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. Karl in Charleston,SC

    Doubtful B.O. will say anything good about G.W. Bush. That would require class.

    August 31, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. gt

    dont those two dare to say anything good about bush.... he is there bell cow and whipping boy....when things get bad they willl need to blame somebody ....dont you do it...

    August 31, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. Mike

    I dont understand this... There is nothing better about Iraq right now than there was before the surge. The only measure of success is that we aren't there anymore. People are still getting blown up everyday with sectarian violence, which the "surge" was supposed to stop. So, how did the "surge" work? Why does somebody deserve credit? You cant screw something up so badly and then argue this one thing went semi well and now I deserve some credit. Am I wrong?

    August 31, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Liz the First

    Bush doesn't deserve anything in the way of praise for his illegal war. What Obama should've done was to order him frog marched off the podium at the inauguration and put on a plane to the Haigue to stand trial for war crimes! if Bush hadn't started his petty war of vendetta against Saddam, how many thousands of our sons and daughters would be alive today, not to mention the untold thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians? and the war in Afghanistan may have been brought to a successful conclusion years ago preventing how many more deaths? No, Bush doesn't deserve any praise, he deserves to spend the rest of his miserable life in prison!

    August 31, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. bernice

    Keep going O'Bama...you'll succeed & the repubs will come along & tear down everything O'Bama has worked so hard for..& that has totally turned his hair white...
    Maybe they'll win their seats back & O'Bama can play their role for a while..NO...NO....NO...Our Prez has VETO power..

    August 31, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. Shawn-Ga

    He can not go on T.V. and praise the surge and all that worked which he very openly opposed. He can not give a speech about this without giving credit to those who put this into motion.

    August 31, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. TC, WPB moderate

    Of course Obama is not going to give any due credit to Bush, he's too arrogant. An improved political situation? Which came about because of increased confidence that some sort of peace was attainable – due to the surge. Spin it however Obama wants, the surge worked and he was against it.

    August 31, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Like the surge, the Sunni Awakening occurred on GWB's watch. Blame Bush all you want for starting the war, but he also deserves far more credit that Obama for winding it down.

    August 31, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. JohninTampa

    If Bush had committed in the first place the numbers his generals said they needed, there would never have been any need to add them later. As military strategists and planners his administration was completely incompetent.

    August 31, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Chuck, Tennessee

    "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,"

    If they knew adding tropps would improve the situation, then why did they oppose it? The entire Obama administration can lie with the best of them.

    August 31, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Me

    "Obama to tip his hat to Bush?"
    ...for what? Sending us to war with a country that never commited an act of war against America?
    A country that did not have Weapons Of Mass Destruction
    A country that absolutely nothing to do with Sept. 11,.
    After the billions of dollars that has been spent
    After all of the resources and countless lives of innocent civillians and soldiers alike, WE must remember what matters most,
    WE SHOULD HAVE NEVER GONE TO WAR WITH IRAQ!

    They did not attack us and AlQueda was not there until WE got there.

    WE SHOULD HAVE NEVER GONE TO WAR WITH IRAQ!

    I have spoken

    August 31, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    Yes, it's really working alright, just watch the news, every day they are still blowing each other up and killing each other up over what? They were better off before idiot Bush invaded then they are now, plus Irack kept Iran inline and vice versa, now that we have destableized the middle east we have Iran to worry about. Should have left it alone but NOOOOOOOOOO Bush had to have his war. Bush-worst president ever.

    August 31, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Kirsten

    I love how they say "We knew that adding those men and women in there would improve the security situation". Especially when it was blatantly obvious that both Obama and Biden were against the surge. But then again why would they not try taking the credit for something Bush did? All of their lemmings will clearly believe everything they say, regardless of past words.

    August 31, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    This narcissitic, incompetent, inept, corrupt union toady will not give any credit to Bush. Did you hear his crap about the small business help bill yesterday? While blaming "ripping" and "slamming" the Republicans, he failed to mention that it has another $30 billion in giveaways to the dope smokers and union executives. He failed to metion that that giveaway was what the Republicans oppose. The first trillion he gave them has failed to do anything to help hardworking American taxpayers (no suprise there). And the reality is that small business owners and their employees are now receiving their first renewals of health care insurance since Obozocare and finding that their premiums are up in double and sometimes triple digits. Remember "not one dime more?" Put in in the Obama lie category, like the "summer of prosperity," if there is any room left in that category.

    August 31, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. Padraig

    The pompous one will probably take credit as he tends to do.

    August 31, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. dont care what you Demoncrates say

    what is the flopped eared moron going to blame bush for now, oh is it that obama found out he cannot walk on water or is it that obama is going to beg for white peoples help, obama you have ruined plenty of lives and fortunes and we hope god has NO mercy on you when you are unemployed.

    August 31, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Aeromechanic.

    The surge had very little to do with the sucess. If you'll all remember, that radical, anti-American, Shite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, called for his followers to begin a cease fire with the coalition troops at the same time as the so-called surge began.

    Which do you think had more to do with stability?

    August 31, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. NVa Native

    There cannot be more contrast between two Presidents than Obama and Bush. To opposites that clearly both thought they were doing the best for our country. I think we need to be very greatful for Obama being extremely intelligent and thoughtful in bringing our country back on track and healing the gaping wounds left by the Bush/Cheney regime.
    But think how better off we would have been if there never was a Bush/Cheney regime in control for eight years and a Republican controlled Congress for so many years – including the Clinton years??

    And now the Repubs want to be back in control with their fear and prejudice, along with the "to hell with the middle class and working class" corporate and 2% wealthy elitist favoritism?
    Why would we be so foolish??

    August 31, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. Laverne

    Bush deserves NOTHING! He started the war in Iraq, so why should he be praised for anything? We should have not been there in the first place and to say he deserves credit for bringing the war to an end is like saying your child deserves a reward after burning down the house on purpose!

    August 31, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Riley

    He SHOULD than Presidnet Bush for the surge. Obama cannot claim any credit for the Iraq war success.

    August 31, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. paulie_nj

    Gibbs is an idiot, and everyone knows that – including himself.

    August 31, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. It is Bush's victory not Obama's

    Tip his hat? Obama should give Bush all the credit for Iraq and a lot to john McCain also – it was hthe Bush-McCain strategy and the McCain surge that got us victory. Obama and Biden were both against it. And if Biden had his way, Iraq would now be broken into 3 religious sections and embroiled in a civil war with Iran getting involved.

    During the Presidential campaign, Obama and Biden chided McCain for the idea of the surge - McCain proved right – Obama and Biden totally wrong

    If Obama wants to shoswhis leadershop, he should pull out of Afghanistan as fast as he can –

    August 31, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. Bertina

    Only political hacks care about this.

    August 31, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. pahoosier

    Let me see . . . Bush got us into this unnecessary war, and now Obama is to tip his hat to Bush? Oy. I just wish we had the trillions of dollars spent in the war to spend here in the US. Can you just imagine what Bush could have done? The national debt wouldn't be so high, our infrastructure maintained, and we wouldn't be dealing with the problems that we face today. Tip hat? No, please.

    August 31, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Don in Sacramento

    Gee, this is a page right out of Nixon's handbook. After dragging his feet for over a year, Nixon finally ended the Vietnam war on the eve of his 1972 reelection. The mood of the nation was absolute jubilation after so many years and thousands of American lives lost (along with countless thousands wounded) in a war that should never have been ours. Not all of us were as blind as Nixon thought. We understood he had dragged his feet and calculated the ending of the war to assure his reelection. It worked, and he was reelected easily, only to be run out of office within a year or so. Now Obama knows he's in trouble and doesn't want to lose his congressional majority, so here we go again.

    Reading yet another speech from a teleprompter will be a transparent attempt for political gain. Unfortunately for Obama, many now view him as no better than a snake oil salesman who will do anything for political gain. Can't wait for 2012!!

    August 31, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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