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Iraq War Architect Wolfowitz Putting His 'Hopes' in Clinton Presidency

Former U.S. deputy secretary of defense says 'I might have to vote for Hillary Clinton'

Then-World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz speaking at an IMF meeting in 2007. (Photo: IMF Staff/Stephen Jaffe/flickr/cc)

Just ahead of a speech by Hillary Clinton in which she is expected to trumpet "American exceptionalism," the Democratic presidential nominee appears to have received public backing from Iraq War architect Paul Wolfowitz.

The 72-year-old deputy secretary of defense under President George W. Bush and cheerleader for the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq told Politico that Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are "both so far from what I believe in." Yet, he added, "There's a little bit of hope for Hillary. With Trump, you just have to make this incredible bet that he doesn't believe anything he says, and once he really sees the situation he'll be different. But it's an incredible gamble."

And in an interview published Friday with Germany's Der Spiegel, Wolfowitz said he agreed with dozens of former senior Republican security officials who said Trump was a security risk, and said, "I wish there were somebody I could be comfortable voting for. I might have to vote for Hillary Clinton, even though I have big reservations about her."

Clinton is scheduled (pdf) to speak Wednesday at the American Legion convention taking place in Cincinnati. In her midday speech, which Reuters describes as being "meant to reach out to Republican and independent voters," Clinton "will make the case for American exceptionalism and call for maintaining America's military and diplomatic leadership in the world," according to a campaign official.

She will also portray her Republican rival as a president that would "walk away from our allies, undermine our values, insult our military—and has explicitly rejected the idea of American exceptionalism," the campaign official said.



Trump, for his part, is scheduled to address the same convention on Thursday, the day after he meets with unpopular Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

According to a tally by Vox, "108 prominent Republicans, from former governors and former presidential candidates to conservative pundits and high-profile aides ... have all said they cannot support Trump." Some, like Maine Sen. Susan Collins, won't be backing Clinton. Yet many neoconservatives are. Project for the New American Century co-founder Robert Kagan, for example, said at a Clinton fundraising event last month, "I would say that a majority of people in my circle will vote for Hillary." 

In These Times contributor Branko Marcetic wrote in March that neoconservative war hawks backing Clinton should come as no surprise, as they "have long had a soft spot for Clinton and her views on foreign policy."

Still, polls have shown that neither candidate is eliciting warm fuzzies from the nation's electorate.

Historian Andrew Bacevich writes that "all the months of intensive fundraising, the debates and speeches, the caucuses and primaries, the avalanche of TV ads, and annoying robocalls have produced two presidential candidates who tend to elicit from a surprisingly large number of rank-and-file citizens disdain, indifference, or at best hold-your-nose-and-pull-the-lever acquiescence."

The latter response, according to former Greek Fiance Minister and author Yanis Varoufakis, may be becoming increasingly difficult.  He tweeted following the Wolfowitz interviews:

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