Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

OK now, Sen. Barack Obama's Q3 strategy is beginning to take shape. Today Obama was swift in his reaction to the overly cheery interim report released by the Bush administration on the progress in Iraq:

"Does this White House think that we don't know how to turn on our televisions? Don't tell us we're making progress in Iraq when the last three months have been some of the deadliest since this war began for our brave troops who have sacrificed so much. And don't tell us it's progress when the Iraqi leadership has done nothing - nothing - to take the political steps necessary to end their civil war. This war has only fueled the terrorist threat whose strength is now at pre-9/11 levels. It should never have been authorized, never have been waged, and it must end now."

As he does in his stump speech, Obama gets in a not so subtle dig at his primary rivals there at the end with his "it should never have been authorized" line. This comes two days after Obama gave a speech on Iraq in DesMoines, Iowa, just a few blocks away from where Sen. Clinton was doing the same.

"When I opposed this war before it began in 2002, I was about to run for the United States Senate, and I knew it wasn't the politically popular position," Obama said during a town hall meeting in Des Moines on Tuesday.

"But I believed then and still do that being a leader means that you'd better do what's right and leave the politics aside, because there are no do-overs on an issue as important as war," Obama said.

Message: I had the judgment and leadership to come out against the war when it counted (and a couple other people didn't.)

Interestingly, as Anne Kornblut notes, this idea of "no do-overs" is exactly Clinton's rationale for not apologizing for the vote, and may explain why, as Jonathan explored yesterday, Clinton seems to be getting away with a more nuanced stance on Iraq.

Then there was this dig at Edwards by Obama surrogate Sen. Dick Durbin this week:

"I recall when John voted for this war. So it's understandable that he feels badly about that decision and wants to see something done to undo the harm that has happened," Durbin said during an appearance on washingtonpost.com's "Post Talk.""But it has to be done in a sensible way."

I'm not sure Obama can credibly take Edwards to task for his vote. Yes, he can make the case that it's a matter of judgment but Edwards has been so outspoken against the war, reminding people during virtually every speech that he'd voted for it and deeply regrets it, I just don't think attacking Edwards resonates.

I do, however, think Obama is right to try to use this issue to eat into Clinton's support since, despite the roll-out (successful, it appears) of Hillary v. 2.0: the peacenik, she is the most hawkish one of the bunch. But I've got to think that at this point it's not a matter of merely reminding people that he had the foresight and the good judgment to come out against the war from the beginning -- I think people know that. It may be a matter of finding a different way of framing it. Or, perhaps Obama's overall message has been a little too successful; maybe people have forgiven Clinton and Edwards for their votes and "turned the page" as Obama has asked us to so many times, instead looking to what they're saying now.

Perhaps the reason Obama hasn't been able to capitalize more on his early opposition to the war among the most anti-war constituency there is, Democratic primary voters, is that voters sense the inherent conflict in Obama's call to look to the future even as he seeks to remind us of votes that took place in the past.

Update [2007-7-12 16:29:34 by Todd Beeton]:Blue Hampshire's"I'm the only candidate who..." presidential policy straw poll on Iraq, which launched today, gives Obama yet another opportunity to boast of his early good judgment (read the whole thing HERE) although he appears to also be the only one to forsake speaking in the first person after the first sentence.
I am the only "top-tier" candidate who opposed this war from the beginning and who has energized the grassroots to pressure Congress to listen to the American people and bring the troops home. In 2002, Senator Barack Obama publicly opposed the war because he knew that even a successful overthrow of Saddam Hussein would result in a war of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. The disastrous course of the war has affirmed that foresight.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, John Edwards (all tags)



Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

I don't see him eating into support for either Edwards or Clinton on this issue.

Anyone who follows politics closely enough to vote in a primary or caucus already knows that Obama was against the war, and the other candidates who were in the Senate voted for it.

Anyone who was going to make up his or her mind on that issue alone would already be for Obama or Kucinich.

I understand the idea behind the strategy, but I think that it will have diminishing returns as the campaign goes on. A lot of voters themselves supported the war at the beginning and have since changed their minds about it.

by desmoinesdem 2007-07-12 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

I still find it so cute that you think every voter who votes in a primary follows politics as closely as we do.  I think you are mistaken, but then I am a lot more cynical.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-07-12 02:50PM | 0 recs
turnout for the caucuses

is likely to be below 20 percent.

Iowa Democrats have gotten two direct mail pieces from Obama about Iraq already.

A lot of the media coverage of Obama mentions his opposition to the war.

The kind of people who will attend a precinct caucus are well-informed about the candidates. I guarantee that they already know that Edwards and Clinton voted for the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, and that Obama spoke out against the war.

by desmoinesdem 2007-07-12 03:17PM | 0 recs
i actually...

think that how this plays out depends on what happens in washington -- something we do not know -- and iraq -- something we cannot predict.  voter anger on this trends nicely with events (we're so fickle)...

by bored now 2007-07-13 03:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

Most people in Iowa still resent being contacted about who they're voting for because it's too early. The campaign is still developing, and it's good to see candidates starting to distinguish themselves

by Max Fletcher 2007-07-12 03:15PM | 0 recs
that is true for many

I've heard a lot of complaints about the number of contacts from the campaigns already.

by desmoinesdem 2007-07-12 03:17PM | 0 recs
but we always do...

not necessarily this early, but there is always push back when voter contact begins.  if iowans didn't want to be the center of the universe for the next six months, they shouldn't have been so protective of their "first in the nation" status...

by bored now 2007-07-13 04:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

How about changing your domain name to obamadd.com or more aptly anybodybuthillary.com The front page posts just look like an extension of his campaign blogs. Why pretend a fake neutrality in the primary? People can see through it.

by rakk12 2007-07-12 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

Don't be such a martyr...this is not a biased blog, certainly not towards Obama.

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

Actually all blogs are biased. This diary has a bias like any other. It's kind of crappy to boot.

The Hillary 2.0 "peacenik" who's actually a hawk bit was trashy. I love these sad attempts of people to say "oh, I know how she wants people to view her but I'm smarter than that" on their blogs. Who's cynical if you address the sum total of all of one's remarks, views, positions, votes, and legislation and cast it as The Picture of Dorian Gray? Is Obama the visionary without specific visions? Is Edwards the muckraker without the rake? Is Richardson the statesman without the states?

What lovely little plots we have for children's books. I'm glad this kind of silliness is feeding someone since we all know how scarcely Shel Silverstein publishes the good stuff.

by bowiegeek 2007-07-12 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

Well, sure, in the sense that all political blogs are biased towards their particular viewpoint. But I don't think MyDD as a whole has a bias towards any one candidate.

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

I'm inclined to agree although I haven't really paid attention to the front page lately...

by bowiegeek 2007-07-12 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

agreed.The main page is crap.

by bebe 2007-07-12 11:42AM | 0 recs
I do not think

MyDD is biased toward Obama or Edwards.

Many progressives do not like Clinton's stands on issues.

by littafi 2007-07-12 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Going After Rivals On Iraq

The MyDD front page is certainly not obamadd.com, they go after Obama regularly. Anybodybuthillary.com is apropos, both MyDD and Kos are officially anti-Hillary, at least until the general.

I would like to see Obama pivot from "Unity08" to attacking the Republicans, as he did in attacking Bush's Iraq progress report, but that may lose him the Independent support he is currently relying on. From Jerome's post below we see that Obama has lost his anti-war cred, which was inevitable since regardless of his opposition to the Iraq invasion he is not anti-war. He helped put together the consensus Senate Democratic position, which Hillary put forward in her recent speech, so he has a hard time attacking her Iraq stance.

There is one un-alloyed good effect of the Obama campaign on the progressive blogosphere: he appears to have made at least the MyDD commenting community much more diverse.

by souvarine 2007-07-12 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

I keep hearing about how unpopular Obama's anti-war stance was when he took it ... and then hearing the exact opposite: that among the voters that mattered to him, that stance was entirely popular.

Which was it?

by BingoL 2007-07-12 11:38AM | 0 recs
Look at it this way

He was, I believe, the only candidate in a multi-candidate Democratic primary to oppose the war.  If 20% of the voters that was their #1 issue, he looks like a solid winner.  If he did win, which he did, he was then running in a solid blue state against Alan Keyes.

Having said that, congrats to him for opposing the war.  I don't know how much courage it took to voice that opinion when looking at his primary field.

I once picked Bucknell to upset Kansas in the NCAA tourney.  That doesn't make me a basketball analyst, but it looks good on my resume.  The Obama line  about opposing the war is kind of like Edwards son of a mill worker line.  I get but what are you going to do.

Feel free to torch me now.  I will not reply.  I think Obama will make a wonderful president if he wins.  I just think it is on this issue.  (Meaning you picked correctly which is great, but we are there so what now?)

by demiowa 2007-07-12 12:03PM | 0 recs
a few errors...

nancy skinner, who also ran for the senate seat, was definitely anti-war.  alan keyes didn't run in the republican primary and was put on the ballot after jack ryan took his name off the g/e ballot...

by bored now 2007-07-13 04:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

If opposing the war was so popular in Illinois then why didn't other candidates oppose it too, especially in the Dem primary?

And did New Yorkers want the invasion? Probably not, but Hillary backed it anyway for some reason - probably because she didn't want to risk looking weak on national security given her presidential ambitions. If Obama was at all thinking about running for president then he faced the same risk as Hillary, Edwards, Biden, Dodd and others who backed the war and voted for the authorization.

And if the invasion/occupation had been not been a complete failure then Obama would probably have paid a heavy price for his opposition to it. At the very least he could have kissed his 2008 presidential aspiration goodbye, and it might have hurt his chances even in future Senate races.

by End game 2007-07-12 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Good points, all. As we continue to see even today, when 10 or so House Democrats voted against troop withdrawal, so many Democrats continue to distrust polls that indicate that people do, in fact, oppose this war. Dems that voted for it (what better example than Kerry) feared that people weren't really that sane about foreign policy - Americans just want to beat the war drum and assert U.S. dominance. Obama either knew this was wrong and was aware of the political dividends his vote would pay, or voted the right way despite the feared repercussions.

by Jon 2007-07-12 06:35PM | 0 recs
i wouldn't call it unpopular...

but i would have called it risky.  here's the thing: chicago is democratic, but you have a lot of chicago democrats (and i'd start with mayor daley) who are very conservative on national security issues.  on 9/11 they evacuated sears tower because there was intel on it being on the target list (if you don't remember, there was a target list for this on ramsey yousef's computer, which was found in 1995).  plus midwest culture is more outwardly patriotic than the east or west coasts.  so the regular democrats in chicago are more traditional or conservative in their national security views.  contrast this with a fairly long history of radicalization (this term is used for descriptive, not critical, purposes) of the peace movement in chicago, which is also fairly intensely divided into almost cell-like groups who don't necessarily communicate with each other.  add to it that this was a time when people still were driving around with their american flags on their car windows.

obama's views against the war were leading edge, risky for a statewide run, and could easily have been used against him in the slating process (which it was) and the primary and general election.  there was very little benefit being pro-peace at this time, because peace activists were insulated from each other and hard to mobilize for other purposes.  there were a lot of democrats who were cowed by george bush and karl rove.  barack obama was not one of them.

otoh, it was unquestionably a popular stance in hyde park, where the obama's lived, and u of chicago, where i believe he was still teaching constitutional law.

by bored now 2007-07-13 04:20AM | 0 recs
I don't think Obama love is

....MyDD policy, at least, I haven't seen it.

Eh, it's probably more that Obama uses his language to stab Progressives in the back on a fairly regular basis and never uses language that says he's "one of us." If the guy's message is "you're too extreme" why would I support him?

by MNPundit 2007-07-12 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

I think his early opposition to the war is worth repeating, if for no reason than to boost his credibility with those who think he's an empty suit. It is also worth reminding voters that he was advocating for the public to put pressure on Republican senators to vote for withdrawl, and now several of those Republicans have come out against the war.

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 11:40AM | 0 recs
I've gotten two mail pieces from Obama

highlighting his opposition to the war. I assume they mailed these pieces to all the regular primary voting Democrats in Iowa (my husband got them too).

I don't think this is news to anyone. If he had been leading the charge on defunding the war, he might be able to get more traction on the issue. At this point, anyone who is going to vote based on who was against the war from the beginning is already in the Obama or Kucinich camp.

I've said this many times: one of Dean's biggest mistakes was never realizing that he had wrung as many votes out of the Iraq War as he was ever going to. Dean should have talked more about his record of achievement as governor. Obama needs to talk more concretely about what he wants to achieve with his new kind of politics.

by desmoinesdem 2007-07-12 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: I've gotten two mail pieces from Obama

But at least he has the courage to tell interest groups things they donot like to hear.

Auto Industry talk about CAFE STANDARDS

Teacher's union about merit pay

At least he isnot pandering like some candidates due to such groups to win favor's when they know that some things are very true like consevstion and and improving mileage(MANDATING IT) will do more to cut energy use in the short term than any project for alternative us

I don't know any parent that doesnot think teachers shoul be evaluated and compensated for merit.

by BDM 2007-07-12 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: I've gotten two mail pieces from Obama

I agree with you in principle, all primary voters already know he has always been against the war, and that he should also talk about other things - but it can't hurt. I also agree with Obama that quickly defunding is an irresponsible idea.

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Yeah his ace in the hole is looking at the past to the vote while his candidacy is about the future,its a tough slog.I agree with the previous poster,I don't think he will attract more voters because people already know.

by bebe 2007-07-12 11:40AM | 0 recs
Seems like the ace has been played

people want to see his leadership on Iraq now.

by okamichan13 2007-07-12 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems like the ace has been played

He's talked about putting pressure on Republican senators - now many Republican senators are coming out as against the war.

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems like the ace has been played

Yup! That sounds more like it. Obama put pressure on republican senators and that is why they are coming out against the war.

Why don't we ask Obama to pressure republican senators for universal healthcare now? May be they will all come out in support of UHC because Obama is pressuring them.

by rakk12 2007-07-12 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems like the ace has been played

Good idea, we should start working on a list. We don't even need to win any more seats just get everything we want right now. Obama can do it!

by okamichan13 2007-07-12 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems like the ace has been played

Hardy har har. What I'm saying is Obama's strategy will most likely end up being more successful than berating Republicans (not that they wouldn't deserve it, mind you) and waiting until Bush is out of office to withdraw troops. It's a question of whether you value idealogical purity (we must never engage with Republicans!) or getting results (ending the war).

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems like the ace has been played

What I should say is, "or getting results (ending the war RESPONSIBLY)."

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems like the ace has been played

I don't think that Obama's pressure is why Republicans are coming out against the war - that has more to do with the political reality in the country right now, wanting to get re-elected, etc. But I do think Obama deserves props for advocating this strategy from the beginning - this is the only way Congress is going to end the war, and the only way the war is going to end before Bush leaves office.

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Seriously, if this is all he has then he has clearly become desperate. The Hillary 2.0 comment is completely inappropriate. Perhaps you would appreciate Obama 2.567 since he was against the war until he voted to not withdraw troops before he voted to keep funding the war until he decided to run for President and hope that no one was paying any attention to what he did in between.

Hey, I spoke out against the Iraq war back in 2000 when Bush was running for President. I knew even back then that the asshole was going into Iraq. I made more than several speeches against Bush and his Iraq war. And I haven't cast a single vote to fund the war or a single vote against any plan to bring our troops home. I guess that makes me more qualified than Obama to be President according to his logic.

Heads up folks. Don't forget to write me in.

DoIT for President!

by DoIT 2007-07-12 04:24PM | 0 recs
Which Obama are we talking about?

The one who opposed the war in 2002 or the one who voted for funding all the time until May and voted against Kerry-Feingold in June 2006?

Or which one here:

Interview with David Gregory

Aired July 11, 2007

Gregory: "So Hillary Clinton and your other opponents who voted to authorize this war, were they guilty of bad judgment that cannot be done over?"

Obama: "I absolutely think that they made the wrong call. And I think that that is not so much a concern for the voters right now, what they've done in the past. I do think that it speaks to where they can go in the future."

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2007/07/ sweet_blog_extra_obama_says_me.html

New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate

Aired June 3, 2007

BLITZER: Senator Obama, you didn't think the war was the right thing to do, even though you weren't in the U.S. Senate. You didn't have access to any intelligence information at the time. Do you think someone who authorized the use of force to go to war in Iraq should be president of the United States?

OBAMA: I don't think it's a disqualifier. I think that people were making their best judgments at the time.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0 706/03/se.01.html

by littafi 2007-07-12 11:49AM | 0 recs
Don't really get it either

maybe the war just wasn't bad enough in 2006? no idea. Seemed pretty bad to me. While Obama was voting no to Kerry/Feingold, Edwards was calling for an end to the war.

What's even weirder is that despite voting for funding for yearrs with no conditions, Obama then votes against funding on a bill that actually has much of the same benchmarks that Obama's own withdrawal bill has.

Maybe he has had a change of heart? Its hard to know since he refused to comment before the last vote despite being repeatedly asked. If he wants to be perceived as a leader, he's going to have to start acting like one.

by okamichan13 2007-07-12 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Which Obama are we talking about?

Those statements aren't mutually exclusive. He's arguing that while voting for the war was a bad idea, it shouldn't disqualify someone from being president - and it shouldn't, I think, and you seem to agree.

by This Machine Kills Fascists 2007-07-12 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

I don't believe the frontpager is particularly pro-Obama. They just do whatever they believe can advance their own agenda.

When Edwards hits on some ultra-liberal talking points, they prop him up; when Obama talks up anti-war stuff, they come to his rescue.

Anything is about strategy. Liberal blogs are also in crisis mode, they need a good vehicle to advance their agenda.

Edwards supporters, don't be surprised if they abandon Edwards ship in the very near future when Obama swings more to the left and Edwards continues to be mired in low teens. Everybody wants a winner.

by areyouready 2007-07-12 11:55AM | 0 recs
It seems like a risky strategy

every time he mentions he was against the war, people are going to come back with well what have you done since?

Since he's been in the Senate, his record on the war has been certainly less than stellar and hasn't matched his rhetoric before joining the Senate.

Before joining he called for Congress to cut off funding. After joining he promptly voted for voted for funding every single time except this very last, where he voted at this last minute and wouldnt answer any questions at all before the vote. And certainly didn't push others to vote a certain way like Dodd did, as well as Edwards. Hardly real leadership against the war for Obama

He voted against Kerry/Feingold (which would have already ended the war by now...), voted for the Gregg amendment, promising not to cut off funding, was against cutting any funding at all for the surge before it happened. And the one bill he put forward calling for withdrawal was a weak toothless bill that was submitted only after he announced his campaign for president in 2007.

So all in all, its a risky strategy. He's trying to get as much as he can out of that 2002 speech but just about everyone already knows about that. People are going to start asking him a lot of questions about "well what then?" and doesn't seem like he has a very good answer. And there are going to be a lot more tough votes ahead.

He might have had a huge advantage on this issue at one point, but through apparent indecisiveness and lack of leadership, that edge is mostly gone. If he is going to talk about leadership in 2002, its more than fair game to talk about his lack of leadership in 2007.

by okamichan13 2007-07-12 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: It seems like a risky strategy

Sen. Russ Feingold told the Chicago Tribune, "I regard him as clearly stronger [on Iraq] than Sen. [Hillary Rodham] Clinton, indeed than [former] Sen. [John] Edwards...Of all the people I've worked with that are running for president, I think Sen. Obama probably made the proposal that was most helpful in moving the [Senate Democratic] Caucus in the direction I would like to see it go." Words by someone who knows what is going on and what he's been doing behind the scene.  

by DD2 2007-07-12 12:12PM | 0 recs
he said that

before Obama voted for the terrible Gregg resolution.  So, why do you try to misuse Feingold's words to boost Obama?  They are from much earlier this year.  Is it because Obama has failed to lead on ending the war, like so much else?  

Obama is not a leader; he's a legislator. I want a President who leads change.  He is not that person.

by littafi 2007-07-12 12:18PM | 0 recs
Unfortunately that statement

doesn't instantly make Obama more of a leader or resolve his inconsistant waffling on the war.

It also seems to have been made before the Obama voted FOR the Gregg amendment.

Here is what Feingold said in part, using laguage that seems to be in a direct response to Obama's reasons for supporting it:

"My chief objection is simple -- the resolution rejects the idea of Congress using its power of the purse to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq. Moreover, it does so in a manner that can only be described as inaccurate and almost intellectually dishonest. By warning against "the elimination or reduction of funds for troops in the field," the resolution embraces the misleading rhetoric the White House has used to try to prevent serious discussion of Congress ending the war. Those who engage in such rhetoric pretend that cutting off funds for the war is the same as cutting off funds for the troops. They raise the specter of troops somehow being left on the battlefield without the training, equipment and resources they need.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Every member of Congress agrees that we must continue to support our troops and give them the resources and support they need. Not a single member would ever vote for any proposal that would jeopardize the safety of our troops."

http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/sta tements/07/03/20070315Iraq.htm

See the bolded part? That is exactly what Obama was saying and exactly what Feingold rejected.

Read all of what Feingold says here. He is explicitly rejected the false arguments that people like Obama were making for the Gregg amendment.

Here is how he ends:

"But by putting forth misleading and baseless arguments - by suggesting that ending funding for the war is tantamount to ending funding for the troops - they are making it that much harder to have the open, honest and essential debate about the Iraq war that this body, and the American people, so badly need."

Hard to get much clearer than that.

Also btw, Feingold's campaign made a post here on MyDD and Dailykos recently in response to diary using the language you quoted and said it does not reflect his current thinking, but his thinking at the time. Maybe you missed that.

by okamichan13 2007-07-12 12:24PM | 0 recs
who to believe...

feingold or his "campaign" staff?  who should we believe???

by bored now 2007-07-13 04:39AM | 0 recs
Re: It seems like a risky strategy

I disagree... Very few people outside of the progressive blogs equate the funding of troops with ending the war.  I still feel they are two different issues since Bush will violate congressional orders without worry and impeachment isn't going to happen as a punishment.  Whther you feel the way I do, or the way Oka does, ultimately the frame is not there tying the two together in the public's mind... only in the progressive blogosphere.  Until the frame is changed it isn't a risk.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-07-12 02:49PM | 0 recs
I'm not so sure

I think the people that he would appeal to by stressing his original opposition, in such an incredibly long election cycle, are also focusing very heavily on what is going on now and events in the last couple of years.

If he wants to get votes based on his stance on the war, what he said in 2002 won't be enough I think.

by okamichan13 2007-07-12 06:53PM | 0 recs
where are all these people???

because i've been working (volunteering) with aaei and we're having trouble finding people who oppose the war and know what is going on now.  do you have a secret location for all these knowledgeable anti-war americans?  would you mind sharing it?  iraq summer ends before labor day, so the time is now to tell us where the secret location is...

by bored now 2007-07-13 04:41AM | 0 recs
Re: It seems like a risky strategy

Yup, if Obama doesn't win the nomination, he'll look back and regret opposing defunding for those many months when the base was crying out for leadership. It was an enormous mistake to let Edwards get to the left of him.

by david mizner 2007-07-13 06:07AM | 0 recs

that would have been inconsistent with his message...

by bored now 2007-07-13 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

It's a good thing you don't work for the Obama campaign!! Everything you said is dead on but Obama isn't a confrontational guy, he likes the bipartisanship theme.

by bsavage 2007-07-12 12:03PM | 0 recs
I imagine we'll keep hearing about this...

Simply because it's at the core of his argument against Hillary's perceived "experience".   Basically his answer is..."judgment" is more important.

I don't think it's overused here...we only get tired of hearing about it because we're all political junkies.

by rashomon 2007-07-12 12:11PM | 0 recs
Let's not forget...

that Obama recently tiptoed into the Senate chamber to vote against funding, finally, with no bold proclamations.  Remember how we were all in suspense as to what he would even do?

Until then, he was against Kerry-Feingold and for Gregg, claiming it was an issue of protecting the troops.  Even Feingold claimed that was a deceit.  The situation in Iraq was not substantially different in 2006 and early 2007 when he was unwilling to shout out.

Edwards has been speaking out since 2005, when he, then Murtha, made the calls that started this ball rolling in earnest.  That call by Edwards, according to Obama himself days later, when he was not acting partisan, was a sign of leadership.

I therefore take the Obama swipe at his opponents with a large grain of salt.

Yesterday, regarding Al Queda's resumption of full strength, Edwards said this:

   "Today's report that Al Qaeda has rebuilt its operating capability to a level unseen since just before 9/11 is an unsettling reminder of the failures of President's Bush's 'War on Terror' doctrine. Months ago, John Edwards stepped up as the only major candidate to call the 'War on Terror' doctrine what it is -- a sledgehammer that the Administration uses to beat down their domestic political opponents, a bumper sticker to distract from a host of policies that have compromised our moral leadership of the world, and a military doctrine that has badly backfired against terrorism -- as today's report reveals.

   "The report proves that a real effort to arrest the spread of terrorism is needed to replace the Administration's bumper sticker. John Edwards has proposed a bold new 'smart power' anti-terror strategy that would shut down both the effects of terrorism and its root causes. As president, John Edwards will apply the full extent of our security apparatus to protect our vital interests, to take measures to root out terrorist cells, and to strike swiftly and strongly against those who would do us harm. He will also launch a sweeping effort to eliminate the conditions that generate instability, radicalism, and violence toward the U.S. and our allies."

http://johnedwards.com/news/press-releas es/20070711-al-qaeda-capability/

This is the same Edwards who warned that terrorism would be the major problem of decade three weeks BEFORE 9-11, but could not get his warning disseminated.  See for yourself at this link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/art icles/A37644-2004Jul8.html

And today, regarding Bush's idiocy, without a dig at other Democrats, Edwards said the following:

"The president's remarks today defending his Iraq policy without regard to actual facts border on the delusional. The president claimed that the same people attacking U.S. troops today are the ones who perpetrated 9/11. It must be nice to live in a world where your actions have no consequences. There was no group called Al Qaeda in Iraq before the president's disastrous mismanagement of the war gave them a foothold, a fact the president flagrantly ignores. After being discredited again and again, the president is still trying to link Iraq and 9/11 - a rationale for the war that virtually everyone except Dick Cheney has now recognized was false.

"The president needs to stop pretending and start taking responsibility for the results of his failed strategy: There are more terrorists. Al Qaeda is resurgent and restored to full strength. And that's according to the Bush Administration.

"We need a real strategy against terrorism, like the one I have offered. We need to take Al Qaeda in Iraq as seriously as we take terrorism anywhere. As president, I will apply the full extent of our security apparatus to protect our vital interests, to take measures to root out terrorist cells, and to strike swiftly and strongly against those who would do us harm. I will also launch a sweeping effort to eliminate the conditions that generate instability, radicalism, and violence toward the U.S. and our allies."

http://johnedwards.com/news/press-releas es/2007012-bush-iraq/

I'll take the Edwards statement over the Obama statement anyday!

Yes, Edwards was wrong about giving Bush authorization, like many others were, but he had to make that call, which Obama recognized in November, 2006, again, when he was not acting partisan.  Edwards owned up to his mistake.  If Obama thinks that his speech in 2002 makes him better qualified to lead, so be it.  But when I look at all the issues that make up a candidate, I am not so convinced that this one thing cancels out all others.

Indeed, The Politico, today, regarding taxing hedge funds, stated:

   This is an example of the ways, both subtle and obvious, that John Edwards continues to shape the debate in the race, even though he's not in the same financial league as Sens. Clinton and Obama.


by citizen53 2007-07-12 12:11PM | 0 recs

edwards would be in a better position if he had a strategy for 2008 instead of 2004.  his political skills are a bit lacking and there seems to be a ceiling on his fund-raising appeal.  it's too bad he's not a credible candidate...

by bored now 2007-07-13 04:45AM | 0 recs
Except Edwards continued to

defend his votes for at least two years, saying it was the right thing to do. When the polls had changed on the issue, Edwards safely was able to apologize for his vote.

by jj32 2007-07-12 12:22PM | 0 recs
Hmm you dont think Obama

changing his mind on funding, what is twice, 3 times? had anything to do with public opinion.

Edwards at least had the courage to vote against funding in 2003, which was Obama was advocating before he had a change of heart upon entering the Senate.

by okamichan13 2007-07-12 12:30PM | 0 recs
change of heart???

since i followed obama's 2004 campaign pretty closely, i don't recall him ever saying he was opposed to funding.  i've been to all of his major foreign policy addresses, and he never mentioned this.  do you have proof that he changed his "heart?"

or are you just transferring edwards change from an immoral stance to a moralistic stance on obama???  regardless, your facts are wrong (although you probably know that)...

by bored now 2007-07-13 04:48AM | 0 recs
I do think it resonates

to criticize Edwards. Edwards has done all he can do to make it clear that he regrets his decision, but voters are still likely to think that he changed his mind to be politically expedient (even though he renounced his vote a few months before it became popular for Democrats to do so).

As far as leadership/politics goes, it seems to me that Edwards' definition of leadership is to choose the right position and then talk about how he is leading on it as frequently as possible. The withdrawal vote is a perfect example - Edwards' repeated criticism of Obama and Clinton is that they didn't talk about their correct vote enough beforehand. His strategy appears very political, and I'm not as convinced as many on this site that it demonstrates strength of character or courage of convictions. It just seems like populism.

by Jon 2007-07-12 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

I'm not sure if Obama's latest rhetorical flourish will do much to move his stagnant poll numbers for two reasons:

1.  His Senate voting record with regards to Iraq is nearly identical to Clinton's.

2.  Clinton leads by wide margins among Democratic primary voters for whom Iraq is their #1 issue.

by BigBoyBlue 2007-07-12 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

She hasn't really been challenged on Iraq either.  Whether it works or not remains to be seen.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-07-12 02:44PM | 0 recs
Dick Durbin...the #2 Dem in the Senate

...is simply an "Obama surrogate" now?

by faithfull 2007-07-12 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Dick Durbin...the #2 Dem in the Senate

Then what's Bill Cliton?

by BlueDiamond 2007-07-12 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Dick Durbin...the #2 Dem in the Senate

He's the Senior Senator from Obama's homestate... if you think he'd campaign for anything else your just nuts.

by yitbos96bb 2007-07-12 02:43PM | 0 recs

there were lots of consequences, starting with democratic slating, ending with having to fight for votes in "downstate" illinois and the collar counties...

by bored now 2007-07-13 04:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

I enjoyed this post. Thank you.

by BlueDiamond 2007-07-12 12:50PM | 0 recs

is a great candidate, but this is ridiculous.

He made his somewhat mealy-mouthed and hestitant comments about the war before he had to vote on anything, when it didn't count.

He had the same advantage Governor Dean did.  No consequences to his stance.

by DrFrankLives 2007-07-12 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama

True, but he also doesn't have a former President as a spouse who can be trotted out to fundraise and campaign.  Different candidates have different advantages.

by yitbos96bb 2007-07-12 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

... despite the roll-out (successful, it appears) of Hillary v. 2.0: the peacenik...

Since 2003, there are many people, including those in the military, academia, intelligence, politics, and the media whose position has changed and evolved in response to the conditions there.  Doesn't it make sense that Senator Clinton's position would, as well?

Further, despite your accusations, there is no evidence that Senator Clinton has made any attempt at promoting herself as a "peacenik".  Certainly, her response in the first debate to how she, as Commander In Chief, would respond to a hypothetical multi-sided terrorist attack refutes your allegation.

I think as President, Senator Clinton would be prudent enough to respond to changing military conditions as well as be bold enough to act when the security of the nation is threatened.   If the polls are any indication, the plurality of Democratic primary voters concur with me.

by BigBoyBlue 2007-07-12 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Wasnt Edwards one of the sponsors of the War authorization Bill with Joe Lieberman?

by AnthonyMason2k6 2007-07-12 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq


by parahammer 2007-07-12 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Wow, I didn't know that. The netroots really does believe in political rebirth I guess.

by Jon 2007-07-12 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Yeah, even though he says that he didn't trust Bush on the issue.  It proves what I have said since Shrum's book came out.  Regardless of what Edwards says, you know he listened to the advice of the consultants and Clinton people who told him that he didn't have enough national security experience to vote against it.  They probably told him that he could increase his NS cred by cosponsoring it.

Probably like the same ilk told Obama that he had to vote for every funding bill set before him.  I don't count the last one, because he didn't vote against it until the outcome was clear.

by OE 2007-07-13 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Todd, you dont think it resonates because Edwards apologized for the vote? Any monkey can apologize three years after the fact, but if he didnt have the guts/foresight/intelligence to oppose it when it really mattered, when all the chips are on the table, THAT MATTERS. That could be said about Edwards as a whole: its nice of him to run to the left of Obama and Clinton now, but when his voting record shows him to the right of both those candidates, his campaign promises seem hollow. Actions speak louder than words baby.

by AC4508 2007-07-12 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq


To even claim that he has always been against the War in Iraq is ridiculous and naive.

No, he didn't vote to authorize it, but he did something a lot worse.  He kept funding it, meaning he kept voting to keep it going AFTER IT WAS CLEAR THAT IT WASN'T WORKING.

John Edwards voted to give Bush the authority to go.  Bush didn't have to go, even though everyone was clear that he would go.  Then John Edwards never voted for any funding to continue the failed Bush policy in Iraq.

From the moment Obama arrived in DC, he got with the program and started voting for every funding bill set before him.

Obama supported the War in Iraq from the time he got to the Senate.

by OE 2007-07-12 05:32PM | 0 recs

Motion to Concur in House Amdt. to Senate Amdt to H.R.2206
by bored now 2007-07-13 04:57AM | 0 recs

Like I have said a thousand times.  Obama voted for every funding bill except for the last one, when he came crawling out after the outcome was clear, to cast a vote against it.

Voting to fund a war, is not opposition.  Ask Dennis Kucinich.

by OE 2007-07-13 05:02PM | 0 recs
i support a democratic party that can govern...

kucinich does not share that view...

by bored now 2007-07-15 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

That's been the biggest mistake of the campaign from all of the people... Not hitting Hillary hard for her authorization vote or her lack of an apology.  Obama, Richardson, even Edwards should have been hitting this issue.  Because they didn't she was able to successfully reframe...  It will be interesting to see if enough pressure is applied whether it will solidfy her support, or cause soft support to leave.  

I agree its stupid to attack Edwards... If you are ahead of someone and NOT the front runner, you don't attack them... attacking them says they are at your same level (and that's not meant as an insult to Edwards at all; he still can rebound and win) and if someone is behind you in most polls you leave them alone so as not to draw attention to them.

by yitbos96bb 2007-07-12 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Obama is right and I think he should keep pounding on the fact that he is more experience and foresighted than Hillary.

First Hillary authorized the war, now she wants to de-authorize it, in between this monumental lack of judgment by Hillary, thousands of America soldiers have been sacrificed and billions of dollars wasted.

Hillary lacked the requisite judgment to be our commander-in-chief.
I strongly believe that the issue of experience is one of the important issues that must be addressed in the presidential race. Hillary Clinton does not have the experience to lead the United States at a critical time like this. She lacks the experience to make sound judgment that is required of our commander-in-chief. She failed the test with her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq.

Obama's experience on the other hand gave him the foresight for sound judgment. This is the experience that we require from our commander-in-chief; the experience that helps a leader in making the right judgment, like standing up against the Iraqi invasion in 2002, and outlining most of the possible consequences and unfortunately came true.

Obama is the most experienced of the Democratic bunch. He has the experience that leads to sound judgment. I bet Obama would have been able to persuade Congress in 2002 to stop George Bush from invading Iraq had he been in the Senate then.

Hillary is like George Bush, who was a two-term Governor of huge Texas but lack the foresight and wisdom of the possible impact of send our troops to invade Iraq. George Bush became president because of his father and Hillary now wants to be president because of Bill.

Hillary has 15 years in Washington, but just like George Bush, lacked the foresight to make the right judgment when it mattered most. Her and George Bush's type of experience is actually bad for America; it has cost us thousands in lives and billions of dollars.

Who needs scores of years in Washington or Texas experience that could not make the right judgments in the White House for another 8 years? I don't, how about you?

"But I believed then, and I still believe, that being a leader means that you'd better do what's right and leave the politics aside, because there are no do-overs on an issue as important as war," Obama said.

"The single most important judgment that a president or member of Congress can make is the decision to send our troops into harms way," he said. "There are no good options in Iraq. There are bad options and worse options. That's why you make good decisions on the front end." (Chicago Tribune - July 10, 2007.)

by igwealth5tm 2007-07-12 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Actually, the only Democrat who is right about Iraq is Dennis Kucinich.  Obama never saw a funding bill for the Iraq War that he didn't like.  He came crawling to the Senate floor to vote against the last one after it was clear it would pass.

Obama supported the War in Iraq from the moment he got into the Senate, because he kept voting to fund it.  The only one to never vote in favor of Iraq is Kucinich.

by OE 2007-07-12 05:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

The only Democrat to support the Iraq War more than Barack Obama is Hillary Clinton.  

Obama can't criticize Edwards when Obama has voted for every FUNDING BILL PUT BEFORE HIM since January 2005, except for the last one that he cowardly voted against after it was passed.  

John Edwards voted to give Bush authority to go, and then voted against funding for it.

Obama continued funding the Bush policy in Iraq even after it was clear that Bush was a disaster and had lied about it.

Obama owns the Iraq War, but not in the way he believes.  He has been funding it since 2004.  John Edwards never voted for any funding for Iraq beyond the initial authorization.  

by OE 2007-07-12 05:24PM | 0 recs
defunding != opposition to the war...

it's a strategy, not necessarily a good strategy -- although i understand that if you were stupid enough to sponsor the resolution to invade iraq and then left the senate, you don't have a lot of other options.

barack is smarter than that...

by bored now 2007-07-13 05:00AM | 0 recs
Re: defunding != opposition to the war...

I repeat, even though Edwards says that he didn't trust Bush on the issue, he still co-sponsored it.  It proves what I have said since Shrum's book came out.  Regardless of what Edwards says, you know he listened to the advice of the consultants and Clinton people who told him that he didn't have enough national security experience to vote against it.  The same advisors also likely told him that he could increase his NS cred by co-sponsoring it.

Probably like the same ilk probably "advised" Obama that he had to vote for every funding bill set before him.  I don't count the last one, because he didn't vote against it until the outcome was clear.

by OE 2007-07-13 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: defunding != opposition to the war...

not one for principle, eh?

by bored now 2007-07-15 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Voting to authorize the war is stupid and showed lack of experience on the side of Clinton and Edwards.  Voting to provide the soldiers the ammunition, vests, and other equipments to protect themselves from the warring factions in the civil war is an effort supporting the soldiers in the field.

We knew all the while that the war was dumb and that Bush junior only brought those allegations against Saddam because of a lingering hatred for the man after Saddam attempted to assassinate his dad.

Cutting off funding would jeopardize the security and welfare of our beloved soldiers.  Obama's vote to cut-off funding this last time was symbolic, designed to send a message to Bush, which was why he waited until he was sure that the bill would pass before casting his vote.  He is the most ardent supporter of the soldiers both at war-time and in peace-time.  Obama would remain the champion of our soldiers and ex-soldiers.

by igwealth5tm 2007-07-12 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Stupid argument.

If you cut off funding for operations, there is still enough money available in the Pentagon budget to remove troops from Iraq.  Even if there wasn't, if funds were cut off for continuing the military operations, a bill could be passed to ONLY FUND WITHDRAWAL.

Obama supported the war for 2 1/2 years by voting to fund it, even after Bush had proven to be an criminally negligent in carrying it out.

John Edwards made the decision to give Bush authority to go to war, which was dumb.  Then Edwards never gave Bush a dime after Bush proved incompetent and wreckless.

Barack Obama knew that Iraq was a lost cause when he got to the Senate, and still voted to give Bush money to continue digging his hole in Iraq, which was stupid.

There is always enough money to remove troops from Iraq.

by OE 2007-07-13 05:00PM | 0 recs
your right, you do have a stupid argument...

most members of congress (and we can exclude kucinich here) worry about what is possible.  sure, there are a handful of people tilting at windmills, but they don't usually run for president -- at least not as credible candidates...

by bored now 2007-07-15 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

OE needs to check the record.

Obama and many of us knew that the war was dumb from the beginning and that informed our public opposition to the war.  It was Bush, Hillary, and Edwards that deceived and took Americans to this war, and now Hillary and Edwards have had a change of heart.  Too little too late!!!

by igwealth5tm 2007-07-12 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Would you have voted to fund the war every time that a funding bill was put before you, LIKE OBAMA DID?

Apparently you need to check the record and stop just going along with the story the media creates.

If Obama "opposed the war from the beginning" like the media said, then what about the last 2.5 years when he has been voting to keep it going?

by OE 2007-07-13 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Goes After Rivals On Iraq

Let's all just be quiet until Feingold and Gore make their endorsements, and then we can all board the same wagon.


by Jon 2007-07-12 06:43PM | 0 recs
always a bad thing...

when you message collapses on itself (turn the page > no do overs).  fortunately for obama, not everyone catches these things, and hillary's refusal to apologize probably helps here.

by bored now 2007-07-13 03:54AM | 0 recs


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