August 31st, 2010
05:44 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama not planning to credit Bush over Iraq 'surge'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama will not give credit to George W. Bush for the 2007 surge in Iraq."]Washington (CNN) –In his Oval Office address on Iraq Tuesday night, President Obama is planning to ignore Republican suggestions that he acknowledge a personal mistake and give credit to former President George W. Bush for executing the 2007 surge of troops over the objections of Obama and other Democratic senators at the time, according to two senior administration officials familiar with the speech.

The officials added that during the speech marking the end of combat operation in Iraq the President will also address the economic crisis in America by talking about how restoring prosperity at home is critical to maintaining the nation's strength abroad, which Obama alluded to back in May at a commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

"Simply put, American innovation must be the foundation of American power - because at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy," Obama said in the May commencement address. "And so that means that the civilians among us, as parents and community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, we have a role to play. We cannot leave it to those in uniform to defend this country - we have to make sure that America is building on its strengths."

Senior administration officials say the President wants his Iraq address to be more forward-looking and thus is not planning to spend any time in the 15-20 minute speech looking backward on the divisive 2007 Congressional debate over whether Bush should surge more troops into Iraq.

Ignoring a replay of that 2007 debate could be political advantageous for Obama given the fact that top Republicans like House Minority Leader John Boehner early blasted the President for opposing the surge.

"One lawmaker rejected the idea that the surge would reduce violence in Iraq, saying - and again I'm quoting - 'in fact, I think it will do the reverse,'" the Ohio Republican said in reference to Obama during a speech to the American Legion convention in Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a speech suggesting Bush deserves more credit for reaching this milestone.

"You might recall that the surge wasn't very popular when it was announced," said the Republican from Kentucky. "You might also recall that one of its biggest critics was the current president. So it makes it easier to talk about fulfilling a campaign promise to wind down our operations in Iraq when the previous administration signs the security agreement with Iraq to end our overall presence there."

Asked about the Republican attacks on Obama, one senior administration official said flatly: "Who cares?"

This official explained the President is more interested in focusing on acknowledging the combat mission is coming to an end and thanking U.S. troops for their hard work to "show the world America has the determination to finish the job" after a long conflict.

A second senior administration official added the President wants to use the address in part to turn the nation's attention to ratcheting up combat operations in Afghanistan. This official noted Obama spent a lot of time during the 2008 campaign vowing not only to bring home combat troops in Iraq within 16 months of taking office, but also said he wanted to finally give Afghanistan the resources it needed.

"This is what he promised in the campaign: responsibly ending the war in Iraq, and then using our resources to bring the fight directly to al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan," said the senior official.

During a visit with U.S. troops at Ft. Bliss in Texas earlier on Tuesday, Obama signaled he will spend a good chunk of his speech preparing the nation for heavier casualties and "heartbreak" in Afghanistan in the days ahead as new commanding Gen. David Petraeus takes the fight directly to the enemy.

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

Filed under: Iraq • issues • President George W. Bush • President Obama
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Obama not crediting anyone else? What else to expect from this imbecile.

    August 31, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Dan

    Obama still does not acknowledge things in the real world. As a result his leadership is in big question. Maybe he will acknowledge today is Tuesday??

    August 31, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. Drunken GOP Drivers want the keys back

    That clueless look on Bushs face says it all,Cheney was the President and we all knew it.Cheney is waiting in his bunker to continue the job of taking America to her knees.

    August 31, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Jeff in Houston

    Just remember Mr. President, just like when you talked to Herr Bush: No big words. Big words frighten the ignorant masses and they will have to go out an burn books or something after your speech.

    August 31, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. John

    Give credit to George W. Bush ? Are you Joking ?

    Credit cannot be given to an Idiot, who ruined and bankrupted America for his idiocy.

    August 31, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Uh Oh!!

    good mr president!!! the GOP will always be negative critics just like dems would be if it were a GOP president in office right now. Ignore the noise and continue to do the okay job you are doing. Half the countries gonna love you one min and hate you the's imposible to have 300mil people love everything you do all of the time. Oh and the GOP asking for acknowledgement on this...hahaha..good luck!! Of course they want the credit it's election season and they want to politically posture themselves no matter what you would have said to this. If you would have acknowledged it then the GOP would say that you did something wrong and that bush was right and if you don't acknowledge then they will say you took credit for something. Either way it's minipulative situation to put you in and again ignore it. the half of the country that actually wants to better themselves and not remain in the dust to china and other advancing countries is behind you.

    August 31, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. Tracy

    Is this the same Barack Obama who was a Senator named Obama who voted for ALL of the spending bills under Bush who now blames Bush for the economy. Yes He Is.

    August 31, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Cindy

    Bush forged intelligence reports to mislead Americans that Iraq has WMDs.

    Bush admitted in his farewell address "IRAQ INTELLIGENCE WAS A MISTAKE".

    4400 US Troops died for this mistake.

    Bush is Bin Laden's Friend.

    Probably Bush is an Al Queda spy in America.

    August 31, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. patriot

    Why would he start to give credit to anything? All he knows is to blame, blame and blame. That is it. This big-eared, empty suit will probably blame Bush some more tonight. It's ok though, come November, he's a lame duck!

    August 31, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. JPA

    I think President Obama should give credit to George Bush for getting us in the war and for the economic depression that it caused.

    August 31, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Feel free Mr. President to give him credit for the thousands that died in his little private taxpayer funded oil war.

    And you don't have to mention his name. We know who the murderer is.

    August 31, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. jim

    He's too busy giving himself and V.P.Biden high fives !!!!!

    August 31, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. leftislooney

    oh this is awesome, another prime time speech.....the blamer-in-chief's iraq address is going to be more forward looking and he will not spend "time looking backward"???.......for a president who has spent an enormous amount of time looking backward blaming his predecessor, essentially turning name calling and blaming into an art form, this will be quite a challenge for far as looking forward, i suggest he discuss his preannounced plans for the future withdrawal date for the troops in afghanistan, giving encouragement to the taliban and making the job for our soldiers that much more difficult (while they're still arriving no less)
    the man is clueless and no amount of speechmaking will change the fact that he and his team are in way over their progressive and collective heads.....the american people are no longer listening and definitely not buying......have a nice day

    August 31, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. hal

    One word......jerk!

    August 31, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. Not fooled

    Those who served their country should take the credit.

    August 31, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. al in memphis

    Sometimes I wonder about politican who never have anything good to say about anything other than what their party can do. How do we end up with 98% of people in Washington DC who can't think without their party telling them what their position should be.
    Term limits for all of them just like the president has.

    August 31, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. Uh Oh!!

    When Obama took office he was given a lot of work to do and has kept his word on a lot of promises that he has made. The GOP does not acknowledge him for this and says its all going to crap. Tell me why the heck would Obama give a crap about giving the GOP or Bush credit for anything. One he's cleaning up Bush's crap that he left anyway and two the GOP wouldn't do the same for him even if he found a cure for all types of cancer. So GOP/Repubs good like with that..dream on!!!

    August 31, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    Ignoring a replay of that 2007 debate could be political advantageous for Obama...
    It's going to be difficult to keep up with all of the things that will be advantageous for Obama to ignore; his promises as candidate Obama, his performance on unemployment and the economy, the federal deficit and debt levels, the housing crisis, the Wall Street bank bailouts... about all that's left to campaign on for the Democrats is to run against GWB again like they did in 2008. Expect to see plenty of that!

    August 31, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. Shirley in California

    Wise decision on your part Mr. President. First of all – give honor where honor is due – and it would be not only disingenuous of you to credit Mr. Bush but the majority of your base WOULD LEAVE YOU. Most of us voted for YOU because YOU were AGAINST the war. Second, in case some of you didn't hear – he did give Mr. Bush some credit for the way he handled the situation in Africa and that is ALL the credit Mr. Bush deserves. For those of you who say you won't watch our president tonight – two words of advice "quit lying." Since you like to steal and not work anyway – you are already home in your trailers waiting to lie and pounce on his every word.

    Thank you Mr. President for ANOTHER job well done.

    Congratulations to all our troops and welcome home!

    August 31, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. Rob in MO

    The "surge" had little to do with "success" in Iraq. The US basically paid billions of dollars to bribe insurgents not to attack us. This is similar to paying Muslim extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the Russians. Our support of Iraqi insurgents will come back to haunt us in the same way as our support of Afghan extremists has.

    August 31, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. Eli

    Obama has no class. A ghetto presidency.

    August 31, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. Independent in Indiana

    Yeah, President Obama should admit he made a mistake on the surge the second Bush and the Republicans admit they made a mistake in taking us into a war of choice.

    August 31, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. FormerGOP

    Why should he give Bush credit for the mess he created? Bush started a pointless war that took to many lives all over a huge lie regarding WMD that did not exist. It was about the oil. That is why we still have a base there. Bush needs to thank Obama for cleaning up yet another mess.

    August 31, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  24. Augsbee

    Why is President Bush disliked by many around the world and by millions of Americans?????? because of what Bush did in 2007 with the troops!!!!!! Please, it will be the less educated, dumb, give me, give me, poisoned Americans that can't connect the dots of why Bush is disliked by many around the world and by many Americans and will ignore the truth of Bush's actions in 2007 and will cheer, love Obama tonight for ignoring Bush. How dumb can you get?????

    August 31, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  25. Rickster

    "Congressional Budget Office numbers show that the total cost of the eight-year war was less than the stimulus bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009."
    and we got a much needed ally in the middle-east out of the war along with getting rid of a terrorist-supporting madman dictator and his two successors. And from Obama's stimulus we got........nothing.

    August 31, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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