August 31st, 2010
08:58 PM ET
11 years ago

Reaction to President Obama's Iraq address

(CNN) - Read reaction from CNN's Gloria Borger, David Gergen and Fareed Zakaria after the jump.

Gloria Borger on the politics of credit

"The economy, the economy is driving the political discussion, and to answer your question – does it matter? It matters to Republicans right now who are saying this is a president who ought to credit George W. Bush."

David Gergen: I found the speech "perplexing"

"I frequently praise Barack Obama and his speeches. I think they have been clear, understandable and very, very well written. I found this one perplexing. I didn't quite understand what the point was, it wasn't clear what the mission is either in Iraq or in Afghanistan going forward, it seems to be much more we are getting this monkey off our back. We gave it our best shot, over to you, Iraqis. Over to you next year, Afghans."

Fareed Zakaria on the speech's balance

"I reacted as David did to the style of the speech – for an eloquent president, this was remarkably workmanlike, but I think that it was an intelligent speech in that he was balancing various problems. He is trying to mark the end of military combat in Iraq, signal a commitment politically to Iraq, signal a determination to keep a capacity in Afghanistan, and then pivot to the economy which is of course the central issue on the minds of the American voter."

Fareed Zakaria on Obama's evolution

"You know what was striking about this is this was President Obama speaking, not candidate Obama, not Senator Obama. He praised the idea of nation building in Iraq. He praised the idea of spreading democracy in Iraq. He talked about conditions based withdrawal. These are all terms that were more associated with the more hawkish elements of the Democratic Party and indeed with President George W. Bush."

Gloria Borger on Obama's message to Democrats

"What I do think the president was trying to do was heal the divisions in this country about the war in Iraq. It's been the most divisive political issue that we've had, and I think he said definitively, now it is time to turn the page, and in doing so I think he was talking to Democrats as much as anybody."

Filed under: Iraq • issues • President Obama
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. jpmichigan

    BORING! Obamas heartand soul was not in the speech. For once he showed the real Obama, boring professor like. Waste of time!

    August 31, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. jim

    Just a bunch of liberal commentators trying to find some if any way to praise Obama's speech but finding it so weak that the word perplexed comes to mind.Spin baby spin !!!!

    August 31, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  3. JonDie

    Of course there will be no "victory lap." Bush's Iraq war:

    1) cost the tax payers close to 1 TRILLION dollars in debt with most of the money going as profits to Republican-led corporations;

    2) got 40,000+ U.S. soldiers needlessly killed or wounded; and

    3) means the war in Afghanistan is over...and we lost.

    August 31, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. the real ib

    Looked like a robot instead of a president making a speech. he was against the surge but that's what won it and now he is taking credit for it. LOL

    August 31, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  5. welches, oregon

    Oh yes Gloria, but remember President Bush lied to his nation in order to start the Iraq war and would have NEVER ended it. Credit is deserved where credit is due.

    August 31, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  6. Nadeem

    Obama worked hard for this speech not to be political. He showed he was all our president. The GOP response was highly partisian.

    August 31, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. s d smith

    More Obama words. He continues to avoid listening to the people.

    August 31, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. john

    I am a little preplexed just how two faced our country can be or how any subject can be turned into a political issue. For the passed 3 years the talk has been we must get out of the wars in the middle east, now at the verge of doing so the question is why, how and is it safe. Had we never upset the power structure there all the American lives would not have been lost.

    PS ask all the military men and women on the way home how they feel and the ones staying behind if they are looking forward to their turn to come home.

    August 31, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Bessy

    I think that it was a good speech, but I feel that he was way too generous when it came to Bush.
    We should never have been there in the 1st place and thank heaven we are now out of there. ( I will just feel a lot better when the last 50,000 are also home. ) We were only there because of all the lies that the Bush administration fed us.

    August 31, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  10. Gracie


    It is INDEED time to turn the page and focus on our back yard and STOP spending TRILLIONS TWO wars we had NO BUSINESS getting into!! Republicans LOVE to start things, but are often times NEVER around to clean up their pile of poop. So it's time to turn the page and move forward. Americans are LONG overdue.

    It's TIME we shifted our focus on the MIDDLE CLASS which happens to be the back-bone of our country and concentrating on JOBS, EDUCATION, ECONOMY, EDUCATION and GREEN ENERGY. America has FALLEN behind when it comes to Education, technology and everything else. We don't MAKE anything these days that is stamped "MADE IN THE USA"!!!

    August 31, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  11. Chipster

    I don't understand what these people find perplexing. What were they expecting? The invasion of Iraq was not a war against Iraqis, it was an obsession with Saddam Hussein. Once he was gone, there was no traditional victory to be had. The best that could be achieved was to repair as much damage as possible and attempt to leave an Iraqi government that might have a chance at uniting the country. Success or failure of that depends now on the Iraqis. We are not at war with Afghanistan but are pursuing the terrorists who attacked us. So there is no traditional victory to be had there either. Our troops have served honorably and deserve our support. What more can be said?

    August 31, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  12. George of the jungle

    This is what he promised and now it is done. WE can't gloat and say we have won anything and I am glad he handeled it the way he did. Repos will continue to bash him and act like we won a war we had no business being in. They cost us billions of dollars which they will now blame on this administration. Lets move on to the economy

    August 31, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. terry,va

    Borger and Zakaria are puppets of the Obummie administration. Obummie is a complete idiot on foreign policy. He isn't far behind on economic policies. God help us make it through the next two years. We can then can the "yes we can" fool.

    August 31, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. Perplexed

    "Over to you, Iraqis. Over to you next year, Afghans" is just the point. Wars based on lies just need to end as soon and gracefully as possible. Why prolong it? What exactly would you like to happen there? It's not a war that Obama started so look for Bush and his war advocates to give meaning to these wars. BTW, we have enough of our own issues. Let's concentrate on getting American's back to work and strengtening the middle class.

    August 31, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. yokayoka

    This was a war that has done more damage to America than good. To some it was imperial misadventure that has left America a shrinking empire has days keep moving. Obama was right that we cannot conquer the world with military might alone but there are other means of influence we can employ to bring change without human sacrifice.

    August 31, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  16. S. C. C.

    President Obama delivered an excellent speech.
    I only wish he could have said that the billions of dollars
    Pres. Bush used for this war could have best been used to
    help with the pressing economy.

    August 31, 2010 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  17. d

    Wow.....A politician that actually does what he says. I am so proud to call him my president.

    August 31, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. Mark

    And CNN as house organ of the Democratic Party dutifully provides equal coverage with the backfire angle. It is obvious that objective media reporting is a concept and no means a reality.

    August 31, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. mabel floyd

    i liked his speech-i was against the war at the beginning–i always thought bush was trying to be a war pres that was a "greater" pres than his father. i never believed in the "mass destruction" stuff. it is time to stop spending blood and treasure on a war which only was started to boost the image of a looser pres.
    i find the blatant outrage of the republicans demanding to credit bush with winning the war a fear tacit that only the low IQ of the followers of sarah and beck would believe.
    the sicko deathers birthers are the pied pipers that are tempting their followers to march down the path to the end of america the founding fathers intended. if the people read more history and got out of the play pretend fox stuff they would be able to know these things.

    August 31, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  20. katiec

    rPresident Obama gave a heartfelt speech in appreciation to the fighting men and women who served in this unwarranted war. They deserve all our praise and credit.
    Many gave their lives, thousands upon thousands were wounded to keep our United States of America the great country that it is.
    They wil be astounded when they get home to see all the hatred, discrimination, bias, hypocrasy, racism, bigotry, lack of respect that has emerged. What a welcome home that is.

    August 31, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. stephen

    Twice he inferred that he disagreed with the Iraq conflict. We got it! How do you think that makes the troops feel when the Commander in Chief TRULY did not support their efforts and their mission. Amazing

    August 31, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  22. frank

    thank you Bush for doing the right thing! Obama doesn't have a clue on how to govern...... he is all "pretty words" that only the ignorant understand

    August 31, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  23. Tom in Delaware

    Well....I didn't actually see the speech but I think we can all agree that he 'Acted Stupidly'....

    There's a tsunami heading for shore come Election Day and the Democrats are throwing a party on the beach.

    63 days and counting....

    I can see November from my house

    August 31, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  24. alex

    I still do not trust Obama. Give credit to Bush, not Osama.

    August 31, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  25. Steve Krachey

    David Gergen: I found the speech "perplexing. I didn't quite understand what the point was... Perplexing????? The point??? It was a great reasoned speech that attempted to heal the wounds and divisions of this country, to praise the efforts of our military men and women and their famlies and to define the path forward. I am sick and tired of you talking heads. You so-called pundits. Why do you not get a real job or better yet join the miltary and defend this country instead of trying to parse every word that our president says and find some criticism to throw at him. Do we not have the evil Republican racist xenophobic party of "NO" to do that?

    Read Fareed Zakaria's comments. He got it right.

    August 31, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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