Hillary Won't Commit to Keystone Position

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Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014 11:02 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she can't talk about her views on whether the United States should build the Keystone XL pipeline, saying she is unable to take a public position given her previous role in the administration.

"I can't really comment at great length because I had responsibility for it, and it's been passed on, and it wouldn't be appropriate," the presumed 2016 presidential candidate said in an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail.

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board wrote that the true motivation behind her refusal to discuss the proposed pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the Texas Gulf Coast is based a political calculation to avoid alienating herself from Democrats who are divided on the issue.

"Her Keystone reticence is an attempt to dodge the Democratic divide between unions that support the pipeline for its jobs and billionaires like Tom Steyer who brook no dissent on climate change," the Journal editorial board wrote Monday.

"By ducking now, she can see what Mr. [President Barack] Obama decides (if he ever does), test the political wind, and come out on the side that offers the most political benefit."

The Washington Post said Clinton is also trying to avoid the risk of being at odds with the president.

"Since she is such a prominent public figure, announcing her position publicly would also probably be seen as an attempt to nudge the president in one direction or another. That could irk Obama's team," Sean Sullivan of the Post wrote.

The Post also agreed with the Journal's assessment that Clinton would risk alienating environmentalists and liberal activists who oppose the pipeline's construction, or Democrats from energy states who favor it.

"For this reason, even after the president announces a decision, it won't be 100 percent safe for Clinton to embrace it wholeheartedly or reject it out of hand," Sullivan wrote.

"It's impossible to predict how big the Keystone debate will be this time next year, let alone when and if Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016. Taking a position on such a highly charged issue later won't be easy. Doing so now would prove politically impossible. It's no-brainer for Clinton to steer clear of one for as long as she can," the Post said.

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