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. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    62,000 VOTED. 42,000 voted Obama
    15,000 voted Hillary. She is toast!!!!1

    April 17, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. J

    That's the spirit Hillary! Suppress all dissent!

    April 17, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. Hillary is UNpresidential

    Hillary is acting like anything but a President making those comments. You have to listen to the Generals on the ground. You have to listen to them for the good of this country and the middle east. This is another example of her not acting presidential. Take for example her saying she would boycott the olympics the Chinese are throwing. You don't bite the hand that feeds you. We need a real President not this former first lady wanna be prez.

    April 17, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Binkis1

    This is a STUPID STATEMENT...This exactly what Bush did and look how that worked out.
    SHE HAS NOT A CLUE HOW TO CONDUCT A WAR OR GET US OUT OF ONE! As a woman who has never been a supporter of the military, she would not be held in great esteem. Remember the clintons gutted the military budget in the first reign of power along with the CIA, FBI, and etc.
    The old retired military around her ARE NOT BOOTS ON THE GROUND IN IRAQ...And they resent the leaders that are there now...Wind bags -all.

    April 17, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. Patrick, Chicago, IL

    Since when is it smart to let someone with ZERO military experience run a war?
    If she wants to do a immediate withdrawal like Obama, thats OK. But don't creat some ridiculous plan to slowly remove troops which the Generals say WONT work.
    Our generals have spent their entire adult life in armed service of our country studying military strategies, so don't publicly fly in the face of their expertise, because they know what theya re talking about and Hillary doesn't!

    April 17, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. Patrick

    She is stating that she will not listen to the military leaders when making decision involving war. What does she know about war? Nothing, she criticizes Bush for not listening when she's admitting to do the exact same thing. Bush finally listened to the people on the ground, fixed the strategy, and started to win the war. No Clinton in 08' for the good of the world!

    April 17, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. Illinois

    It's so funny that the republican trolls are still at it, trying to stir things up because they're mad that their candidate finally was pushed to answer relevant questions about his character. Truth hurts, don't it guys???

    April 17, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    She can't even manage a successful campaign, no less a country and a war.

    April 17, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Patrick, Chicago, IL

    does anyone else besides me find it ridiculous that people call Obama elitist? I mean, he was born to a un-wed mother and his father was a Kenyan immigrant, I mean COME ON!!!

    And for those people who think Hillary is a blue collar candidate, how about the hundreds of thousands of dollars of DIAMONDS she was wearing at the debate last night???
    Yea, she really understand the common folk.

    April 17, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    She can't even run a successful political campaign, no less a country and a war.

    April 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Valerie Hostutler

    I am more afraid now than I ever been of Sen. Clinton after listening to the debate last night. She has proven to me that having her in the White house is going to be a big mistake. If she thinks she can run this country by herself without consulting the experts, she is not worthy to be Commander in Chief.

    Sen. Obama on the other hand has taken the slap on the cheek and turned the other cheek. What a stand up guy. This county need someone who do not rattle under pressure, no matter how hard the punches. Sen. Obama is not looking for a fight with (Dem) Sen. Clinton, he's focusing on the real fight (R) Sen. McCain. Remember, Sen. Obama is a unifier of all man kind. Sen. Clinton, obviously has proven herself to be a divider of all man kind.

    Oh, Brian–get use to the House Hold name President Barack Obama.

    April 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Kathy

    Now we have a withdrawal plan you can xerox !

    Do you think she will remember correctly what she said? I suppose if she's not too tired from answering the phone at 3 am. Or if she's not dodging sniper fire, or out back shooting her guns, or on some talk show making jokes, or out at the bar doing shots!

    Don't think she remembers she voted for this war in the first place.

    April 17, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. Dem Nuts

    60 days? Wow?

    Let me understand this – her supporter's can no longer defend her....

    they don't personally like Obama because he's not ??......

    so they are going to vote for McCain in Nov because? Let me guess?

    He's??? .... Amazing!!! This is insane.... Rush Limbaugh may be

    alot of ugly things... but he is right about the Dem party – You folks

    have issues and you really can't get along.. All of you are as bad as

    the media, but you do it for free.. Agressive bunch both old and young..

    April 17, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. Roger, red reek, ny

    You know absolutely nothing about running a successful campaign (as is obvious by your meltdown in this election cycle), much less how to run a military kind. You had better listen to your military commanders. And by the way, thank you for once again proving that you do not care about our nation's military. You can "thank the troops for their service" all you want, but it takes a certain quality to be able to lead them and garner their respect. You do not have that. At this rate, you never will.

    Your statements and actions these past several months have not only damaged (almost irreparably) the Democratic party, but they are starting to erode the United States in general. I am ashamed of you, Madame Senator. And I weep for this country in your hands. The only thing "proven" that you are (certainly not a leader, as you would say, with experience) is a self-centered egotist who would stop at nothing for power.

    Hillary Rodham Clinton is in it for the position, not the people. She deserves neither.

    April 17, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. jason

    Funny how an Obama guy talks smack to Hillary supporters and all his hate speech was supported or should I say acted out by Obama supporters on this pageie hate , no lagitimate argument, typing in all caps, and missinformation. Every supporter for Obama is hateful like a child what causes you this bitterness? The withdrawl BEGINS in 60 days mental migits! Why are the dumbest responses with all the wrong information continually coming from Obama's people?

    April 17, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Hillary can't even run a successful campaign, how is she going to run a country and a war?

    April 17, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. California Voter

    All of you that question Clinton's veracity need to take a good hard look at Obama. He's even lied about being a "professor" of constitutional law multiple times. As any college educated person should know there is a very big difference between a professor and a lecturer or adjunct professor. Politicians misspeak, expand the truth and yes sometimes lie to be elected. Generals do not make the decision to go to war, they advise, period.

    April 17, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. Bernice





    April 17, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  19. Joyce in Florida

    People, if you really listened to the debate last night, it was Senator Obama who stated that he would pull out our troops within 16 months regardless of what the generals on the ground said. He stated "the buck stops here" because I will be Commander in Chief. How arrogant is that? Senator Obama got a taste of what is expected IF he is chosen as the nominee. I believe that will NOT be the case and Hillary Clinton will be our nominee. She is the stronger candidate by far. So Senator Obama, hopefully the "buck will stop here" and you can go on home. HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  20. J

    I would not trust Hillary who takes a shot of the devil's drink.
    What a shame ?

    April 17, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  21. aliou salam, Jacksonville FL

    I appreciate what you have done for this country hillary. But you are a little bit late. Obama's mother would have been happy to take the fight to you. But thanks to cancer and a hard life, she is not here to tell you whose son you are calling elitist.

    April 17, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. aliou salam, Jacksonville FL

    Keep going negative? I love you for it. It will get Obama elected.

    I used to like you. I sent an email to you Hillary, to stop the negatives. I never even got an answer back. Instead, my email was deleted.

    Now, i am obama all the way.

    April 17, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. Jeanine G

    Hill thinks Obama isn't qualified to handle the Iraq situation?

    Isn't hers one of the votes that created it to begin with?

    April 17, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |



    April 17, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. gp

    yes we will be well off..look how she is manaaging her campain where she was cheaf comender and could create as she wonted- campain is not paying bills, every months one off main strategic people need to leave position, she is presenting not knowing anything about their involvement in dirty bysenes- including here housbat (she is even trying to present as her gracious ,liberal nature doesnt minde -he is free to have his byssines!!!!!Haloo!!!...does she realy think we are all stupid..please people wake up she is disaster...we have to find way out of this mess

    April 17, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
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