Question 7

If Congress defines a specific interrogation technique as prohibited under all circumstances, does the president's authority as commander in chief ever permit him to instruct his subordinates to employ that technique despite the statute?

Barack Obama

No. The President is not above the law, and the Commander-in-Chief power does not entitle him to use techniques that Congress has specifically banned as torture. We must send a message to the world that America is a nation of laws, and a nation that stands against torture. As President I will abide by statutory prohibitions, and have the Army Field Manual govern interrogation techniques for all United States Government personnel and contractors.

Hillary Clinton


John Edwards

It is hard to believe that the president and his supporters are engaged in a debate about how much torture we should have. The United States should never torture, for several reasons: because it is not the American way, because it undermines our moral authority in the world, because it places our troops at risk, and because it does not work. I strongly oppose George Bush's possible veto of the Congressional bill prohibiting torture.

Bill Richardson


Christopher Dodd

No, and I was absolutely shocked that Attorney General Mukasey, in his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, said that in certain circumstances could thwart the law. This, and his declaration that he could not say whether or not waterboarding was in fact torture, led me to believe that he would not be the kind of nominee I could support.

Joseph Biden

No. The President must comply with all valid acts of Congress. That’s why I’ve introduced the National Security with Justice Act, unequivocally banning waterboarding and other forms of torture.

John McCain

No. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress that power. Unless the president chooses to willfully violate the law and suffer the consequences, he must obey the law.

Mitt Romney

A President should decline to reveal the method and duration of interrogation techniques to be used against high value terrorists who are likely to have counter-interrogation training. This discretion should extend to declining to provide an opinion as to whether Congress may validly limit his power as to the use of a particular technique, especially given Congress’s current plans to try to do exactly that.

Ron Paul


Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani declined to answer this question.

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee declined to answer this question.

Fred Thompson

Thompson declined to answer this question.