Clinton attends town meeting in New Hampshire

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(Host) Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first campaign visit to New Hampshire this weekend included a town meeting in Keene. Seventeen hundred people packed the local high school.

A dozen protestors stood outside with signs urging Clinton to take a stronger stand on ending the Iraq war and bringing the troops home.

Inside, the former first lady lambasted President Bush’s handling of the war. But she said the U-S does have continuing, vital national security interests in Iraq.

(Clinton) “I do not believe it is in America’s interest to send our young men and women into combat situations where they are in the midst of sectarian warfare that they don’t understand and not knowing whether the person that they are allied with today will be shooting at them tomorrow. So I would take our troops out of that. We will not be there to baby sit this multi-pronged civil war. They have to decide they want to end the sectarian violence. However we do have an interest in preventing al Qaeda, which is now in Iraq. It was not in Iraq. So we do have a continuing military mission against the al Qaeda insurgents.”

(Host) Clinton said if the Iraqi government does take a stand and attempt to unite the country, U.S. troops should provide air cover and logistical support. But Clinton said that should take a relatively small number of troops.

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