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. GoHillary

    Hillary, we millions of supporters have faith in you and will fight with you all the way to the White House!

    April 9, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. bonnie, New York

    we can count on hilary...to do whatever it takes to attempt to win PA. the situation in Iraq is a mess and will be very difficult to get out of.

    i am a white, 50 something female. i was not a Hilary hater at the beginning of this primary season, but the way she has responded to this primary season, has driven me to the point where i will vote for her if she is the nominee ONLY to preserve Roe v. Wade.

    She had NO plan beyond super tuesday, thought the nomination was her reward for her years of marriage to bill, and doesn't know what the truth is.

    i can't imagine what the people who believe in her are basing it in.

    April 9, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    Hillary Clinton is a consumate LIAR! I am disgusted with her attempts to distort Obama's positions and ALL Americans should be just as outraged about this!

    April 9, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Kimberly in Texas

    Clinton = Liar
    Clinton = Untrustworthy
    Clinton = Loser

    April 9, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Alexandra

    Hillary haven't you learnt that negative attacks only hurts you more?
    Keep swinging, careful you don't knock your self out!

    April 9, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Scott ATL

    hmmm.... Let's see...

    1) I voted for the war
    2) I didn't read the NIE
    3) I keep voting to fund the war
    4) I let Bush fool me into thinking he would do right
    5) Sometimes I think I'm in a war and I'm not
    6) I have declare war on my own politcal party
    7) I administered a peace deal when my bubba cheated on me
    8) I'm great at dodging sniper fire and making it look easy
    9) I'm an expert at using a cork screw, oops... I mean cork screw landings
    10) Mis-speaking makes me a war hero...

    April 9, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. jizzle

    With the Sniper fire and Ireland stories, what should we really believe Hillary?? Obama is more credible!! He will end this war!!

    Go Obama!!

    April 9, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Wayne

    Obama is committed to ending the war and had the foresight to recognize the war was a bad idea before it began. Why didnt you have that same foresight Clinton? I certainly hate Hillary.

    April 9, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    there she goes again taking thing Way out of context. I would never trust her with our military. I mean look what her husband did to it. How do you think she's going to pay for health care?

    April 9, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. MW Los Angeles

    OBAMA 08
    OBAMA 08
    OBAMA 08

    April 9, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. DEM Voter

    We can count on you to keep telling lies! What have you told the truth about? Bosnia? NAFTA? Your Wealth?

    You are lieing before you even get to the White House, why should I believe you will stop lying if your elected? For all I know, you probably had an affair as First Lady, and the GOP is waiting to release this info during the General Election.

    Watch out Voters, there is more to this lady than you can see and hear.

    April 9, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. t

    there she goes again taking thing Way out of context. I would never trust her with our military. I mean look what her husband did to it. How do you think she's going to pay for health care?

    April 9, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. D-Man

    This women is funny she says Obama can't be trusted to end the war in Iraq because his top foreign policy advisor (no longer on the team) sad he would reevaluate the situation on the ground, But her head Advisor set down with Columbia and signed a contract to help push free trade through when she claims she is against it. She did not fire him and he still advises the Clintons. Hillary shut up you sound stupid.

    April 9, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Charlotte

    I believe Hillary is the best candidate on all the issues. Neither McCain nor Obama can save this country. Neither McCain nor Obama can think on their feet like Hillary. They need a teleprompter, or a pre-written speech. Hillary is on her toes on all issues, at the drop of a hat. We need to win the election in November! We need Hillary to defeat McCain. This election will go down to the electorial college in November, and it will be close. The big states will be very important to achieve that goal. Obama is trying hard, spending 4xs the money to win in Pennsylvania. He has a lot of little states, while important, the winner must win the big states and some swing states. Hillary has won the big states, and that is very important to the big picture.

    April 9, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Michael Guinn- Ventura, CA

    Get the Hill outta here!

    April 9, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Mr. C.

    So now Clinton chooses to borrow OBAMAs plan of getting with the Generals to see what the situation is b/w making a move. I wonder why she didn't put that part while busy talking about OBAMA. This woman is done.

    April 9, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Ralph

    She 's still telling that old lie about what his advisor said? I watched the interview, and her rendition is about as accurate as her snipper-fire lie. Hillary is a shameful display of what politics once was. She is a dinosaur, and will end up the same as them. Buh-bye Hillary.

    April 9, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Scott

    you go girl............. it's your experience that this country needs...

    bowling green mo.

    April 9, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. Sharon, Seattle

    Hillary, sit down!

    April 9, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. LAM

    Yeah, yeah. She voted for it and now she wants out. Trendy politics.

    April 9, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. GREG FL.

    You'll stop the war Hillary? Is that after you dodge that sniper fire on your way to solving the Irish problems? Your word means nothing Hillary.

    April 9, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Pepou

    Hillary C. has NO credibility on Iraq. A war which should not have been authorized and waged. She voted for it, she supported it when it was expedient for her to do so. So shut up !

    April 9, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. SPQR753

    I watched Obama putting good questions to Gen. Patreus, but I was surprised by the rather insecure, almost childish way he expressed them......what happened to his ""mesmerizing"" oratorial ability???

    April 9, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. Chris from San Antonio

    Leave Iraq to the insurgents. Fixed that for you RNC.

    The only people that are fighting our troops in Iraq are the ones that just want their homes back. And the US out.

    April 9, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. SDunn

    Hillary you are such a liar! You know for a fact that Obama wants to end the war, but he cares about our troops and doesn't want to put them into danger so he has a very detailed plan about withdrawal. You on the other hand just started discussing your 60 day withdrawal after hearing Barack's plan back during the 2nd to the last debate. You voted for the war and I wish you read the NIE report before you did! How am I suppose to trust your decisions in the White House if you didn't do your homework and research before making that very important vote!

    April 9, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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