Skip to comments.Obama campaign to highlight drawdowns in Iraq, Afghanistan (Libya attack not mentioned)
Posted on 09/01/2012 5:44:31 PM PDT by Libloather
Obama campaign to highlight drawdowns in Iraq, Afghanistan
By Jeremy Herb - 09/01/12 03:00 PM ET
Surrounded by 5,000 troops at Ft. Bliss on Friday, President Obama proudly declared that he had marked the end of combat operations in the war in Iraq two years ago in the same location.
Obamas speech at the El Paso, Tex., Army base was a preview of the Democrats plan to highlight the drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq next week at the Democratic convention to draw contrasts with the Republican ticket, as the wars received little attention during the Republican convention.
The Obama campaign and the White House went on the attack after Romney didnt mention Afghanistan or Iraq during his acceptance speech Thursday night. Romney was also criticized in his own party by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, who wrote Friday that not mentioning the troops provided an opening for Obama in Charlotte.
While foreign policy has played a secondary role behind domestic issues this presidential campaign, the Obama campaign says it will be featured prominently at their convention next week. An Obama campaign official said that Thursday night, when Obama will give his acceptance speech, a national security segment will be featured along with a speech by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) focused on Obamas record as commander-in-chief.
Obama previewed whats to come at the convention in his address at Fort Bliss Friday, where he noted the historic moment for the nation when he declared the end of combat operations two years prior.
That night I told the American people that all our troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the following year, Obama said. At the time I know some folks didn't believe me. They were skeptical. Some thought the end of combat was just word games and semantics. But I meant what I said.
National security and foreign policy are issues where Republican presidential candidates have traditionally had an advantage, but this year Democrats say Obama has the clear upper hand. They point to the death of Osama bin Laden, the end of the Iraq war and the drawdown in Afghanistan, and the downfall of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as key achievements for Obamas presidency.
At the same time, polls have shown that Romney has an edge over Obama among veteran voters, a constituency both campaigns have actively courted. A May Gallup survey found that Romney a 58-34 lead among veterans.
The White House and Obama campaign quickly seized on the fact that Romney did not mention the troops or Afghanistan in his speech Thursday evening.
I can simply speak for myself that I was surprised not to hear mention of the 70,000 men and women who are serving in Afghanistan, executing a mission that is profoundly important to Americas national security in a conflict that was the direct result of an attack on the United States by al Qaeda, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.
In an almost 45-minute speech Romney didnt find time to mention our troops in Afghanistan, Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter echoed on a conference call with reporters.
The Romney campaign responded by noting that Romney had traveled to speak to the American Legion the day before his convention speech, while the president only addressed the convention via video this year.
President Obama has failed in his duty as Commander in Chief to win the home front, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement to The Hill.
Unlike any wartime president in memory, he has failed to consistently and forthrightly speak about the war in Afghanistan to the American people, she said. The Obama campaign's attack on Gov. Romney today is another attempt to politicize the war in Afghanistan, a war in which President Obama has dangerously based his decisions on political calculations, endangering our mission.
While Obama is expected to talk about Afghanistan in his speech next week, neither candidate has been eager to discuss the war with much depth on the campaign trail.
Part of the reason is that the war has become unpopular with the American public, and polls have shown that the public supports withdrawing quicker than the current timeline to hand off security control in 2014.
While Romney has criticized Obama for setting a public timeline and the Obama campaign has accused Romney of wanting to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, the candidates have nearly the same position on the drawdown in Afghanistan: they both back the 2014 timeline with a small presence remaining afterward for training and special operations.
Obama said Friday that the United States was ending the war in Afghanistan responsibly, but acknowledged that it was still a very tough fight.
Tom Tarantino, an Iraq veteran and chief policy officer at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America advocacy group, said that both Obama and Romney have a good record with veterans, but that veterans are complaining they havent heard enough from either candidate on the wars or veterans issues. Tarantino attended the Tampa convention with IAVA to lobby for veterans issues, and hell be in Charlotte doing the same thing.
He said he was surprised Afghanistan and Iraq did not get any mention in the speech.
The governor did give a very good speech at the American Legion and addressed a lot of good issues, but it was noticeably absent from last nights speech, Tarantino told The Hill.
When youre applying for the job of commander in chief, you need to at the very least in your application speech make mention that we are a nation at war, and right now 85,00 men and women are fighting on the other side of the world for our country.
The Republican convention focused on national security Wednesday night, when some of the biggest foreign policy names in the GOP spoke to the convention, including the 2008 presidential nominee and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
McCain did not mention Iraq in his speech, but did touch on Afghanistan by criticizing Obamas strategy.
By committing to withdraw from Afghanistan before peace can be achieved and sustained, the president has discouraged our friends and emboldened our enemies, which is why our commanders did not recommend these decisions and why they have said it puts our mission at much greater risk, McCain said.
The Iraq drawdown plans were those already in place by the Bush administration that Obama just followed through on - it wasn’t even his idea. He even kept Bush’s Secretary of Defense on board to oversee it.
I’m sure the media will be pointing these key facts out...
Not drawdowns, but surrender.
the GOP pundits should point out despite the draw downs obamagaube is spending five times as much as the savings received from those drawdowns....
Few conservatives even mention hussein started a war against Libya.
Let them primp and prance.
This election will not be won or lost on claims of who will leave Afghanistan first.
This president has spiked more balls than a gay Vlad the Impaler. Of course he won’t mention Libya. If anyone wipes the dust off that needless intervention, they’ll find the root cause of the civil war in Mali. We had no reason to support these radicals, just like we had no reason to back the Albanians in the 90s.
LOL. Romney should just say that at any rate, he hasn’t been going behind the nation’s back promising to double-deal wth Russia. Anyway, who does Hussein think he’s kidding by attempting to distract from the economy by trying to appear as some great foreign policy president? The man who thinks Austrians speak Austrian? The man who bows to Saudi kings?
Maybe he should wear his Nobel Peace Crackerjack Prize.
How about the Egypitian Arab Spring? That’s working out really well./s
How about the Egypitian Arab Spring? That’s working out really well./s