Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday spoke out in favor of giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, taking a firm stance on an issue that hurt her during the 2008 election after she seemed intentionally vague on her position.
The statement -- simple and straightforward as it is -- is the latest example of Clinton’s effort to avoid the pitfalls that doomed her 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination. During that election, she came under fire from her opponents for giving a vague and contradictory answer about her position during a primary debate.
If you’re a little fuzzy on the details, here’s a quick refresher courtesy of a 2007 story by Anne E. Kornblut and Dan Balz:
“Caught seemingly unprepared for a question about whether she backs a proposal by New York Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, Clinton appeared to equivocate, prompting barbs from [Sen. John Edwards] and [Sen. Barack] Obama.
Yesterday, her campaign issued a terse statement intended to clear up her position, although it, too, was vaguely worded. … Her rivals clearly remained delighted by the turn of events. Edwards, in an interview with liberal talk show host Ed Schultz, promised to "keep pounding the drum on making certain the voters know they have these choices" between what he described as the entrenched special interests in Washington, represented by Clinton, and advocates of change such as himself."
Not so this time around.
Clinton recently revisited and another high-profile position: her support for same-sex marriage. In a statement to BuzzFeed Wednesday, Clinton said through a spokesperson that she hoped the Supreme Court would "come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right."
While the former secretary of state voiced her support for same-sex marriage in 2013, she said at the time that she supported a state-by-state approach.