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. Walls

    Some of these comments here are totally immature. How about some of you try growing up for a change? You sit here mocking a woman who, whether you like her or not, is busting her behind for you in Washington. It's sad and it shows that America can be dazzled by pretty yet simple words like Obama is giving. America voting Obama in 08 is voting a gun to our country's head. I cannot WAIT until the day we're in some horrible situation because you people elected this wolf in sheep clothing [obama] and then he shows us what a sad individual he really is. Pretty words aren't fooling me, Obama. YOU are no better than anyone else on the ticket.

    Clinton – McCain 08!

    April 17, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. O holy Cow...

    Gee look – it will only take Billary 60 days to destabilize the planet 🙂 See what she can accomplish....

    April 17, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Daniel

    HILLAR '08




    April 17, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. JImi

    Don't pay any attention to that lady behind the curtain.

    April 17, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. Retired Navy Veteran

    This Senator is a Liar, She can not be trusted to tell the truth.

    Why not ask Bill Clinton the King of liars.

    April 17, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. Brian Seattle

    I am convinced that most of these postings are directly from Obama Campaign Headquaters or Satelite Offices from Mulitple states.

    Am I the only one smart enough to realize this? I Hope Not!!!

    NObama 08!

    April 17, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. An Agnostic Democrat

    Sounds just like McSame and Bush. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    I guess it was dodging all that sniper fire that gives her all the experience to be a commander on the ground now, too. Military expert she aint. Buh-bye shady former First Lady! You don't deserve to be my president with your myopic view and hardline strategy.

    April 17, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Rob

    Hillary is NOT saying she will get all the troops out of Iraq within 60 days, she says she will BEGIN withdrawing troops within 60 days. It might be a process that takes a year or so – there are a lot of troops in Iraq.

    I am an Obama supporter and I can see that.

    April 17, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. Sue

    Baloney. By the way CNN and MSNBC, I am sorely dissapointed in both of your for basically defending the mugging on ABC last night. Do all of you reporters stick together. Abc had over 20,000 cals, email, faxes etc. by the tabloid journalism show they put on last night. Every one of you states that these questions have to be answered. They have, time to move on. By the way, why haven't any of you brought up the fact that Clinton was brought to task (and that being generous) . Why aren't you talking about how she was left to skate on NAFTA,Mark Penn, 800K,Judas,Pardons , etc. You all are really pissing off the American people by not being balanced. Somebody better show some guts and present an fair, unbiased report aon all 3 candidates. I don't expect this to be posted, but I'll bet there are many, many , people who agree with me.

    April 17, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. TexansWoman4Change!

    I'm beyond tired of "HRH Billary Clinton"! Her lies and deceptions show through clearly. She has shown that she will do any and everything to win! Fact is, she CHOSE to go the altar before God and married a man who has repeatedly committed adultery. That man left the White House after being impeached. While in this White House, both she and Bill were the leaders of more scandals than any other president. Yet, she CHOSE to forgive this man, but she critizes Obama for having a relationship w/ a forgiving God and a body of baptised believers (a church). As Christians, we join a church; we do not join a pastor. Shame on you Billary! While I am not the judge, but her daily actions show no signs of a true believing Christian. Someone should introduce her to the Bible and let her read the scriptures that talk about "he/she who casts the first stone". There are many other scriptures that she should read to help her improve her character and treatment of others. Christ teaches fruit of the spirit- She should learn those fruits!

    April 17, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. Steve Z

    President do not tell generals how to fight.
    Once the pres releases the military the job is to win.
    The last time preidenrs raun the war we got Viet Nam.
    Hillary is NOT presidential material.

    April 17, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Charlotte

    Obama-bots are really a sad bunch. Obama was stomped last night and they got a taste of what Hillary has withstood for the last 20 debates. It got so bad, SNL had a full skit on the way Obama was coddled in the debates. Obama just does not think quick on his feet..LMAO

    April 17, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. neb

    This is what Obama said last night! Plagiarism is lying, too.

    April 17, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. Ex-Hillary supporter

    To female grad student

    I respect your opinion and support of HRC, but disagree with your statement that she is a good role model for you and your sisters.
    Frankly, I now think she is nothing more than a feminist doormat. I reckon most women with far fewer resources than Hillary would have ditched an unfaithful spouse like Bill years ago. I don't see her as strong and independent; she is counting on his name to help her get back in the White House for their third term.
    The sad thing is the Clinton name seems to have lost its lustre.

    April 17, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. Ryan P.

    As usual, she just sidesteps the questions first and take the note of Obama's answers. Next day she is happy since she has been so refreshingly old herself of being snarling "small puppy" during the debate and use the same exact line Obama used. I think this woman may have the same disorder that Hershel Walker suffers from. As Walker said, he did not know why he behaves odd ways at times and I am sure we can all see how odd she behaves sometimes.

    April 17, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |

    Clinton in charge of our Military!
    I see her using the Military to enforce Health Insurance on us...
    I see her using the Military to force more Food Stamps on us...
    I see her using the Military to protect the Illegal Aliens that are in this Country...

    To Clinton it doesn't matter what the experts say.
    "I am Hillary Clinton, I know whats best for this Country, I do not need people telling me how things are or what their opinions are."

    Puleease people.

    April 17, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. justobserve

    Clinton listens to anyone else but her ownself? This is her true self speaking. If people don't realize it now, remember that were how the Clintons years in the WH run by these INEXPERIENCED zealots. Their terms were chaotic from the very beginning. At the present, how she is managing her campaign is another sign. Don't forget: people are still not getting paid for their services, goods, equipments,... These debtors should have placards in the front to greet Clintons whenever she goes. The longer she hang on the more these people won't get paid at the end. What conscience do the sit-on-the-fence superdelegates have without doing anything now?

    April 17, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. Ryan P.

    I'm glad that still a lot of Americans know she is really a phony. Copying the exact same words, tone, and message. She behaves oddly most of times. Yesterday, she got a break from Howard Dean who let this debate happen, George S who patted her back, and Charlie G who had no idea how to moderate and bring up the real issues.

    April 17, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. LaTeef Alade Alpharetta,GA

    If Hillary Clinton withdrawn from this primary by next week friday, she will earn lot of respect from the all american.If she quit the race now, obama can better prepare and focus on the general election and ready to debate Mcain. For USA to regain his leadership, we need a new leadership with a vision and hope. Good luck Obama, and May God bless America.

    April 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Brian

    She is right, Generals are NOT the Commander in Chief

    April 17, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Hillary is done, cooked, finished.

    April 17, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Disgusted with war

    In last night's debate, Senator Obama stated he would have all troops out of Iraq in 16 months. And today, his campaign stated that was a "best case scenario" only. Isn't that changing your policy in less than 24 hours??????

    And to DH-I am so very glad that your doctor explained your weird and unrational thinking as SCHIZOPHRENIA. I don't think this applies to the candidates.

    April 17, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. DJ, LA, CA

    Duh! Last time I checked that was something the American public was taught in elementary school.

    That was the stupiest question of a night of stupid questions by the numb-skulls running ABC.

    April 17, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |

    Cuz we all know that Clinton is "The Decider"

    April 17, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. Greg

    I cannot think of a dumber thing to say at this point in time.

    April 17, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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