Sen. Clinton: 'Incalculable Damage Done to Our Country'

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - The upcoming mid-term election is important because the U.S. is "in a deep hole, and Republicans don't want to quit digging," Sen. Hillary Clinton told a gathering of Democratic women in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

"I am just totally focused on this November's election, and I hope you are, too," the junior senator from New York told the Democratic National Committee Women's Leadership Forum. "I am fixated on taking back the House and the Senate" because "everything we care about is at stake."

"The damage that has already been done to our country in the last six years is incalculable," she said.

"It's going to take an enormous amount of effort to begin to repair and restore American values and to reinstate the kind of shared commitment to common values and common ground that we desperately need," Clinton added. See Video

"If we take back one, hopefully both houses of Congress, we will be in a position to prevent the Republicans and the administration from furthering their agenda," the senator noted.

"Everything that we care about is at stake," she said. "On any issue you can mention" -from energy independence to global climate change and the cost of health care - "we won't deal with it if we don't have Democrats in charge."

"On every issue, there are big differences" between Democrats and Republicans, "but the biggest difference is the disregard for our constitutional democracy, the disdain for checks and balances, the denial of accountability that marks this president and vice president," Clinton said, "and that's really our entire system being put at risk."

"Maybe we can dig ourselves out of the hole on fiscal responsibility, energy and health care before it's too late, but we cannot afford to have our Constitution shredded and our country's commitment to freedom basically thrown out after centuries of setting the standard by which others are judged," she noted.

"There are a lot of people, not just Democrats, who know we have to change direction in our country," the senator added. "I have so many Republicans coming to my events" who "say things like 'I didn't sign up for all this,' and the 'this' would be a long list depending upon their particular concerns.

"They're coming, because frankly, they're patriots, and they don't want this administration to continue leading us down into a blind hole like they are, undermining our future, failing to invest to make us safer and stronger and richer and smarter, more competitive, fairer for the future," Clinton said.

Also stressing the importance of the Nov. 7 election was Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who told the audience that the current political contest is "about change" and promised that his party will "take back the House and pick up seats in every single state."

Dean asserted that the main issue of the election will be national security, and he said the Bush administration's record in this area makes him look forward to Nov. 7.

"Here's their record," he said. "Five years after Osama bin Laden murdered 3,000 people, he's still on the loose in northwest Pakistan plotting to kill our people.

"Five years after George Bush identified Iran as part of the Axis of Evil, they are about to get nuclear weapons," Dean said. "Five years after George W. Bush identified North Korea as part of the Axis of Evil, they not only continue to have nuclear weapons, they are getting more nuclear weapons.

"Explain to me how this president has made America safer," he added. "You can't trust the Republicans to defend America, not because they don't want to, but because they don't know how." See Video

However, Clinton noted that Democrats face a tremendous obstacle in regaining power: the GOP, which is "outspending us four, five, six and seven to one."

The Republican National Committee "is pouring tens of millions of dollars into these races, and we're not matching it," she said. "We're making investments and doing ground and other efforts that are very beneficial, but the RNC has about $60 or $70 million waiting to drop on our candidates.

"So we can just yell at our TV sets, which we all do. We can email and call and vent to our friends, which we all do. We can show up at events like this, which you all do. But we really have to turn it on the last 40 days or so," Clinton said, adding that she did her part by donating $1 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee a week ago.

"Let's not lose this because in the last week or two, our candidates get swamped by negative ads they can't respond to," she said. "After all, it's only our country and our future that's at stake, but with your help, I think we're going to get it done."

However, Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the RNC, responded that Democrats' eagerness to blame the Bush administration for mistakes in the war on terror serves to distract voters from examining their own lack of success in fighting terrorists.

"Hillary Clinton reminds voters that while Democrats were in charge, they consistently misunderstood the threat America faced and repeatedly missed opportunities to bring the terrorists to justice," Diaz told Cybercast News Service.

Regarding the upcoming election, Diaz added that "electing liberals like New York's junior senator will mean tax increases across the income scale and less tools to fight and win the war on terror."

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