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Thursday, March 15, 2007
Clinton says she would keep some troops in Iraq

Clinton told the New York Times she favors keeping some troops in Iraq.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- On the campaign trail she has often pledged to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq if she is elected president, but Sen. Hillary Clinton took a more detailed stance Wednesday, saying she would favor keeping a smaller troop presence in the country to discourage Al Qaeda's presence and dampen insurgent aggression.

In an interview with the New York Times, Clinton acknowledged U.S. interests would suffer if the U.S. withdrew from Iraq all together.

"It is right in the heart of the oil region," she told the Times. "It is directly in opposition to our interests, to the interests of regimes, to Israel's interests."

"So it will be up to me to try to figure out how to protect those national security interests and continue to take our troops out of this urban warfare, which I think is a loser," she added.

Clinton also said she would back the president's call for a troop increase if she deems it has a chance to be successful.

"I'm going to root for it if it has any chance of success," she said. "But I think it's more likely that the anti-American violence and sectarian violence just moves from place to place to place, like the old Whac a Mole. Clear some neighborhoods in Baghdad, then face Ramadi. Clear Ramadi, then maybe it's back in Falluja."

Clinton's comments may draw ire from the Democratic base, many whom are already weary of the fact that she voted for the 2003 authorization of Iraq and has refused to directly call that vote a "mistake." She has said however that she would "not vote that way again if we knew then what we know now."

Watch Video: CNN's Mary Snow reports that Clinton's Iraq plan draws fire from the left

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