September 9th, 2008
12:41 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama lukewarm on Iraq drawdown announcement

President Bush announced that he plans to withdraw 8,000 U.S. troops from Iraq by February, 2009 .

President Bush announced that he plans to withdraw 8,000 U.S. troops from Iraq by February, 2009 .

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (CNN) – Senator Barack Obama said Tuesday the Bush administration’s announcement it was bringing some U.S. troops home fell short, calling it a “modest” step that indicated no real change in policy.

“At this point what it appears is the next president will inherit a status quo that is still unstable, Obama told reporters at a high school outside Dayton. “And what’s going to be required is a comprehensive strategy, and that’s what I’ve been offering for the last two years.

“We should have a comprehensive strategy for bringing this war to a close and not what we heard from president today, which is essentially some tinkering around the edges and kicking the can down the road to the next president.”

Obama gave lukewarm praise to the president’s announcement that more U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan, something the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee routinely calls for in his stump speech.

“I am glad that the President is moving in the direction of the policy that I have advocated for years. But the most substantial increase will come when an additional Army brigade is deployed five months from now – in February, after the President has left office. His plan comes up short – it is not enough troops, and not enough resources, with not enough urgency,” he said.

The Democratic nominee also continued his regular practice of linking John McCain with President Bush on foreign policy.

“Last week, we heard a lot of tough talk in St. Paul, but we didn’t hear much about the Bush-McCain record,” he said. “Because seven years after 9/11, we are still fighting a war without end in Iraq and we still haven’t taken out the terrorists responsible for 9/11. That’s where George Bush and John McCain’s judgment has gotten us."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. Lisa

    Anybody with some common since " knows" that when the circumstances changes then all else change.. that just like going to the store.. if the police have the street blocked off you have to take another route.... I see why Bush is in office... all the people that vote for him. mccain and palin are just as stupid as they are.... those who vote for them are just like them.. no common sense at all..

    September 9, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. David

    He's waiting to see which position he takes will garner more votes. After all, he critisizes McCain for voting for the Bush policies and being four more years of Bush when in reality he voted for the Bush policies more than McCain (Obama's big lie). Check the facts of those bills that Bush signed into law (the true measure) from 2006 to present:

    1. H.R. 1815, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006
    2. H.R. 972, the "Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005"
    3. S. 1932, the "Deficit Reduction Act of 2005"
    4. H.R. 3199, the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005" (P.L. 109-177) and S. 2271, the "USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006" (P.L. 109-178)
    5 S. 1869, the Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act of 2005
    6. H.R. 4939, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006
    7. H.R. 889, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006
    8. H.R. 42, the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005
    9. H.R. 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006
    10. H.R. 5631, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2007
    11. H.R. 5441, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007
    12. S. 56, the Rio Grande Natural Area Act
    13. S. 203, the National Heritage Areas Act of 2006
    14. H.R. 4954, the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006
    15. H.R. 233, the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act
    16. H.R. 5122, the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007
    17. H.R. 5682, the "Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006"
    18. S. 843, the Combating Autism Act of 2006
    19. H.R. 6111, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006
    20. H.R. 6407, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act
    21. H.R. 5076, the National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2006
    22. S. 2370, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006
    23. H.R. 6344, the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006
    24. H.R. 5946, the "Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006"
    25. H.R. 1, the "Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007"
    26. H.R. 2272, the "America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act"
    27. S. 1, the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007"
    28. H.R. 3222, the "Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2008"
    29. H.R. 1429 the "Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007"
    30. H.R. 2764, the "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008"
    31. S. 2271, the "Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007"
    32. H.R. 4986, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008"

    Barack Obama voted “Yes” to TWENTY-SIX of these bills. He voted “No” to ONE!!! He did not cast a vote for FIVE of them. If we do not count the bills that did not vote for that yields a 96.3% of voting with Bush. Even counting the bills he did not cast a vote, we come up with 83.8%. Just comparing “yes” against the total, comes to 81.3%.

    Now for John McCain:

    McCain voted “Yes” to TWENTY-FIVE of these bills. He also voted “No” to ONE. He didn’t cast a vote for SIX of them. Not counting the bills he didn’t cast a vote, we get a 96.2%. If we count the “no votes,” we get an 80.6%. When comparing “yes” versus the total, we get a 78.1%.

    thanks for lying to us Mr. Change Obama.

    September 9, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Change, Change, Change

    Bush: The Village Idiot Speaks Again.

    Tick tock already.....

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 9, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. bridgette

    What strategy has McCain put forward. I think if the American people fall for this Karl Rove Republican trick then you will get what you deserve. You have already seen what Karl Rove will do for America. It was he and Cheney who ran this country and made all the decisions. So if you are stupid enough to vote for it again then you deal with what you have to deal with.

    September 9, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Dennis

    There are two kinds of democrats:
    Which one are you?
    The dems (once again) put up a candidate who is totally imept. Just to remind you, MCGOVERN, MONDALE, DUKAKIS. Need I go on?

    September 9, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Amber in AZ

    This is incredible. It's the hoodwinking of America once again. The Rebuplican Party has capitalized on American's love of America and made it seem unpatriotic to not want this war. We need to get out of Iraq and fast. Iraqis never asked us to come into their country and free them from Sadam. It has been proven that the information used to get us to war was a blatant lie. It's no longer a war on terror; it's a war on the Iraqi people. 230,000 civilians have died already.

    To quote my favorite author right now,
    "Freedom isn't something you dispense like a Happy Meal. It has to be wanted by those oppressed- then they have to fight for it themselves. Just like we did in 1776, Just like the French did a few years later, Just like Nelson Mandela did. Just like the Italians after Mussolini.

    The Iraquis as we see from their daily bombings and killings clearly had it in them to wreak havoc on Saddam- but didn't. That was their choice.

    Since 2000, the life expectancy of Iraqi males has gone down from 65 years to 48 years. If the Iraqis had wanted Saddam gone....he would have been gone. People desperate to get free will stop at no lengths to be free.' Michael Moore

    So the reason American's are hated all over the planet is because we elect presidents who use lies to get into office and then lies to go to war. No body seems to notice that our foreign policy pisses the rest of the planet off. That's what 9/11 was really all about. It was a big BUTT OUT AMERICA. And since our country seems so eager to go to war when it's in other countries. Maybe they need to bring it to our doorsteps to show how horrible, ugly, and wrong war really is. At least no body ever DIED when Clinton lied!

    September 9, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. me in md

    Bush stole Obama's plan and is trying to use it to score points with the idiots that don't know any better! Keep believing the lies of Bush-McCain/Palin – this will be this country's downfall.

    September 9, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Edith

    CNN Bush, McCain,and Palin take the L out = Pain they are playing the news media like a fiddle. Suddendly Bush will withdraw troops, next he will find or kill Osama bin Laden the news needs to point out the game playing by the Republicans and lies. Please people don't be fooled by the excitment it want run this country best. You cannot trust republicans to cloean up the mess.

    September 9, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. JDS

    All of you Obama supporters are the one's that are clueless. Bush is doing this because General Patreus suggested the move. Obama is a liar, has no experience and is the one that stutters when put on the spot. Such hatred on this blog. The difference between Democrats and Republicans:

    Democrats want everything for free, and want the government to take care of the failing lives.

    Republicans want nothing for free, and hold the values that this great country was founded on.

    Get a life, and stop being disrespectful to the president that has gotten us through hard times. You are being discourteous to our president and military, and you say that Republicans are the ones that hate america. HAAAAAAA!!!! MCCAIN/PALIN 08!

    DEAD ON Moderate and Balanced!

    September 9, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Surge Did Nothing

    What good is the surge if our manpower and tax dollars are still going to a country who had billions of dollars in a surplus? Obama was right, the surge was like setting your house on fire, putting the fire out with water, and praising the water.

    McCain realizes when he's wrong, change the subject. Nevermind that the problem still exist.

    McCain doesn't realize we're smarter than 5th graders.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 9, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Thomas NY, NY

    Poor wrong....again.

    I'm actually stunned that CNN posted this story, to be completely honest. Sadly, they won't have the objectivity to post this comment, though.

    September 9, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. Steve, Madison WI

    Democrats vote on issues and facts – Republicans on emotions. Emotions do not take research, intellect or effort.

    Democrats use reasoned logic while Republicans "shoot from the hip". Again, it is easier to use words like "liberty" and "freedom" and "feel patriotic" than it is to actually try to change the world for the better.

    It is no wonder the US is in such bad shape after 8 years of Republicans.

    Hey CNN, can we have a debate rather than just a "pep rally"

    September 9, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. j.williams, san diego

    obama is playing the neville chamberlain foreign policy plan...lack of experience is the cause.

    September 9, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Sarah

    George Snotpolus is a zero, and he prove that once again when he interviewed Barack. He seems to be jealous or something because he doesn't allow Barack to finish his answer.

    The man is an opportunist and that's why he worked for Clinton. He doesnt' know what the word "is" is either.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 9, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. Jean

    Is Obama lukewarm? Looking at the facts of the situation.
    He praised the troops and thier commandors for jobs well done.
    Listening to the intire press conference to me he said, the large part of the troops will still be there after the next president is elected.

    What I noticed more than anything else was reporters did not ask questions about troops but Sarah Palin,again missing the main issue of the war.

    A lot of the confusion is media driven, we need to explore the important issues. WE NEED INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING INSTEAD OF WHAT WE ARE GETTING.

    September 9, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Peter (CA)

    I keeping hear the right wingers say "The surge worked." How? By putting more troops on the ground to go against the insurgents?
    Great. So, what happens when the surge is done? Do we need to keep the numbers ratcheted up in Iraq? Where are we supposed to get these troops while at the same time fixing all the screw-ups the administration has made in Afghanistan?

    This is all some sort of Republican gimmick to make it look better for McCain. Are you kidding me? There are not enough troops to do both jobs well. Something has to happen. The Iraqis have to step up. This is what Obama has been talking about for months. He is the rational, thinking one in this debate. So, check out the facts before foaming at the mouth.

    September 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. PA Independent

    Folks, I would be happy to listen to anybody's argument about Obama leading us to Marxism, if the people who spout that nonsense could only spell the word or identify what it means. Talk about an argument for revamping American public education!

    September 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. crashnbrn53

    For those who insist that Palin has more experience than Obama, do you hear yourselves, OMG! Obama has way more education. Just as well, what has been pumped into your heads by the republicans is obviously resignating, so proud to have so many of you here, guess if McCain gets in there, I will have overtime with extra case loads. Oh and eds, you are right, I am a social worker, and comunity organizer is a social work job, Bravo Obama,! working from the community up.

    September 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. He's the changiest!

    Was Sen. Obama right when he said that he was uncertain of how he would have voted on the Iraq War authorization?

    September 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. David

    Another note on Obama and why no change is coming (especially with war-monger Joe Biden as his running mate, he has no plans to stop in Iraq. Get it through your heads. His main foreign policy advisor is the war monger, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Enough said right there. So Obama marches to the beat of the same drum as McCain, that of the elites and the CFR, Bilderberg and Trilaterel. No change. The two party system is a shm and a cover.

    September 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Mike - Texas

    And the Iraqi war "rug" is slowly but surely being pulled out frum underneath the feet of Obama.

    The SURGE worked.
    The Iraqis are taking ove more responsibility.
    The TROOPS are starting to come home.

    Pretty soon, Nobama won't have a foot left to stand on.

    September 9, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. jean from orlando

    To all you Obama or Democrat haters – don't you find it a bit ironic that alll the things that Obama has been advocating for years now (bringing the troops home – talking to our enemies) is exactly what the bush and mccain people are trying to accomplish now. Imagine if this man was in office years ago. Please we made a mistake by voting for bush not once but twice – so if Mcain wins office – anyone that voted for him deserves the pain and suffering they will see in the pockets – please do your research before the election and vote for real change


    September 9, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Thomas NY, NY

    Is being "lukewarm" on something the same as being "present" when your constituency expects you to vote on legislation, Senator Obama?

    Well, is it?

    September 9, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. obamaton

    Mr. Bush: Win then Leave.
    Mr. Obama: Just Leave!

    September 9, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. Rich in Indy

    I'll bet that General Patraeus is second guessing the President's decision since Obama has made his experienced opinion known.

    September 9, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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