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Sen. Clinton opposes troop surge in Iraq

Sen. Hillary Clinton said Monday she would not support a temporary surge in the number of American troops in Iraq unless it was part of a broader long-term plan to stabilize the region.

Clinton also said she would announce shortly after the new year whether she will seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. “At the end of the day I want to be sure that my decision is right for me, for my family, for my party, for my country.”

Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, Clinton also praised fellow Democrat Sen. Barack Obama, a potential rival, as “terrific” but stopped short of saying whether he’d make a good president.

The former first lady, appearing on “Today” to promote the re-release of her best-selling book on parenting and children, "It Takes a Village," said she would oppose a temporary boost in the number of U.S. service members in Iraq “unless it’s part of a larger plan.”

President Bush is said to be weighing a U.S. military "surge" to quell widespread sectarian violence in Iraq, and incoming Senate Majority Leader Democratic Harry Reid said over the weekend he would support a short-term increase in American troops in Iraq if it were part of a broader withdrawal plan.

“Everyone knows there is no military solution to the difficulties we face in Iraq,” said Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “There has to be a broad-based comprehensive approach that includes resolving some of the political issues, bringing the region together.”

Hillary in '08?
Pressed repeatedly by “Today” anchor Meredith Vieira on whether she will enter the 2008 presidential race, Clinton reiterated she was close to a decision and would announce it “after the first of the year.”

Clinton and Obama, who also is considering a bid, have been touted in the media as the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination. Clinton described her possible rival as “a friend and a colleague” and said she regards him highly.

But Clinton didn’t directly answer when asked by Vieira whether she thinks the freshman senator from Illinois has enough qualifications and experience to make a good president.

“I think he is a really exciting personality and someone who has a lot to contribute to the national dialogue,” Clinton said.

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