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. Venus

    Yeah – that's why you are not going to be president! Any thing to keep Bill out!

    April 17, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Jordan

    She's an idiot!

    April 17, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Cameron

    I wish I could says that I was amused by how during last night's debate Hillary plagiarized every one of Obama's popular positions as her own. All of a sudden now SHE was the one who had shown that she can work across party lines to bring people together to move the country forward. Shameless how she will say anything to get elected.

    April 17, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. MD

    Hillary has promised that she will be the fastest to cut and run, no matter the genocide left behind. It may "take a village" but it doesn't mean an Iraqi village.

    April 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Charlene - white, 67, retired professional, Cradle Catholic

    Be very careful Billary what you commit to.. you are beginning to scare me.

    Please try to stop being so negative, it doesn't become you. It would be best to stick to the issues not petty stuff. He is looking like the best person to stay professional in open dialogue.

    Chelsea is very negative and I wonder who she learned it from.

    April 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Amy OFlaherty Reno, NV

    She's not even going to get one day......

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Ready for Change

    And believe me, she will get it done and get it done the way it needs to be done.

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. April in Texas

    As usual I guess you will not listen to anyone who disagrees with you.. Way to unite people... Can you please answer my questions... They are posted all over the web and even here... The debate debacle sealed my no vote for Hillary in concrete...

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. Sara from Arizona

    Yea, Hillary knows more about the war then military generals! What a crock.

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. aaron

    its funny how she seemed to repeat WHAT OBAMA said last night on the debate, regarding the commander in cheif choosing the missions,and ultimetely haveing the final say in the matter.

    nice hillary.

    good ideas are always the stolen ones

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Tim

    This is why Senator Clinton will be our next U.S. President. All Americans want an end to this war!

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. PA Democrat

    In the debate you claim you would consult this person n that person n joint chief of staff n what not! Oh Please!!!! Spare me your Lies!
    You are the president like Sen. Obama said – The buck stops with him!
    All she is doing is saying what the American people wants to hear but dont have an actual plan in place or how to even execute it!!
    Throughout the interview she had alot of fluff and very little substance!

    Sorry my vote is for Sen. Obama he's much much more trustworthy in my eyes!

    April 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Frank, Missouri

    Depends if she would remember .... her point though to withdraw *her* way, no matter what the military says and even if it would endanger the lives of Americans in Iraq is dangerous – not to say dumb.

    Either way, it's hard to have an opinion about whatever she says – I don't think that a word of it has to be true. She'd lie and kill for becoming president to enlarge her ego. It's about her, not the Democratic Party or the American People.

    In her words : "Screw'em all !"

    April 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Independent

    She picked up this line from Obama last night during the debate.

    April 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. tseada

    LIES, LIES n more LIES!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Scott, Wichita

    And the fact that it will cost 10 times as much per week as it does to fund the war if withdrawl is begun faster than a 6 month notice seems to fall on deaf ears...

    people complain about half a trillion dollars so far, but we'll see what happens when we're spending 100 billion a week, which means that she'll spend in 100 days (giving her the full 60, plus the 40 days required to spend ~550 billion) what bush did in 1500 days...

    why can't anyone see this?

    That expenditure in addition to all her social projects to bail people out of mortgages. Where will all this money come from?

    Tax rates up to 80%, probably.

    I predict a deficit that makes Bush's years seem like you're borrowing 20 bucks from a friend

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Whatever!

    Ha, and this is why my Iraq war vet said soldiers will never salute Sen. Clinton if she were president.

    She needs to act less of "my way or the highway".

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Bitter Pennsylvanian.

    I think Clinton needs to be more realistic about this. I understand that after her support to go to war in Iraq that she would feel the need for such a drastic opposition.

    And as much as I support ending the war in Iraq, I think that 60 days seems either extremely hasty, or a commitment that she may not fullfill.

    It just doesn't sound realistic.

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. SayNoToHillaryBillaryCheslaryClintrous

    The president tells the military commanders what the mission is.

    This is Obams words from last night debate I can not beleive this woman.

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. Lonny, Seattle

    You cant plan 100%.

    Obama admits this, Clinton wont.

    Its ignorant to say that under ANY circumstances we'll pull out.

    Nine months is plenty enough time for something crazy to happen over there that keeps us there longer than we democrats plan or want.

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. bob

    In the photo she looks like she is testing which way the wind is coming from so she knows which way to face when she farts.

    April 17, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |



    April 17, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. John

    Jay Leno pulled a good line the other day.

    He said, you know that they invented a hand held LIE DETECTOR. Someone approached Hillary with one and Hillary shrieked like as if she saw a ghost!!!

    I wished someone would strap a lie detector on both Bill & Hillary every time they talk.

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Mike

    Get a life Obama after last night Hillary beat you down. You are now refusing to debate her anymore because you are cracking. You cant hide behind your facade anymore.

    Hillary just needs to continue the Saturday debate on CBS with McCain and skip the middle man.

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. James, SC

    Pandering......... I may not like her, but she is NOT that stupid!

    April 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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