August 31st, 2010
01:39 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama previews his Oval Office address

(CNN) - President Obama said Tuesday his Oval Office address to the nation marking the end of the combat mission in Iraq will not be anything close to the "Mission Accomplished" moment his predecessor had.
"It is not going to be a victory lap," Obama said in brief remarks to troops stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. "We still have a lot of work to do."

In fact, Ft. Bliss has supplied soldiers to Iraq at all stages of the seven-year war and is still sending more troops to the region as part of the 50,000-troop contingent that is staying behind in Iraq to held wind down the war completely.

Obama said his main message to the troops in Texas, and his broader message tonight at 8 p.m. ET, will be simple: "Congratulations on a job well done."

The president, who opposed the start of the war while he was serving as a state senator in Illinois, acknowledged there has long been debate about the merits of the conflict, but he said the focus now should be on the sacrifice of U.S. troops.

"The one thing we don't argue about is we have the finest fighting force in the history world," Obama said, adding that "America is more secure" because of their service.

Obama added that the nation can not forget about the war in Afghanistan and it will be a heavy focus of Tuesday night's speech, which is just the second of his presidency delivered from the Oval Office. The first was about the Gulf oil spill in early June.

"We also have a very tough fight in Afghanistan," Obama said. "It's going to be a tough slog."

Obama also braced the nation for heavy casualties in Afghanistan, noting that with new commanding Gen. David Petraeus now taking the fight directly to the enemy there will be "heartbreak" as troop deaths mount.

White House aides said the president called former President George W. Bush aboard Air Force One on his way to Texas to discuss his speech to the nation this evening, but they declined to provide specifics about the call.

Some Republicans have been calling on Obama to thank Bush for executing the surge of troops in Iraq which is now widely credited with stabilizing the situation. Obama opposed the surge while serving in the U.S. Senate.

Filed under: Iraq • issues • President Obama
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    Obozo is an idiot and hardly anyone really believes what he says...something like bubba,,,

    August 31, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Carry on Mr. President. Now we have our eyes focused on the "right" war and not the war of aggression and choice. Hooah! We will face mounting opposition in Afghanistan but I truly believe that by this time next year, we will have made significant progress.

    August 31, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. jim

    Shameful behavior from a president who fought against everything that was tried to make what is happening today possible.The vice president wantd to divide Iraq into 3 seperate parts.And instead of letting Hillary handle the tranfer he demotes her to stand on the sidelines in favor of Joe.

    August 31, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. tess

    he'll be making his vacuous remarks from his re-done office which is now as cold and meaningless and bland as it's new occupant. what a shame that even the oval office has to become such a shell of it's former elegance, class and subtle beauty – hurry up 2010!!!!! america need it's dignity back!!!!!!!!

    August 31, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. barry

    Much about nothing. Instead of this speech how working on jobs and getting people back to work?

    August 31, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Soap

    Hear Hear, the troops did an outstanding job in spite of Senator obama and biden plus many other liberal demorats in both houses of congress.

    August 31, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Hunter of the lib hunter

    Be sure to thank Bush and the republicans for the unnecessary unfunded war and the 4000 troops that were killed and don't forget the 40,000 wounded soldiers who's lives have been destroyed. Americans seem to like the idea of spending $1 trillion on war, but not on jobs, health reform, Wall Street reform, and helping the middle class.

    August 31, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Drunken GOP Drivers want the keys back

    Just like Germany,Japan, and Korea,troops will be there for a hundred years.

    August 31, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. reese

    Let's hope the cameras stay zoomed in tight so the rest of the world doesn't have to be exposed to the used frat house furniture he just decorated the oval office with.

    August 31, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Ready for 2012

    Great, since he's only going to be in office 4 years, I guess he decided he can waste as much money as possible. Interesting that CNN didn't include the price tag of this decorating extravaganza. What a waste of the tax payers dollars!!

    August 31, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Cindy

    But Republicans still want to take the victory lap! Waaa, waaaa, it's our victory, not yours!

    Obama continues to mop up the mess he inherited. The wars, the economy... and all he ever gets in return from the prior party, is more whining, and bickering, blaming and denial of their own responsibility for this mess.

    Keep your eye on the ball, Mr. President. In the long run, history will stand behind you.

    August 31, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |