Friday, October 12, 2007

"Obama Names Clinton in Iraq Speech"

NY Times:
Senator Barack Obama delivered a speech on the Iraq war today in Des Moines. There were a handful of new words in his address, including these two: Hillary Clinton.
For the past 10 days, Mr. Obama has been persistently working to mark the fifth anniversary of the Congressional vote authorizing the Iraq war. The point, of course, is that he, as a soon-to-be-announced candidate for the U.S. Senate, opposed the war from the beginning, while several of his rivals in the Democratic presidential race did not.

“Now, some have asked me, ‘Why are you always reminding us that you opposed the war? Isn’t that yesterday’s news? Is that experience really relevant?’” Mr. Obama said, speaking to an audience at Drake University. “And what I always say is this – this isn’t just about the past, it’s about the future. I don’t talk about my opposition to the war to say ‘I told you so.’ I wish the war had gone differently.

“But the reason I talk about it is because I truly believe that the judgment, and the conviction, and the accountability that each of us showed on the most important foreign policy decision of our lives is the best indicator you have of how each of us will make those decisions going forward.”

In some circles of Mr. Obama’s supporters, there is a degree of worry that this argument is not finding the resonance that it once did with Democratic primary voters. Today, Mr. Obama turned it up a notch, mentioning Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton by name, which he did not do last week during his first speech of a well-planned rollout commemorating the Oct. 11, 2002 Congressional war vote.

“Leading Democrats – including Senator Clinton – echoed the erroneous line that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda,” Mr. Obama said.

In his remarks, in addition to taking issue with her statements on Iran, Mr. Obama used the action of another rival – former Senator John Edwards – to take another swipe at Mrs. Clinton. (Mr. Edwards, by the way, doesn’t mention Mr. Obama at all, when he addresses the topic.)

“He has renounced that vote, instead of pretending that it was a vote for anything but war,” Mr. Obama said. “But Senator Clinton makes a different argument. She says that she wasn’t really voting for war back in 2002, she was voting for more inspections, or she was voting for more diplomacy. But all of us know what was being debated in the Congress in the fall of 2002.”

There is no question that everyone knows. The open question is: Are Democrats still up in arms about it?
Howie P.S.: My new best friend (I bought him a beer at the Montlake Ale House Monday), "democratic strategist" Ari Melber, has this on Huffington Post: Obama blasts "quasi-incumbent" Clinton. "Hillary Clinton Slams Obama in Memo, Obama Doesn’t Flinch" is how Think On These Things sees the latest back and forth. Ben Smith offers "Obama memo: 'Quasi-incumbent stumbles'" while Howard Dean predicts "the Democratic presidential nomination would probably not be decided on February 5, 2007." Ted Sorenson calls Hillary a triangulator and "a continuation of the Clinton-Bush 20 years."

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