July 8th, 2008
02:01 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama rejects accusations of flip-flopping

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/08/art.obamawes.cnn1.jpg caption="Obama campaigned in Georgia Tuesday."]POWDER SPRINGS, Georgia (CNN) – Barack Obama on Tuesday rejected recent allegations that he has changed his position on Iraq since effectively claiming the Democratic nomination.

When asked by a self-proclaimed “reformed Republican” at a campaign rally about charges that he is flip-flopping on his pledge to get troops out of Iraq within 16 months, Obama replied, “The people who say this apparently haven’t been listening to me.”

Obama listed positions “that make me progressive and squarely in the Democratic camp,” and denied his views had shifted at all since becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee, adding that more centrist positions like his support of faith-based initiatives and an individual’s right to bear arms are long-held beliefs.

Obama then summarized his position on Iraq, repeating his position that if elected, he will withdraw 1-2 brigades per month, completing a total withdrawal over the course of “about 16 months.”

The Illinois senator started a firestorm last week when he said a visit to Iraq would allow him to “refine” his policies. Critics said he was backing off the 16-month deadline.

“When I hear John McCain saying ‘we can’t surrender,’ ‘we can’t wave the white flag’– nobody’s talking about surrendering. We’re talking about common sense. We can not be there forever,” said Obama. “I am going to bring this war to an end. So don’t be confused.”

Obama continued the week’s economic theme in Tuesday morning’s speech by laying out his platform to fight personal bankruptcies that arise from health care costs, long military deployments and natural disasters, among other causes.

“These bankruptcies aren’t happening on their own,” said Obama, “they reflect an underlying economy that is weak. To address the rising bankruptcy rate at its source, we have to make long-term investments to strengthen our economy.”

Obama continued his efforts to tie McCain to President Bush’s economic policies, telling the crowd he “cannot wait” to have a debate about taxes.

“A McCain Administration would mean a fiscal Groundhog Day in Washington,” said Obama. “You remember that movie, Groundhog Day? He kept on waking up and the same thing happened over and over and over again.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. TSAH

    You don't make sense "Sheople" – what the heck is a "sheople" anyway – Looks like a "typo" to me!!! LOL

    July 8, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Bulldog

    HEADLINE: Iraq Insists US Must Set a Timetable for Withdrawal

    "That's not too important. What's important is the casualties." –on when U.S. troops will return from Iraq, " John McCain, Today," NBC, June 11, 2008

    "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today." –McCain prior to visiting a Baghdad market while being flanked by 22 soldiers, 10 armored Humvees, and two Apache attack helicopters

    "We're going to prevail and we will win and it'll be one of the best things that's happened to America and the world in a long time 'cause it'll reverberate throughout the Middle East." –John McCain on the Iraq war, "Meet the Press" interview, March 3, 2003

    July 8, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. George


    "....McCain's proposal to cut corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent would cut taxes on the top five U.S. oil companies by $3.8 billion a year.

    McCain, however, did vote against a 2005 energy bill backed by President Bush, saying at the time that it included billions of dollars in unnecessary tax breaks for the oil industry...."


    July 8, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. tactics

    He is no longer mocking Hillary... or brushing her off his shoulders... or calling her supporters racists...

    Now he is doing that to the Republicans....

    So he partially flip-flops on tactics.

    July 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |

    If Obama wants to set the record straight, why doesn't he debate McCain? Why hasn't he visited our troops in Iraq? Why is he scared to go on FOX news?

    No votes for Cowards!

    Hillary at the convention, or McCain 08

    July 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Chuck

    That's what Obama is best at. Straightening everyone out and again clarifying his positions after being accused by the right and some in the media of flip-flopping or saying something he didn't say or intending something he didn't intend. Thank goodness we have a candidate who when falsley accused of something he does not sit on his hands and say nothing. He explains and clarifies. Something new for a political candidate. It's called honesty.

    July 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. ozark

    Flip Flop is the same code word the Rove Machine used on Kerry in 2004. They still lost the election but managed to fix the "problem" in Ohio. This time they are going to have to fix a lot more than just Ohio.

    Obama has always been clear. The premise of his Iraq policy is withdrawal. "I will as careful getting out as this administration was reckless in getting in." He has set a realistic goal of 16 months, but unlike the current occupant of the White House, he understands that the future is frought with ugly surprises. Ergo he will not be forced to never say never. Naturally the Rove/McCain machine has resorted to distortion, trying to say that Obama's policy smells just like theirs. Everyone past the 3rd grade and some CNN commentators knows better.

    July 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. ARB

    yeah i agree....change for the worst

    July 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. I saw it

    He can reject it all he wants... there are videos of his shifts in position. Not to mention his hammering HRC over the positions he now has moved into:
    Dealing with our enemies.....

    July 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. TSAH

    McFLIPPER is too OLD to Flip – but he's going to FLOP!!! LOL - Right out of the race when Obama becomes president!!!!

    July 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Love My USA

    CHANGE??????? BO – null null – otherwise known as Dr. NO!

    "CHANGE"......What I Believe BO's Definition of Change Is!

    H = HATRED
    G = GREED

    "Change" is fleeting! Positive and Negative – Good and Bad. Obama's self-serving "change" born from contempt and controversy, is like a wrecker destroying in a day or two, what it took noble builders – our founding fathers – years to construct.

    The tale of the sinister scorpion, mirrors BO's blueprint of deceit.

    The scorpion, a poor swimmer, asked the turtle to carry him across the river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "While swimming, you'll sting me and I'll drown."
    Laughed the scorpion, "If I sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you. Where is the logic in that?"
    "You're right. Hop on!" said the turtle.
    Halfway across the river, the scorpion gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle resignedly asked, "You said there'd be no logic in stinging me. Why did you do it?"
    "It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion replied. "IT'S JUST MY CHARACTER."


    PS: CHANGE can also mean I can CHANGE my mind

    July 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. DJ, LA, CA

    Obama has always said this going back to the 20 debates he had against Clinton and during interviews. He has always said 16 month plan but he wants to pull troops out in a safe, organized manner.

    All you cynics have no ground to stand on. Obama is right, you either refuse to listen or simply ignore him out of sheer ignorance.

    July 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Peter E

    I don't know who's the bigger liar: the McCain supporter who thinks Obama had different, more liberal views in the past, or the Obama supporter who thinks Obama has those liberal view right now. Obama's policies and record are eerily similar to Bush. He voted to continue funding the Iraq war and advocated against withdrawal timetable in the senate. He is planning on continuing public funding of faith-based group for charitable work, a program Bush started, even expanding on that funding. He supports Bush's controversial No Child Left Behind with 'modifications.' While he criticized NAFTA he doesn't actually want to abolish it but rather 'fix it.' You can read all of these on his own website if you don't believe me!
    Obama 08! 'Change...' because people call it that...

    July 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Pepou

    These silly women, part of the PUMA gang are really, really pathetic. Hillary has lost ! O.K. ? She is now supportintg Obama. You want to whine for one hundred years and elect McBush for another 4 ? The truth of the matter is that Hillary and Obama are extremely close on many issues (she said so herself !). So stop this nonsense !

    July 8, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Tim

    It's amazing how we can get stuck on a word such as flip-flop and try to saddle on person with it (Senator Obama) and claim the other candidate changed his mind becasue of better information (John McSame). Sorry, can't have it both ways!!! John McSame said we stay there 100 years and now says he didn't mean that, but has no time table for getting us out. He keeps talking about winning. Will someone tell me what we would when when we went in for the wrong reason? What can we wil by staying or lose by withdrawing?

    July 8, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. all of the sheople but none of the people

    Well he calls it "clarifying" his positions.

    That ploy works on sheople but not on the people.

    But it is not flip-flopping- it is lying.

    What do you believe? His former positions or his current ones?

    July 8, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    Personally, I think the ability to refine one's positions as new information comes in is a good thing. Wish we had a president like that the past eight years.

    July 8, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Obama claims he wants to unite all Americans, including Republicans. Do you Obama supporters think you are doing him or his cause any good by your use of McShame, McBush, McSame, repugs, or other insulting offensive terms? How about if we start calling Obama boy, n-word, etc.? Try raising the level of your discourse above that found in a grammar school argument. Does calling McCain supporters idiots win you any new votes? There are more Independents than either Republicans or Democrats. Right now they are a toss-up as to who they will support. Do you honestly believe that your trash talk will impress them? On second thought, maybe you should just keep it up.

    July 8, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. PUMA

    Every OTHER word is a flip and the alternate word is the FLOP.

    July 8, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. black is the color of....

    He can't wait to have a debate?

    He sure was afraid to debate the woman candidate who outshone him in every possible way.

    But we wanted black this year.

    July 8, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Really

    I love reading all the Obama disciples trying to defend and justify him. They rip on politics as usual but when Obama gets caught playing the political game, they use past examples to justify it. I have realized that this country is extremely divided. Neither candidate will ever be able to pull us all together. So we need to vote for the guy who is right for this country. McCain is the right guy for the energy crisis. You fix it, and the economy will follow. The Middle East will go away. It is all about Energy. Obama's plan (if you can even call it one) does not offer real solutions to our current situation. It is all lip service.

    July 8, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. nnate, OH

    McCain is under a weak argument when he is going after Obama's Iraq policy. Obama has been consistently offering a 16 month timetable for withdrawal. His decision to speak with the generals to refine his policies, does not change his overall strategy, to withdraw from Iraq. You can gather this from his conversation with General Petraeus on April.


    Has this been over a week? It seems like the McCain campaign is beating a dead horse.

    July 8, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. obama=underhanded liar

    obama is unfit to be president of the United States.

    July 8, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. nnate, OH

    Wow, my post worked. If you want to follow the link just delete the double slashes in front. Too much frustration today.

    July 8, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Carmen

    Obama is a liar and says anything to get vote... what happened to "change"?

    This Hillary supporter, her family and friends will never ever vote for Obama... we will be voting for McCain this year. You can attack me all you want since that is what you are best at, but we will never change our minds.

    Hillary or McCain

    July 8, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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