April 17th, 2008
03:18 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton: President, not generals, will be in charge in Iraq

Clinton is pledging to begin withdrawal in the first 60 days of her administration.
Clinton is pledging to begin withdrawal in the first 60 days of her administration.

HAVERFORD, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Hillary Clinton declared Thursday she will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 60 days of becoming president, regardless of what her military advisers say about the situation on the ground at the time.

"You can see which way the questions are going," she firmly told a mostly female audience gathered at Haverford College, a small liberal arts school outside of Philadelphia. "What if the military commanders tell you its dangerous to withdraw? That question is backwards. The president tells the military commanders what the mission is."

Clinton has faced a slew of hypothetical questions from reporters about withdrawing from Iraq after she said last week that her rival Barack Obama cannot be trusted to end the war.

In making that case to voters and the press, the Clinton campaign has cited an interview with a former Obama foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power, who told the BBC in March that the Illinois senator's pledge to withdraw all combat troops in 16 months was "a best case scenario."

At the Democratic debate in Philadelphia last night, Clinton was asked if she would bring the troops home "no matter what," even if that meant destabilizing the country.

Clinton said yes, promising to do so responsibly and with a strong diplomatic effort in the region.

"Our professional military are the best in the world," she said. "They give their best advice. And then they execute the policies of the president."

– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Pennsylvania
soundoff (380 Responses)
  1. Carol

    This probably scares me more than any she has ever said. What does she know about war & military matters. If she won't listen to experts on this, what other advise would she ignore? On this alone I wouldn't vote for her. . .

    April 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. fred

    You go girl!!

    Down with Obama...he is a cry baby..wimp!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. Sharon

    She's absolutely right...Commander in Chief.....

    April 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. candidate with three or four heads

    again can anyone say she is OK............ this is very sad becuase the DNC needs to step out inmediately and tell her to leave the country (although no country would take her...)
    can you say Narcisist.......... she plans not to hear even our generals???
    take that (generals who are supporting her..) she does not listen to billb ooo why would she listen to anyone.. including the people
    we have been saying we dont want her as president we dont like her

    adn yet she wont listen.... she is becoming a dictator... circling around the democracy we know she wants dynasty but this is a democracy
    she will looose BIG

    April 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Mike, Iowa

    Well, if she withdraws 2 people from Iraq, i guess she can say she's kept her promise.....

    April 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. jt

    Clinton is corretc regarding Iraq situation!!

    Tactical fight can go on for a long time.

    There must be a political solution and that is from the President.

    Hillary 08!! Her aswrere is bolder. Obama's answere is a safer and reminds me to his many "Present" votes as state Senator.. No guts.

    Hillary is bolder!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. get real

    CNN, why don't you rename yourself BET! You would think that with all the black political commentators you have on, that this nation is 90% black. I really can't stand that Martin guy.

    I'm soooooo sick of CNN and I have watched it for my whole 30 years of life.

    I never thought I would say this, but Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are looking better every day.

    If Obama gets the nomination, we can thank you CNN. Of course, he won't win the general election, because he is another left wing nut job.

    I think we all know how it will play out.... Just get out your old video footage of Dukakis, Gore and Kerry and you will see how it will end.... With a Republican in the whitehouse.

    Sincerely,

    Another typical, white, bitter, democratic male.

    Vote Hillary 08 (McCain if no Hillary)

    April 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Enough said

    gerard morei

    well I guess I'm crazy, because I will never support another Clinton in my life. I used to like Bill, but he proved to be a racist dog after his comments about Jesse Jackson.

    April 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Faith in Hillary

    Hillary don't lose hope. People are praying for you because you are the better leader of all.

    April 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Bridgette- PA

    She sure is coying the exact same thing that Obama said. The good thing here is that we know that in PENNSYLVANIA and we are voting in 6 days! We are working hard to shut Hilary down once and for all!

    OBAMA-08!

    April 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Gwen NC

    For all of the ignorant people out there, she is correct and it is factual. the CIC sets the mission, not the other way around. Bush set the mission and then became hands off, that's why we're in the shape we're in. God you all sooooo don't want Hillary to be right, but she is, she's so far better and knowledgeable than Barack or McCain. Get over your dislike and do the right thing for this country, hire the right person

    Hillary – because the smart Americans want you.

    April 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Ben

    yeah hillary don't listen to the experts! no issues just bashing she is so pathetic!

    April 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. mike

    Hilary will say whatever voters want to hear. That's been proven to be true. After she takes over (a very slim hypothetical) she'll invent "new" circumstances that make it impossible for her to deliver – as with all her other campaign promises.

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. Ana in L.A.

    Wow- it seems like alot of you were NOT paying attention last night. I believe that the difference between the 2 responses to this questions were:

    Hillary- 60 days/ with general's agreement or not
    and
    Obama- 16 months/with general's agreement or not

    But of course, Obomabots tend to filter our so many things....

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. Observer

    The more I listen to Obama, the more scary it is to think that he could be the next president of the USA unless die hard Obama will wake up and smell what is really cooking in Obama's head.
    He and his wife has no sincere bones in their bodies.

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. Gwen NC

    by the way, Capt Smash, Hillary answered first, Obama copied her, it's not the first time she's been asked that question. I've watched every debate.

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. Holding out hope in NC...

    No, matter what you thought of them, the Clinton's military records shines compared to either of the Bush's presidencies. You don't see us still in a quagmire in Serbia/Croatia do you? No, the genocide was stopped and peace was restored. Obama will just talk a lot to our enemies and hope they are moved by his enlightened ideas. Yes, Hillary, can!

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Barb Canada

    listening to this forum I can see where the problem lies......Obama supporters seem to be suffering from acute blindness, and recurrent double ear infections........better vote yes to Hillarys health care plan!

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. Apollyon

    She claims Barack can't be trusted to do what he says. What about her being trusted? In anything? Her past accounts can't be trusted; the very words coming out of her mouth can't be trusted; so by making a reasonable judgement, she certainly can't be trusted to do what she says she is going to do. That's why only 38% of democrats believe she is trustworthy, compared to 69% for Obama.

    ( I wonder if that would have worked with my mom years ago when I got caught in a bald faced lie? "I'm sorry mom, I misspoke." She would have wooped my natural @ss.

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Carmen

    Hillary why are you always spitting on Obama way of thinking. Think for yourself because you dugged that ditch now jump in it or get out. Leave Obama out of it because he knows what he is saying do you?

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Jen

    I watched the debate very closely last night and Obama was given this question before Clinton. He was the one who actually said this first – that it's the commander chief, not generals that would be the "decider." She followed-up and basicially repeated what Obama said. But who could blame her – it was a brilliant answer. I've seen that others have said the same thing. Considering this, this is an odd recounting of what actually happened.

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. n

    Obama copies Hillary. Hey CNN, why are you not posting pro-clinton messages.

    Obama and his supporters are whining about the debate, please. Look at you. You do nothing but attack Hillary daily. This is very hypocritical. If Obama didn't like the debate and the questions, maybe he should quit, because he didn't answer any questions. Funny, Obama didn't have a problem when the debates went after Clinton.

    I can't believe he is now whining. Who is really tearing the dems apart? How dare he continue to ridicule Clinton on a daily basis. Wow, what change.

    April 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. Ric

    Someone who actually does her homework!! Obama should have taken notes. Maybe Rezko, Wright, or Ayers can help him answer the tough questions during the next debate. Maybe Michelle Obama can explain why their income jumped $3 million dollars once he announced he was running for president. Maybe Obama can explain that dinner party he went to with people who want to destroy Israel. Did he donate money?? Was Wright there too???
    Shame on you Obama! Shame on you.
    Obama = racist church, anti American

    April 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. Apollyon

    She claims Barack can't be trusted to do what he says. What about her being trusted? In anything? Her past accounts can't be trusted; the very words coming out of her mouth can't be trusted; so by making a reasonable judgement, she certainly can't be trusted to do what she says she is going to do. That's why only 38% of democrats believe she is trustworthy, compared to 69% for Obama.

    ( I wonder if that would have worked with my mom years ago when I got caught in a bald faced lie? "I'm sorry mom, I misspoke." She would have wooped my natural @ss.

    April 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. Brenda

    She might be right, but she won't get the chance to excerise that description. Let it be know that Hillary Clinton is now a Republican.

    April 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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