Leahy, Sanders react to Iraq and presidential endorsement - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Leahy, Sanders react to Iraq and presidential endorsement

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BURLINGTON, Vt. - The country's most-senior senator returned to Vermont after meeting with the president to discuss the situation in Iraq. Sen. Patrick Leahy says his top secret clearance limits what he can say, but he supports sending 300 advisors to the country as it deals with rising instability.

"Our options are very limited to us, the big mistake was the Malachi government had a chance to be more inclusive bring people in and try to stabilize things; they went just the opposite direction," said Leahy, D-Vermont.

"We should never have gone into Iraq in the first place," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. "The argument that they had weapons of mass destruction was untrue. The argument that they were working with terrorists was untrue. The idea that they were going to attack us was untrue."

Sanders says he can support the president's decision to send advisors, as well. He said the war incurred immense cost in human lives and suffering, but did say that a creative solution must be found to establish stability in the Middle East.

"But it is not just an American issue, it is an international issue. It impacts every country on Earth that does not want to see that region of the world run by terrorists. An extremist certainly is a regional issue," Sanders said.

The two Vermont senators see eye to eye on Iraq, but Leahy recently revealed he won't throw his political weight behind Sanders if he runs for president in 2016. Leahy said back in 2012 he pledged his support to Hillary Clinton if she decides to run.

Sen. Patrick Leahy: She knows I keep my word. I told her I support her then and I will.

Reporter Kyle Midura: Does that mean you wouldn't be able to support Senator Sanders if he decided to run?

Sen. Patrick Leahy: Well, remember this what, a year and a half ago? I made my commitment to Hillary Clinton, I don't go back on my word.

"I don't want to speculate about that," Sanders said.

Sanders has said he won't run if someone he supports enters the presidential race two years from now, but said Clinton is not that person. Sanders maintained his position that he does not want to talk about election hypotheticals, adding that Leahy makes his own choices and that they are good friends.

Sanders has consistently said he thinks there's only about a 1 percent chance he would run for president. He won't confirm it, but if Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren officially enters the race, he may officially end his unofficial candidacy.

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