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Hillary Flip Flop?

Sen. Hillary Clinton scored with a Democratic audience last night by contradicting her husband’s belief that a terrorist could be tortured to foil an imminent plot – but what observers didn’t know is she was contradicting herself, too.”It cannot be American policy, period,” Clinton (D-N.Y.) told debate moderator Timamd_hillaryclinton.jpg Russert, who asked if there should be a presidential exemption to allow the torture of a terror chieftain if authorities knew a bomb was about to go off, but didn’t know where it was.

When Russert revealed ex-President Bill Clinton advocated such a policy on a recent NBC “Meet the Press” appearance, Hillary Clinton won huge applause from the Dartmouth College audience with a deadpan comeback:

“Well, I’ll talk to him later.”

She may have to give herself that talk, too.

Last October, Clinton told the Daily News: “If we’re going to bepreparing for the kind of improbable but possible eventuality, then it has to be done within the rule of law.”

She said then the “ticking time bomb” scenario represents a narrow exception to her opposition to torture as morally wrong, ineffective and dangerous to American soldiers.

“In the event we were ever confronted with having to interrogate a detainee with knowledge of an imminent threat to millions of Americans, then the decision to depart from standard international practices must be made by the President, and the President must be held accountable,” she said.

Clinton’s campaign did not immediately respond to numerous requests for comment on the eye-popping contradiction.

Her pirouette came during a debate at Dartmouth in which Democratic rivals declared open season on Clinton – and Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani, too.

The ex-New York mayor came under fire for voicing his readiness to attack Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons. Clinton was accused by some of her rivals of playing into President Bush’s hands by voting for an anti-Iran Senate resolution.

“I think what Mayor Giuliani said was irresponsible, because we have not yet come to that point,” said Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), arguing there is a lot of diplomacy to be done first.

“Rudy Giuliani doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about,” zinged Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.). “He’s the most uninformed person on American foreign policy now running for President.”

Giuliani’s campaign declined to respond.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) hit Clinton for voting yesterday to name Iran’s elite Republican Guard a sponsor of terrorism – which he said was the first step to war with Iran and all too similar to the vote both cast for the Iraq war. Cantankerous former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) pointed at her and said, “I am ashamed of you, Hillary.”

Clinton defended her vote, saying it would let the U.S. “impose sanctions on the primary leaders to try to begin to put some teeth into all this talk about dealing with Iran.” She said there was much to to be done to try to achieve a political solution before discussing military options.

Several times she refused to give answers, but she couldn’t duck when Russert threw her a curveball, asking if she would back the Yankees or Chicago Cubs, her childhood home team, if they met in the World Series. So she waffled.

“Well, I would probably have to alternate sides,” she said.

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