August 31st, 2010
09:56 AM ET
4 years ago

Obama to tip his hat to Bush?

Will Obama mention President Bush during his Iraq speech?
Will Obama mention President Bush during his Iraq speech?

(CNN) - As White House aides put the finishing touches on President Obama's Oval Office address marking the end of combat missions in Iraq, how will they negotiate the biggest elephant not in the room – former President George W. Bush?

In an interview with CNN's John Roberts Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was decidedly unclear when it came to whether the president would tip his hat to his predecessor's successful surge strategy – a strategy both Obama and Vice President Biden stridently opposed when they were both presidential candidates during the early stages of the 2008 race for the White House.

In his interview with CNN, Gibbs suggested the improved conditions in Iraq were the result of more than the decision to add more troops in 2007.

"We knew that adding those men and women in there would improve the security situation, but the reason we are where we are today is because of an improved political situation," Gibbs said on CNN's American Morning.

"We know that the Sunni awakening, Sunni tribes in the western part of Iraq began not to fight with but to fight against al Qaeda. And all of those circumstances led to a point in which we're at today," he continued. "I will say this, john - I think many people believe that when the president made a commitment to end our combat mission in Iraq by August 31st, 2010, I am not sure many people believed that he could pull it off."

Obama will deliver his Oval Office address at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.


Filed under: Iraq • issues • President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Eric

    Of course he won't bother tipping his hat to his prececessor. That would require class and tact, neither of which this man possesses.

    Instead, like all pathetic self-important Baby Boomers, he'll take credit for something he didn't do.

    The real question is, will he admit his opposition to the surge that provide the "improved political situation" that has allowed the end of combat operations? Of course not... liberals know when facts get in the way of your story, you jettison facts.

    August 31, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. November 2010

    President Obama will never admit he was wrong. His ego is too big......

    August 31, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Anonymous

    my feeling is that surge or no surge, ex pre bush does not deserve any recognition nor credit re the end of this great tragedy..if it were not for him, there would have not been a need for a so called surge, where alot of brave men/women on both sides lost their lives..The only person in my opinion who deserves any credit is Pres Obama along with our brave soldiers..So GOP, ge over it and stop being your usual obstructions...For once face the fact that you guys lost...and move on

    August 31, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. jules sand-perkins

    Oh, please–President Obama didn't pull anything off. The surge did, and he opposed that.
    This speech is a desperate campaign ploy.
    The ending of the speech I'd like to hear is a "Promise" not to run again, or, even better, "I resign."

    August 31, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    He is keeping ANOTHER promise, and quite frankly I would NOT be surprised if he did tip his hat to Bush if he felt justified in doing so. He's a class act, but he's not afraid to call it the way IT IS.

    To the mother and sister etc. of soldiers who called our President a traitor, might I suggest you ask your son/daughter, brother/sister the name of the traitor that sent them off to die in an UNNECESSARY war while HIS family peacefully slept to the sound of crickets in Crawford versus bullets overhead.

    August 31, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Ben in Texas

    Here's how Obama can "tip his hat" to Bush.

    Order Bush's immediate arrest by the Justice Department for war crimes.

    Give a speech decrying the lies Bush told to get us into the multi-trillion dollar fiasco that is the Iraq War.

    Reverse the Constitution shredding actions by the Bush regime, such as "enhanced interrogation" and signing statements.

    August 31, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Dano

    Giving him props now is like thanking BP for helping to clean up the mess they caused in the Gulf because of their incompetency. If Bush gets acknowledgement for the Iraq surge, he should also get the full blame for taking America to war needlessly along with the resulting loss of lives and the almost trillion dollars wasted there. Good job W – the defense contractors, Halliburton, and big oil companies are very grateful for your efforts on their part.

    August 31, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. Soap

    It was the surge that turned Iraq around. Man, gibbs and others are as stupid as a sack of hammers or just refuse to admit the obvious. obamas stimulus package, passed by a demorat congress, has cost the country more than the 07 years of combat in Iraq. That is a simple fact and can be verified by any who doubt it.

    August 31, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Jack

    Let's be real. Bush invaded Iraq which has caused us unbelievable problems. There was NO reason to invade Iraq. It was a stable country under a petty dictator whose number one enemy was Iran. By invading Iraq to depose it's leader we 1) took our resources out of Afghanistan; 2) Gave Iran an opportunity to become more aggressive; 3) Sent the U.S. into incredible debt; 4) Alienated the Middle East. This was a terrible disaster that will take decades to correct, if we ever can. Yes, give Bush credit–for our problems now.

    August 31, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. Jon from Madison

    Gibbs is a tool. The "Sunni Awakening" was a direct result of the surge. Most regular people in the region are going to side with who they think will win, out of fear that choosing the wrong side will lead to torture or death. Once we showed a dominant force, the tides changed for us. Only the future will tell if it lasts. I do commend Obama on sticking to his deadline. Our men and women have done all they can do. It is time for Iraq to create their own destiny now.

    August 31, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. Blanks

    I don't think that was a tip of the hat. He is so used to using Bush as a pinata to cover his own failed policies it will never happen. We have serious problems in Afghanistan right now with 21 Americans killed in the last two days so he needs to refocus on the present quickly.

    August 31, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Orlando Patriot

    Since the day Obama was elected he has done nothing to benefit this country and has spent his entire presidency blaming other people for his incompetence. However, I would be the first person to stand up and thank Obama for showing some class and honor if he would speak positive about what George W. Bush accomplished in Iraq.

    We can argue all day long about whether we SHOULD have gone into Iraq but there is no doubt that the policies of George W. Bush are what will ALLOW us to LEAVE Iraq with victory and integrity. Obama, here is your chance to for once act "presidential" and, if you do, I will for the first time respect you. It is up to you.......Obama, are you going to be a respectful president or not???

    August 31, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. T'SAH from Virginia

    He should tip his hat to BUSH because BUSH started this war!!! Obama did not agree with it therefore, he will not take credit for it!!! What President Obama should be credited for is bringing the troops out of there like he promised!!!

    BUSH should get the credit for over 4400 soldiers that were killed – the deficit the Iraq war caused – and the fact that even though the war is almost over – Iraq will most likely go right back to the way they were BEFORE the war!!!

    President Obama already has a 'pre-rebuttal' before he speaks tonight by that BONE-head-Boehner and that alone shows NO RESPECT for the Commander in Chief!!! President Obama will give credit where credit is due because that's the type of man he is!!!

    August 31, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. jpmichigan

    Credit should be given to President Bush. Obama the Senator was against the surge, which worked and the day of removal of combat troops was from President Bush. Obama doesn't hesitate to push Bush under the bus when ever he can, Americans are still waiting for Obama to take complete ownership of his Presidency. Economically he has failed and no amount of rhetoric helps him. Jobs he created have been short term except for the Federal Government. Government is to big and we own to much money, which is placed on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren. Obama governs by his ideology and not by the will of the American people and the constitution.

    August 31, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. Drunken GOP Drivers want the keys back

    Yea, they gave them billions of your tax dollars to not fight back,it had nothing to do with the troop surge.Another Vietnam in a year or so.Wheres that nine billion dollars in cash that Bush lost over there in the first week?It was in a suitcase to payoff someone.

    August 31, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Steve in North Carolina

    I'm sure Obama will take all the credit for himself despite the fact that he doesn't have a clue. He's totally narcissistic!

    August 31, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. toughlove

    Sadly, this president's ego will not allow him to honor President Bush because Obama has proven over the past 2 years that he is an egomaniac. Never admitting he's wrong, when the rest of us can clearly see it.

    August 31, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. La Piovra

    Back in the day, I didn't think much could make Bush look good, but at least he wasn't stirring up xenophobia or openly pumping for repeal of important parts of the Constitution. I thought, even back then, that his stance on immigration was reasoned and moderate. His apparent ideological successors remind me of the court buffoons that stirred up the inhumanity of mobs before gruesome executions: lynch-mob leading clowns. For what he did that was right, he should be commended, even as he should not be whitewashed for what he did wrong, and that is the proper historical standard by which to evaluate anyone.

    August 31, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    If Obama admits the obvious – that the surge strategy worked – he would in essence be admitting HE was wrong.

    Not gonna happen.

    August 31, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. Dave

    In other words, Bush should still get some credit after he started the war based on lies and ineptitude. If anything, Bush should be getting a prison sentence.

    August 31, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Bill from GA

    When President Obama lets the troop withdrawal from Iraq proceed, as planned by Bush and the Republicans, he gets no credit for it. When he plans to let just part of the unaffordable tax cuts expire, as planned by Bush and the Republicans, he is accused of raising taxes.

    To repugs, that probably even makes sense, somehow. Just ignore facts and logic.

    August 31, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. Steve in Denver

    No tip of any hat is due to the shrub. IF the surge was a success, it would only represent 1% of the decision making regarding Iraq that was the right decision.

    In the end, however, the shrub lied to get us into a war against a country that did not attack us and posed no threat to us. 4,400 US service men and women are dead, thousands more wounded, and 100k + Iraqis are dead. Life in Iraq is much worse than before we attacked. Al quaeda now can operate in Iraq, saddam did not allow his enemies, namely bin laden, in his country.

    Considering the fraud used to start the unnecessary war, the outright incompetence with which it was waged until 2009, the rampant war profiteering that was (and is) unchecked, IF the shrub got that one decision right, it was about time he did something right.

    August 31, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. terry,va

    Obummie will not give Bush credit for turning the war around. He will somehow say he did it. He will take credit for something that anyone with a pea brain knows he didn't have anything to do with. In the meantime he is still blaming Bush for the economic mess that Obummie himself created. Obummie talks about the cost of the Iraq war collapsing our economy. Well here's a fact that you have ignored Obummie. Eight year cost of the Iraq war is 709 billion dollars. Two years of your ignorant stimulus bill that hasn't done anything to help the economy is 862 billion dollars. Our unemployment rate is 9.5% and the national deficit is 1.3 trillion; the second largest in 65 years (WW2).

    August 31, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  24. Four and The Door

    No, Obama and Gibbs will not be able to pull their weak little minds out of this partisan rut they occupy and give credit where credit is due.

    This is what Americans see and it is not pretty watching from outside of Washington. But then, Obama is going to stick to the advce of his misguided political advisors to the bitter end. Don't you love his loyalty?

    August 31, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The only credi Bush should get is for putting a timetable in place to withdraw. That's it! As for as this God forsaken war goes, he should get absolutely no credit. All the credit should go to our brave service men and women. They removed a dictator and liberated a people. However, I remember being told we were there for WMD. Where is the yellowcake uranium Saddam acquired from Africa????? And let's not forget that war crimes were committed in Iraq. So should Bush get any credit? Absolutely NONE!!!

    August 31, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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