At VFW, Obama talks about promises kept
July 23rd, 2012
04:35 PM ET
10 years ago

At VFW, Obama talks about promises kept

(CNN) - President Barack Obama on Monday emphasized the fulfillment of his promise to end the war in Iraq and pointed to his administration's work for veterans over the last three and a half years.

"Four years ago I made you a promise. I pledged to take the fight to our enemies and renew our leadership in the world. As president, that's what I've done," he said while speaking in Reno, Nevada at the 113th convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Obama declared an end to the Iraq war in December, a decision he vowed to carry out during his 2008 presidential campaign.

"You don't just have my words, you have my deeds. You have my track record," he said. "You have the promises I've made and the promises that I've kept. I pledged to end the war in Iraq honorably, and that's what we've done."

The president also waded in to politics during his speech, pointing to the massive automatic defense cuts scheduled to kick in if Congress doesn't reach a deficit-reduction deal by the end of the year.

"Let's stop playing politics with our military," Obama said. "Let's get serious and reduce our deficit and keep our military strong."

Congress voted for the debt deal last year that put in place a series of across-the-board spending cuts after a congressional super committee failed to reach a compromise on a comprehensive deficit reduction plan.

Regarding the cuts, he added: "There's no reason that should happen because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong."

Last week the House, in a landslide vote, approved a bill asking the Obama administration to spell out which agencies and programs would be cut. The Senate attached a similar measure to the farm bill in June.

Republicans, in particular, say the cuts would hurt national security and cost jobs as businesses that contract with the Defense Department warn they will soon have to begin layoffs.

The White House and many congressional Democrats want Republicans to agree to increase taxes on wealthier Americans as part of a deficit reduction plan, something the GOP has steadfastly resisted.

"There are a number of Republicans in Congress who don't want you to know that most of them voted for these cuts." Obama told the crowd of veterans. "Instead of making tough choices to reduce the deficit, they'd rather protect tax cuts for some of the wealthiest Americans even if it risks big cuts in our military."

Monday morning, Obama's campaign released a web video touting the president's achievement of ending U.S. involvement in Iraq.

The video also came the same day attacks across Iraq killed at least 44 people and wounded dozens more. While overall attacks have dropped off in Iraq since the height of violence in 2006, insurgents have routinely targeted Iraqi security forces and civilians since the United States withdrew its troops in December.

Conservative critics have opposed Obama's decision to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq, arguing that some American forces should remain to help the Iraqis maintain order.

Among other items, Obama also highlighted his fight to pass a new legislation for veterans. In 2010, Obama signed a $3.6 billion bill significantly boosting federal support for disabled military veterans and their caregivers. And in February of this year, he unveiled a new $5 billion veterans jobs plan that the administration said would put thousands back to work.

The president last spoke to the VFW in 2009. His Republican challenger Mitt Romney will address the group on Tuesday.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak, Deirdre Walsh and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • AFSCME • Iraq • Nevada • President Obama • Race to '08 podcast • Veterans • Veterans Affairs • Washington • Washington D.C.
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    The President has served magnificently as Commander-In-Chief. He's killed terrorists like rats at the town dump – becoming the terrorist's worst nightmare. He's leveraged diplomacy to allow our allies to shoulder some of the burden and kept us out of unnecessary war. Romney the "chicken-hawk" would be a different situation...

    July 23, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Silence DoGood

    But he broke his promise to close Guantanamo and stop the tribunals.
    Add to that the detentions and robot drone bombs killing 1000's, and killing in Libya with his military to protect OIL.
    Kind of a War President.
    Good to hear he will return the Peace Prize. Oh that's right, he won't.

    July 23, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. cali girl

    thank you Mr President.

    July 23, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. rla

    Keeping a promise for the sake of keeping a promise on the international stage leaves a lot to be desired!

    July 23, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Name JR

    His words are as bankrupt as his campaign. If he really cared about vets why does he hide on june 6, Memorial Day, 4th of JuLy. Its because he doesn't believe in America.

    July 23, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. uncdig

    "Promises Kept" speech – must have been a very short speech.

    July 23, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. ted

    Obama is the best president since Clinton. Bush's policies got us where we are and Obama has been working hard to undo the wrongful Bush policies and strengthen our position in the world. Job well done, Mr President. Job well done.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    July 23, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Willard

    Guantanamo (not sure if spelled right), is not closed because of the GOP! Period!

    July 23, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    What about hope – change – accountability – transparency – represent everyone – uphold thr laws of the land – reach across the aisle and work with the repubs, the list goes on and on of failures. By the way what were the promises kept?

    July 23, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Darryl

    The Right is always going to condem the POTUS no matter what he does. It is very simple, He is Black and they want him OUT of the W/H at any and at all costs.

    July 23, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. nota bobblehead

    Release your taxes! What do you have to hide, Willard. Swiss bank accounts, Caymen Island hidden accounts in Bermuda hidden accounts, (one hundred million in an IRA (I can only put in $2,000 per year and then nothing as I made to much), One hundred million gifted to his son without gift taxes (I can only give $20,000 a year without gift taxes). This is the government of the plutocrats, by the plutocrats, for the plutocrats. They are buying every election and don't give a crap about the poor or middle class. Democracy is DEAD!
    Look at the Paul Ryan budget, cut social security, cut education, cut medicare, cut social service programs, cut food stamps and meals on wheels etc. Let the poor eat from the garbage cans of the elite!

    July 23, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. Joyce

    The President is doing everything in his power to keep his promises. When you have a party who's main objective is to make sure this President is a one term President and says no to everything, some things get put on the back burner. I don't understand how people think that President Obama could fix things in 3 years, when President Bush had 8 years to mess this country up! This President has done alot and it is ashame some of you are to blind to see it. Don't forget he did promise to get Osama Bin Laden and he did. President Bush promised to do the same thing but he put that to the back burner and told us he wasn't even looking for him anymore. Obama/Biden 2012

    July 23, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. Name bullock

    Obama using phony social security card
    Fraud help hide where presdient was really born investigator

    July 23, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. Polly

    His color has nothing to do with it. He does not know how to run this country except to put us in debt up to our eyeballs and beyond. He has never attended a National Day of Prayer as all past presidents have done. He hates America and it shows more and more in what he does not or will not do. His campaign promises that got him elected in the first place have not been met at all. He cannot even run a lemonade stand and make money. He wants us all dependent on the government. Look at the increase in food stamps since he has taken office: 50% increase. Look at the jobs he has not created. Look at the companies he has outsourced. Look at him hide from every question asked him regarding his accomplishments. You can stop saying it was Bush's fault. O has had 3 1/2 years to make it better and all he can do is blame Bush. He (Bush) inherited problems from Clinton. Go ROMNEY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  15. tarura

    Promises kept?
    "If I don't turn the economy around it will be a one term presidency"

    Keep the promise, Barry !

    July 23, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. tarura

    Promises kept?
    "Cut the deficit in half by the end of the first term"

    Yep, half of the total deficit is your cut by the end of the first (and only) term

    July 23, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. chris

    So funny listening to you liberals...

    Bush is a war criminal because terrorists died
    Obama is a war hero because terrorists died

    July 23, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. 4usan

    Earth to Larry...
    First, the world has lost respect for the USA and this President and his adm has made us a laughing stock. The Commander in Chief misspronouced the military br's Marine Corps and Navy Corpsman (pronounced core) several times in one. address.
    Lastly, Perhaps if the economy and job creation was a focus. We would not be in the dire staits that we are in. That solution would have been accomplished under Mitt Romney.

    July 23, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Job well done Mr President!..Im voting for you! are cleaning up what BUSH did!

    July 23, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. Duramax

    Where would all you bleeding liberals have us put the bad guys that are locked up in Gitmo? Their countries won't take them back and how can you blame them? They can't be sent to a third party country and we sure as h e l l don't need or want them in the United States? So where should we send them? I'm all for sending them one bullet for each guy held down there but then you libs wouldn't go for that either.

    In response to Darryl... I don't give a rip that Obama is black. I simply do not like the liberal agenda. I'm not particularly fond of the GOP either, but they do keep their hands out of my pockets a little more and I do like my guns. Obama has been a disaster for this country. Just imagine what he will do if he is reelected and he doesn't have to worry about being reelected again.

    July 23, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  21. WDinDallas

    He withdrew from Iraq down to the month that Bush scheduled it. Obama talking about the promises he kept is a very short speech.

    No hope or change left. We are hopelessly broke after 4 years.

    We have to stop spending or we will be like the Greece and other European nations.

    July 23, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  22. Capitalists

    Very few promises kept. As far as ending the war in Iraq I predict we'll be back after the corrupt government in place lets the taliban take over.

    July 23, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  23. george of the jungle

    great president Forward 2012

    July 23, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  24. Eric

    The president has bent over backwards to help those in the military, ended one war and ending the other, found Bin Laden, gathered a coalition that aided Libya, created a jobs program for vets, and started to clean up the VA.

    July 23, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. Slightly Left of Center

    @Larry L - He's killed terrorists like rats at the town dump...

    Good one!!!

    July 23, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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