Presidential candidates split over telecom immunity

The Senate has voted to grant immunity to telecommunications companies that assisted the government with electronic surveillance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Here’s the roll call of votes.

The immunity amendment is part of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bill to modify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The three senators running for president split over the immunity amendment.

Sen. Obama voted to strip it (so, he voted for no immunity).
Sen. McCain voted not to strip the amendment (voted for immunity).
Sen. Clinton did not vote.

No surprise on the first two. But Clinton‘s non-vote is most interesting. She was never considered fully onboard with the anti-immunity crowd, represented most vocally in the Senate by Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.). Presumably, this hands Obama an arrow to fire at his rival, who has criticized the former Illinois state senator for his record of “present” votes.

But I’m not sure how sharp this arrow is. Obviously, the liberal wing of the Democrat party will have some problems with her non-position position. But I don’t see how this costs her anything in the primaries, or in the long run. But let’s see how she votes on the full bill, or if she does.