Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was in Iowa Tuesday to deliver speeches focused on the Iraq war.
Obama’s speeches in Des Moines and Coralville were timed for the five-year anniversary of Obama’s first anti-war speech. Obama criticized his competitors — Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd — who five years ago voted to give President Bush the authority to go to war.
"This is not just a matter of debating the past or ‘I told you so.’ It’s about making a determination (of) who’s got the best judgement to make the critical decisions going into the future," Obama said.
Obama told the crowd he’s not a "perfect man," but suggested the country was ready to make an "ambitious choice" by voting for him rather than the "easy choice" of voting for presumed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Although Obama did not once mention her by name, Obama did hammer away at Clinton, and the others, for that initial vote on the war.
"The hard truth is that the war in Iraq is not about a catalogue of many mistakes. It’s about one big mistake," Obama said. "The war in Iraq should never have been fought."
Obama criticized the American media, too, for its role in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq. "Media that too often reported spin instead of fact," Obama said.
Obama drew the loudest response from the crowd when he promised to tell the truth if elected.
"I am not running for president to conform to Washington’s conventional thinking. I am running to challenge it," Obama said, to applause from the crowd. "I’m not running to join the kind of Washington group-think that led us to war, that says we can’t tell the American people what we think on big issues. I’m running for president to change this country."
Obama’s speech, which lasted just shy of half-an-hour, ended with his assertion that in 2008 America would choose to "pass the torch to a new generation" — and away from Baby Boomers like George Bush and the Clintons.