Clinton explains shift on Keystone, other key issues

Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from New Hampshire Senate debate Trump losing cash race in final weeks Report: Biden on top of Clinton's short list for secretary of State MORE on Sunday pointed to the nation’s shifting energy profile for her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline after she had initially seemed to voice support for its construction.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd asked Clinton if her position on Keystone had changed as a matter of political expediency.

Clinton once said that she was “inclined” to sign off on the project because the U.S. was “either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf or dependent on dirty oil from Canada.”

“When I made that statement years ago, we did not have the kind of energy profile that we now have,” Clinton said. “We did not have the full understanding of how the particular oil that would have been extracted from those tar sands was of a different degree of dirtiness and polluting in terms of greenhouse gasses.”

Clinton announced earlier this month that she opposes the pipeline. For months, she declined to take a stance on the issue, saying she didn’t want to influence the political discussion while the matter was still under review by the Obama administration.

“I did feel that I shouldn't jump in before the president and Secretary Kerry and make my views known, because they're still in the middle of that process,” Clinton said Sunday. “But it was, frankly, uncomfortable to have so many people asking me…So I've said, ‘Look, I'm against it.’ "

Todd also pressed Clinton on reversals on two other key issues – gay marriage and the Iraq War.

Clinton admitted that she was misled by bad intelligence in the run-up to the war, and defended her switch on same-sex marriage, saying that, like President Obama, she has “evolved” on the issue.

“Like a lot of people, including our president, I did evolve,” Clinton said. “And I was not raised to even imagine this. And I'm thrilled now that it is the law of the land. And I have a lot of good friends who are now able to be married because of the changes we've made legally and constitutionally.”

The former secretary of State said it was a badge of intellectual courage to be able to change positions on issues. She swiped at Republicans, saying they remain committed to old positions even in the face of new evidence.

“I just don't think that reflects either my assessment of issues, and I don't think it reflects how people who are thoughtful actually conduct their lives,” Clinton said. “I mean, if we don't learn, if we don't, you know, make decisions based on the best information we have available, well, you know, that's regrettable.”

“I am not someone who, you know, stakes out a position and holds it regardless of the evidence or regardless of the way that I perceive what's happening in the world around me,” Clinton continued. “And as I was saying, that's where the Republicans are.”