Barack Obama told a Nashua, New Hampshire town hall meeting yesterday that, if elected president, he would withdraw US troops from Iraq. [Full article].

I can’t breathe,” she said, her voice breaking with sobs. “I want to know, when am I going to able to breathe? Are you going to get us the hell out of there? Promise us you will get us out of there. That’s the most important thing.”

The crowd’s applause as she finished gave Obama time to compose an answer.

“I can only imagine how you feel, as a father and as a parent,” he said. “I don’t go to a single town-hall meeting where I don’t meet a mother or father who either is seeing a loved one go over there or has already lost someone, or has a loved one who has come back injured.

“So I make a solemn pledge to you, as president we will be out of Iraq,” the Illinois senator said to loud applause.
Obama reiterated his plan to remove troops by March 31, 2008, similar to a plan passed by Congress that President Bush has vowed to veto.

Democrats don’t have enough votes to override the veto. Without mentioning them by name, Obama criticized New Hampshire Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu, both Republicans who voted against the troop withdrawal deadline.

“There are two New Hampshire senators who have not made a commitment,” he said, “and the power is in their hands.”

Obama is uniquely qualified to make claims like this — he didn’t vote for the Iraq war in the first place. And with the Iraq war positioned so prominently on the political horizon, his stance on Iraq — both in 2002 and now — may serve as his trump card in the ’08 election.

The 2002 vote to go to war is the 800 pound gorilla in the democrats’ campaign bus. John Edwards chose to acknowledge his previous support of the Iraq war and admit that he’s wrong — and I can respect that. At least far more than Hillary’s approach.

By taking the “inaccurate information route” and absolving herself of any wrongdoing in voting to go to war in Iraq, Hillary Clinton paints herself as an aloof caricature of a politician. Her staunch refusal to admit that she might have maybe, possibly, under some circumstances made a mistake in voting to launch a war that the majority of America doesn’t support emphasizes how out of touch with the public she is.

I’d prefer that my president didn’t make mistakes, but, since none of the candidates running are robots or infallible deities, I’ll accept a human that can at least recognize when he makes them. And unlike Edwards and Clinton, Obama doesn’t have to do that — regardless of how he would have voted in 2002.


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