Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama delivered a speech at Drake University this morning, attacking rival Hillary Clinton for backing the resolution five years ago that gave President Bush authority to wage war in Iraq.
Obama also lambasted Clinton for a recent vote in favor of a resolution which Obama argues may give Bush the go-ahead to wage war with Iran.
"George Bush and Dick Cheney could use this language to justify keeping our troops in Iraq as long as they can point to a threat from Iran and because they could use this language to justify an attack on Iran as part of the on-going war in Iraq," Obama said. "I don’t want to give this president any excuse or any opening for war because as we learned with the authorization of the Iraq war, when you give this president a blank check, you can’t be surprised when he decides to cash it."
Obama accused Clinton of taking that vote declaring Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization to "look tough" like George Bush, who Obama calls a "cowboy." "We do need tougher diplomacy with Iran, but the way to support tough diplomacy is not to vote for reckless amendments," Obama said. "The way to support diplomacy is actually to pursue it."
The crowd of 250 who gathered to hear Obama speak applauded his entrance, but did not interrupt his 20-minute speech with applause. "When I am the nominee of our party the choice will be clear. My Republican opponent won’t be able to say that we both supported this war in Iraq. He won’t be able to say that we really agree about using the war in Iraq to justify military action against Iran or about the diplomacy of not talking and simply saber-rattling instead. He won’t be able to say that I haven’t been open and straight with the American people or that I’ve changed my positions," Obama said. "And you know what? I think the American people want that choice."
Clinton’s Iowa campaign spokesman Mark Daley issued a written statement. "Once again Senator Obama has abandoned the politics of hope to engage in the same old attack politics," Daley said. "If Senator Obama really believed that this measure gave the President a blank check for war he should have been there, speaking out, and fighting against it. Instead he did nothing, remained totally silent, and spoke out only after the vote to engage in false attacks against Senator Clinton."
Two other presidential candidates — Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sam Brownback — are speaking over the noon-hour today in Des Moines laying out their shared idea for fixing the problems with governance in Iraq. The two senators say the country needs to be "partitioned" into states that have a greater share of power, with a weak central government.