Clinton called for the removal of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House frontrunner Hillary Clinton called for the ouster of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Wednesday afternoon, hours after President Bush expressed confidence in the embattled leader.
"The Iraqi government’s failures have reinforced the widely held view that the Maliki government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement, because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders," the New York senator said in a statement given exclusively to CNN’s Jessica Yellin.
Clinton went on to say she "hope[s] that the Iraqi parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks."
Clinton's comments come two days after Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, recently returned from Iraq, said he had lost confidence in the al-Maliki government. Levin is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Clinton also has a seat on the panel.
But President Bush expressed confidence in the Iraqi leader during a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention earlier Wednesday.
"Prime Minister Maliki's a good guy, good man with a difficult job and I support him," he said. “And it's not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., to say whether he will remain in his position.”
Clinton, who came under fire from some of her Democratic White House rivals earlier in the week for saying the surge policy was "working" in some areas, also reaffirmed her position that there is "not a military solution in Iraq."
"Progress will only come from political reconciliation and compromise from the Iraqis themselves," she said in the statement. "Given that reality, the President’s escalation strategy is not succeeding."
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- CNN's Jessica Yellin and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report