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. JoeyTx

    Since you pundits don't understand what the POTUS was saying here it is in the language you can understand. The purpose of the speach was not to address where we are going. Tha has been done previously. The purpose was to declare combat mission over and the new role we are assuming in Iraq. It was not to address Afghanistan as that will be in December when we will get the assessment from General P. We the people understand him may be you don"t understand because you had a different expectaion. I used to be that way when I worked for a large corporation. Anyways, he is the POTUS, we put him there and he's doing a "heck of a job".

    August 31, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  2. ABM

    Well DONE Mr. President.

    YES WE CAN!!!

    YES WE CAN!!!

    YES WE CAN!!!

    August 31, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. Tina

    Was it Iraq or the economy? Hard to tell.

    August 31, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  4. Mike Karslake

    He was scripted as usual but very quiet. Not in the "game" for the topic of this speech and he delivered no "punch lines" nothing interesting or compelling. He spoke of our sacrifices, wars and death as if he was observing from a distance. I did not believe his words becaure the rest of him sat motionless with no passion. I've not seen such a non-committal, emotionless speech about such an important topic and achievement. We practically cut off our countries right arm for this war and to restore order and fight terrorism and to defend our innocents yet President was passive tonight. Wrong emotion, wrong speech, wrong night! "WHERE DOES THIS GUY LIVE?" (not on main street).

    August 31, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  5. Joe

    I find Obama to be massly confused and inexperienced. This address confirms that he is not qualified to be a dog catcher much less President of the United States.

    August 31, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  6. courtney t

    Thank you 4 bringing them home

    August 31, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  7. bryan aiken

    politics 3x to be in the politica; world u must have a alot of patients.but im glad this happen why because the citizens on that battle field time should not be spent there it should be spent here in america with family & friends at a bbq.

    August 31, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  8. Noelle

    I really enjoyed the speech...he thanked the troops in a very eloquent way and acknowledged their huge sacrifice. He urged us to show as much grit as the troops have, to forge ahead, by turning our attention to the problems here at home.

    I am tired of the scrutinizing of every word he says, I am tired of the negativity, I am tired of the Obama bashing, and most of all, I am tired of the fake patriotism. Why is it only patriotic when you back a Republican? The President has constantly reached out to those who disagree with him just to have his hand slapped away. Grow up people and find the real patriotism, within...support your President and try to help solve the problems we face with him...instead of disrespecting the man.

    August 31, 2010 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  9. Sgt Joe

    He did the best with what he has to work with; mission is obviously not accomplished yet and remains to be seen if it ever will. Reading the interviews with Iraqi's does not sound as though they are happy because a lot of their infrastructure, even with all the billions we've spent, is not adequate. Obama rightly did not pump up the "mission accomplished" hype, but he gave credit where due and that is to the troops and their families who've sacrificed the most. Very appropriate. Boehner should be ashamed for wanting to gloat.

    August 31, 2010 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. josh

    i think we have turned the page, but we are in the same chapter in the same short story.

    August 31, 2010 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. jim

    Fareed Zakaria is anti semite. He has always faulted Israel on any issue. He is always a talking parrot of the lefist media that has permeated our society for many years.

    August 31, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  12. Dave

    We finally realized: we are in Bush's third term, but this term the media supports the new G.W.! Scary how the media can be fooled by party affiliation, left like talking, way of speaking and seemingly projection of smartness!!!!

    August 31, 2010 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  13. CathyinAZ

    I had no problem understanding what the President was saying WHAT I do not understand is the insane idea he should give any credit to President Bush. We were lied to, repeatedly, about the reasons for invading Iraq. I believe Pres. Bush OWES not only the nation an apology but to the familes of those who gave their life for his administration's lies.

    August 31, 2010 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  14. Homer

    How about boring,pathetic and a waste of time. His main theme was to appear Presidential and he failed at that.

    August 31, 2010 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. George

    The GOP is just starting to look petty by criticizing this particular speech. Obama has gone out of his way to reach out to them, but with the far right loonies, it's their way or the highway. I'm proud of him for standing up to them and refusing to cave into the old, failed ways of doing things, but no more so than on the Iraq War, which was totally trumped up to begin with.

    August 31, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  16. Michael Black

    I found the dialogue amongst the 360 panel insightful to say the least. It's interesting the under lying tint of predelection of David Gergen concerning Obamas speech. The idea that this president did not communicate to this particular panelists in ways that lay out a forward looking plan concerning these particular conflicts I do not believe was the presidents focus. I believe the adjustments this administration is having to make is one of dexterity considering the severe problems this country is facing. I was very engaged in the exchange between Fareed and David.

    August 31, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  17. James, AL

    You guys just don't get it! President Obama was trying to keep from making former President Bush look bad; while at the same time not giving ammo to republicans; while letting his constiuaents know that he kept his promise, and while not offending the military brass by believing that the surge was helpful, but not the definitive action that turned the tide in Iraq (hint: Un-necessary). So juggling that many balls takes some kind of skill. That is why the speech was not all laced with candy.

    August 31, 2010 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  18. Loretta

    I don't like Obama, never have and never will...I would like for President Bush to come back.....

    August 31, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  19. Sri

    I was happy to hear the speech, but as long as troops are still over there, even in a supposedly non combative role, and they are still in harm's way so clearly the war isn't over. Unlike the commentators though, I am not as critical of his speech and it shows the intention of going in the right direction. I don't disagree with what President Obama said and I'm happy he said it, but until all of our guys are out of that place, I don't think we should be saying it's over.

    August 31, 2010 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. Ricky atl

    No matter what he will held to a higher standard then any other President, so let the Critiquing begin!

    August 31, 2010 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  21. valwayne

    What a boring uninspiring speech! And David Gergen has this one nailed! What was the point? Do we know anything we didn't know before this speech? Was anybody inspired? Did he have any answers or solutions about the incredible UNEMPLOYMENT of bad Economy? What a huge waste of air time!

    August 31, 2010 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  22. Rob in MO

    The US invasion and occupation of Iraq was a terrible mistake. Almost 5000 American service persons lost their lives; tens of thousands more suffered serious, permanent injuries. Over a million Iraqis lost their lives, and 3 to 4 million fled their country and are living in squalor. We wasted hundreds of billions of dollars. We alienated millions of people in the Middle East and around the world. We diverted resources from Afghanistan, making that situation much worse. We strengthened Iran's position in the Middle East. Iraq is a mess, politically chaotic, extremely violent, 40% unemployment, long periods with no electricity and othe necessities. Starting an unnecessary war is one of the worst sins a leader can commit. George Bush and his administration will forever carry this ignominy. President Obama should be commended for keeping his campaign promise.

    August 31, 2010 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  23. TCM

    ****yawn..**** he can still read from a teleprompter.....inbetween golf dates, that is..

    August 31, 2010 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  24. barry

    If there was a doubt our President is in over his head I don't think anyone could argue it now. Not only was the speech lack luster and confusing as to what his message was, he looked and sounded like a beat man sitting that chair. His voice was flat and he just looked like he was tired, sick or something. I kind of felt sorry for the guy. I wish he would have skipped the speech. He will be better off if most people didn't watch it. His advisers are doing a terrible job. Very concerning.

    August 31, 2010 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  25. blue

    Thank you, Mr. President. You are a man of your word. I feel that you will be the one to make our world a better place.

    August 31, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
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