Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says President Bush may be "getting" the message that the American people want the troops to come home from Iraq.
During a telephone interview with Radio Iowa, the New York senator and presidential candidate discussed Bush’s announcement earlier today that he now would consider "benchmarks" in a bill that provides war funding.
"The message may be getting through. He met with a group of moderate Republicans…at the White House and from press reports they made it very clear that he was losing Republican support. That’s what I’ve been saying now for weeks, that on our own the Democrats cannot force or require this president to change course in Iraq but when the Republicans start to bail out on him and tell him that he has to change his policy, then he will start to listen," Clinton said.
President Bush recently vetoed an Iraq spending measure that set timetables for troops withdrawal. On Wednesday, a group of moderate Republicans who serve in congress went to the White House to talk about fading public support for the war in Iraq and news accounts of the meeting had participants describing the discussion as "frank" and "candid."
"Apparently he must have gotten the message because he went over to the Pentagon this morning and made it clear that he was going to at least consider benchmarks," Clinton said. "We’re not sure exactly what that means, but that’s quite a move on his part."
Illinois Senator Barack Obama, another Democratic presidential candidate, will campaign in Indianola this evening and his campaign aides expect the issue may come up during his town hall meeting there.
John Edwards, another Democratic presidential candidate, is currently running ads on Iowa cable television stations, urging Iowans to lobby congress to stand firm and convince Bush to end the war in Iraq. Edwards issued the following written statement today: "The president today asked for yet another chance. We can no longer afford to bet American troops on a chance. In fact, even members of the president’s own party are running out of patience with the relentless pursuit of his failed Iraq policy. Why on earth would Congress make a concession to Bush when support to end the war may be climbing? Congress should stand firm. The only real power it has to end this war is to cut off funds. They passed a plan to support our troops and bring them home, and they should do it again. Nothing else will work. And if the president vetoes it, then it is his willful behavior alone that is standing in the way of what our troops need."