April 9th, 2008
10:05 AM ET
15 years ago

Clinton challenges McCain and Obama on war issue

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/09/art.clintonaliquippa.ap.jpg caption="Clinton attacked both McCain and Obama on Iraq policy Wednesday."] ALIQUIPPA, Pennsylvania (CNN) - One day after telling General David Petraeus and Iraq Ambassador Ryan Crocker that it would be "irresponsible" to continue American military involvement in Iraq, Clinton took the issue onto the campaign trail and claimed her two rivals for the White House cannot be trusted to end the war.

Before a backdrop reading "Solutions for a Strong Military," Clinton accused John McCain of wanting to keep troops in Iraq "for up to 100 years," a charge McCain's campaign has disputed.

"Yesterday, he basically reiterated his commitment to the course we are on," she said. "Well, I don't agree with that."

Clinton's plan calls for the U.S. to begin withdrawal within 60 days of her becoming president, in consult with military advisers. In her speech Wednesday, she questioned Barack Obama's commitment to achieving the same goal.

"Sen. Obama on the other hand says he will end the war, but his top foreign policy adviser said he won't necessarily follow the plan he has been talking about during this campaign, that his plan is just words," she said. "You can count on me to end the war safely and responsibly."

(UPDATE: McCain, Obama camps respond after the jump)

Clinton was referring to Obama's former adviser Samantha Power, who told the BBC in early March that it would be difficult for the next president to firmly commit to a campaign pledge to withdraw troops, when no one can predict what the situation on the ground in Iraq will be in January 2009.

Power, who resigned last month after calling Clinton a "monster," said Obama's plan to withdraw combat troops within 16 months is a "best-case scenario."

"That's the choice," Clinton continued. "One candidate will continue the war and keep the troops in Iraq indefinitely. One candidate only says he will end the war. And one candidate is ready, willing and able to end the war and to rebuild our military while honoring our soldiers and our veterans."

UPDATE: The Republican National Committee, reacting on behalf of the McCain campaign, blasted Clinton's comments. “Senator Clinton’s calls for retreat would leave Iraq to the terrorists, and lead the U.S. into a wider and more difficult war in the future," said RNC spokesman Alex Conant. "It’s clear Clinton is listening to her party’s left-wing base and not General Patraeus and Ambassador Crocker.”

Later, the Obama camp weighed in. "Hillary Clinton's tired and discredited attack is just the same old politics that won't end this war that she voted to authorize, and won't change the fact that she has repeatedly misled the American people about her Iraq record," said spokesman Hari Sevugan.

"We're happy to have a debate with Hillary Clinton over who the American people trust to end this war, since Barack Obama is the only candidate who had the judgment to oppose the war from the very beginning, not just from the beginning of a campaign for President."

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Pennsylvania
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. yael

    Hillary has so many military personnel backing her. That alone should tell us something; they are the ones dying.
    She was so impressive yesterday; it was clear which of the three should be Commander-In-Chief. She and McCain actually care about the soldiers.

    April 9, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Brown

    Hillary is the last person who should be challenging what advisers are saying. Did she forget about Penn? Maybe she is too busy dodging sniper fire. What a loser!

    April 9, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. April in Texas

    I watched all of this yesterday and how I see it is ... McCain will keep the war going.. Clinton will end it abruptly in 60 days no matter whats going on and Obama will review all options as the best way to slowly and safely bring our troops home..

    Obama 08

    April 9, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. ZEPPO!

    Everything about OBAMABOOEY is just words!

    April 9, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Allan

    Senator Clinton, did you campaign for reelection to the Senate in '06 on a platform that included ending the war in Iraq?

    Then why isn't it already over?

    Oh yes, that's right. What old-school hack candidates like you say they're going to do when running for office and what they do once elected have no relation.

    Obama is trying not to pander by over-promising, something you wouldn't understand.

    April 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Carmen

    Hillary you need to stop maying yourself look good right about now. How can you challenge McCain and Obama when your husband is sealing a deal with the Colombia people. Get real lady you are a fake. Oh by the way there were no bookbags back when Martin Luther King was killed. Maybe you were the one who invented them so that was why you were the only one who had one. Stop lieing and tell the truth for once Hillary. Liar liar

    April 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. charles

    Hilary and her husband are a ruthless couple who will destroy anyone along the way in their quest for power.what samantha said is no different from what she is saying. you have to consult with the commanders on the ground first. What is strange to me is how many people have committed sucide who had to either testify against the clintons or investigate them, they eventual commit sucide. there is so much scandal about the clintons, the media knows about it but they sweep it under the carpet. as for wolf he is doing all he can to help hillary. but my gut feeling tells me that he is a republican and he knows hillary will definately lose in November. CLINTONS CHRONICLES WHY IS IT NOT MENTIONED. Now you have one of her backers bringing the wright issue. are these the twist and turns we bn promised.

    April 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Herman LA, CA

    Hillary please stop please, you shouldn't have never started this war by voting for it in the first place. Now, all of a sudden you want to jump on the band wagon of ending this war that is costing us tax payers $16,000 dollars per family.

    Hillary you have flip flop so many times and have told so many lies that I think voters have really caught on to you for who you really are. How many times have you changed your campaign slogan, website, and everything else?

    You are searching for something that will work and you have been all over the place with your message and campaign. How can we trust you Hillary how, to keep your word when you take the highest office of the land you really scare me.

    I be so glad when this is all over and Barack receives the nominee for the democrats so that we can move on and take on McCain.

    Obama 08!!!

    April 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. PA for President

    Again she's scrapping the bottom trying to regain grown against Obama..

    She will act like Bill Clinton to weaken our military. Clintons are no friends to the MIlitary. She just been trying to change for the Campaign.. She was even against the Civil Rights Bill of 1964. When she was a Republican working for Goldwater.

    April 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Chris in Columbus

    She's half right. We can't trust McCain to end the war, as he already said he won't.

    However, I'm pretty sure we can trust Obama just a little bit more than THE PERSON WHO VOTED FOR THE WAR TO BEGIN WITH.

    No more Clinton please, no two-faced liars for me. This year it's Obama or nothing.

    April 9, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Vince

    So Hillary is basically saying she's committed to pulling out in 60 days regardless of the situatin on the ground.

    Sounds like an irresponsible position to hold, or just another lie to get elected.

    April 9, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. MCD

    And since you are not in office yet, your plan is nothing but words either. Nice try though HillDog.

    April 9, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Cat, Costa Mesa, CA

    Hillary, you are so full of it. You have all these visions of grandeur which neither your reputation nor "experience" can back up!! While you and Obama continue to pander to the mindless, our country nees REAL solutions!!

    Unfortunetly, none in our crop of mediocre choices seem to fit that bill.

    April 9, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. ProudIndependent

    Hillary, you are only saying you will end the war as well. How can we trust you to do that? Your general dishonesty on related matters (foreign policy, war zones) leaves serious doubts. You authorized the war to begin with. The blood is on your hands as much as it is on the hands of other Democrats and Republicans that authorized this illegal war.

    April 9, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Gerard

    Get a life woman.
    Why voting for that war in the first place?

    April 9, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. JMac, MT

    Hillary, why don't you twist the truth a little? Just words.

    April 9, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    We need a president that will rebuild our military, we need a president that will challenge us to become patriots again. Sen. McCain is so vague in his answers is hart to know where he stands, Sen. Obama is equally vague, but with an eye towards non-confrontational tactics, Sen. Clinton gets it, there is no concidence that 38 generals have endorsed her, make no mistake about it, this is a very important debate and we should all pay attention.

    April 9, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Glenn Doty, Columbia, SC

    She voted for the war, and spent almost 4 full years throwing her full support behind it. Every interview, every speach, and every public hearing she was involved in between 2002 and 2005 she openly supported the war, defended the invasion, declared it to be a good policy, and denounced any who opposed it.

    She supported the war when it was proven there were no WMD's

    She supported the war when it was proven there was no connection between Iraq and Al Queda or 9/11.

    She supported the war after the horror of Abu Garaib was revealed.

    Her last speach that she supported the war and declared "I'm proud of my vote, I would not change it if I had a chance to vote again." was given in August 2006.

    Now, we're supposed to believe SHE would get us out, but doubt the word of Obama who took a stand against the war when it could have cost him his election, and has remained adamently against the war from the very start.

    To Hillary supporters: Please get a clue.

    April 9, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. TEO

    I don't know how she expects to get any respect from world leaders given how she's acting and running her campaign. She sure has lost mine. Go back to Arkansas where you belong Hillary.

    April 9, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Darth Vadik, CA





    April 9, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. vic nashville,Tn

    Next commander in Chief Hillary

    April 9, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Eric-PA

    Barack is unbelievable! This reminds me of when his advisors told Canadian officials that what Obama was saying about NAFTA was just part of the campaign. The Obamaniacs better not say Hillary attacked Obama becasue within the past week, Obama said he has more foreign policy experience than McCain and Hillary. Is he kidding himself. I don't trust this man and neither should anyone else.

    April 9, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. Sue from Ga.

    You would know about war wouln't you Hillary? I mean you dodged all that sniper fire in Bosnia didn't you? God, please just go away. Your mud slinging is only going to put you deeper in the grave.

    April 9, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. Claire

    You can't trust Clinton's word at all. She is a liar.

    April 9, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. HRC, it's over babe

    Hillary, quite talking. You lack moral competence to talk about a war that you voted for, EVEN WITHOUT reading the NATIONAL INTELIGENCE ESTIMATE on Iraq.
    Sen. Rockefeller adviced you to read it but you were too LAZY to read it. That same xteristic has hindered your campaign by you relying on stories without vetting there authenticity.

    Go home now..you're simply unelectable.

    April 9, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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