
"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' " Clinton, a New York Democrat, told a house party in Concord, according to the New York Post and The Associated Press and confirmed by her campaign.
"But, if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world."
Clinton added that if such a scenario occurred, she is the best Democratic presidential candidate "to deal with that."
Clinton was in the crucial early voting state Thursday to unveil her health care plan.
A Clinton spokesman, Isaac Baker, told CNN "Sen. Clinton was making clear that she has the strength and experience to keep the country safe."
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, who is also competing for the Democratic nomination, issued a statement Friday afternoon calling Clinton's remark "tasteless."
"Frankly, I find it tasteless to discuss political implications when talking about a potential terrorist attack on the United States," he said.
New Mexico Bill Richardson, another Democratic presidential candidate, disparaged Clinton's remark.
"We shouldn't be thinking about terrorism in terms of its domestic political consequences, we should be protecting the country from terrorists," said Gov Richardson in a written statement. E-mail to a friend