March 7th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama defends Iraq stance

 Obama defended his Iraq stance Friday.

Obama defended his Iraq stance Friday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama hit back at rival Hillary Clinton's suggestions earlier Friday he wasn't serious about withdrawing from the war in Iraq, telling a Wyoming crowd he was against the war from the beginning while the New York senator "doesn’t have standing to question my position on this issue."

"Don’t be confused," Obama said at a campaign event in Casper. When Senator Clinton is not even willing to acknowledge that she voted for war. She says she voted for diplomacy despite the title that said ‘Authorization to use U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq.’"

The back-and-forth comes after former Obama advisor Samantha Power called Obama's Iraq plan a "best case scenario" in an interview with the BBC, and said the Illinois senator "will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or U.S. senator" to remove U.S. troops from Iraq.

Clinton pounced on the comments earlier Friday in a Wyoming press conference with reporters, saying "This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another."

Obama brushed aside Clinton's characterization of the comments Friday.

"Now what is true is that I want to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. And I want to make sure that our troops are protected and safe as we are withdrawing them, and I don’t want us to see Iraq collapse,” he said. “Which is why I have put out the most detailed plan in terms of making sure that we have humanitarian aid in place, and making sure that we are working with the Iraqis to negotiate diplomatically inside the country as well as the regional powers there and that we have a international commission to monitor against war crimes that might occur as we are pulling out."

Obama refused to comment on Power's resignation from his campaign Friday and the heated rhetoric from both his campaign and Hillary Clinton's after the former adviser was quoted calling Clinton a "monster."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Chris Welch

soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. w

    Obama should be clear to the people on what he wants to do and what his plans are and should be consistent publicly and privately… with all these issues coming up from his advisers like NAFTA, Iraq, it looks like he is just speech and shows how inexperienced he is on not being able to control his own people… Go and vote for Hillary!!!

    March 7, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. Peter

    Kathleen says she is "a Democrat professional w/ woman of 63 [who] was 100% for Obama from Day 1. The people who do not see thru Hillary's lies must not want to vote for a Black Man."

    What kind of professional uses that kind of logic?

    No wonder the polls show that 25% of Hillary's supporters will not vote for Senator Obama if he gets the nomination. According to Kathleen, if we do not consider our own candidate a liar, we must be bigots.

    March 7, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Jane

    Why is CNN not talking about Clinton's NAFTA gate ?

    March 7, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. manubi

    Hillary Clinton is the fusion of Bill Clinton and John McCain. She is now known as Billary McClinton. It's a shame that she prefers John McCain, a GWB clone at the moment, over another young Democrat star. In my view, I think Obama should run as an Independent so he does not have to waste his funds on McClinton. That way he can focus more on the general election!

    Go Obama! Don't let Billary McClinton go back to the White House. We Independents can't wait for the fresh blood who can actually install the Universal Health Care for the United States!

    March 7, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. voter

    Before the Clinton supporters state that Hilliary is better in foreign policy, maybe you should ask her why she did not read the Iraq report voting for war. Of course she voteED for diplomacy, because she did not read the report or bill that stated authorization to use U.S. force in Iraq. When people point this out, Hilliary supporters say Obama is a whiner and a flip flopper. This is coming from suppporters whoSE candidate voted for the war, but now is aganist it. Supported NAFTA and now thinks it is a bad idea wink wink. Obviously she is not aganist it when she has been quoted for saying it is her husband's greatest achievement. She did not create jobs for NY as promised. She has not fired her staffers who referred to Obama as a Muslim, Kenneth Star, a drug dealer and does not know the pledge of alligence. Fact check reported Hilliary exaggerated her foreign policy experience. Your candidate Hilliary is nothing but a hypocrite and her supporters are blind. Check yourselves.

    March 7, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. PCS / North Carolina

    Cindy wrote March 7th, 2008 7:31 pm ET

    "To those who say that Hillary and Bill's tax returns don't mean anything well let me give you some food for thought."

    You are absolutly right.

    you can tell the difference between Obama and Hiilary supporters in thease blogs. Obama suppoerters are sincere and talk to the point. Where as, Hillary supporters talk trash, and make acrimonious personal attacks.

    Some of thease are blunt occult racism: "fairy tale", "Slum lord", "king Obama", "Hot air" "Obama supporters are sheep / pathetic " Obama Zombies….pathetic, "Rock star", "Obama supporters are cult members / sheep ", “king obama”, “Obama go back to Kenya” "Do you know why it is called White House"
    They think Hillary owns the presidency. Did anybody ask Hillary to go back to Ireland

    March 7, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. drew


    It's great if the tax returns are kosher. Clinton herself seems to feel otherwise. Likewise, the pardon records are embargoed, but we know why: $400,000 to the Rodham family for two pardons, and another $450,00 to the Clinton foundation, plus max campaign donations for the Rich pardon, all on the last day.

    There's nothing kosher about that.

    March 7, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Adam, CA

    Wait wait what did Hillary say in Septemeber of 2007.

    "Clinton: Well, Tim, it is my goal to have all troops out by the end of my first term. But I agree with Barack. It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting.... I will immediately move to begin bringing our troops home when I am inaugurated.... [But there] may be a continuing counterterrorism mission, which, if it still exists, will be aimed at al Qaeda in Iraq. It may require combat, Special Operations Forces or some other form of that, but the vast majority of our combat troops should be out."

    Debate transcripts are such a truth factor. So recognizing you couldn't predict the exact lay of the land in september of 2007 was her case but now her withdrawl plan is cast in stone? Ohh wait her plan is to ask the generals how to do it. Ready to make decisions on day one? What happens if the generals tell her they can't do it?

    I'm also sure clinton would be very happy iof he voted against funding the necessary body armor and armored humvee's that were included in the budget bills. If you can't end the war you have no choice but to ensure the troops have addequate provisions.

    When is Hillary going to explain how Jim Jeffords knew the intelligence on the al quaida link was faulty but hillary didn't in october of 2002. They reviewed the same intelligence yet one knew there wasn't a case for war. He must just have better judgement and analytical abilities than senator clinton.

    March 7, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Grif

    You should be Jumping around, on all-four's. Mister Obama

    In the "Sarengetti Game Reserve"

    March 7, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. Answering the question.....

    Cindy – so when they produce the records you will review them and then change your affiliation to Senator Clinton? Otherwise it seems to me to be irrelevant.

    And I guess it is a whole new world that someone may proclaim to not want to support someone who's HUSBAND may have gotten money from a foreign country that allegedly may have had human rights violations – but on the other hand is seemingly supporting the candidate who has used cocaine while on the job. Interesting to me where the priorities are...........hummmmmm

    March 7, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. JFK

    This pure desperation on Obama's part. I believe we should focus on the issues and maybe even try to keep some of his advisors under control. Its not always a conspiracy with the Clintons and this is just a plain waste of time. But if he wants explanations on the past, he should clearly define his own relationship with his slumlord friend then!

    March 7, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. Hillary Huckabee

    Hillary Huckabee needs to bow out, gracefully while she can.

    Her Rovian mudslinging will only help to elect McCain.

    She doesn't have the delegates or the votes, and she won't, short of Rovian/Clintonian dirty tricks.

    Buh-bye, Hillary Huckabee

    March 7, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. kathleen.

    Yes Maaaaaam, That is what the new Commander in Chief
    said! ANY QUALMS ABOUT DAT!!!!!

    Go Home to Bill, Hillary.

    THE DREAM TICKET.WHEN THE OTHER PERSON DON'T WANT YOU ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the way it will go:

    OBAMA PRESIDENT 2008 VICE PRES. yet to be chosen.
    HILLARY-keep your Senate job if you can swindle your way

    March 7, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I would think people would realize that what Obama is saying is quite intelligent. It would be most wise to have the input of generals and others who are on the ground when formulating the plan for reducing the number of troops in Iraq.

    That Clinton tries to twist this into a negative is beyond me. Does she really think that a plan made today should be absolute in its execution a year later without consideration of any events that may or may not happen? That instantly reminds me of how this war has been conducted from the start. The "stay the course" no matter what develops is a disastrous path.

    It is Obama that has the level headedness and fortitude to be president.

    It is sad to me that Clinton supporters, at least the majority that post here, seem to possess the same naivete and shortsightedness that she does.

    Clinton says whatever she can, no matter how much she circumvents the truth, just to get the short term results that she desires. What is more sad is that it works.

    March 7, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. THE voting game

    Obama supports only attack the opponent instead of telling how their candidate will help americans improve their quality of life. How he plans to lead the country. You can not use the negative of the opponent to show your candidate is better leader. Obama supports you are clearly showing that Obama has no clear plans or ideas of his own to move forward.
    Clinton has none stop talked about her plans and ideas, and has town hall meeting with real voters with real questions.
    It is not even close how much better of a leader Hillary Clinton is or campaigning.
    Hillary will prevail in the democratic party if BO continues to only show the negative of the opponent and not the positive of himself.
    If he does not have it yet, then he will eventually, but you can not make it up as you go.
    PA voters will want facts period, they will stand for one directional conversation (speech), sorry. PA is blue collar and what have you done for us lately is very important.
    BO may have it in 4 to 8 years but not now.

    March 7, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  16. Dusacre


    It is mathematically impossible for Hillary to win the nomination base on elected delegates. She is behind by 150 elected delegates. Now she will spend millions of dollars to trash Obama, and many of her supporters are doing the same.

    The goal is to convince the super delegates that Obama is not electable according to the Clintons.

    Now how does it help the Democratic Party?

    Hillary will loose, it is mathematically too late for her.

    March 7, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  17. Randy Stewart

    America, let us get it right this time. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who the best canadate is. Hillary voted for the war, Hillary voted for nafta. Hillary at times seems out of control when angry. We are in this mess togather, the economy, war,loosing world friendships. Hillary is not only a monster she is unpredictable, hatefull, dishonest, and spoiled. Do we really want her as our leader. I can only imagine how world leaders would react to someone who's goal is to belittle her opponent. We need positive leadership, A communicator, a visionary, A person willing to listen to advice and make wise choices. Obama has proven that his leadership is what America needs to recover It's standing in the world. Chrisma creates friendships, patience brings wisdom, focus allows understanding, creativity opens doors for success. Obama is our best hope to turn this country back down the path to greatness and success for us all. Obama fits the definition for an experienced leader.

    March 7, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. R from Ohio

    Oh aren't you funny. You have no plan and it's getting obvious.
    You talk and talk and still no concrete plan. And the media
    supports you.

    March 7, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. Nancy

    Goodness–Barack's advisor has the sense to say that it will be necessary to look at the situation next year at this time and talk with the people on the ground in Iraq. And folk have the hardheadedness to complain about that? Seems like plain old common sense to me.

    Hillary will say and do anything to get elected. Please, people, let's give a new style the chance to bring pride to the USA again.

    From a Michigan Democrat–many of us didn't vote in the primary because Barack wasn't on the ballot. He was following the rules. Now we'd like a chance to vote for him. I voted for "uncommitted" because that was the closest I could get. With him on the ballot, Hillary doesn't have a chance. And Jennifer Granholm needs to watch out because I can no longer support her–she's part of Hillary's dirty tricks.

    March 7, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. Deanna Blevins

    How can they count the votes from the earlier Michigan and Florida Vote IF THE ONLY NAME ON THE BALLOT WAS HILARY CLINTON??
    Also on our Canadian News from Capital Hill in Ottawa it has been mentioned a few times, that both the Clinton camps and the Obama Camps BOTH contacted the Canadian Gov't. about their Nafta positions, (just being retoric etc) NOT just the Obama Camp?? Why hasn't CNN reported this?

    March 7, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  21. SamHouston, Clarendon, Texas

    Without a doubt, Senator Barrack Obama has the right words at the right time everytime.
    He is the only one running for President of the United States that can bring peace to the Middle East and the rest of the world.
    I suggest that everyone that hasn't read "THE AUDACITY OF HOPE" by Barack Obama, read it. This is why Senator Obama will in the long run be our next President of the United States of America.

    March 7, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  22. Steve

    This is the type of thing I've been wanting Obama to do for a long time, now. Not go negative but actually defending himself when attacked and calling out his opponent on legit points of contention while presenting why he would be the better choice (in a fairly cordial manner).

    Questioning her on her ridiculously vague "experience", mentioning that it's rather dumb of her to criticize his Iraq position when she voted for the war (and gave a speech on the Senate floor trying to convince her fellow Senators to vote for it), and responding to what what Samantha Powers said in a fairly swift manner, defusing the situation before it could really get out of hand.

    These are the kinds of things I've been hoping to see him do for a long time, now. Glad to see he's finally beginning to counter all the baseless stuff Hillary is heaping at him.

    March 7, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. There Will Be Blood

    That is exactly what The GOP want from the two remaining Dem candidates. If this continues, The LEFT don't have in hell of taking over the White House.

    To all naive as well as ignorant bloggers who tend to speak with anger instead of reason, beware! You will soon learn that you are the reason why The GOP will keep the White House in 2009 and beyond. Your bickering and resentment toward opponents are without merits. So, go ahead continue to fuel the fire. Let us give more ammunition to the GOP because they are certainly loving this bloodshed between Barack and Hillary.

    March 7, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  24. Trev

    Wow, is Obama trying to change the subject. His advisor said that the plans in the campaign were not likely to become reality. Samantha Power called Obama's Iraq plan a "best case scenario" in an interview with the BBC, and said the Illinois senator "will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or U.S. senator" to remove U.S. troops from Iraq. Sounds to me like Obama is selling hope to the public but has a different plan once he takes office.

    Hillary 08

    March 7, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. Marina

    Hillary Clinton is further dividing the Democratic party by attacking Senator Obama. This is about her remember, not us. ......She won't give it up easily and she'll take everyone down with her. The most horrible part is that we are in the middle of a mess in Iraq and here she is getting petty, not being honest, and spouting out her unqualified rhetoric against the Senator who put forward the strictest ethics reform bill ever seen. Well of course she doesn't know how to act, she can't hold a candle to Barack Obama. As far as I'm concerned, she is dividing the Democratic party by her antics and I won't see a changed U.S. probably in my lifetime because of the Bush's and Clinton's. In my opiinion, she is a monster.

    March 7, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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