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Obama and that nuke story

From NBC's Mark Murray and Lauren Appelbaum

On a day without much political news, this AP article set off political shockwaves: "Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday he would not use nuclear weapons 'in any circumstance.'" "'I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance,' Obama said, with a pause, 'involving civilians.' Then he quickly added, 'Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table.'"

The story made the usual political rounds -- it was posted on Drudge and news blogs. The news? That Obama would NEVER use nuclear weapons as president. The problem, though, was that the story wasn't entirely correct. It left out the fact that Obama was talking about his speech yesterday about Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Here's how the AP revised its piece: "Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday he would not use nuclear weapons 'in any circumstance' to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

"'I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance,' Obama said, with a pause, 'involving civilians.' Then he quickly added, 'Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table.'"

Of course, it's still newsworthy that Obama said he wouldn't use nukes to pursue Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan -- although who would? -- but the second story is far, far different from the original.

In any event, Clinton was asked if she agrees with Obama that nukes should be off the table when dealing with Pakistan and Afghanistan. "I'm not going to answer hypothetical's, but let's find Osama Bin Laden and his leadership first," she said. "I think that presidents should be very careful at all times in discussing the use or non-use of nuclear weapons... I don't believe that any presidents should make any blanket statements with respect to use or non-use of nuclear weapons."