May 1st, 2008
11:50 AM ET
14 years ago

Dems seize on 5 year anniversary of 'Mission Accomplished' speech


Watch Barack Obama's comments Thursday.

(CNN)— The Iraq war – which has taken a back seat to economic concerns on the campaign trail recently – returned to the forefront Thursday as Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama used the fifth anniversary of President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech to blast the administration’s war policy.

At a campaign event in Indiana, Obama drew a parallel between President Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech and Clinton and John McCain’s gas tax holiday proposals, telling the crowd that ultimately, the “the long term problems... keep going and going and going.”

“You remember when George Bush five years ago put up a big sign in front of an aircraft carrier saying: ‘Mission accomplished in Iraq.’ I’m sure they thought that was good politics. Except five years later we're still in this war in Iraq,” said the Illinois senator, who has made his early opposition to the war a major theme of his campaign.

His Democratic rival stressed administration missteps in the early days of the conflict. “The fifth anniversary of President Bush's ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech comes the same week as a chief architect of the Bush administration’s war in Iraq conceded ‘We were clueless on counterinsurgency,’” Clinton said in a statement. “The path forward is to use American diplomacy and our allies to allow U.S. forces to come home, and turn responsibility back to Iraq and its people.”

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner had been referring to the sailors on the ship where the speech was delivered, not the war itself. “President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said `mission accomplished' for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission," said Perino. "And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year."

soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Moore

    Shut up have no clue what your talking about!

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. Griff

    The Man! Without, a,________ "Moment Left"........

    May 1, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Dale Wise

    Time for a real, meaningful 'mission accomplished' – let's wrap up this nomination and get Obama in the White House.

    May 1, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. What you know about war

    Obama? The infrastructure of a functioning military of a sovereign nation was DESTROYED 5 years ago.


    May 1, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Of course they would capitalize on President Nuncio's speech.
    Reality is–despite his on ignorance–he has established some strong precedents for the next President.

    Stay the course.
    Disregard–the so-called experts and trust in military/other intelligence, and your own advisors.
    Don't waffel because of public opinon–but exercise executive will and ensure the strategy and tactics are pursued to the end–despite the critics.

    History may judge him differently. Let's see.

    May 1, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    The bigger question is:

    "Do either of the Democratic rivals for the Presidency have the personal fortitude and will to go the distance?"

    May 1, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Yes we can!

    Mission will be accomplished when our troops are safely home. We are the united states of america not supercountry of the world. some battles/wars are not up to us to fight or win. In the bible some battles were not won because of disobedience and sin. The people had turned their hearts away from God and wanted to accomplish things on their own. We are one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.... When we turn our hearts back to God and our constitiution that was founded with God fearing men, God will fight our battles and mission will be accomplished. that's why i'm voting for Barak Obama....we need a new direction and change and i'm not afraid of change, it's good and we should embrace it while we have a chance....with the people behind him, there's nothing we the USA can't accomplish!

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Paris

    I hate to break it to you Mr. Obama but war is a dynamic environment and things changes on the ground.
    Our mission of dismantling Sadam’s regime has been successful and that mission was accomplished.
    But when you are building democracy it takes time.
    I suggest you catch-up on your Meddle east studies.
    One question can you please have your wife explain her thesis.

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Debby

    Look whose talking about the war the only candidate that hasn't been over there to see what actually is going on. Obama is such a joke.

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Paris

    I hate to break it to you Mr. Obama but war is a dynamic environment and things changes on the ground.
    Our mission of dismantling Sadam’s regime has been successful and that mission was accomplished.
    When you are building democracy it takes time.
    I suggest you catch-up on your Meddle east studies.

    One question can you please have your wife explain her thesis?

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. v.ananthan

    Hillary was presented with false information form BUSH and POWELL and according to that she voted for the WAR..



    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. SLO Bear

    Let's hope we–both normal folk and superdelegates–aren't as stupid as the Clintons seem to think we are.

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    Obama knows exactly what he is talking about! Telling him to shut up won't make the truth go away.....

    Have some of you not read how economic experts have criticized the Hillary McCain gas tax holiday which is a short term pandering effort on their part and will leave us in a deeper mess in the long run! No wonder we elected Dubya twice!

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Ron

    Obama's answer to everithing is lets talk about it and don't do nothing so you can't be accused of anything. If he gets in the white house you can be sure that anything that does not go right will be someone elses can tell me all the things that should be changed but if you can't tell me in detail how your going to change it you are just making useless conversation

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |


    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Jim


    We do not want talk, we do not want your crazy pastor in the White House for the next 4 years, we do not vote for candidates who insult the way you did in Pennsylvania, we do not want Tony Rezko your crooked friend in Chicago, we do not want speeches copied from others, we do not want to lose to McCain in November either!!!


    May 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |

    Bottom line folks is you have two other candidates telling you what you would like to hear...."GAS TAX HOLIDAY", they are telling you what you would like to hear, but it ain't gonna happen, but by the time you figure it out it will be after November and you would have been used.

    One candidate is telling you what you need to KNOW...and it ain't no Bull Crap "GAS TAX HOLIDAY". He could pander you for you votes as well as the other two, but that's the big difference.

    Senator Obama has said "I'll tell the American people what they need to know and not what they would like to hear" He'll make the hard decisions.

    May 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Melissa- OHIO

    Clinton wasnt given bad info, she just DIDNT READ the info given to her.

    Not suprising that an elitist would rely on a lackey to do her work. If she cant choose good aides, cant manage her campaign, runs out of money time and time again... and can only imagine winning the nomination by stealing it.... then what kind of president would she be?

    Obama 2008!

    May 1, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. matt82

    Hillary Clinton has edged ahead of Barack Obama, 49% to 45%, in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update. good news right, CNN, Larry, Anderson, Jack ?

    May 1, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. Independent-woman-voter-for-Obama

    I see that the 'conservatives' on this blog continue to live in denial that this war has been lost from the beginning. 'Go the distance'? Are you kidding........ please tell me how we will continue to pay for the war when our national debt IS: $10 TRILLION AND COUNTING?????????????

    We are in danger of being bankrupt and some people are still saying 'go the distance'?

    Sen. Obama IS the ONLY sane one of the group! Hillary and McBush BOTH VOTED FOR WAR WITH IRAQ! How IS this wisdom, logic OR good judgement???????????????????

    OBAMA 08 & 12!

    May 1, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. EBC

    That's RIGHT nail this fool to the floor. We've been lead by a bunch of Bafooms!

    The world looks at us like a bunch of lunatics all because of McBush and with the help of Sen. Clinton talking about how she's going to obliterate iran!!! What is wrong with this woman? YOU can't be making threatening statements, YOU ARE NOT THE PRESIDENT YET and that statement goes against the Geneva Convention's agreement. Talk about looking stupid.

    With endorsements coming in from California, Iowa and Indiana, Sen. Barack Obama yesterday pulled even with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for support on Capitol Hill, as Democratic lawmakers shrugged off his recent struggles.

    May 1, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. sue

    "The path forward is to use American diplomacy "


    You are a liar Hillary!! You are very much responsible for getting us into this mess of a war as anyone else!!

    May 1, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Ron

    Obama was against the war because he is a pacifist and being so could not be depended on to take action against our enemies if necessary he would try and talk them out of it while they bombed the hell out of us Hell he backed down from Clinton in their first debate when she forced him to denounce Farrakhan on national television.he's a wimp you can see that whenever someone picks on him

    May 1, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Melissa- OHIO

    And Rev. Wright was only saying what many black pastors say every Sunday. If we, as caucasians, bothered to educate ourselves, we'd understand why! It's not anti-white, or anti-american... it's anti-racism, plain and simple.

    Tuskeegee, black wall street bombing, experiments on black men, women, and children with no anesthesia... these things all happened in RECENT history!

    May 1, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. Peggy

    Before Bush, I sincerely believed that an American President would never take us to war unless it was absolutely necessary. Now I am more cynical, much like many Americans these days. Of the three presidential contenders, only Obama has the integrity, if at some future time the need arises, to convince the American people that the US must go to war.

    May 1, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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