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. Peter

    And thank God John McCain has stuck to all of his positions...

    well, except for abortion....and torture....and drilling off the coast...and gay marriage....and..

    Never mind.

    July 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. David in Chicago

    LynnB – Sleazy, slick, wolf in sheeps clothing. Are you serious with this name calling crap? Give us a break.

    Boulder Brian – so what if they aren't out in 16 weeks? Where does that statement end Brian, you tell us.. when is a good time to pull out? 2 years? 3? 50 years? Why don't you let us know? 16 months is an eternity if you were actually in Iraq on the ground like our soldiers are doing. What if that "so what" soldier was your brother, dad, son? So what.. is what I say to your ideas buddy.

    July 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Flagpin Man

    My candidate Flip Flopping?
    I respected McCain when he was against Bush. Those were the good old days of the 'Maverick'. That was one version McCain. Then he decides to run for president and takes 95% of Bush's policies as his own. Now I look at the man who sleeps with Bush and recommends military action for everything and wonder what has happened to John McCain? Politics are ugly!

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. SlickWilly

    Flip-Flop or Policy Refinement?

    It's all in the way you define the word "CHANGE"..

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Unempressed

    Posters are already doing what he just said people have been doing, "trying" to read into what he says for something, twisting his words and listening to the GOP.

    As a student at a university that lost over a dozen students, I can tell you NOW that the media does not report facts. They twist everything so that it's "sensational" or "shocking" to get their story!

    "Refine" "adjust" and "reposition" does not mean "flip flop". His position has changed some on some positions on most of the issues he's holding firm. People are putting words into his mout an it's ridiculous!

    Democrat '08

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Well Informed Voter

    Obama has not fliped flopped his postion on iraq. The republicans have played the same stupid game with John Kerry . All I hear from John McCain is attacking Obama every day. He needs to concentrate on his message and stop worrying about what obama is doing. Let the american people decide for themselves.

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Emily, DE

    Oh no! A candidate actually says he's going to make an informed decision! He must be a flip-flopper!!!!

    Cool it people.

    "16 months" is obviously Obama's ideal. Once he visits Iraq he will adjust that timeline based on THE FACTS ON THE GROUND.

    Jeebus Cristos.

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. kofi

    I don't see what all this flip-flop noise about Obama is about (exception goes for his FISA stance - which WAS definitely a change in position). His disagreement about the death penalty, the use of churches for service and his Iraq stance are not not flip flops. He has been painted as very liberal so his support of the death penalty caught people of guard because its not a typical liberal view. He's been stuck on church for a while so nothing new about his church-based initiative. He is pro gun control but not anti second amendment so the supreme court ruling (which was about blanket city/urban-area bans) does not contradict. Anything Obama says, does, doesn't say and do is subject to ridiculous media coverage. The media is definitely pro McCain so this is just another episode of creating controversies/news when there's nothing to see. McCain talks about cutting the government deficit by "winning" the war and nobody calls him out on how that makes sense when there isn't even a metric for "win" . Yet Obama uses the word "refine" his Iraq withdrawal plan and its news for a week ? Gimme a break.

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Erick from Chicago

    This isn't about making an informed decision. This is about someone saying whatever is most popular for one forum and changing their answer when that stance is no longer popular. Obama is a pop star who will change his position for ratings (in this case, votes). Except he calls it 'refining'. This is completely comparable to Hillary's misspeak-ing and "Read my lips". Open your eyes, Obama is as imperfect as any other candidate. Only he claimed that he was perfect and above other candidates. Then, Obama campaigned on these points as if they were political platforms.

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Annette

    That's right reject it! I want a president who's strong, flexible and listens. This is a change. More people are engage in the smallest detail of this election then ever before, then I can remember. Stand up and Deliver Obama, the people are behind you. Some will agree and some not agree. The premise of his position has not change, and I have been following his career for a long time. For those who don't know him, open your eyes and mind, because it's time for change.

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. ANGIE

    it has come to my attention that both canidates say they understand the american people and some that are struggling in these hard times i for one belive obama does share our values and understand what some people are going through being he grew up not rich w a single mother on food stamps now john mccain on the other hand is just pandering with a millonaire wife 5 houses and 700.000 dollars credit card limits how does he releate to anyone going through hard times! he has no idea!!!!!!!!!

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |

    The term "flip-flop" really needs to get kicked to the curb! That's so 2004 and it's done already! However, the repubs have had their heads in the dirt for so long, it's no wonder McSame and his followers live in the past. It's okay, McBush will never make it to the White House. I'm just waiting for that first debate. Currently, McBush's surrogates have been doing most of the talking, sending out the press responses and/or we just get sound bites over the news.

    Can't wait for that first debate! I may have to take the day off and have some champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.

    Obama '08!

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Dee New Jersey

    I am really getting tired of these Conservative Republicans especially one on another cable station reporting only what they want.

    If you have listened to all of Obama's stand on Iraq you would realize that he is not Flip-Flopping. He has said from the beginning that he would start withdrawing at least 2 Brigades per month. If, there should be a problem which would put ANY of our soldiers in danger he would discuss this with the Commanders.

    I think it is time that we stop all this stuff. McCain has flip-flopped to.

    Lets get on with the important things that are effecting our country such as GAS, FOOD, HOUSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Sam

    I am truly dissapointed in CNN today. The BIG news for today is that Iraq has asked for a time-table for withdrawal, which is what President Obama has been advocating all along. Even Fox has this on their headlines today. What's happening to you guys, why the flimsy stories when you know the real scoop? Is someone controlling CNN?

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. John in Binghamton NY

    Yeah, that is what the GOP does best. Call people names and distract the ignorant from the real issues. Doesn't matter if its true or not, just call them a flip flopper, communist, or liberal. That is the GOP plan for our country. Its worked so far right? I mean thank god we didn't elect Gore the "ozone man" and Kerry the "flip flopper". Yeah that was a good idea.

    I would say a monkey in a suit could do a better job than Bush, but I think Bush basically is a monkey in a suit.

    Hasn't McCain flip flopped on basically everything?? What the heck is the GOP trying to pull here?

    Too bad that the same red necks that voted for Bush will fall for this too.

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. JB -NYC

    I hope we get obama.. We must hit bottom to get better. There is only one way idiot liberals are exposed for their failed policies. We have survived worse.. Congress has single digit approval.. The congress is lead by Democrats. Gas has gone up $2 since the dems have taken over. I guess that wasnt proof enough, let's give em the white house.. that'll learn 'em

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. ProundToBeDemocrat

    I hear you Obama it going to be a Groundhog Day with Mcshame. Democrats need to unite and stop the Groundhog Day that started with bush and that will continue if Mcbush is elected. Wake up American you have seen what the republicans can do to our country in the last eight years. If you are thinking voting for Mccain think again think bush.

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. Andy

    Gee another politician who flip flops. Who would have thought? I guess that is what Obama meant by Change. He Changes his position whenever it suits him.

    I liked Obama because he was real. Now I see him as another Democrat candidate who got the base now he is changing his position to come to the middle.

    What ever happened to principles?

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Louie

    Sounds like the Repugs are having a field day with this. Obama has not changed his position. He has always said he would be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. No change, no flip-flop.

    July 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Matt, Canoga Park

    I guess he didn't flip flop. When you never had a plan to begin with and then announce you have one it might seem like you flip flopped.

    He has ran his campaign on fluffy speeches and not being Hillary Clinton. Now that is done he actually has to make a stand and is discovering that his actions and naivete have concequences for other peoples lives.

    He can't vote "Present" if he is president when he does not like the issue.

    July 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. David in Chicago

    Jimmy P – Chicago <- tell that to all the elderly on medicaid who were expecting to be taken care of after retirement. It's amazing how many republicans want free healthcare for children and elderly and for those who served in the military. Sure, no problem with them.. but the rest of us can't have healthcare?

    Than repubs say "your a marxist or a communist for wanting state sponsored healthcare". ohhhh my friend I hope you don't call the police, fire department and I hope you don't have a child in the "communist" public-socialist schools in this country. Yep, those are ALL state-sponsored services. Sure, pay taxes so kids go to public schools but you don't want to pay taxes for your health??? insanity I tell you!!

    July 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Obama has been attacked for not describing a plan to get troops out. When he starts describing a strategy, he is accused of flip-floppling.

    McCain has been attacked for wanting to keep a presence for 100 years. When he starts describing how he will end the war by 2013 he is accused of flip-flopping.

    I do not think a long-term US presence in those holy lands will be welcomed in that part of the world at all.

    July 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Lisa

    I knew voting for Obama was a waste of a vote, He's only beating Mccain by two points in the Gallup poll and Mccain is an idiot.

    July 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. denise

    Way to go Barack Obama! we love you, you will be a great united state of america PRESIDENT.

    Good Luck

    July 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. PUMA .. Hillary supporter

    obama flip flops on everything, McCain 08, Hillary clinton 2012

    July 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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