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. The Austrian

    A desperation move to somehow get ahead of Obama (although mathematically impossible...).

    She'll never ACTUALLY do it.

    April 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Lee WV

    She should go ahead and withdraw now and save herself some embaressment.

    April 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Soupy

    For a second I thought the article was about her withdrawal from the race. Ugh.

    April 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Michael

    In that picture of Hillary – I don't see her American flag lapel pin. Doesn't she love her country?

    April 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. www.elicourey.com

    Does she still think she's going to win the Democratic nomination?

    April 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Adam, Los Angeles

    Oh great so when the Mid-East is left in even chaos, Al Qaeda increases its strongholds in Iraq, the rest of the world looks down at the US for being incredibly irresponsible, Clinton will be able to say: "I withdrew the troops."

    That attitude is totally irresponsible and not presidential.

    April 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Bob, NY

    Obviously the democrats want Iraq to end like Vietnam...., regardless of the impending genecide.

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Kazellfo

    Hi webmaster!

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Michael

    Get real Hillary, and make you are not lying again.

    OBAMA 08

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. SG

    That's good since Obama met with the PM today and wants prosperity for Africa – Priorities, Priorities – Pay attention PA

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Educated Voter

    Hillary – if you do pull out troops within 60 days "no matter what", what message does that send to the world and to our country?

    1) that the US can be bullied around like a weak little school girl
    2) you have no confidence in our brave men and women who risk their lives for the rest of us here – no matter what the task.

    Timelines like this are irresponsible and short sighted. We need a leader who is not afraid at 3 in the morning. Who is responsible for their actions, even if they are sleepy or groggy as Bill tell us you were.

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Catherine

    Wow... This woman will say and do anything to win an election.

    Penn state women BEWARE!

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. fred

    Go Hillary!! She is a very smart woman!! She will get it done!!


    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. Brandy

    Blah, blah, blah

    Despite the fact that she voted for the war to begin with? Really?

    I love and support the idea but can't believe it when it comes out her mouth!

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. mitch from ark.

    maybe clinton should spend some time 'on the ground',in iraq,dodging 'sniper bullets' ,before she spouts off,leaving herself,with no room to deal with contingencies.at least obama,was more 'presidential',saying,he would set the mission,with a goal of having all combat troops out,in about 16 months,and then allow the military,to use the "tactics",it needs,to accomplish the mission.he's going to make a great commander-in-chief!

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Jack

    Now this is utterly foolish and shows disrespect to the military members. You wont take their advice Hillary????

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. LD

    Hillary is really crazy with withdrawing troops from Iraq in sixty days , no matter what happend.

    Obama foreign policies are the best and trustable. Particularly his Iraqi policies. Congratilations Obama.

    Go Obama. 08 is yours and Iam with you.

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. kc


    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. sgtlejeune

    I don't believe Senator Clinton will be in the position to decide this. She has lost already, she just doesn't know it yet. Maybe if she had been talking like this from the very beginning it would have made a difference. In any case, being an Iraq vet myself, I hope the next president does begin an immediate withdrawal. Whoever that president may be.

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Jean

    Another Big Lie!!

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Mike from Westchester

    Can we get her to withdraw now????????????????

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Alice

    Withdraw yourself.

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Cyp

    Hillary All The Way.
    Hillary For the Peace and Prosperity of the Nineties

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Sara from Arizona

    SHE VOTED FOR THE WAR, OBAMA DID NOT....Those who do not support the war should not vote for this phony. OBAMA 08'

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. David

    She quoted OBAMA!

    He said last night it was the "President who determines what the mission is." And there she said it!

    What is wrong with her? Where did this great candidate go? Last night she kept rolling her eyes. When she was making accusations towards Obama she never looked him in the eye. She looked down and right, totally avoiding, her voice even dropped. If you are going to go down the attack road have the courage to look your opponent in the eye.

    Obama was a gentleman last night. He could have hit her hard on Mark Penn, Colombia and other things but he didn't. He did try to get the conversation back on topic – i.e. on the issues but they decided to spend the first hour on old issues we've even heard full speeches on already!

    And why was George Stephanalopolous a moderator? He was her husband's White House press secretary! And why was Hillary in a spot light?

    Obama 08!
    Obama 08!

    April 17, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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