September 12th, 2007
04:03 PM ET
11 years ago

Edwards calls for immediate withdrawal, slams Obama

Edwards slammed Obama's Iraq plan Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, on Wednesday called for an immediate withdrawal of 40-50,000 troops from Iraq following two days of Congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Edwards, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination, said his Democratic rivals: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, as well as Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, have “a moral responsibility to use every tool available to them, including a filibuster, to force the president to change course.”

Edwards also called Obama’s plan for troop withdrawal a copy of the president’s plan.

“Sen. Obama would withdraw only 1-2 combat brigades a month between now and the end of next year,” explained Edwards, “which for the next several months could essentially mimic the president’s own plans to withdraw 30,000 troops by next summer.”

Related: Democratic hopefuls critical of Bush drawdown plan for Iraq

- CNN Ticker Producer Xuan Thai

Filed under: Iraq • John Edwards
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. OEST, Raleigh, NC

    I wonder how many people running their mouths here have actually read John Edwards' entire statement.

    Or do you all just take the way everything is spun by the media and run with it?

    September 12, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. OEST, Raleigh, NC

    Okay, let me respond to these comments:

    Does Edwards think we can bring 40K+ troops home next week? Maybe if he stayed around the senate longer then one term maybe he could help the 51 senate majority. Edwards needs to shut up.

    Posted By Stephen, Tallahassee : September 12, 2007 4:43 pm

    Why would John Edwards stay around in the Senate when he and the NC Democrats agreed that it would be best for him to either run for the Presidency in 2004 or for the Senate, but not for both? So, since he ran for President, he didn't seek re-election to his Senate seat. What if he had been nominated in 2004? Should he have also, by your logic, "stayed in the Senate," you fool?

    He ran for the Presidency in 2004. He was the VP candidate in 2004. Why would he stay in the Senate? His term was up in 2004.

    Does Edwards ever say anything WITHOUT bashing Clinton or Obama?

    What is Edwards message?

    Or is he mearly just playing catch up 100% of the time?

    Posted By Jared Tualatin Oregon : September 12, 2007 4:52 pm

    Pointing out a fact IS NOT NOR HAS IT EVER BEEN a "bash."

    Calling names is a "bash." Pointing out the details of an OPPONENT'S plans is no more of a bash than a teacher grading a test is a bash.

    I'm getting so sick of hearing Edwards scream about how the democrats in office should take the politically suicidal and polarizing path of filibuster, when he didn't have the guts to speak out about it in the first place like Obama did! Edwards is a hippocrit!

    Posted By Mark Morris : September 12, 2007 5:01 pm

    First of all, the word is spelled "HYPOCRITE." Secondly, John Edwards has as much right to scream about what Democrats in office should be doing as EVERY OTHER CITIZEN IN THIS COUNTRY DOES.

    So, let me get this straight. You don't believe that "WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES" have a right to tell our representatives what they should be doing? You don't understand that John Edwards is ALSO a member of "We, the People of the United States"?

    If we regular citizens have a right to speak out, then surely a citizen running for President should.

    As for speaking out, when John Edwards was in the Senate, he voted AGAINST the $87 billion for Iraq at a time when the war was still relatively popular, and said that he was going to vote against it, unlike Clinton and Obama who NEVER VOTED AGAINST FUNDING before the last funding bill a few months ago, and didn't let anyone know how they were going to vote until it was clear that the bill would pass.

    Obama likes to walk around claiming that he's against the war in Iraq, even though he has continuously funded Bush's failed policy in Iraq since he got to the Senate.

    He's no less guilty for that mess over there than Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are.

    The only one who was against if from the beginning is Dennis Kucinich.

    September 12, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  3. Pete, Washington, MI

    Nice try, Edwards.

    Why should we listen to you?

    If you are so smart, why didn't you do your 'homework' and read the NIE Report like your fellow Democratic leaders ASKED you, before you voted NO on the Levin Amendment.

    Then,on the very next day, you voted YES on the authorization for the War in Iraq. Poor judgment, perhaps?

    Here you are slamming Barack Obama after he is trying to get us OUT of a WAR that you not only voted for, but you CO-SPONSORED. What were you thinking?

    Come on John, this 'attack-the-candidate-of-the-week' makes you look desperate and small.

    I voted for you in the last election, because I thought you had some good ideas. Don't disappoint us anymore with this childish 'attack' crap. It makes you look like you are crying out for attention.

    Most voters are looking for a candidate that has integrity, character, and vision. It's something our country hasn't had in a leader, in a very long time.

    That's why we are supportng Barack Obama for POTUS.


    September 13, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  4. Mark Scholl, Batavia, Illinois

    Didn't read the National Inteligence Estimate... then-

    Voted FOR the war... then-

    Traveled around DEFENDING the war...

    Game over Edwards... you lose!

    September 13, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  5. Elvis

    Edward! What experience do you really have? Six years in the senate and what else?

    September 13, 2007 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  6. Linda, Chandler AZ

    Saying that Obama's plan mimic's the President's is ludicrous. Obama clearly stated a definate plan to withdraw our troops starting NOW. Zbigniew Brzenzski (sp?) a VERY highly thought of National Security Advisor under Carter has endorsed Obama and introduced him today. Ewards is just mad he didn't think of this first. In a couple of days all the candidates will be copying Obama as they did on Pakistan and Cuba and few weeks ago. He's smart, intelligent, has fresh ideas and is the ONLY candidate out there who represents a fresh start for this country. I pray to God he gets elected.

    September 13, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  7. Marcus Bush, National City CA

    In 2002 Sen. Edwards along with Sens. Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd voted to authorize the Iraq War.
    Even in 2004, Sen. Edwards, then candidate for vice president, claimed that even though the war wasn't going very good at the time with the rise of violence, it was still a good idea to invade Iraq. From 2002 up until around 2005 Edwards supported the war, and now all of the sudden since running for president, he's jumped on the anti war bandwagon.
    Where's the leadership on this issue?...
    Sen. Barack Obama for President

    September 13, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  8. Shawn, Pinckney MI

    Personally I don't think the dems blasting each other too much will be helpful to them in the long run. It will irritate dems even more. Second, John Edwards knows Senator Obama laid out a very excellent and clear policy in reagards to Iraq. To suggest filibuster? That I think is the repubs doing. Senator Obama is using his common sense and his clear vision on this very difficult issue. I ask John Edwards to call on repubs to "unite" with dems, like Senator Obama is and has been doing to get something realistically done hopefully sooner than later. Senator Obama pointed out facts that our leaders can work together now, not later, if they could stop being so partisan and unite in the best interest for our country and Iraqis. I fully agree, repsect, and as an American citizen endorse Seantor Obamas plan forward on Iraq.

    September 13, 2007 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  9. Laurie, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

    I find it embarrassing to see our national leaders and Presidential candidates squabbling among themselves at a time when our nation is at war and our sons and daughters are dying on foreign soil.

    I expect more from those who would be President.

    Regarding everything said this week about the war, I find Barack Obama the only candidate in either party who has a comprehensive and realistic plan to move from a military solution to a political and humanitarian solution for Iraq.

    As usual he shows the judgement and courage necessary to lead in today's complex world.

    September 13, 2007 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  10. JimmieFromDayton

    How dare he talk about his future president like that. Senator Edwards keep it up and you're going to lose any chance of a cabinet position. Bush got us into this mess but Senator Obama is going to get us out. The right way so we can return our focus to the real war on terrorism.

    September 13, 2007 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  11. Irma,Austell, Ga

    Didn't he 'mistakenly" vote for that war? Did he , by any chance, asked then how long was the war suppose to last? Decency would demand that this time around he think first before saying stupid things about someone who clearly has a better judgement than he does...
    It would have been better for John to let Elisabeth say this one...
    Obama is no Bush, and you know that Pretty boy

    September 13, 2007 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  12. Terri, Plantation,FL

    You know, I don't support Edwards, but I have thus far respected him. Saying Obama's plan is a copy of the president's is beyond outrageous. This simply reeks of desperation and places serious questions towards Edwards' knowledge and integrity.

    Senator Obama is the only one who has clearly taken a lead on the Iraq war issue. Since before the invasion, and consistently throughout, his judgment has towered over all the candidates'. His plan for withdrawl is comprehensive, realistic and illustrates his profound understanding of the complexities a president must face in the world today.

    John Edwards, unfortunately, is showing more and more he is not the leader we need.

    September 13, 2007 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  13. Tammy, Denton, Maryland

    Edwards is an opportunist. When he was in the Senate and had the opportunity to prevent the war, he didn't.

    Edwards was on the Senate Intelligence Committee and he didn't even bother to read the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) report before he voted to send our troops to Iraq. The Senators who read the NIE report said that it was the report that made them vote "NO." Edwards is not credible and certainly has no right to question the man who did the right thing (opposed the war) and said the right thing (outlined the picture of what we are currently experiencing 5 months before the war began) – Sen. Obama.

    John and Elizabeth Edwards are desperate. At one of the debates Edwards said that he didn't want anyone to vote for him because they didn't want to vote for a woman or a black. He said, 'I don't want your vote just because you don't want to vote for one of them.'

    Hardly a minute later, Edwards and Elizabeth go out on the campaign trail and say the exact opposite. Neither wasted any time in telling Americans that a woman and a black man are not electable so vote for her white male husband.

    I don't know what to say about John and Elizabeth Edwards. I do know that the longer this campaign goes on the less I like either of them.

    September 13, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. Stefan Feer, W. Hartford, CT

    Yeah! Lets withdraw 50,000 troops IMMEDIATELY! And then lets go for a ride on our unicorns over to the Oracle at Delphi, and find out where the Garden of Eden is! Yippee!

    Obama's plan is realistic and workable. That statement will earn Edwards the spotlight of shame in the days to come.

    September 13, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. HaveMercy, Ames, IA

    I've stood by Edwards from the start despite his vote to authorise the war because he apologised and I believed he would end the war. But he just lost my vote.

    The overall goal is to end the war. It doesn't matter who brings up the plan. A withrawal Timetable bill cannot get 60 votes and defunding the war didn't get even close. Are we just going to keep playing politics or find common ground.

    Obama's plan is the best so far and it offers a great opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to work together on a war that they all agree cannot go on indefinitely.

    September 13, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. Theresa LV NV

    Where was all this wisdom and fight when the vote was cast to give Bush the power to invade Iraq. This is not just Bush's war but Edwards' and Clinton's for not having the good judgement, knowledge, experience, and foresight to put a halt to Bushco's plans. Edwards and Clinton have NO credibility.

    Edwards, you had a moral responsiblity in 2002 – you killed and maimed thousands upon thousands of our fine young men and women. You and Clinton are shameless. I know she didn't think enough of our soldiers to even read the report – how about you.

    Fortunately for the two of you, the average voter does not have a long memory and can be easily swayed by soundbites.

    September 13, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. Jenmito, Nanuet, NY

    Edwards sure is bold now that he's no longer in the Senate! Where was he when he was in the Senate? That's right-cheering the war on since it was the popular thing to do at the time. He's an opportunist. Obama spoke out against the war when it counted-when Edwards was co-sponsoring the war resolution!

    September 13, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. RuthieM

    If Obama were in the white house today he'd begin bringing our soldiers home or redeploying where they should be, after first seeing the best way to implement this. Like he says, there is no easy solution with this Bush disastrous mess, as Bush continues to strut and swagger and photo op. So Edwards needs to ride on another wave and get off the Obama one in this Edwards sequel to the white house, because he's just sounding angry, jealous and ugly.

    September 13, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. Philly, Pa

    This isn't about choosing to win or lose, what we've lost is credibility, accountability and honesty in American government. The idea that withdrawal is a sign of weakness or loss is simply naive. The real loss is that of the opportunity Bush had with the solidarity of American voters behind him after 9-11, the opportunity to truly combat terrorism by means of permanently dismantling the Al-Qaeda strong-hold in Afghanistan. Despite the false pretenses of the Iraq war, despite the false and embellished allegations of Saddam's nuclear capabilities, the Americans had a chance to make a difference in Iraq, to take a definitive stance against those nations who defiantly choose to patronize terrorist organizations. It's a shame the administration didn't care enough to go about appointing qualified officials to oversee the reconstruction in Iraq and implementing an effective strategy to stabilize the country and promote political efficacy and commitment. I guess Halliburton's extreme profits trumped the value of human life and peace.

    September 16, 2007 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
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