CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) – After a week of hammering Barack Obama over his ties to former radical William Ayers, Sarah Palin opened up a new line of attack Friday by questioning Obama’s patriotism, citing a newspaper report that the Illinois senator negotiated with Iraqi officials this summer to stall a White House agreement on a timeline for troop withdrawals from the country.
“We’ve learned that Barack Obama tried to influence negotiations with Iraqi leaders in a way that would set back America's cause there, while advancing his campaign here,” Palin said at a morning fundraiser in the upscale Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill.
“We learned this morning that Iraqi officials are saying Senator Obama tried to make a secret deal with the Iraqi government and he apparently wanted this action delayed, some more strategy delayed, that would reduce troop numbers until the next president takes office.”
Palin was referring to a Washington Times report Friday that said Obama privately pushed Iraqi officials in June to delay negotiating a long-term “status of forces agreement” until the new president enters the White House, a move that would appear to step on the Bush administration, which was in the midst of negotiating its own agreement.
According to the article, the Obama campaign insisted the Democratic nominee was negotiating in his capacity as a senator, and that he believes Congress should have input on negotiations over troop reductions.
Palin accused Obama of presumptuously meddling in the affairs of a sitting president, at the expense of U.S. troops.
"Obama apparently tried to undermine our government's official efforts to reduce troops in Iraq,” she said. “If this is a true, again, it is a stunning example of putting ambition above country. To put political ambitions in front of doing what's right for our troops is breathtaking and it is unacceptable."
“I pray to God that people have enough time to let this register with them and start again, connecting the dots and understand the contrast between the tickets,” Palin said.