Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama talked about the economy and the war in Iraq during a town hall meeting with around 500 people at Des Moines Area Community College this morning. The Illinois Senator admitted his plans to boost jobs, improve education, and provide universal health care will be expensive.
But, Obama said, if the United States can find $275 million a day to fight the war in Iraq, then the country should be able to find the same money to strengthen the economy. Obama reminded the audience that he opposed the war back in 2002 while running for the senate, in contrast to other candidates like rival Hillary Clinton, who was speaking in Des Moines at the same time as Obama.
"I believed then, and I still believe, that being a leader means that you’d better do what’s right and leave politics aside, because there are no do-overs in on an issue as important as war," Obama said.
According to Obama, the Bush administration’s "troop surge" has not worked and none of the benchmarks designed to show progress in Iraq have been met.
Obama said it’s time to find a "responsible, but certain" way to start bring U.S. troops home and "stop having them in the midst of a civil war."
Obama’s comments on Iraq coincide with a debate scheduled for this week in the U.S. Senate over financing for the war. He urged those at the DMACC event to contact Iowa lawmakers in Washington D.C. and urge them to support a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.
You may listen to Obama’s speech at the event by clicking on the audio link below.