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. Former Republican

    What is a bigger issue right now???? The fact that Rev. Wright is Barack Obama's pastor or the fact that Obama has been against the war from day 1 and 4065 young men and WOMEN have been killed in Iraq! Clinton supporter obviously think Rev. Wright issue is MORE important. This is a really sick selfish nation and I am BITTER!

    May 1, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Billy from Fl

    I am so sick of hearing Obama say he was against the war,

    well guess what that was in the past and were sick of hearing about you were against the war , how do we know how you would have voted as you voted present or didn't show up to vote at all.

    The American people are tired of your old speeches, start telling
    us what you are going to do now.

    May 1, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Jason

    Don't cast your vote for a Chinese spy, Hillary. Vote wisely, vote for Barack Obama.

    What Clinton doesn't tell voters is that Magnequench, which made the magnets that helped to guide the precision-guided missiles, the so-called smart bombs, was sold to Chinese interests during Bill Clinton's administration, which okayed the move despite concerns about national security and eventual job loss.

    May 1, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. John Smith

    Each time I read on these bloggs–

    Count FL and MI, I feel so sick to my stomach. Have we lost all sense of decency about "rules and vlaues" in this nation?

    No surprise, if we can overlook God's rules: "Thou shalt not commit adultry; Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor," it is no small wonder how we can easily overlook our own values and rules!

    May 1, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Cynthia

    I have always said, don't tell me what I want to hear – tell me the truth. I heard an analyst on CNN say that the tax holiday would not work. I would rather they leave the money where it is to take care of dilapidated bridges, etc.

    May 1, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Mike

    Nobama you have no clue what you are talking about, you are simply a puppet of a mouthpiece!

    Go Hillary!!!!

    May 1, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Seriously

    Finally Americans are realizing what a horrible President Bush is. Unfortunately, the Democrats look like they may be selecting another left-wing liberal candidate who (1) won't win in November because he'll lose the vital swing states which will leave us with 4 more years of Republicans and (2) has no experience just like Bush, has no specific plans just like Bush, tries to appear to be a "uniter not a divider" just like Bush, and bases his campaign on the mere prospect of likability.
    Democrats please wise-up before it's too late. Let's nominate the candidiate who can win in Nov. That candidiate is Hillary Clinton. She can win the vital swing states (FL, OH, PA, AK, TN, NH, NM and MI) and thereby can win the White House.

    May 1, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Ron

    there once was a man very much like Sen. Obama who came out of nowhere and courted the youth vote and the elite and preached and promise change and boy did he ever deliver you can read all about it in mein kamp

    May 1, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Obama4Prez

    Well said Obama. It's amazing to see how the red necks in this country will fall for any gimmics thrown by Billary and McSame.

    It's no wonder they elected Bush.

    May 1, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Venus

    Way to go Obama!

    Clinton voted for the war with Mc Cain and Bush!

    After 5-long years and $500-trillion dollars – we have not won the war and we will not!

    Imagine if Iraq had a REAL-ARMY to fight!

    The USA had no right to invade Iraq regardless of the leader and this is one of the things Rev. Wright has stated... die for a lie!

    May 1, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Mike

    I am so sick of NObama and the "Yes We Can..." chant!

    "No You Can't"!!!!

    Drop out already and go back from where you came?

    Go Hillary!!!!

    May 1, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. R.T.

    Obama speaking about National Security issues is like a guy going to an Indigo Girls concert to try to pick up a date.

    May 1, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Jose'

    Only an idiot would still refer to the 'Mission Accomplished' banner, but we have both Clinton and Obama doing it.

    May 1, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Tanya Kujath

    Mission accomplished? I guess so if the goal was to put our Country into a 3 trillion dollar debt, accomplish little over seas, and having to pay highway robbery for gas. Then I guess so, mission accomplished.

    May 1, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. richard

    Obamabots, You may be blind but you cant place a blindfold over the American public. Obama is unelectable period. You must get over your so called loyalty and do what is best for the Democratic party.

    May 1, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Louis

    Educated people only should post blogs.

    Obama ' candiadte is perfect at least he admits his faults and faces them.

    May 1, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Cali

    Other candidate going to take care that Obama don't worry about it. We
    don't need you. You the worst President if you get elect, look at your cousin Bushy Obama.

    May 1, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. AJ, IL

    Go get 'em Obama! Out of the three presidential candidates I believe Obama the most in us getting out of Iraq!

    Keep hammering the point in that the most important foreign policy of the last 50 years both Hillary and McCain SCREWED UP! Poor policy judgment!

    May 1, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. HG

    what was the mission and what got accomplished?

    May 1, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Sharon Minnesota

    Stretch.............................Obama is an expert on adding 2 + 2 and coming up with 3.

    May 1, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. honkey white guy from cali

    here come all the racist white people to bash on Obama because he was right guess the truth hurts! I am a white male who fought in Iraq both missions and I can tell you. Sen Obama has the clearest vision of what this country needs! He may not have been to Iraq but at least he does the things that Sen Clinton and Mc Cain failed to do He actually read the briefing! had they listen to experts in the field that had been there it never would have happen. No there way is I know all and am smart enough to make the choices that send people to die because I know I am right! give me a break!

    and Matt82 the polls have been wrong time and time again i still wonder why so many desperate Clinton supporters cling to them with such strength she was ahead in this poll many times they have been running neck and neck in it for months!

    Go Obama 08 Yes We Can

    May 1, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Ron

    Obama is a zebra black and white and he'll use any color to his advantage wether it's his white grandmother or the Rev Wright and when he's done with you you get the flick off the shoulder routine. this guy is for Obama and nobody else except maybe the guys who are pulling his strings if he can't outsmart them in the end

    May 1, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Billy G in Las Vegas

    it WOULD have been “Mission Accomplished” IF the American govenment didn't tie the hands of the Military when the "insurgency" started just like they did in Viet Nam. except for the "police actions" on Grenada and Panama and the First Gulf War, this country hasn't fought decent war since WWII.

    the object of war is to KILL the ENEMY and ANYONE ELSE that MAY be HELPING them. after those contractors were brutally murdered in Fallujah we should have carpet bombed the place into dust. THAT would have settled things down REAL FAST. we also didn't take out that pipsqueek Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army thugs early on. they are now the Iraqi version of Hitler and his Storm Troops in pre WWII Germany and they are going to eventually end up CONTROLLING the COUNTRY just like the Nazis did.

    instead we have ended up with an Arabian Viet Nam complete with an Iranian version of Cambodia where the insurgents can run to and get resupplied.

    May 1, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Paul, Tampa, FL

    Clinton's support for the gas tax holiday is based on the same flawed political reasoning she used to vote to invade Iraq, i.e., go with what is politically expedient instead of what is good policy. Any economist will tell you that the price of gas, like all goods, is a function of supply and demand period. The current price of gas reflects the price necessary to balance the demand with the supply. Eliminating the gas tax will not lower the price of gas unless it increased the supply or reduced the demand. Clinton's proposal will simply put the money that used to go to pay for roads into the pockets of the oil companies, not gas consumers.

    May 1, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. James

    Say it out Obama. God loves you. Its about time that Americans stop going for brand names and vote for change. Sometimes I wonder how Bush got into the white house. I guess people were going for a brand name. Just look at the mess we are right now.

    May 1, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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