July 3rd, 2008
03:58 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama denies altering proposed Iraq withdrawal timeline

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/03/art.obama0703.ap.jpg caption="Obama denies any shift in his Iraq policy."]FARGO, North Dakota (CNN) – Democrat Barack Obama denied Thursday any suggestion he's shying away from his proposed 16-month phased withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq, calling it "pure speculation" and adding that his "position has not changed" - shortly before telling reporters questioning his stance that he will "continue to refine" his policies as warranted.

"We're planning to visit Iraq," the presumptive Democratic nominee said, referring to his recently-announced trip scheduled for later this summer. "I'm going to do a thorough assessment when I'm there."

Asked if that means he is, in fact, open to options that would not include the removal of all combat troops within 16 months, the Illinois senator did not respond directly, but only said he will continue to "gather information."

"I mean we can chase this around, you know, for a long time," he continued in a press conference in Fargo, North Dakota.

"What I've said repeatedly is that my goal is to end this conflict in a responsible way as quickly as possible. My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything I've said, was always premised on making sure that our troops were safe."

According to Obama's campaign website he would remove brigades at a pace of one to two per month and have "all [United States] combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."

But on April 10 he told an Indiana crowd it may take "16 months to two years" to remove combat troops. In recent speeches, he's left out the phrase "16 months" entirely.

Pressed as to why that's been the case, the White House hopeful first laughed, then told reporters it's because he's been "focused on the economy."

Regardless, his economic theme in the last month has not prevented him from occasionally talking Iraq — and when he does, he has not brought up specific timetables.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. taylor

    Being an african male in the military i am more focused on the economy, and domestic issues. not so much iraq. What are these candidates going to do for US........ the people who serve???? pay increases??? shorter tours????? better health and family care???????? the one who answers those types of questions is the one to get my vote!

    July 3, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. CE

    He took one position to campaign against Senator Clinton. NOW, he is taking another position to campaign against Senator McCain.

    Flip-flop might be too kind – he is a TYPICAL POLITICIAN! The very thing he claimed not to be.

    Are more of his followers less blinded now by his empty words? If not, you have several more months to see him in his true light before the election. Too bad it did not happen in time to make Senator Clinton the nominee so the Democrats could win in November.

    Democrats for McCain – Just Say No Deal!

    July 3, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. Kona

    Actually Frank and enimosa it's you two who are the "sleazy" ones spreading spin. I've been reading these blogs for the last two years and it's comments like yours that make sweeping generalizations, but provide no facts to back them up, that are the real problem.

    It might help if you disconnected from your source of anger and introduced logic into your arguments. You might be able to convince some of the other bloggers that you're actually being objective. "Might" being the key word here

    July 3, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  4. tom, boston

    Senator Obama,

    AIPAC may be very intimidating to you right now,

    but trust me on this:

    the people have spoken and we want OUT OF IRAQ ASAP!

    don't be afraid to say NO to AIPAC and the neo-cons.

    we've got you covered!

    July 3, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. yns

    Listen carefully folks.... he keeps changing his speech..... a "typical" politician he is turning out to be! Anything to get a vote.......

    July 3, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. richard

    Frank: give us a break!

    Anyone who looks back on the past 8 years and says "more republican" should not be allowed to vote for sheer stupidity!

    July 3, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. Sheri

    Enomisa, Enomisa You don't know what you are talking about

    July 3, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. wisdom

    We don't trust Obama. We voted Clinton in the primaries because we did not know much about Obama. Now we know A LOT about him, we will vote McCain. Monica: Wake UP


    July 3, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. Ray H Gainesville VA

    Still better than John McCain, anyday!

    July 3, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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