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   Hillary's Military Offensive

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12/11/2005 9:00 pm

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Entered 12/11/2005, Updated 12/11/2005

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Dec. 12, 2005 issue - This summer, the Reserve Officers Association presented Sen. Hillary Clinton with its President's Award for her work on behalf of soldiers. On the morning of the ceremony, the event's organizers were a little nervous. While they were in the White House, the Clintons were never regarded warmly within the ranks or among the brass, and the First Lady was seen as especially hostile to the military. (There are still soldiers who swear by the myth that she banned uniforms at the White House.) It was rumored that some officers were planning to walk out of the award ceremony. As it turned out, the audience did stand up, but not to leave. When Clinton's name was announced, she received a standing ovation. "If you'd asked me three years ago, I would have been surprised," says Lt. Col. Lou Leto, the group's spokesman. "[But] she's one of our strongest advocates." It is no accident that hawks inside and outside the military are reconsidering Hillary Clinton. She may have entered the Senate in 2001 with three strikes against her—she was a woman, a Democrat and a Clinton. But Senator Clinton immediately began a methodical campaign to undo her image as a dovish liberal with no interest in military affairs. Post 9/11, she was quick to recognize that Democrats—and especially one all but openly running for president—were vulnerable on defense issues.


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