June 17th, 2008
07:16 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama speaks with Iraq's foreign minister, promises visit

Sen. Obama plans to visit Iraq before the November Election.

Sen. Obama plans to visit Iraq before the November Election.

(CNN) – A day after his Republican counterpart sat down with visiting Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari, Barack Obama spoke with him by phone from Chicago Monday morning and told him that he looked forward to seeing him in Baghdad before November.

WATCH Sen. Obama discuss Iraq

“I emphasized to him how encouraged I was by the reductions in violence in Iraq, but also insisted that it is important for us to begin the process of withdrawing US troops, making clear that we have no interest in permanent bases in Iraq,” Obama told reporters upon landing in Michigan for a two-day swing through the state.

The Illinois senator misspoke when he argued that Zebari and “President Maliki” are concerned about Iraq’s sovereignty and are not seeking a long-term occupation by the United States. Jalal al-Talabani is the president of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki is the prime minister.

“I gave [Zebari] an assurance that should we be elected, an Obama administration will make sure that we continue with the progress that's been made in Iraq, that we won't act precipitously,” said Obama.

Obama said Zebari did not express concern about a withdrawal of American troops, saying, “He did emphasize his belief that we've made real progress and I think was eager to see political accommodations between the factions follow up in the wake of this progress.”

At about the same time Obama was speaking to his traveling press corps, McCain told reporters at a press conference at his Arlington, Virginia headquarters that Obama “is now is closing in on his 900th day since he visited Iraq.”

“The whole debate in this campaign should be about whether we’re going to allow that surge to continue to succeed or we’re again going to do what Sen. Obama wanted to do and that is to set date for withdrawal long ago without giving the surge a chance to succeed,” said McCain, again criticizing Obama for not meeting directly with Gen. David Petraeus.

“I don’t know how you can draw conclusions such as Senator Obama has without even sitting down and talking with our commander on the ground,” he added.

Obama would not specify when he plans to visit Iraq but said it would be before Election Day, and that he would like to visit Afghanistan as well.

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Jeremy

    Bravo Bill, well put.


    June 16, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Bill - Charlotte

    Everyone is entitled to a "misspeak." After all, McCain said, "He would not have folks clinging to their guns and the CONSTITUTION." This was right after he promised to stop all "BEERS."

    CNN>>>> find a real story!

    June 16, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Sheri

    McCain:(MCSAME) oh my ,he's to old and has a temper.(MCBUSH) will get us into trouble. Bushes third term. I 've had enough.

    June 16, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |

    1. Well now, isn't it time to TELL THE TRUTH!?!
    2. WE KNOW the truth. About your MCCAIN and "Obama" campaigns. But what about Mike Glophine? Why aren't you covering him? Hmm, strange coincidence, huh?

    June 16, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. axt113

    Obama is leading in Virginia in the new Rasmussen, Obama's going to win

    June 16, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. Pedro


    Beg all you want, I'm voting for John McCain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    June 16, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. Robbie

    illegal war? Are you retarded? The president only has authority to deploy forces for up to 90 days solo anymore and congress has to approve....which they did...what part is illegal. Politicians only get in the way of the military and in the pockets of real Americans.

    June 16, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. Mike

    Remind me again, what has Obama ever done in his political career? He's a great speaker? great, go to some graduations or retirement ceremonies but please don't be the President of the United States. This is the first of many mistakes. There will be about 75 of them before democrats ask themselves "Seriously, this guy is rediculous".

    June 16, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Crush Rush

    Obama is young and strong.He will have the best Generals,many whom will come out of early retirement to make sure that Americans are protected here and abroad.He will speak softly and carry the big stick.

    June 16, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. Lynn in NM

    Does everyone know how to speak French? If not, you'd beter brush up.

    June 16, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. hillary is evil

    try this hillary
    "this was a very very close campaign and I wish it had turned out diffrently but this primary was not stolen from me by the DNC or Senator Obama...it was just very very close and they won. If you vote for senator McCain..you are no supporter of mine"

    All this NUTJOBS think you won and you are just encouraging them – I used to think she was a good choice for VP but now i see she is deluded and vain and weird!

    June 16, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. Rick

    Obama the sputtering clown rolls on!

    June 16, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Ben - Columbus, OH

    Wait, the article is really about an important conversation between Sen. Obama and Iraqi officials, but in one line of a speech he accidentally calls the prime minister a president and THAT was the headline? For shame, CNN, I expect more than that kind of slimy tabloid sensationalism from your organization.

    June 16, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. Bill from Rochester, NY

    With so many new faces, names, titles, countries, and issues to contend with, think is a teaspoon in Lake Ontario.

    June 16, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. Joe, Chicago

    CNN: Let's quit all the non-news in the "ticker." Raise the discourse and do some real reporting this year.

    June 16, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  16. Zeak

    This is why we need John McCain as Mr. P. He will attack Iran and bring Democracy to them all !!

    June 16, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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