The war in Iraq is the most important issue for primary voters in 2008, according to recent polling by the Pew Research Center. Iraq was the focus of Democratic and Republican presidential debates this week — along with a question: What did the candidates know in 2003?
At both debates, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked the candidates whether they read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in 2003. A new book about Sen. Hillary Clinton says she did not read the NIE, a document so highly classified that even her senior staff did not have access to it at the time.
Blitzer asked Clinton on Sunday whether she regretted not having read it.
"Wolf, I was thoroughly briefed," Clinton said. "I knew all the arguments. I knew all of what the Defense Department, the CIA, the State Department were all saying. And I sought dissenting opinions, as well as talking to people in previous administrations and outside experts."
At Tuesday night's Republican debate, both John McCain and Sam Brownback said they had not read it, either.
But former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who chaired the Intelligence committee at the time, has said he read the NIE. And Graham says that not only did he read it — it is what moved him to vote against authorizing Bush to invade Iraq.