April 17th, 2008
03:18 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton: President, not generals, will be in charge in Iraq

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/17/art.clinton0417.ap.jpg caption="Clinton is pledging to begin withdrawal in the first 60 days of her administration."] HAVERFORD, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Hillary Clinton declared Thursday she will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 60 days of becoming president, regardless of what her military advisers say about the situation on the ground at the time.

"You can see which way the questions are going," she firmly told a mostly female audience gathered at Haverford College, a small liberal arts school outside of Philadelphia. "What if the military commanders tell you its dangerous to withdraw? That question is backwards. The president tells the military commanders what the mission is."

Clinton has faced a slew of hypothetical questions from reporters about withdrawing from Iraq after she said last week that her rival Barack Obama cannot be trusted to end the war.

In making that case to voters and the press, the Clinton campaign has cited an interview with a former Obama foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power, who told the BBC in March that the Illinois senator's pledge to withdraw all combat troops in 16 months was "a best case scenario."

At the Democratic debate in Philadelphia last night, Clinton was asked if she would bring the troops home "no matter what," even if that meant destabilizing the country.

Clinton said yes, promising to do so responsibly and with a strong diplomatic effort in the region.

"Our professional military are the best in the world," she said. "They give their best advice. And then they execute the policies of the president."

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Pennsylvania
soundoff (380 Responses)
  1. Baby Girl

    If Hillary haven't learned one lesson from this campaign, she needs to please stop beating up Obama. How in the hell you would think he would want you on the ticket. Stupid stupid Hillary, stupid does and stupid Bill says do.

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. fear of debates

    Obama fears debates where real answers to real issues matter.

    He prefers to campaign where money gives you the edge and you can carefully craft and spin your pre-rehearsed message.

    I prefer Hillary Clinton who is always great- because she has the solutions.

    April 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Alfred

    Why are most of you taking only Hillary to task? I am surprised... didn't Obama say the same thing? in fact it seems like he said it b4 Hillary said it.
    Secondly most of you who support these two do so because of their "withdrawal" no-matter-what stance on the war. Now you realise how dangerous it is to make out right statements on withdrawals even if the conditions on the grounds and the advise of the Commanders do not warrant it. I THOUGHT THAT IS WHAT JOHN McCAIN HAS BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG. NOW WHO HAS THE BETTER JUDGEMENT AND BETTER EXPERIENCE. JUDGE FOR YOURSELVES!!

    April 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. me

    More lies. She is not trust worthy. Those who are fooled by her are blinded by either hope of a female president, racism or loyalty to her name (take your pick).

    April 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. Tee

    Sante- Hiilary would not have anything to do with you, you can't spell(use a dictionary) We don't hate Hillary Clinton. For someone who has 35 years of experience, she has ran a very poor campaign and can't be trusted.

    April 17, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. just a thought

    if obama is about change then why did he come out so defensive today. that is not much change. His old washington he speaks of is the same for him as it is for Clinton. he needs some more experience. the Dems will have problems in november if they don't get this right..... the REP are waiting for Obama...if he can't handle the kitchen sink then he can't handle the REP as the nominee

    April 17, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. April

    Go Hillary, since Obama's back peddling, you are the only ANTI-WAR candidate. Strong, Smart and not afraid to do the right thing.

    April 17, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. PoliTrickery

    Bring the War Home!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. musicnme

    Can't imagine Clintons in the White House again!! We can't trust them. Hillary should take her $105 millions and retire. Wow!! that's too much for anybody....I feel bitter!!

    April 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Jen

    Why doesn't she withdraw from this race??
    She is destroying the party

    Hillary is not destroying the party; negative people like you are destroying it. Please, some of you hear a little tid bit and believe it and then make these hyperboles in these blogs. It is frightening. Hillary is not copying Obama's words. Some of you are so hostile because she is a much better debater and it showed last night and through each debate. Move on and write something substantital.

    April 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Deaf/General

    Just look at that situation. I (Hillary) am in charge and I will not listen to the Generals. I will do it my way. I will cut and run. I will no longer
    help the 20 Million women subject to burkas and discrimination. I will do it my way. The women of Iraq sure would be left out to hang with her short sighted approach. 9/11 don't ring no bells or sound no whistles for Hillary.
    Does she want to be a dictator or a leader?

    April 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Karteek

    We've had enough with media being biased against Hillary. Why in the world are you so against Hillary. Will you ever scrutinize Obama as you did Hillary? It is very unfortunate that Obama is able to get away with a clean chit from the media. Remember just yesterday he said he is agains't negative campaigning but what is sending out emails to people about 'Bosnia misstatement'? Is this the "Change" politics he is talking about. She has done a mistake just like any of us would do. She apologized for it. She has a solid record what has Obama got other than rhetoric. He is a hypocrite. CNN please do justice to the public and stop being anti Hillary. Cover the issues she is talking about. He made nearly 5 million dollars in just one year and he gets away with it. But when it comes to Hillary she gets pounded. Please we are tired of your biased coverage.

    April 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Marc

    I loved watching Hillary exacting that beatdown on Lobama last night. FINALLY some moderators held him accountable for his idiotic ramblings. He was totally rocked and now he's saying he wants no more debates. LOL! What a chump!

    April 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. Darth Vadik, CA

    News flash Hillary

    President – IN CHARGE OF POLICY


    Now if you chose to change the policy on the war, then you tell your generals the direction you want to go in and they chose the best path there.

    April 17, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. barry

    not only the generals but the pope as well

    April 17, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. James jones

    Did anyone else catch the part when she mention her umbrella plan? That plan sounds crazy. How is she going to plan an all out attack on Iran if it attack any of its neighboring countries?

    April 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. corin

    I am just wondering why isnt the MSM not talking about the Clintons status conference fraud trial in California. The trial date is on April 25,2008 if you dont believe me here is the information:


    the case number BC304174

    April 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Kirk

    If Obama Wants to Talk to an Anti-American Leader ???

    Obama Can Start With His Own Pastor " Jeremiah Wright ".

    April 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. John

    Obama supporters,stop your damage toyour King.Digging deeper!stop.What Hillary is saying about the generals,is a real trait of quality leadership.Your Obama is mum,afraid he may mess it,and lose nomination!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Mark Anthony

    What we have to remember is she voted for the war and she will make all kinds of promises to get the Presidency.

    I'm tell you this woman cannot be trusted!

    April 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Cheryl

    She just stole Obama's line from last night. That wasn't hers. Her line on Iraq withdrawal was to call her generals together and ask them what is best. Obama stated that He, as commander and chief, would set the course of this mission, unlike Bush, who has relegated the responsibility of this war to generals who only know how to exact war not peace.

    April 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  22. Gerald

    I like her answer... I liked it better though when Obama said the exact same thing last night.

    Obama 08!

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. Control is what I want

    If President of the Good Old USA (never happen) she would be our
    Read my lipps/ No More Generals.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  24. Tyler

    Cheryl for Hillary, glad to see you have seen the light and realize that Obama will win, unfortunatley she will have to wait until 2016.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |

    Hillary is collaborating with the GOP. She and McCain are together on the same team. I knew it would come to this. Hillary is dishonest, untrustworthy, amd a big, big, talker when it boils down to it.

    Hill and Bill are done. PA, Ohio, and Texas, I hope the citizens have seen and heard what she done. She is not for the people in small town.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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