Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oppo Research on Obama’s Shifting

Original Link:

By SusanUnPC

Below you’ll find a detailed press release from the John McCain campaign that reflects the extraordinary coverage covering Obama’s shifting positions and statements about Iraq.

My note: I know so many Obama followers who flocked to Obama because he told them what they were desperate to hear, given their incalculable and understandable distress during the eight years of Bush/Cheney. They held against Hillary Clinton her vote in 2002, even though her Senate floor speech on October 10, 2002 made very clear her grave concerns and stated her warnings about the use of military force: “If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. … So Mr. President, for all its appeal, a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option. …”

Luckily for Mr. Obama, he wasn’t yet a U.S. Senator, so didn’t have to vote. In fact, in 2004, he said he wasn’t sure how he would have voted. Instead, Mr. Obama made a single speech on October 2, 2002 before 1,000 people in Chicago’s Federal Plaza that was not even mentioned by Chicago media. By 2006, war opponents, frantic to find a “savior,” flocked to Obama based on that one speech that was never followed by any further speeches or any further actions towards stopping or ending the Iraq war.

It’s quite something that he was able to exploit a single speech, unnoted at the time, to attract legions of followers. It’s quite something that, since no video or audio exists, his campaign media experts had to recreate his speech in a recording studio. It’s quite something that his followers continue to support him, even after he joined the U.S. Senate and voted exactly as did Hillary Clinton, except that she voted against Gen. George Casey while Obama voted for the unqualified general whose knowledge about troop and supply deficiencies were wholly inadequate, as Sen. Clinton’s grilling of Gen. Casey during a Senate hearing proved.

So, Obama’s followers have bought into his opposition to the Iraq war on rather threadbare proof: A single speech followed by, in the last 18 months, a lot of campaign rhetoric in rally speeches. Clear back in 2004, the late Tim Russert, on Meet The Press, exposed Obama’s shifting statements:

In July of `04, Barack Obama, “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know,” in terms of how you would have voted on the war. And then this: “There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.” That was July of `04. And this: “I think” there’s “some room for disagreement in that initial decision to vote for authorization of the war.” It doesn’t seem that you are firmly wedded against the war, and that you left some wiggle room that, if you had been in the Senate, you may have voted for it. (”Meet the Press,” 2004, via MyDD, Nov. 11, 2007)

So, it’s no surprise to me that the MSM has discovered what we here knew last year when we began investigating Obama’s real record on Iraq:


For Immediate Release

Contact: Press Office

Saturday, July 5, 2008

“I Think This Is One Of The Biggest Things That’s Happened So Far In This General Election.” — Mark Halperin (CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees,” 7/3/08)

Barack Obama “Struggled” To Explain His Iraq Position, Called Do-Over Press Conference:

ABC News: “Barack Obama Struggled Thursday In Two Separate News Conferences To Explain His Plan To Withdraw U.S. Troops From Iraq.”

“Whatever happened to ‘absolute clarity’? Barack Obama struggled Thursday in two separate news conferences to explain his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.” (Teddy Davis, Sunlen Miller, and Gregory Wallace, “‘We’re Gonna Try This Again,’” ABC News’ “The Notes Sneak Peek,” 7/3/08)

· ABC News: “There’s Been Lots Of Speculation This Week About Whether Sen. Barack Obama Has An Iraq Problem. He Does Now.” (Rick Klein, “Obama’s Iraq Quagmire,” ABC News’ “Political Punch” Blog,, Posted 7/3/08)

· ABC’s John Berman: “He Felt The Need To Hold Two News Conferences To Clarify His Position.” (ABC’s “Good Morning America,” 7/4/08)

The Associated Press: Barack Obama “Struggled Thursday” To Explain His Iraq Position. “Democrat Barack Obama struggled Thursday to explain how his upcoming trip to Iraq might refine, but not basically alter, his promise to quickly remove U.S. combat troops from the war.” (Jennifer Loven, “Obama Says Iraq Trip Could Refine His Policy,” The Associated Press, 7/4/08)

· The Associated Press: Barack Obama Offered A “Messy Series Of Comments” On Iraq. “It was Obama’s messy series of comments Thursday, coming after weeks in which Republicans had been goading him to change his withdrawal policy in light of reduced violence, that put an unfortunate spotlight on his quandary.” (Jennifer Loven, “Obama’s Centrist Emphasis Gives GOP Ammo,” The Associated Press, 7/5/08)

CBS: Barack Obama Forced To Call “A Hastily Organized Press Conference.” “Barack Obama called a hastily organized press conference to clarify an earlier statement where he suggested he’d ‘refine’ his Iraq policy after he visits Iraq later this summer.” (Maria Gavrilovic, “Obama Clarifies Iraq Remarks,” CBS News, 7/3/08)

CNN’s Anderson Cooper: Obama “Scrambling To Explain His Position On Iraq.” CNN’S ANDERSON COOPER: “We begin though with Barack Obama scrambling to explain his position on Iraq. This morning, he seemed to open the door to changing his mind on a 16-month timetable for pulling troops out of Iraq.” (CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees,” 7/3/08)

CNN’s Jessica Yellin: Barack Obama “Found Himself In An Odd Spot Holding A Do-Over Press Conference.” CNN’S JESSICA YELLIN: “Barack Obama faced a firestorm about whether he’s backing off the central pledge of his campaign, to withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. The concern became so intense, he found himself in an odd spot holding a do-over press conference.” (CNN’s “Newsroom,” 7/4/08)

Fox News: Barack Obama Was “Obviously Annoyed With Reporters.” “Obviously annoyed with reports that he’d hedged his position on troop withdrawals from Iraq after he told reporters that he would ‘continue to refine’ his policies after his upcoming visit to Iraq, the campaign held a second avail to attempt to clarify his views on the matter.” (Bonney Kapp, “Obama On Iraq Take Two,” Fox News, 7/3/08)

Los Angeles Times: Barack Obama “Struggled” To Explain His Position On Iraq In A Press Conference. “Barack Obama struggled Thursday to explain his plan to end the war in Iraq, calling a rare do-over news conference to insist that he was not softening his campaign pledge to withdraw all combat troops within 16 months of becoming president.” (Peter Nicholas, “Republicans Seize On Obama’s Comments On Iraq,” Los Angeles Times, 7/4/08)

NBC’s Lester Holt: “Obama Suddenly Founding Himself Working Hard To Explain” His Iraq Position. NBC’S LESTER HOLT: “It is the eve of the Independence Day holiday, and while most Americans were settling in for a leisurely long weekend, late this afternoon Barack Obama suddenly found himself working hard to explain something he said earlier today about ending the war in Iraq.” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 7/3/08)

New York Daily News: Barack Obama “Struggled To Explain” His Iraq Position. “Barack Obama said Thursday he may ‘refine’ his 16-month timetable for getting out of Iraq — and then struggled to explain what he meant after Republicans branded him a flip-flopper.” (Michael McAuliff, “GOP Pounces As Barack Obama Says Iraq Exit Plan Could Be ‘Refined,’” New York Daily News, 7/3/08)

Reuters: Barack Obama “Forced To call Reporters Back For A Second News Conference.” “Obama was forced to call reporters back for a second news conference in Fargo, North Dakota, after he initially left open the possibility of revising his 16-month timetable for pulling U.S. combat forces from Iraq.” (John Whitesides, “Obama Wades Into Controversy With Iraq Comments,” Reuters, 7/3/08)

Barack Obama “Opening The Door To Altering His Iraq Policy”:

The Associated Press: “Democrat Barack Obama Is Opening The Door To Altering His Iraq Policy.” (Jennifer Loven, “Obama Opens Door To Altering Iraq Policy,” The Associated Press, 7/3/08)

The Associated Press: Barack Obama “Acknowledged That The 16-Month Timeline Could Indeed Slip If Removing Troops Risked Their Safety Or Iraqi Stability.” “After his remark at a news conference about refining policy exploded onto the political scene, he called a do-over four hours later to ‘try this again.’ He said the refining wouldn’t be related to his promise to remove combat forces within 16 months of taking office, but to the number of troops needed to train Iraqis and fight al-Qaida. But then he acknowledged that the 16-month timeline could indeed slip if removing troops risked their safety or Iraqi stability.” (Jennifer Loven, “Obama’s Centrist Emphasis Gives GOP Ammo,” The Associated Press, 7/5/08)

CBS’ Dean Reynolds: “Obama Sounded Surprisingly Willing To Change His Position On Iraq.” CBS’ DEAN REYNOLDS: “In North Dakota today, Barack Obama sounded surprisingly willing to change his position on Iraq. … But the statement about refining his position paled next to the applause-winning declarations that carried him through the primaries.” (CBS’ “Evening News,” 7/3/08)

CNN’s Jessica Yellin: “When Pressed, He Refused To Commit To That 16-Month Time Frame, Insisting Any Good Commander-In-Chief Adjusts.” (CNN’s “Newsroom,” 7/4/08)

Fox News’ Major Garrett: “Speaking Of The Battlefield, Obama Is Creating New Room To Maneuver On The Question Of Withdrawing U.S. Combat Forces From Iraq.” (Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume,” 7/4/08)

Los Angeles Times: Barack Obama “Has Carefully Hedged” On Iraq. “In the past, Obama has stressed his plan to begin a withdrawal immediately and complete it within 16 months. But he has carefully hedged, leaving the option of taking more time if needed.” (Peter Nicholas, “Republicans Seize On Obama’s Comments On Iraq,” Los Angeles Times, 7/4/08)

· Los Angeles Times: Barack Obama “Seemed Just Now To Signal A Softened Position On His Time Line For Withdrawing Troops From Iraq.” “Our colleague Peter Nicholas, trailing along after Barack Obama in Fargo, North Dakota, reports that Obama seemed just now to signal a softened position on his time line for withdrawing troops from Iraq.” (Scott Martelle, “Is Barack Obama Softening His Iraq Withdrawal Timeline?” Los Angeles Times’ “Top Of The Ticket” Blog,, Posted 7/3/08)

NBC’s Lee Cowan: “The Campaign Is Quick To Point Out That It Would Be Irresponsible For The Senator Not To At Least Leave Open The Possibility Of Learning Something On His Trip To Iraq That Might Change His Positions. Otherwise, As One Adviser Put It, ‘What’s The Point Of Making That Trip In The First Place?’” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 7/3/08)

The New York Post: Barack Obama “Left The Door Open” To Changing His Iraq Policies. “Barack Obama, who ran hard during the Democratic primaries on an anti-Iraq-war message, yesterday left the door open to ‘refining’ his 16-month troop-withdrawal plan as he prepares for a Mideast trip.” (Maggie Haberman, “Obama Pulls About-Face,” The New York Post, 7/4/08)

The New York Times: “There Have Been Increasing Signs Of Debate Among Democrats — And Seemingly Among Some Obama Advisers — About What To Do In Iraq.” (Michael Cooper and Jeff Zeleny, “Obama Fuels Pullout Debate With Remarks,” The New York Times, 7/4/08)

The Washington Post: Barack Obama “Left Open The Possibility” That He Would Slow His 16-Month Withdrawal Plan. “Sen. Barack Obama left open the possibility of slowing his promised, 16-month withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq, saying he would consult with military commanders on an upcoming trip to the region to ensure a withdrawal would keep troops safe and Iraq stable.” (Jonathan Weisman, “Obama Softens On Iraq Withdrawal Timeline,” The Washington Post’s “The Trail” Blog,, Posted 7/3/08)

· The Washington Post: “Today’s Comments From Obama Were The Most Extended On The Issue, And They Leaned Hard Toward Flexibility, Even As He Said His Position Has Not Shifted.” (Jonathan Weisman, “Obama Softens On Iraq Withdrawal Timeline,” The Washington Post’s “The Trail” Blog,, Posted 7/3/08)

The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer: Barack Obama Will Change His Iraq Position Very Soon. “Two weeks ago, I predicted that by Election Day Obama will have erased all meaningful differences with McCain on withdrawal from Iraq. I underestimated Obama’s cynicism. He will make the move much sooner. He will use his upcoming Iraq trip to finally acknowledge the remarkable improvements on the ground and to formally abandon his primary season commitment to a fixed 16-month timetable for removal of all combat troops.” (Charles Krauthammer, Op-Ed, “A Man of Seasonal Principles,” The Washington Post, 7/4/08)

· Krauthammer: Barack Obama’s “Shift Has Already Begun.” “The shift has already begun. Yesterday, he said that his ‘original position’ on withdrawal has always been that ‘we’ve got to make sure that our troops are safe and that Iraq is stable.’ And that ‘when I go to Iraq … I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.’” (Charles Krauthammer, Op-Ed, “A Man of Seasonal Principles,” The Washington Post, 7/4/08)

· Krauthammer: Even Though Obama Has Yet To Go Back To Iraq, “The Flip Is Almost Complete.” “He hasn’t even gone to Iraq and the flip is almost complete. All that’s left to say is that the 16-month time frame remains his goal but that he will, of course, take into account the situation on the ground and the recommendation of his generals in deciding whether the withdrawal is to occur later or even sooner.” (Charles Krauthammer, Op-Ed, “A Man of Seasonal Principles,” The Washington Post, 7/4/08)

Barack Obama’s Openness To Refining His Position At Odds With Previous Commitments:

ABC News: Barack Obama’s “Openness To Adjust His 16-Month Withdrawal Plan Was Somewhat At Odds” With Previous Comments. “Obama’s openness to adjust his 16-month withdrawal plan was somewhat at odds with the stance he took during a recent ABC News debate. At the time, Obama seemed to stand by his campaign manager’s unambiguous pledge to have troops out of Iraq in 16 months ‘at the most.’” (Teddy Davis, Sunlen Miller, and Gregory Wallace, “‘We’re Gonna Try This Again,’” ABC News’ “The Notes Sneak Peek,” 7/3/08)

The Politico: Barack Obama “Backed Off His Firm Promise To Withdraw Combat Forces From Iraq Immediately.” “Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Thursday backed off his firm promise to withdraw combat forces from Iraq immediately and instead said he could ‘refine’ his plan after his trip to Baghdad later this month.” (Mike Allen, “Obama To ‘Refine’ Iraq Plan,” The Politico, 7/3/08)

Barack Obama Playing Politics With Iraq Position:

ABC News: Barack Obama Will Be “Unlikely To Give A Direct, Yes-Or-No Answer” When Asked Where He Stands On His Iraq Plan. “There will be only one relevant question now out of Obama’s trip now: Do you stand by your plan? Obama is unlikely to give a direct, yes-or-no answer — and that’s where Sen. John McCain and his allies can and will pounce.” (Rick Klein, “Obama’s Iraq Quagmire,” ABC News’ “Political Punch” Blog,, Posted 7/3/08)

Fox News: Barack Obama In The General Election “Has Been Talking Less About Troop Withdrawal.” “But now as Obama enters the general election and hopes to compete for a wider range of voters, he has been talking less about troop withdrawal - something he explained was because he’d been spending a lot of time talking about the economy.” (Bonney Kapp, “Obama Keeps Iraq Options Open,” Fox News, 7/3/08)

The New York Times: Barack Obama “Recently Spoken Less About Withdrawal.” “With violence ebbing in Iraq, however, he has recently spoken less about withdrawal and has increasingly emphasized the failure to achieve political reconciliation in that country.” (Michael Cooper and Jeff Zeleny, “Obama Fuels Pullout Debate With Remarks,” The New York Times, 7/4/08)

The Wall Street Journal: Lately, Barack Obama Has Left Out His Pledge To Withdraw Troops Within 16 Months From His Public Speeches. “According to the Obama campaign Website Sen. Obama would move one to two combat brigades a month home from Iraq and have “all [U.S.] combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” But lately he has left out the phrase ‘16 months’ entirely.” (Amy Chozick, “Obama Defines His Position On Iraq War,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/4/08)

In The Headlines:

ABC News: “Obama’s Iraq Quagmire”
(Rick Klein, “Obama’s Iraq Quagmire,” ABC News “Political Punch” Blog, 7/3/08)

The Associated Press: “Obama Opens Door To Altering Iraq Policy”
(Jennifer Loven, “Obama Opens Door To Altering Iraq Policy,” The Associated Press, 7/3/08)

Chicago Tribune: “Obama May ‘Refine’ Iraq Policy”
(Katie Fretland, “Obama May ‘Refine’ Iraq Policy,” Chicago Tribune’s “The Swamp” Blog, 7/3/08)

Fox News: “Obama Keeps Iraq Options Open”
(Bonney Kapp, “Obama Keeps Iraq Options Open,” Fox News’ “Fox Embedded” Blog, 7/3/08)

The Hill: “Obama Says Slower Iraq Withdrawal Possible”
(Ian Swanson, “Obama Says Slower Iraq Withdrawal Possible,” The Hill, 7/3/08)

Los Angeles Times: “Is Barack Obama Softening His Iraq Withdrawal Timeline?”
(Scott Martelle, “Is Barack Obama Softening His Iraq Withdrawal Timeline?” Los Angeles Times’ “Top Of The Ticket” Blog, 7/3/08)

The Politico: “Obama Rewrites Iraq Plan”
(Mike Allen, “Obama Rewrites Iraq Plan,” The Politico, 7/3/08)

New York Post: “Obama Pulls About-Face”
(Maggie Haberman, “Obama Pulls About-Face,” New York Post, 7/4/08)

The New York Times: “Obama Fuels Pullout Debate With Remarks”
(Michael Cooper and Jeff Zeleny, “Obama Fuels Pullout Debate With Remarks,” The New York Times, 7/4/08)

The New York Times: “Obama: Open To ‘Refine’ Iraq Withdrawal Timeline”
(Jeff Zeleny, “Obama: Open to ‘Refine’ Iraq Withdrawal Timeline,” The New York Times’ “The Caucus” Blog, 7/3/08)

Reuters: “Obama Says He Might ‘Refine’ His Iraq Position”
(John Whitesides, “Obama Says He Might ‘Refine’ His Iraq Position,” Reuters, 7/3/08)

Time: “Obama Plans To ‘Refine’ Iraq Plan”
(Mark Halperin, “Obama Plans to ‘Refine’ Iraq Plan,” Time’s “The Page” Blog, 7/3/08)

The Wall Street Journal: “Obama’s Iraq Plan May Be Refined”
(Amy Chozick, “Obama’s Iraq Plan May Be Refined,” The Wall Street Journal’s “Washington Wire” Blog, 7/3/08)

The Washington Post: “Obama May Consider Slowing Iraq Withdrawal”
(Jonathan Weisman, “Obama May Consider Slowing Iraq Withdrawal,” The Washington Post, 7/4/08)

The Washington Post: “Obama Softens On Iraq Withdrawal Timeline”
(Jonathan Weisman, “Obama Softens on Iraq Withdrawal Timeline,” The Washington Post’s “The Trail” Blog, 7/3/08)

The Weekly Standard: “The Mother Of All Flip-Flops”
(John McCormack, “The Mother of All Flip-Flops,” The Weekly Standard’s “The Blog,” 7/3/08)


For more on the ever-shifting Obama on Iraq, please see my story, “Obama Talks the Talk, But Where’s the Walk?“

Footnote: Mr. Obama’s real views on Iraq are of the gravest importance because, as we all know, the huge expenditures in money and lives have affected every other government budget and forced cutbacks on programs urgently needed by American citizens.

If Mr. Obama hasn’t the REAL RESOLVE — and the in-depth knowledge of the military, veterans, and all affected government programs required to execute an intelligently-planned withdrawal — he is not of presidential timber.

Hillary Clinton is made of the stuff required for the Oval Office: Resolve, intelligence, “wonky” political knowledge, and a constant search for the best information. Compare the voting records and statements of both Sens. Clinton and Obama regarding the nomination of Gen. George Casey:

What about Obama’s voting record in the U.S. Senate on Iraq? TPM Election Central painstakingly compared every single vote on Iraq by Sens. Clinton and Obama, since Obama entered the Senate. Senators Clinton and Obama voted identically, except once: On the confirmation of “General George Casey to be Chief of Staff for the Army, held just this past February. Hillary voted against confirmation, while Obama voted to confirm.” Why did Sen. Clinton vote against Gen. Casey’s confirmation?

During his nomination hearing to be Army Chief of Staff, I questioned General Casey about recent reports, both by the Department of Defense Inspector General and press accounts, that units and personnel lacked the necessary equipment. General Casey responded that was not aware of the problems cited in these reports and actually quite surprised at the reported shortcomings. In the Inspector General report’s summary, the equipment shortages were attributed to basic management failures among military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. General Casey was not aware of this investigation or its recommendations that oversight must immediately improve to ensure proper distribution of equipment; as a result units and personnel are not able to perform assign missions. — From “Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Vote on Confirmation of General George W. Casey to be Army Chief of Staff,” Feb. 8, 2007

How did Sen. Obama defend his vote for Gen. Casey?

“It is a bit unseemly that General Casey is being made the scapegoat for a war that never should have been fought and for a failed strategy dictated by the civilian leadership in the White House. The President, Vice President and other civilian officials set forth an unworkable strategy with inadequate resources and did not listen to the advice of generals on the ground. They are the ones ultimately responsible for the current situation in Iraq. I hope General Casey will get more support for his new mission, which is so important to the country. I want to see General Casey use his experience in Iraq to ensure that the civilian leadership in Washington understands the challenges faced and resources needed by today’s Army.”

That’s it. That’s the entire press release. Not a word about Gen. Casey’s failure to know about the crisis in equipment shortages or the “basic management failures” during Gen. Casey’s own time in Iraq or the Inspector General’s shocking report.

While I fully sympathize with the attraction to Obama based on a single speech in 2002, it is not enough. A more thorough investigation and dissection of Obama’s wildly varying statements on Iraq are required by his followers.

No comments: