November 6th, 2007
07:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Edwards challenges Clinton on Iraq war

Edward challenges Clinton to provide answers

NEW MARKET, New Hampshire (CNN) – Democratic presidential rival John Edwards Tuesday challenged Sen. Hillary Clinton to provide specifics on how she would end the Iraq war.

"Senator Clinton has repeatedly said she will 'end the war.' Yet she has provided no plan for how she’ll do it," Edwards said in a statement posted on his campaign blog.
"She has only said that she will hold a meeting with her advisers within 60 days of taking office. That’s not a plan. It’s a promise of a planning meeting. On such an important question we need honesty and answers, not double talk and evasions."

At his campaign stop, Edwards outlined to voters his list of questions, also enumerated in his release, that he believed all presidential candidates should answer on the Iraq war. They included:

–As president, will you withdraw all combat troops?
–Will you withdraw all combat troops within the first nine to ten months of your presidency?
–Will you conduct combat missions with troops stationed inside Iraq?
–Will you leave permanent military bases in Iraq?

Edwards proceeded to contrast his position with Clinton's. He said Clinton would keep combat troops in Iraq, continue combat missions and maintain military bases.

"To me that's not ending the war," said Edwards

–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • John Edwards • New Hampshire • Race to '08
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Greg Brown, Live Oak Florida

    Edwards, and other candidates, should not push each other on submitting definative plans on national security matters so prematurely. A number of things can change before a new president takes office nnd discussing national security plans and objectives in open forums is completely irresponsible. To hang ones hat on a plan of today with over a year to go, is unprofessional and borderline ignorant.

    November 7, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. Mark, San Diego,CA

    Hillary flip-flops again. Thanks John for allowing us to vote for someone who is willing to do the right thing and take a moral stand for Ameria and the world.

    November 7, 2007 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  3. RalphB Austin

    In the debate Edwards wouldn't promise to have US troops out of Iraq by 2013. Now he says he'll have them out in 2009.

    Glad he doesn't pander or flip-flop for votes. haha.

    November 7, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  4. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    Mr. Edwards you would also keep troops in Iraq even after ending combat missions.
    We would need to have soldiers in Iraq to finish the training of the Iraqi Army, the guarding of our embassy, yes and even some needed for specialized military operations, but not for general combat.

    November 7, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Hillary Clinton is staring in a new sitcom called Flipper.

    November 7, 2007 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  6. alan St Louis MO

    End the war YEA RIGHT

    Clinton voted yes to ok the BUSH to attack IRAN.

    The Bush getting confused telling the differance between Iraq and Afganistan. He thinks Iraq was the 911 preditors. His lack of understanding the map we sent the entire military to go into IRAQ instead of Afganistan.

    WOW is that why Osama still running around.
    WOW is that why ALqeda is stronger then ever. Even before 911.
    WOW is that why pakistan is on the verge of being overthrown by Osama.
    AH OH Pakistan is a NUKE armed country.

    Clinton= NOT the SOLUTION to fix the world

    November 7, 2007 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  7. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    By what authority does Edwards have to critisize Clinton. This one term wonder choose to turn tail and run instead of fighting for his senate seat. And now he wants to be president?

    November 7, 2007 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  8. Neill C., Montgomery, Alabama

    Great. Just what we need, John, is someone who will just give up and let Al Quaeda have its way in the world.

    November 7, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. El, Ottawa, Ontario

    The dem party, like the republican party, should have a policy that a fellow dems should not be criticize another dem member.

    The negative campaigns of John Edwards and Obama are not good for the party in the next election.

    Meanwhile, their challenges are not necessarily valid, and they have not given out a position to be counter-argued.

    November 7, 2007 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  10. Karen,ny

    Holding a meeting within 60 days of taking office with your advisors is not a plan. She should tell her plan now along with the rest of the candidates so that all of us will know. She has a lot of nerve thinking that she will be elected. Action is worth a 1000 words.

    November 7, 2007 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. Bill, Bloomington IL

    I have yet to see a democrat with an idea of how to end the war. Edwards included. The democrats have already violated my trust and it took less than a year to do it.

    November 7, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. HC, new york, ny

    New USA Today/Gallup polling conducted this past weekend shows few signs that front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton’s standing among Democrats nationally was affected by the recent Democratic candidate debate. Clinton’s 50% of the vote, Obama’s 22%, and Edwards’ 15% are virtually unchanged from Gallup’s Oct. 12-14 poll. Clinton continues to have the highest favorable ratings of the three leading candidates.

    November 7, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Megha, San Antonio, TX

    Mr Edwards, by all due respect you need to stop whining and start your pack up. Really. this ain't getting you anywhere. And talk of double talk, in the debate before Drexel, you said you'd keep combat troops in Iraq, now you've changed completely adn the way to hide your own double talk is by attacking Clinton. Be a man, get a life and show some decency. No one even in South Carolina can stand you. Stop going around the country with your stale ideas of double talk, they're overwrought and no one's even listening to you. Your attack dog tactics are helping Obama instead of you, might you look into a better strategy?

    November 7, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. J.Crobuzon

    America loves this war! Don't you know we're winning? Heck, we're welcomed as liberators and the insurgency is nearly over. Besides, we've taken seventeen-year leases on those bases. Hillary's realistic; if she wins, the GOP are not going to vanish or mass-suicide. They will still control the military and have vast influence over the little people in the heartland.
    Edwards and Obama are failing as candidates; all they do is wait for Hillary to act so they can react.

    November 7, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Matt, Columbia, SC

    "This one term wonder choose to turn tail and run instead of fighting for his senate seat. And now he wants to be president?"

    Amazingly, he did what policy-makers probably should do in this case, to show that he isn't interested in his own self-interest (ie – keeping his senate seat), Edwards chose to focus his energies on running a campaign for the White House instead of just saving an empty, no-voting seat in Congress like so many other Presidential hopefuls who don't show up for sessions while on the trail. Nice of you to attack him for that rather than anything worthwhile.

    November 7, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "Great... someone who will just give up and let Al Quaeda have its way in the world." Neill C., Montgomery, Alabama

    Let's put the terrorism issue in perspective. So far in this century, Islamic terrorists have killed about 7,000 Americans. During that time, 50,000 Americans have died from aspirin overdose; 175,000 Americans have died from gunshot wounds inflicted by another American; 183,000 Americans have killed themselves; and 500,000 Americans have died from alchoholism. On the Danger-To-Americans scale, terrorism is less dangerous than aspirin but more dangerous than scuba diving. Terrorists have not so much as keyed a car since 9/11.

    While we need an alert foreign policy that will focus on terrorism and oppose it intelligently. However, the war in Iraq has produced many times more terrorists than it has killed or arrested. I think we should retain a presence in Iraq to help fix the country's infrastructure and get that nation pasted back together, but the war – which I supported – was stupid.

    We should have heeded President George H. W. Bush when he wrote about why his administration did not invade Iraq during the Gulf War: "We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different — and perhaps barren — outcome."

    November 7, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Former US Army Officer, Kansas

    Don't need a hears what you wnat to hear politican. The gates open and the cattle are out, and just rounding them up and putting them back in the pen will not solve anything.

    I did not from the start feel that "invading" Iraqi was justified or wise for the given reason.

    I did not feel from the start that the administration had a clue as to what they were going to encounter once we entered Iraq. I felt from the startthe the concept that we were to be greeted as liberating heros was not going to happen.

    We are now in Iraq for the long haul, no one is going to follow us home if we pull out, believe it or not, they already know where we live and really would prefer to attack us here in streets than fight us on a battle field thousands of miles away. But our current administration has created a mess, as we as Americans are going to have to clean up their mess if we ever expect to be looked upon as a world leader again.

    No Mr Edwards we can not at the drop of a dime withdraw all American troops from Iraq.

    No Mr Edwards not all combat troops will be withdrawn in the first 9-10 months.

    Yes Mr Edwards the US military in Iraq will contiune to conduct combat operations in the security of the nation of Iraq.

    And finally Mr Edwards we shall have temporary bases in Iraq forthe next 30 years regardless of what you think.

    The current administration has destabilized the entire region with its actions. It shall be the job of the next administration to stabilize the region, not though the use of military force, but though the use of diplomacy and strength. And yes that means a military presence.

    One final point that is a sore point as far as I am concerned, to end a war, you must first have a war. Congress never declared war, they gave Bush the ability to use military force to secure WMD if diplomatic means failed, guess what.

    November 7, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Provdence, RI

    Edwards is flat wrong-Hillary said very clearly that she would withdraw troops gradually, because it has to be done very carefully, and it will take time to withdraw 160,000 men and women, and she is realistic. It cannot be done by over night, like Fedex. However, she would keep some to fight terrorists. Edwards is distorting the facts- he is desperate-I would never trust this guy...he made profits from Katrina disasters-he lives in 36,000 sq feet mansion-he gets his hair cuts for $400-he put his cancerous wife on the campaign trail... He lost twice-he is not authentic. He did very poorly on the VP debate against Cheney in 2004-he looked and sounded very novice.

    November 7, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    To El in Ottowa: If Obama's campaign is negative simply because he points out differnces between himself and Hillary and how Hillary constantly contradicts herself, would like to ask one thing; what should he be doing? Just let her get away with it and say whatever she wants to without pointing out inconsistencies.

    As for Obama's positions, go to his website and they're all spelled out so even you can understand them.

    Hillary is a deceitful, conniving, two-faced individual who doesn't even know if she's Dem or GOP. It just depends on which way the wind's blowing.
    Anyone foolish ebough to vote for her, well, if she wins you WILL get what you deserve.
    And it won't be pretty.

    November 7, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. anon, pittsburgh, pennsylvania

    doesn't he realize that Hillary's plan is REALISTIC? A full pull-out in just 9 months would reverse everything we've been trying to do there. Once we leave Iraq it'll create a power vaccuum... We have to make sure the Iraqis will have a strong enough army and firm hold on the goverment so that the sane Iraqis can take control and repel the nutjobs there.

    John Edwards, just give it up. This isn't helping you or the party.

    November 7, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Eric, SI, NY

    She has already answered these questions; just because John refuses to listen does not mean she has not told people what she believes.

    November 7, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. John, OH

    I am a Democrat and has never voted for a Republican. However if this guy gets the nomination I'll vote for a Republican. He has started a bad culture of personal attack on democratic party which was limited before. And so much about Clinton..what about "war on terror is a bumber stricker" Johnny boy, you want to explain that?

    November 7, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. ano to

    I feel like I am spinning in circles everytime he speaks, sorry can not handle it, he keeps spinning the way he has been its only a matter of time before he falls

    November 7, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |


    November 7, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  25. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    "Senator Clinton has repeatedly said she will 'end the war.' Yet she has provided no plan for how she’ll do it,"

    She has provided a plan John you should learn to read!

    And instead of constantly attacking Hillary on her (what you deem to be no plans), why don't you tell us what your plan is to end the war in Iraq John. I don't recall reading or hearing your plan.

    You are great at Flogging the Leader John but very poor on stating your stand on the issues.

    Does your website state your stand on all the issues important to Americans John? Does it list your experience and qualifications John?

    Your time would be better spent planning your strategies for changing America instead of wasting time flogging other Candidates.

    Or could it be you don't have any strategies John? So your only recourse is to attack those who do? It is so much easier to Attack than actually draft a plan for change huh?

    And John, a true Leader wouldn't have to point his finger every time he stands on a podium. What's with that John? Do you think your index finger signals power? Intelligence? Skill? What is your finger supposed to relay to Americans John ?

    Have you seen many American Thumbs Ups on your Campaign Trail John? I didn't think so.

    I think your next Campaign stategy should be "Back to the Drawing Board."
    Your relentless attacks on Hillary are truly boring even to we who aren't Americans.

    November 8, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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