August 31st, 2010
08:58 PM ET
4 years ago

Reaction to President Obama's Iraq address

(CNN) – Read reaction from CNN's Gloria Borger, David Gergen and Fareed Zakaria after the jump.

Gloria Borger on the politics of credit

"The economy, the economy is driving the political discussion, and to answer your question – does it matter? It matters to Republicans right now who are saying this is a president who ought to credit George W. Bush."

David Gergen: I found the speech "perplexing"

"I frequently praise Barack Obama and his speeches. I think they have been clear, understandable and very, very well written. I found this one perplexing. I didn't quite understand what the point was, it wasn't clear what the mission is either in Iraq or in Afghanistan going forward, it seems to be much more we are getting this monkey off our back. We gave it our best shot, over to you, Iraqis. Over to you next year, Afghans."

Fareed Zakaria on the speech's balance

"I reacted as David did to the style of the speech – for an eloquent president, this was remarkably workmanlike, but I think that it was an intelligent speech in that he was balancing various problems. He is trying to mark the end of military combat in Iraq, signal a commitment politically to Iraq, signal a determination to keep a capacity in Afghanistan, and then pivot to the economy which is of course the central issue on the minds of the American voter."

Fareed Zakaria on Obama's evolution

"You know what was striking about this is this was President Obama speaking, not candidate Obama, not Senator Obama. He praised the idea of nation building in Iraq. He praised the idea of spreading democracy in Iraq. He talked about conditions based withdrawal. These are all terms that were more associated with the more hawkish elements of the Democratic Party and indeed with President George W. Bush."

Gloria Borger on Obama's message to Democrats

"What I do think the president was trying to do was heal the divisions in this country about the war in Iraq. It's been the most divisive political issue that we've had, and I think he said definitively, now it is time to turn the page, and in doing so I think he was talking to Democrats as much as anybody."


Filed under: Iraq • issues • President Obama
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Nick Nicholson

    The purpose was very clear. He gave credit to Bush who started the whole thing, he said it's time to turn the page, he called for an end to divisiveness and he lauded the men who fought the war. Borger just wanted to take a cheap political shot and Gergan tried to read something into the speech that was not there.

    September 1, 2010 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  2. Steve

    Look, it's great that the end of the Iraq situation appears to be in sight, and I certainly appreciate the men and women who put themselves in harms way when they were asked to be there, but to think of the Iraq debacle as a success on any meaningful level is at best wildly pre-mature. Yes the surge appeared to work, but we're still way in the red, so to speak, on a success scale here. Does anyone remember why we were originally there? What exactly did our 7 1/2 years of occupation accomplish? And whatever was accomplished, was it worth the lives of 4400 American troops or 100,000 Iraqi civilians or the $750 billion price tag? Perhaps in the future when the lasting effects of us being there are more clear might we be able to call this a success.

    September 1, 2010 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  3. NJGeminigirl

    I hope everyone gets to see Rachel Maddow's show of last night, the section she called Credit Where Credit is Due. Very enlightening, sobering, where she gives, in great detail, the 5 fake reasons for Bush & company getting us into the Iraq War. And the fact that the Repubs actually want Obama to give credit to Bush for Obama's ending the war. Well, she gives credit to 2: Obama for ending the war, and the close-to-million service personnel during the 7+year war, who went and did what they were asked to do. It's not their fault the powers that be of that time, Bush & company LIED when they dragged us into that war. By the way, you loyal FOX viewers could learn a whole lot if you just watch other channels, sort of like taking off those blinders for a change....

    September 1, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  4. A Kickin` Donkey

    I agree that the President was rising above the petty partisanship by emphasizing the "turn the page" tenure and challenging all politicians to rise above the bickering to get things done. He is elininating any excuses the GOP might claim to justify their almost universal resistance to working in a bi-partisan manner.

    September 1, 2010 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  5. Eva fromTampa

    Brilliantly delivered. President Obama is a amazing man.

    September 1, 2010 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  6. Michael

    God bless Obama , he has stop the Republicans war, that was a lie. God bless the troops and their family's. Bush and the Republicans should be indicted for lying to the people and for war crimes. No more Republican lies and deceptions.

    September 1, 2010 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  7. Don Wuerl

    Its certainly time to move out of a place that so many lies led the United States, Great Britain, and our many friends to invade. However, we all turned the lives of Iraqis upsidedown! We need to make sure that they have all the utilities that were cut-off during that invasion-running water, electricity, and communications. Its going to be centuries before the US, GB, & our allies are going to be trusted, again. Maybe, we should never allow 'yellow journalism' to prevail, again!

    September 1, 2010 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  8. broderick

    I think he did a good job no matter what he say he get down played but as long as the president keep asking the lord to help him he will come out on top so just keep on down playing him and u will see! what a country this is a good man but only the people who see that is the one,s who believe in him I have never seen this much hate in my 38 years of living stay strong MR PRESIDENT salute!! Good job SIR!!!

    September 1, 2010 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  9. jules sand-perkins

    Yes, but when is the President going to give other Democratic candidates a break and repeat, after President Lyndon Johnson, that he will not seek, and he will not accept, the nomination for another term?

    September 1, 2010 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  10. Daniel

    God bless our POTUS.

    September 1, 2010 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
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